Astralis are the greatest team in counter strike global offensive’s history, with an era of dominance spreading over a period of 2 years. Since 2018 they have been untouchable, having won the last 3 major titles in a row, as well as becoming the first team to win 4 majors in total. However, recently Astralis has seen a downturn in form and it is clear to see how much this has benefited every other top team.
In early 2020 we saw Astralis get off to a rough start at the BLAST premier series, finishing second from bottom in their group, and then being knocked out in the round of 16 by Mousesports causing them to finish 7-8th. They quickly bounced back at IEM Katowice and the ESL Pro League Season 11, finish 3-4th and 3rd respectively. Then at the ESL Road to Rio we saw the Astralis we all know, coming out in classic dominant form. They would lose one match in the group stages to Fnatic, but from there they would beat the likes of G2 and FaZe to win the event without dropping a single map in bracket play. It seemed like it was back to business for the roster.
However, after the Road to Rio event Gla1ve would step down from the team and would take a break as a result of burnout. In his place Astralis would play with JUGi at the Dreamhack Spring Masters. During the first stage of the event Astralis looked comfortable beating both North and Heroic 2-0 before losing to an in form G2 2-0. This guaranteed them to get to bracket play. It was a good result for the team considering their in-game leader was no longer on the roster.
After the group stages Astralis made another announcement that shocked the community. Xyp9x would join Gla1ve in taking a break from competitive play citing burnout as the reason. This would leave Astralis without 2 of their key players for the BLAST Premier Spring series and the remainder of the Dreamhack Spring Masters. Snappi was brough in as a replacement for Xyp9x. Despite their best efforts, Astralis would perform terribly with this new roster losing to NiP, Vitality and ENCE in the groups of the BLAST Premier Spring Series. They would make it out the groups with a singular win over sAw before being beaten 2-0 by Mousesports. It was a rough start for the new roster only managing a 7-8th finish. Then at the bracket stage of Dreamhack spring masters they would lose to NiP again and only manage a 9-12th placement. The roster had dropped out both events with terrible performances compared to what is expected of Astralis.
While this has happened, it has allowed teams such as NaVi, Fnatic and G2 to be able to claim the number 1 world ranking spot from Astralis, as well as allowing other teams to climb up the rankings. Teams like Furia, Vitality, BIG and Evil Geniuses have been able to climb to higher spots on the HLTV world rankings than Astralis throughout June. With Astralis not placing within the top 4 at the last few events it has allowed teams to go further into events as they are not having to come across Astralis or other top ranked teams like G2 or FaZe as soon. As of June 29th, the team have fallen to 9th in the HTLV Rankings the lowest they have placed since March 2018.
Before Glav1e and Xyp9x decided to take breaks, the team would consistently place top 4 at events. Outside their poor placing at BLAST Premier in January the team would had not placed outside the top 4 at an event since the ESL Pro League Season 9 finals in late June 2019 when they placed 5-6th. Since ESL One: Cologne 2019 the team had only placed 4th or higher up until the BLAST Premier series. This meant that they were stopping many teams from going far into events. Teams like G2, FaZe, Vitality and NaVi would commonly be taken down by Astralis, and then go on to beat other rosters like BIG or NiP earlier in events causing them to not have good placements. With Astralis performing poorly at the last few events however it has allowed teams to get much higher placements and therefore move up the HLTV Rankings.
Overall, with Astralis struggling right now it is benefitting the rest of Counter Strikes top tiered rosters. The team to beat for the last 2 years is no longer on top and it is causing the rest of the scene to be able to progress further at the last few events. Astralis have just announced the signing of es3tag, so only time will tell if this helps to push the roster back up the rankings or if we will have to wait for Gla1ve and Xyp9x return in order for the team to return back to the top of Counter Strike. As for right now two things have been made noticeably clear by Astralis’s poor form, the importance of Gla1ve and Xyp9x to the roster as well as just how impactful Astralis are on every other team in the top tier of Counter Strike.
All information from HLTV.org