Markus ‘Kjaerbye’ Kjærbye, Astralis’ nineteen-year-old star entry-man, has just signed for North. It has been confirmed that Kjaerbye is the official replacement for North’s rifler, Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke. Both teams originate in Denmark, and have been rivals in the national CS:GO scene. This is a move that could strengthen North, but which might have disastrous consequences for Astralis.
Who is Markus Kjærbye?
Markus Kjærbye is a name to be reckoned with in the CS:GO universe, a Danish player who is one of the most effective members of Astralis. Kjaerbye is a dedicated and highly effective entry player, and has sustained Astralis through many difficult confrontations. He started his career with NO SIR! Kjaerbye has also played for Copenhagen Wolves and Team Dignitas, before being taken on by Astralis. He has been a part of the team for close to two years, winning two major tournaments in his first year with them.
The move comes at a bad time for Astralis
With their top AWPer dev1ce recovering from a serious illness, and playing very much below his norm, the team can ill afford to lose an aggressive entry man of the stature of Kjaerbye. An already weakened Astralis, that has been performing disastrously against other top teams, is now likely to see its performance degrade even further. If Astralis cannot replace Kjaerbye in short order – and he is not a player whose skills and capabilities are easy to replace – we may expect Astralis to fall considerably in the world rankings over the course of the coming year, and to lose repeatedly against other top-tier teams.
How are members of Astralis taking this?
This move has been most unexpected, as no one on the Astralis team knew of the changeover before it happened. We’ve noticed that most team members in top pro teams are generally diplomatic when such things occur. After all, if a top member of your team is leaving for another squad, and there’s nothing you can really do about it, you may as well wish them luck, and be done with it. That’s what pro players do, and that’s what Astralis’ players have done.
Their in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, and Nicolai “device” Reedtz have been very encouraging, though, of course, no one knows better than gla1ve what a loss Kjaerbye leaving is to the team. It might even lead to a ‘domino effect’ as we’ve often seen happen on other teams. A team is performing badly, and then a top player from the team leaves. The team then performs even more badly, and its remaining skilled members leave one by one, and are replaced by players that just don’t have their skill, experience and stature, until the team has almost ceased to exist.
Losing Kjaerbye is a real danger to Astralis
It certainly is, unless they can replace Kjaerbye almost immediately. What makes things worse here is that Astralis’ team-leader gla1ve was unaware until a few hours before the press conference that this changeover was in progress. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, one of Astralis’ most dedicated members, vaguely expressed his disappointment via social media. He has every right to do so. Dupreeh has made countless sacrifices for the team, repeatedly, over the years, even stepping aside as entry man for Kjaerbye. After all that, to now see the team weakened by the exit of the very man he stepped aside for cannot be easy.
We have yet to know who will fill in as the fifth teammate, but there are rumours that Borg, now playing for North, will return to his old team. Borg could fill the empty slot in the roster, but could he really fill the gap left by Kjaerbye? We think it unlikely.
What does this do for North’s combat effectiveness?
North is a brilliant team, comprising some of the best players from Denmark. However, they have been struggling to prove themselves in international tournaments. Their future has been in doubt, considering how poorly they performed in the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, and at Blast Pro.
They recently benched long time player René “cajunb” Borg, and brought in Daniel “mertz” Mertz instead. When you combine that with their bringing Markus Kjærbye onto the team, we see a roster evolving here that could well go up against the best. It seems North are showing considerable ambition early in the year, and we look to see them making a determined bid for quite a few titles as the year progresses.