A major championship is not easy to come by, it separates the elite from the rest. The win over Virtus Pro shows a resilience under pressure which has been absent at times in Astralis’ team history. The Danish squad take home half a million dollars and perhaps more importantly, the most coveted prize in CS:GO.
It’s every player’s dream, standing atop the podium on the biggest stage in Counter-Strike – the Danes of Astralis picked up their first major victory in Atlanta, shooing away the cynics labelling them as a “default” number one. The series was the first major final since mid 2015 to go to three maps and the closest 3rd map in a major final. Astralis saw a strong performance from the new acquisition of Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, despite missing the usual impressive statistics from an absent Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz.
The final was both a fantastic game for general spectators as well as a living nightmare for either team’s fans. With the last two maps finishing 16-14, the championship hung in the balance right until the end. However good the first two maps, the final map, Train was one to behold.
The heightened pressure on the teams led to a subversion of expected results regarding map bias. At one point, up 7-2, Virtus Pro struggled under heightened pressure on both sides, allowing Astralis into an otherwise unwinnable game. A culmination of events forced Virtus Pro into a half buy on the final round of regulation, while also being down 14-15.
Force buying isn’t ideal at the bets of times, but in the last round of a major it is the worst possible situation to be in, especially for a team which is lethal with equal equipment.
The regular star performer in Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz was sorely missing from the Astralis side in the final, in comparable form to his old choking ways, the MVP performance went to Kjaerbye with an impressive +19 KDA. This standout performance by the young gun made him not only the only one on his team to have a positive KDA, but also crowns him as the youngest player to win a major – the previous record holder was JW of GODSENT by just 3 days. This finals performance shows the new-found depth of the Astralis squad, as for most teams, losing their most valuable player would be crippling.
A disappointing finals performance should not in any way detract from device’s stellar major performance, as reflected in the statistics. At the major, device tops the charts for the most kills (242), kills per round (0.93), total AWP kills (90) and total opening kills (51). Stats like that are makings of a god tier player, which is almost the level which device is considered on. The tendency to bring him down a notch is due to his inconsistency in pressure situations, shown again here with a poor performance by his standards, with a -7 KDA of 48-55.
Where to next for Astralis? After a perfect start to the year, the organisation will no doubt look to consolidate their current roster with up to the minute strategies and in-depth knowledge of their opponents. Although the win means there is no clear team they need to lock their crosshairs on, the scene as a whole will be looking to gun down the Danes, meaning adaptation over the coming months will be key.