FURIA eSports defeating Astralis CSGO on Friday at the ECS Season 7 LAN finals on two of their best maps, Mirage and Nuke, marked the first time that the current Astralis roster failed to make it out of the group stage of a big LAN event.
This is huge.
Not only does this mean that Astralis would fail to win a title for the third straight LAN in a row, but now, they have found themselves in unfamiliar territory.
After spending the entirety of 2018 making a case for themselves as the best CS:GO team in the world, Astralis have now lost twice to FURIA eSports, a young professional CS:GO team that, outside of a third-fourth place finish at the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, had very little to show for themselves.
It’s not as if that Astralis played bad either. Sure, they were a bit rusty, but who wouldn’t be? Astralis haven’t really played in any big LAN event for a while. They’ve opted to skip bigger LANs in favour of playing at the BLAST Pro Series: São Paulo, BLAST Pro Series: Miami 2019, and BLAST Pro Series: Madrid 2019 since March. However, they were still good if not one of the best teams in the tournament.
Case in point, Astralis still topped the entire tournament in K-D diff at +95 and Nicolai ‘dev1ce‘ Reedtz was his usual magnificent self, posting a 1.37 rating across the six maps he played.
So, what happened?
The Inevitable Came for Astralis
No offense to anyone, but, were we really expecting Astralis, who won all but five of the many LAN tournaments they played in 2018 and took home the first ever Intel Grand Slam, to continue dominating as well as they had well into 2019?
Earlier this year, we saw Astralis lost to Team Liquid at the iBUYPOWER Masters IV.
Most people don’t remember this, because, well, the event was more memorable for far worse reasons, but still, the signs that the rest of the scene were starting to catch up to Astralis were already there.
You could argue that they’ve been there for quite a while already, as we even saw Astralis escape with a couple of close calls during the tail end of their 2018 run. It’s just that, at the end of the day, Astralis managed to scrape out a win against all odds. But, the inevitable eventually came for Astralis, and after looking nigh unbeatable for so long, chinks and cracks on their once-invulnerable armor are starting to appear.
Does this mean that Astralis are no longer as good as they were? Most definitely not.
Again, Astralis did not even play badly at all at the ECS Season 7 finals. Despite their early exit, they still looked like the heavy favourites to win it all.
Unfortunately, Astralis found themselves at the mercy of an opponent who were a lot more prepared for them than the other way around, and this time, they couldn’t pull off a miraculous feat to save themselves.
A Disappointing, But Necessary Fall
To say that this is the end of the Astralis CSGO dynasty is premature at best.
Yes, Astralis saw a chance to make another mark in CS:GO’s history books after letting ENCE beat them on Nuke in the Grand Finals of the BLAST Pro Series: Madrid 2019, and an ECS three-peat would have definitely widened the gap between them and other historically-dominant CS:GO squads, but, at the end of the day, it’s just one tournament.
You have to remember, Astralis’ run of dominance was impossible to sustain.
Astralis helped elevate the CS:GO scene to heights never before seen previously. Their professionalism and dominance forced teams to study what they were doing right and adopt their methods. However, to expect them to continue on winning when other CS:GO teams have spent the better part of the past two years scrutinizing their every move is foolish, at best.
Eventually, the rest of the scene would have caught up, and now they have.
We all knew that this would happen. It’s just that we tried to push the notion to the back of our minds, because, well, Astralis kept on winning.
Now that Astralis have lost, we can only hope that the all-time Danish lineup takes this as motivation to do even better going forward.
This isn’t the end for Astralis CSGO. At least, not yet, anyway.
To call for roster changes at this point after just one early exit would be absurd. The current Astralis CSGO lineup has proven themselves to capable of reinventing themselves on the fly, and they’re all good enough at every role that they switch around all they want.
If, however, the demise of the Astralis CSGO roster does come, it will be as much their fault as anything else.
Yes, the rest of the CS:GO scene did great work in trying to catch up with Astralis. We may no longer see Natus Vincere and MIBR contending for titles, but there’s still Team Liquid. Not to mention there are newcomers in the scene as well, including ENCE, who, as mentioned earlier, were the first CS:GO team to prove hat Astralis can be beaten on Nuke. But, it’s not like Astralis are doing themselves any favours either.
By making the decision to skip LAN tournaments for the past three months or so, Astralis left themselves vulnerable to rust and allowed other teams to catch up to them.
With Astralis now scheduled to play in multiple LAN tournaments in the next couple of months, we won’t have to wait too long to see if Astralis can get back up on their feet and regain their former status. But, if this really is the end of the line for Astralis CSGO, then we should just all take delight in the fact that we saw arguably the most dominant CS:GO roster in history play in our lifetimes.
Do you think the end has come for Astralis CSGO? Do you think that their early exit at the ECS Season 7 finals was just a mere setback? What do you think it’ll take for Astralis to silence critics once again and prove that they still are the team to beat? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.