Pure dominance and power – that sounds like the perfect description of what Astralis did in 2018. They won seven Premier titles and three Majors, as well as the Intel Grand Slam one million dollars prize. They lost their last match on Nuke in February and then went on a 32 consecutive wins streak on the same map. In this article, we are going to cover all aspects of Astralis’ dominance and review 2018 from the teams perspective.
2018 – a year of Astralis dominance
“Astralis has done it again“; “Astralis claimed the title one more time“. These have been the usual titles that you would read throughout the previous year. They have been mentioned in the winning context so many times in 2018 that it made it very hard to a casual CS:GO follower to miss this. The Team earned $4,000,000 in a single year. Note that second CS:GO highest-earning team earned less in their whole history.
We didn’t win it, but it is an amazing feeling and a great honor to be nominated for the B.T. Gold award.
— Astralis (@astralisgg) January 5, 2019
In addition, the team from Denmark were nominated for the prestigious B.T. Gold award as a result of their dominance. The B.T. Gold is an award for given for the best sports accomplishments in Denmark. Hence, we can see that eSports is considered to be a real thing in Scandinavian countries, but we will talk about it later. Let’s look back at Astralis’ achievements one more time.
Unconvincing start of the year
The beginning of the year wasn’t the start Astralis was looking for. They participated as a current legend team at the ELEAGUE Major in the US. Therefore, people expected them to at least enter the Playoffs. However, they didn’t fair well at the first tournament of 2018. They lost to mousesports, Fnatic and winners Cloud9. Their win against North was insufficient for the continuation of competition.
Astralis left the United States quite disappointed after failing to move on. At that tournament, we saw, according to many experts opinions, perhaps the best change in CS:GO history. On the 7th of February, Magisk replaced Kjaerbye. Almost everyone refers to this move as one of the primary reasons behind Astralis’ dominance. But it’s easy to talk now. At that time, people weren’t exactly sure about that move, considering Astralis failed in the next tournament.
- Also check: CS:GO Esports 2018 Season [Year in Review]
Namely, they did well in the Group stages of the StarLadder & i-League Star Series event considering they had a score of 3-1. But they lost to Natus Vincere in the Quarter-finals. Astralis left Ukraine disappointed as well. However, they were constantly improving and arrived at the IEM XII World Championship in Katowice in great shape. They won all their matches in their Group but lost to FaZe Clan in the Semis. As a result, they finished the IEM event in 3rd place.
Title at DreamHack Masters and final at IEM XIII
After a couple of blunders, Astralis finally started revealing what they were capable of. They came to the DH Masters in Marseille after successfully qualifying for IEM XIII. The competition was incredibly fierce in France, but Astralis crushed the field. After finishing as the top team in the group stage they didn’t lose a single map in the Playoffs. They beat some of the top teams such as FaZe, Fnatic and Natus Vincere and claimed their first title in 2018. That was just a hint of Astralis’ dominance in continuation of the year.
Astralis’ dominance at ECS and ESL tournaments
The team changed course after losing the final to FaZe. Firstly, they went on an 18 match unbeaten streak at the Online Qualifier, and then won two consecutive tournaments. They reached the finals of ESL Pro League without losing one map. They then defeated Team Liquid in the finals 3-1. Basically, they had an identical result at the ECS Finals as well.
However, this time, Astralis didn’t lose a map during the whole tournament. They beat Team Liquid in the finals once more. The joke about the rivalry between Team Liquid and the Danish team already became popular at that moment. Essentially, the team didn’t lose a single match out of previous 28 matches. That showed us how dominant Astralis was.
July – September: Two “failures”, three titles and $1,200,000
It’s really unfair to call Astralis’ results at the DH Masters and ESL One Cologne failures, but they were, according to Astralis’ standards in 2018. Nonetheless, we are sure that many teams would like to record such “failures” due to where they stand now.
After such a dominant part of the year, gla1ve and company arrived at the ESL One as big favorites. They displayed a great performance in the Group Stage, given that they won all matches and finished as the best team in Group A. Nevertheless, Astralis lost to Natus Vincere in Semi-final (2-1). But the Danes managed to get back on track as they clinched a trophy at ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier in Atlanta. Astralis performed at the highest level and beat Team Liquid in the finals again. Alongside with the trophy, the team brought back a prize of $500,000.
North Halting Astralis’ Progress
North turned out to be lethal for Astralis twice at the DreamHack Masters in Stockholm. They defeated Astralis in Group Stage and then in Final of the tournament. It was an unimaginably thing to do in a year of Astralis’ dominance. Only one team was able to do this against Astralis in all of the CS:GO esports teams.
Astralis attended the first FACEIT Major in history. Twenty-four teams were competing for the title and the $500,000 prize. Astralis lost two games in the Group Stage but then crushed the field in the Playoffs. They defeated FaZe, Liquid, and NaVi in the Final, all without losing a single leg. Astralis continued their momentum at the BLAST Pro Series in Istanbul. First, gla1ve and his teammates defeated all teams in the round-robin Group, and then beat MiBR in the Finals 2-1. It has been their sixth title so far.
A little break in Copenhagen followed by the most dominant part of the year in the history of CS:GO
Astralis failed to claim another title at the BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen after a month break. They lost two matches and finished the tournament in 3rd place. Nevertheless, no one assumed such a fairy-tale ending in 2018. It circled Astralis’ dominance during 2018 in great manner. After an unsatisfactory performance in Copenhagen, the Danes reached the top again at IEM XIII in Chicago.
Thanks to their previous losses, CS:GO teams realized that Astralis were vulnerable. Their opponents gave 100% in order to beat the best team in history. FaZe managed to do so at the Group Stage, but despite that, Astralis won the tournament. They defeated Team Liquid 3-0 in final.
