Astralis Are Back At the Top, But How Are They So Good?

If you ask any CS:GO fan, no matter their personal preference, which is the best CS:GO team in the world, the most consistent roster for years, unavoidable in all of the biggest tournaments, the answer is probably almost always going be Astralis. Also, when you talk to most of the players (or you read and watch their interviews) the answer to the question about The Team to beat, is also always going to be Astralis.

How Did Astralis Manage To Be The Best Again?

And although they’ve been having some trouble this year, they’ve still managed to win the biggest December tournament of 2020, IEM Global Challenge, where they beat all of their biggest opponents when it was most needed. Again. And they weren’t even the favourites this time. That victory also means they are going to round up this year as the number one on the leader-board. But how do the Danes stay so strong for so long? Let’s look for answers in their history.

First of all, when you look at the world rankings, no one even comes close to Astralis’ time spent at the top this year, but it wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t do them justice if we only look at this year. The organization was formed in 2016, when they took the whole Team Questionmark roster (former players of Team SoloMid) under its wing, and, as you probably know if you are a fan, a big part of that roster still plays for the team today. Dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x and coach zonic all became a part of Astralis under that same transfer and by the end of that year, in October to be exact, current team’s captain, gla1ve, also joined.

From Hardcore Management To Hardcore Sponsors

The organization also has some famous names at the leading positions: Kasper Hvidt, famous Danish handball goalkeeper, is their manager or, officially a “Director of Sports”, and Astralis’ founder Nikolaj Nyholm is a well-known (and a well-connected) businessman and investor. So other than the team’s obvious stellar results, those are also factors contributing to a long list of teams’ sponsors: from Logitech to Hummel and Bang&Olufsen. Also, if you need another proof of just how big Astralis really is, you can check their earnings so far: a total of 8,7 million dollars. For comparison, Team Liquid and Natus Vincere, who are second and third on that imaginary list, have 4,8 and 4,2 million earned.

So all of these are obviously important stability components needed for success: a team who knows each other so well and a firm and solid management who obviously knows what they are doing and has good connections. But is it really that “simple”? Well, it depends. It’s not easy to find players who’ll work together so well for so long, so it looks as though the acquisition an existing roster, for instance, is a good move for an aspiring organization. On the other hand, several years ago, when Astralis were starting, good investors (and/or founders) were not so easy to come by. So you could say that it isn’t all that simple, at least not as nearly as simple as it sounds when you list the needed (and somewhat obvious) factors.

It’s Not All Fun And Games

But, with a team that is so big and successful, it would be weird if there weren’t any problems. For instance, in March this year, they decided to make an unfair move, at least according to fans. They decided to sign es3tag, who was with a Heroic roster at that point, right as Heroic were about to sign the takeover with FunPlus Phoenix. As a result of their move, the whole deal fell through and FPX were out of the picture for Heroic.

But occasional shakeups and add-ons don’t seem to bother their overall performance too much, and even if they face some hurdles, they overcome them pretty quickly. For how long will they be able to keep this steady and untouchable pace? We can just observe closely and wait.

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