Shocking news surfaced after Team Liquid clinched the DreamHack Masters Dallas. Astralis lost their number one spot after 406 days of dominance. Can Astralis reclaim the number one spot? Let’s try to find an answer.
Before we move on to the discussion about Astralis’ potential journey back to the number one, we have to break down the HLTV ranking system and see how it works. Although there are many other ranking systems, the CS:GO community sees HLTV rankings as the most relevant. No wonder, considering how complex they are and how much factors they include.
However, it still seems a little bit unusual to say that Team Liquid is the best team in the world considering how dominant Astralis was up to the Katowice Major. Even after the first Major, Team Liquid had some decent results. But most of their results are coming from BLAST Pro events. It’s a common opinion in the CS:GO community that it wasn’t Team Liquid who won the first place, but it was Astralis who lost it because they skipped three big events.
Also, it has a lot to do with the sophisticated HLTV system. It simply doesn’t allow squads to have a big gap between good results if they want to stay on top. So, let’s see how Astralis lost the throne, and whether Astralis can reclaim the number one spot.
Achievements + recent form + last 10 LANs
The HLTV rankings include three very important factors. As you can see, those are achievements at tournaments in the last 12 months with time decay, performance in matches in the last 3 months and tournaments performance at last 10 LAN events. However, these factors are not counted equally. So, the achievements have the biggest impact (50%), a recent form less (30%), and last 10 LANs (20%).
The main reason for Astralis dropping down to the second place, in terms of the ranking system, is definitely a decay of points over time. If there wasn’t points decay, Astralis would most likely keep the throne. For example, on the ESL Club Rankings, Astralis still remains on top without any team close to them. But, as mentioned, HLTV rankings and ESL Power rankings are more relevant for the CS:GO community and competitive scene.
Therefore, the bad news for Astralis is that they are going to keep losing points from the last year over time. On the other end, the good news for them is that Liquid is also going to lose some points from tournaments where they had success recently (IEM Sydney, cs_summit 4, DH Masters Dallas). So, in the end, rankings mostly depend on the following few events that Astralis and Liquid are going to attend.
Which are those events and what we can expect to see there?
At the moment, we know that Astralis is going to play at ECS Season 7 Finals, EPL Season 9 Finals, and ESL One Cologne. On the other side, Liquid will compete at EPL Season 9 Finals and IEM Chicago. Afterward, both teams will take part in the second Major in the year, StarLadders Major in Berlin. Also, there is still one place available for one European team at IEM Chicago. But, we don’t know if Astralis is going to be there. According to gla1ve’s words, Astralis’ plans don’t include that event.
Therefore, Team Liquid will play one tournament less than Astralis. So, they will have an opportunity to face each other only at EPL S9 Finals. That means that the number one spot depends on Astralis and Liquid head-to-head meetings. But let’s see who also can compete at those events, and if Astralis can reclaim the number one spot at ECS Finals.
Astralis is an unquestionable favorite for winning ECS
Despite skipping so many events and having relatively poor performance at BLAST Pro events, Astralis still remains the favorites for winning big titles, especially those where the competition is not as strong. Hence, it doesn’t seem like anyone can challenge Astralis at the ECS Finals. Their biggest rivals there are going to be NiP, MiBR and Team Vitality. There are also NRG Esports, FURIA, compLexity, and North.
Anyhow, it’s very unlikely that any of those teams can win Best-of-3 event against Astralis. MiBR and NiP can definitely challenge Astralis, but the Danes beat them so many times in recent matches. Also, as Team Vitality hasn’t faced before, we don’t know what to expect from that potential meeting. If Astralis win the ECS with ease, they possibly can reclaim the number one spot or at least get very close to Team Liquid.
EPL is a key tournament
ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals is undoubtedly the key tournament when it comes to the battle for the top of rankings. There, Team Liquid and Astralis will have an opportunity to face each other and decide who will be the number one team in the long run. If Danes do well at ECS, Astralis definitely can reclaim number one spot after the EPL Finals. The question is, obviously, can Astralis really clinch the title in France.
Even if gla1ve and co. manage to beat the competition and reach the Grand Final they have to dig very deep to defeat Team Liquid. The reasons are many. First of all, if we look at Head-to-Head score this year, it’s actually tied. Both teams won one Grand Final and one Best-of-1 match against each other. But, they still haven’t met each other at big tournaments. So, this will be the chance to see them playing each other for the first time in a really important tournament. The winner of the event definitely has the most chances to stay number one for a longer period.
Given that Astralis skipped so many events, we cannot estimate their current form accurately enough. Of course, if they manage to repeat the same game from the last year, they can get back to the top. However, Team Liquid is also a very strong team and many things depend on them as well. At the end of the day, as we said, the winner of EPL Finals is supposed to be number for a long period of time. So, that’s one more reason to carefully follow and watch this big event.