It is a surprise to no one that Astralis has become the dominant force in CS:GO over the past several months. HLTV.org places Astralis as #1 in the world, and this makes sense given their current track record. Astralis has placed 1st in three of the past five events. In the other two events, they placed in the top four teams. Astralis, having kept the same roster the past several months, doesn’t seem to have made any significant changes in play style or personnel. All it can really be chalked up to is some extreme consistency on the side of Astralis and other teams seeming to struggle a little bit.
The Consistency of Astralis
Astralis’ dominance isn’t simply because of one thing. One of the hallmarks of Astralis’ play style is their usage of utility. There are videos upon videos on YouTube teaching people what ‘nades are thrown by Astralis and what they have come to do while combined. One of the hallmarks of Astralis is what has been dubbed by the community as an “air strike”, where they simply throw as many grenades at one place as possible. Areas such as Sniper’s Nest on Mirage or bottom banana on Inferno are normally the target.
However, Astralis has found it’s footing on the back of Nuke. It appears most of the time as if Astralis has an answer to anything that any team can throw at them. Commonly, when Astralis commits to B site, a lurker will sit outside or on A somewhere so that rotates coming in from around the map can be caught out by that lurker, making the job of getting down to a site and executing a retake that much harder.
The Struggles of Others
It has also come to the benefit of Astralis that other teams have been struggling. Liquid has been struggling a lot recently. Liquid used to be very strong on Overpass, with a dominant T-side and a CT-side commonly carried by Nick “nitr0” Cannella’s AWP. However, they have seemed to shy away from that map and stuck with Inferno as their map of choice.
For a short time, as Vertigo was going through many map updates and changes, Liquid picked up that map and won games based off of simply aiming better. Since, Liquid has dropped Vertigo and stuck with Dust II and Inferno. Other teams such as Fanatic don’t have as obvious of struggles, but rather simply don’t seem to be able to out aim and out maneuver Astralis.
How Astralis Can Be Beat
Looking at the rest of the top teams, it appears with some simple changes Astralis can be beaten.
Mousesports seem to have some consistency issues. Özgür “woxic” Eker is almost always having a great game. This follows for Finn “karrigan” Anderson and Chris “chrisJ” de Jong. However, David “frozen” Čerňanský and Robin “ropz” Kool can have consistency issues. In order for mousesports to do well, both frozen and ropz need to be doing rather well. As evidenced against Vitality at EPICENTER 2019, frozen was all over the leaderboard. He was mid frag first map, but only was able to pick up 12 kills on mousesports’ pick of Mirage. He landed forth on the frag list on the decider.
However, against Evil Geniuses at the same tournament, a much more different impact was made. In that match up, frozen and ropz were the top two fraggers over the two maps. Mousesports 2-0ed EG at this matchup to move on to the semi-finals.
From an outside perspective, the issue with Fnatic appears to be Maikil “Golden” Selim and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist. Golden doesn’t appear to bring much to the team, and flusha is very on/off. Even though Golden is IGL, he doesn’t have that many amazing plays, commonly gets overwhelmed and dies, instead of being able to pick up a frag or two and then back away. flusha has his fair share of clips that make people believe that he may have X-Ray. However, these amazing feats are once in a blue moon, and don’t occur enough to have a significant impact for Fnatic most of the time. flusha is one of the bottom fraggers most of the time, as is Golden.
Liquid is a tough one. The team faced challenges when nitr0 had to take a temporary break and coach Eric “adreN” Hoag had to step in. Since then, TL have a couple issues, which are related. They need a refreshed map pool. Additionally, something new for Astralis. Both teams have had way too many matchups in the past three months and it feels like Astralis know every play in Liquid’s book. TL need a change of pace to throw Astralis off. This can be achieved in a refreshed map pool. Maybe Liquid can bring back Vertigo, or take a look back at Overpass and come back and dominate as they did before. They also can look for an all-new map, and maybe find some footing on Mirage or start specializing on Dust II.
One final thing with Team Liquid is about Jake “Stewie2k” Yip. Stewie2k needs to get started quickly on whatever map they are playing on. If Astralis gets in the head of Stewie2k, he will lag behind for the rest of the map. If he starts off strong, he will play aggressively for the rest of the map. Team Liquid does well when Stewie2k is able to get a good start.
Overall, Astralis is at a point where they are extremely consistent and don’t seem to have much competition. Keeping these four teams in mind though will be important going forward. Hopefully, they will make the changes necessary to start making the series more of a competition.
“From Our Haus to Yours”