We are approaching the end of another exceptionally fruitful year for dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x, gla1ve and Magisk. Astralis wiped the floor with ENCE in the grand final of the IEM Major in Katowice to cement their dominance over the CS:GO scene in March.
They suffered a few shaky results over the summer and found themselves knocked off the top of the world rankings, leading many commentators to announce the end of an era. Yet they roared back to form at the Starladder Major in Berlin and lifted yet another trophy, before winning the ESC Season 8 Finals and the BLAST Global Final.
Astralis were written off and many called them a spent force, but they made an absolute mockery of such proclamations. Another year has passed and the Danes are just as dominant as they were 12 months ago.
They have won the last three Majors, and they will approach 2020 full of confidence. Can anyone stop them seizing more silverware, or will we be in for another 12 months of routine wins for Astralis?
Can Liquid Usurp Astralis?
Our 2019 ending against @Astralisgg is a fitting close, gg to them as always.
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) December 14, 2019
CS:GO fans that grew sick and tired of Astralis’ dominance pinned their hopes upon Team Liquid vanquishing dev1ce and co at the Berlin Starladder Major. After all, TL stormed to the top of world rankings in the summer by after winning seven big events and seizing a $1 million bonus for clinching the Intel Grand Slam.
They beat Astralis at BLAST Pro Series Sao Paolo and at ESL Pro League Season 9, so many fans naturally viewed it as a changing of the guard. TL had been magnificent ever since they brought in Stewie2K, and they headed to Berlin surging with confidence, while Astralis were in the doldrums.
Yet the Danes completed a 2-0 sweep of TL when they met in the quarter-finals of the Major, before going on to destroy AVANGAR in the grand final. By the time the teams met again at the BLAST Pro Series grand final in Sao Paolo in December Astralis were the heavy favorites to secure victory.
The expert handicappers at leading sports betting hub Sportsbookreview.com predicted a comfortable victory for the Danes, and they duly delivered. Astralis won 2-0, grabbed $350,000 and ensured they ended the year as the world’s number one team.
TL will now need to train hard and figure out how to vanquish the Danes when the stakes are high. ELIGE is a fantastic player and they form a strong team, but right now Astralis are superior, and it will take hard work and tactical ingenuity to change that.
How about anyone else?
Fnatic ended the season at number two in the HLTV rankings and they may fancy their chances of dethroning the mighty Astralis. Yet they did not exactly set the world alight throughout 2019. They flopped in Katowice and they failed to even qualify for Berlin. Victory at the DreamHack Masters in Malmo was their only big triumph of the year.
FaZe have plenty of individual talent, but they have not been able to gel into an effective unit. ENCE have struggled since reaching the grand final in Katowice. NaVi boast the undeniable talents of s1mple, but he does not have enough support. The same is true of ZywOo at Vitality.
It may take some big moves in order to create the sort of super team that can knock Astralis off their lofty perch and end the Danes’ dominance at the Majors. If you could put together a team featuring FalleN, olofmeister, GTR, s1mple and KRIMZ, for example, or perhaps NiKo, s1mple, Autimatic, Shox and Coldzera, they might topple Astralis, but right now the Danes have the measure of the current rosters.
What will Astralis do next?
Continuity has been key for Astralis. Dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x, gla1ve and Magisk have been together for a number of years now, and their chemistry and teamwork is fantastic. They have seemingly learned the pitfalls of going into tournaments without playing on enough of a regular basis, and they should be better prepared for the big challenges in 2020.
In the meantime, the Astralis Group is going public. It is aiming to raise $22 million from the IPO and it will use some of the cash to bolster its facilities and ensure the CS:GO team stays top of the pile. Their rivals will need to improve significantly and possibly make some bold roster changes if they are to overhaul them.