When you speak of the label, “the best CSGO team ever”, most people will be quick to point out either Ninjas in Pyjamas or Fnatic, and there’s a strong case to be made for both teams.
In the early years of CS:GO’s competitive scene, it was Ninjas in Pyjamas who dominated the field. Their record from 2012-2014 is littered with first-place finishes. Then came Fnatic, who were Ninjas in Pyjamas’ closest rivals in 2014 before finally establishing themselves as the “better” team in 2015.
To date, remnants of the said squads remain some of the most highly respected players of the game. Many still consider them as some of the best that CS:GO has to offer, with their previous teams claimed by fans as neck-and-neck for the title of the “best CSGO team ever”. However, years after the era of both Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic have ended, one team has managed to, not just squeak, but barge their way into the conversation and potentially lay claim to the spot all to themselves.
Astralis May Already Be The Best CSGO Team Ever
Astralis doesn’t just pass the eye test. They’ve aced it. They dominate games so much that a close match feels uncharacteristic. Better yet, there’s no sense of impending doom when Astralis finds themselves playing from behind. Rather, it becomes a guessing game of, not if, but when Astralis will rally back to take the win.
To date, Astralis have spent 58 weeks on the #1 spot on HLTV’s CS:GO rankings, and they could very well spend yet another 58 weeks there so long as they keep on playing and improving the way that they have. Also, unlike other teams, Astralis’ success isn’t just hinged on a single player’s performance; they may be a team composed of some of the best individual talents in the game, but the way they play makes it feel like every player has a chance to go home with the tournament’s MVP award.
Case in point, at IEM Chicago 2018, none of Astralis’ players were among the tournament’s top performers. In fact, their highest-rated player, Peter ‘dupreeh‘ Rasmussen, only had a 1.15 rating across 13 maps, which is two points shy of tying LDLC’s François ‘AmaNEk‘ Delauney 1.17 rating across 13 maps for the eighth spot. Unlike other teams, however, Astralis’ lowest-rated player was Andreas ‘Xyp9x‘ Højsleth, who had a 1.08 rating. In comparison, Team Liquid’s worst performer was Epitacio ‘TACO‘ de Melo, with a 0.99 rating across 16 maps, while their best player was Russel ‘Twistzz‘ Van Dulken, who achieved a 1.19 rating throughout the tournament.
When you put it that way, there’s a rather negligible difference between Astralis’ worst and top performers.
A Sustainable Way of Winning
In general, you can point out a team’s rise and fall due to the performances of key individuals. For Natus Vincere, those are Oleksandr ‘s1mple‘ Kostyliev and Denis ‘electronic‘ Sharipov. If both players play well, the CIS organization’s success is all but guaranteed. The same applies to Team Liquid, albeit their success lies mostly on the fingers of their young superstar, Twistzz.
Unlike both teams, Astralis’ success isn’t solely defined by how one of their players performed. Rather, it’s their collective play as a team that stands out the most. From top to bottom, each individual creates a solid base of talent, chemistry, and teamplay from which Astralis build their wins from. Their tight, strategical brand of CS:GO, which many have gone on to label as boring, is immaculate as the team plays with the kind of comfort and cohesion that’s quite unlike anything that the game has seen before.
The impact of their coach, Danny ‘zonic‘ Sørensen, cannot just be overlooked as well.
Having made the successful transition from superstar player to Major-winning coach, zonic brings the sort of preparation that arguably binds Astralis together and afford the players the luxury of knowing that they can play just about every map well, regardless of their opponent, a fact highlighted by their current and ongoing 24-game winstreak on Nuke.
This lack of reliance on a single individual talent makes Astralis’ recipe for success much more sustainable and less prone to cold spells from key players.
What’s Next For Astralis?
Are Astralis the best team in CS:GO ever? Maybe. Maybe not. People will always find a way to justify giving the fictional title to their preferred team. But, with each tournament they win and trophy they hoist, Astralis separate themselves from their competition, even if ever so slightly.
Eventually, it will come to a point that everyone will have to acknowledge that Astralis are doing something special. That, instead of criticizing their “boring” brand of CS, we should just learn to appreciate that it’s happening right now.
Either way, Astralis are the best CSGO team in the world as of the moment. There’s no denying that. Objectively, according to HLTV, the gap between Astralis (1,000 points) and the next best CS:GO team, Natus Vincere (608 points), is just as wide as the gap between Natus Vincere and the tenth best team in the world, North (201 points).
Having said that, Astralis have turned CS:GO into their kingdom, and as a result, everyone has no choice but to look-up and ask themselves, “how do we beat Astralis?“. And knowing the Danes, they likely just aren’t content just yet as they look for ways to innovate and improve. Sometimes, it’s in the form of trying out a new weapon, just as Nicolai ‘dev1ce‘ Reedtz consistently went to using the AUG instead of the AWP in the Grand Finals of IEM Chicago 2018. Other times, it’s in the form of bringing in a psychologist to help the team and keep everyone in peak mental condition.
Whatever is next for Astralis, it’s up to them to decide.
This is something special that we’re seeing from the Danes, and it’s not like they’ve shown signs of peaking just yet. Instead, in every tournament they have won (and lost) so far, they have shown a remarkable ability to adapt and innovate, all in the name of improving their play.
So, whether or not you agree that Astralis are the best CSGO team ever, its hard not to acknowledge the fact that we’re witnessing greatness unfold right now.
The only legitimate question left to ask is, until when will Astralis continue dominating?
Do you think that Astralis are already the best CSGO team ever? If not, what else do you think they have to do to lay claim to that title? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.