Afterward, Astralis won top spot at the ESL Pro League Season 8 and ECS Season 6 Qualifiers. But that wasn’t all. To begin with, the team claimed the title at the ECS tournament and got a chance to compete for the Intel Grand Slam at ESL Pro League. Finally, they did it; they won four needed tournaments for the first time in history and earned a $1,000,000 bonus. In order to finish 2018 in great style and prove they are unquestionably the best team in the history of this game, Astralis won the BLAST Pro League: Lisbon 2018 to NaVi(second best team in the world) in Final.
— Astralis (@astralisgg) December 15, 2018
What are the reasons behind their dominance?
Given that Astralis won almost everything this year, they became the leading subject of many discussions. Numerous experts and CS:GO fans are trying to figure out how the Danish team accomplished the success that they had. There are countless of explanations and theories, but let’s begin with Astralis’ opinions as it’s the most logical way to go.
- Also read: Astralis made history at home!
According to what Astralis’ members say, the reasons are countless. They pointed out the good chemistry they have between each other, and the atmosphere in and out of the game as one of the main elements of their dominance. Truly, many teams are trying to find the perfect five (or six if you want) players that have good chemistry. However, it’s tremendously hard to find five people who will work through everything together, not just in gaming. If you ask any member of the Danish squad about their relationship with each other, they will all say they are like family.
We often see sports teams full of superstars, but with unsatisfactory results. The main cause for that is mostly the bad atmosphere within the locker rooms (in in this case, game rooms). The synergy isn’t there. However, Astralis doesn’t have that problem. As dev1ce states, they feel a deep connection between each other, and that’s why they are constructive when things are going bad. Furthermore, the way how they prepare for a new season shows us the healthiness of their relationship. For example, they decided to go to a military Bootcamp in order to isolate and prepare both physically and mentally for a new season.
It sounds weird, but it’s evident that there are so many elite teams from Scandinavia. It might have to do with Scandinavian air. Or perhaps it’s just their food. . Kidding aside, if you look at the Top 30 teams, you’ll see that eight of them are from Scandinavia. That’s almost one-third of the total number. Members of the team say that there is a remarkably good system in Denmark that helps those talented players get the best teams. It’s something similar to the football system there.
Regardless, dev1ce said it wasn’t the case when he was making a breakthrough in CS:GO. According to his words, he had to dig much deeper than players now in order to be spotted by a big team. We can exclude this factor as one of the reasons behind Astralis’ dominance. But we have to admit that Scandinavians know how to compete in eSports.
Astralis’ winning streak on Nuke
Astralis played 34 games on Nuke (approx 20% of all their games) and won 33 of them. The last time when they lost on Nuke was a long time ago. To be more precise, they lost their last game on Nuke on the 15th of February at ESL Pro League – Europe against Heroic. Afterwards, they played on Nuke 32 times and didn’t lose a single time.. The closest a team got to Overtime was Team Liquid at ESL Pro League Finals when it was 16-14 in Astralis’ favor. That was the unique situation as no one else managed to get that far on Nuke while facing Astralis. That just demonstrates how strong Astralis is on Nuke.
.@zonic_cs really wants to play Nuke.
— BLAST Pro Series (@BLASTProSeries) December 15, 2018
Nuke is considered to be a generally tough map to play. Therefore, no one likes to play Nuke, and especially not against Astralis. It’s part of the game and you cannot avoid it. Experts claim that the Danes do the best rotations on Nuke and that’s the reason for their success. Plus, they know the map by heart. You’ll see many times even pro players cannot distinguish the sound between A and B bombsite, but you won’t see that happening with Astralis. They just feel the map.
Magisk as best move, and zonic as best coach
One thing that makes Astralis the best are, of course, their brilliant players. But we have to stress out two particular members. The first member is Magisk. As mentioned, people think of him as one of the best moves in CS:GO’s history. When he came to Astralis, everything somehow clicked and they started beating the competition. Magisk was actually forced to move as Kjaerbye left the team. If you ask dev1ce, he would say Magisk and Kjaerbye have almost nothing in common when it comes to gameplay.
However, they are both fitting to the team. According to dev1ce, Magisk brought some good spirit in the team and helped the team mentally. On the other side, everyone would agree that zonic is the best coach in CS:GO and one of the fundamental reasons for Astralis’ dominance. He is a tactics mastermind and a very charismatic man. You can see him celebrating with the team and going through every moment together with them. That surely helps a team a lot to know that their coach is incredibly passionate.
What do JW and Zeus say?
Fnatic’s player, JW, and NaVi’s’s captain Zeus also talked about the accomplishments of the Danish team. JW says that Astralis and NaVi are teams that remind him of the League of Legend teams because of their structured gameplay. As he says, most teams are focusing on individual displays rather than on team play. But Astralis doesn’t. Their squad knows what to do in every moment, and everyone has their duties and tasks.
Zeus commented on the Danes tournament schedule. He criticized Natus Vincere tournament choice and said Astralis is a perfect example of how to choose tournaments. Indeed, if we look at Astralis’ 2018 schedule, there are only 17 offline events, which is perfectly optimized. That also could be a cause of Astralis’ dominance.
Conclusion – will this dominance cause a revolution in CS:GO gameplay?
When we have one team that dominants the esports industry as Astralis did in CS:GO, we have to ask whether it’s because that particular team is strong, or the competition is weak. Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure. If the Danish team continues beating out the competition, they will have to change something drastically. It can further cause a real revolution in CS:GO meta and gameplay, and we could see some interesting novelties in the future.