Over the past 12-18 months, Astralis have, without doubt, been the best CS:GO team in the world. The Copenhagen-based team has not only clocked up a swathe of victories in top CS:GO esports tournaments but also landed the $1,000,000 bonus from the Intel Grand Slam.
The Astralis run
The team’s list of victories since May 2018 is hugely impressive. Take a look:
- ES Pro League Season 7 Finals – Winners – $250,000
- Esports Championship Series Season 5 Finals – Winners – $250,000
- ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018 – Winners – $500,000
- FACEIT Major London 2018 – Winners – $500,000
- Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals – Winners – $250,000
- ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals – Winners – $250,000
- Intel Extreme Masters XIII Katowice Major 2019 – Winners – $500,000
- $1,000,000 bonus for winning the inaugural Intel Grand Slam
Since May 2018, the team has landed an incredible $3,500,000 in prize money from those tournaments alone.
However, 2019 has been a different story.
An unexpected loss in the IBUYPOWER Masters IV
In the iBUYPOWER Masters IV event in Los Angeles, Astralis were expected to claim the win against their old rivals, Team Liquid. Instead, Team Liquid dug in and won the last two maps in the final to earn the $100,000 top prize and give the Danish side a rare bloody nose.
Normal service seemed to resume when Astralis won the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice early in March. However, the following month, at another BLAST Pro Series event in Miami, Astralis were well below par. They lost three of their five matches in the Round Robin stage to finish fifth out of six teams.
Astralis did come through the ESL Pro League Season 9 qualifiers in Leicester, UK winning all three of their group games to finish top and earn a place in the Finals. But that performance was followed a short time later by a second place finish at the BLAST Pro Series event in Madrid.
With almost a month between that event in Spain and this weekend’s Esports Championship Series Season 7 Finals in London, Astralis should have regrouped, refocused and bounced back to form. Well, they should have.
Astralis’ woes continue at Wembley
The Danish team was the favorite, especially in the light of the fact that two of their main rivals, Team Liquid and ENCE, didn’t compete at Wembley.
There was a shock almost immediately. In Astralis’ Group A, FURIA put up a superb fight and snatched a dramatic 16-14 win in the best-of-one contest. Relegated into the Elimination Match, Astralis dominated the game with Ninjas in Pyjamas winning 16-5 and 16-6.
In a rematch with FURIA, Astralis seemed set for revenge when they took the opening map 16-12. But FURIA proved their victory in the opener was no fluke, taking the next two maps 16-10, 16-13 to secure their second win, eliminating the Danish team.
As impressive as Team Vitality’s overall tourney win was, it was Astralis fall from grace that had many commentators talking. The team has been under fire recently for its participation in the BLAST Pro Series events, as opposed to older, more established esports tournaments. They’re also playing a far reduced schedule compared to previous years.
HLTV now have Team Liquid as the new no. 1 team in CS:GO, with Astralis in second place. Can the Danes rediscover their best form, or are we entering a new era in CS:GO esports?