Best CSGO team in the world in 2018? There’s no contest. It’s Astralis every day of the week, perhaps even twice on Sundays. No one could hold a candle to the Danes’ domination of the scene, and even their national government has taken notice.
So when you start to be this utterly dominant force in any sort of competition, attracting the attention of national television outlets, returning home to the airport with hordes of fans waiting, everyone else in the world is simply planning one thing: How on earth are we going to take down a team ranked number one in the world since April 23rd 2018? How can we ensure that 2019 doesn’t just become an extension of 2018?
CSGO Major live: Streams, schedule rosters and results
The answer? Challenge them as they are adapting to a new style of play. The changes in the CSGO meta and actual updates in game by the devs have created the best possible chance for a contender to expose the vulnerabilities of the Danish elite at IEM Katowice 2019. No more controversy with the smoke bugs and a new formidable weapon entering the fray on CT side that levels the playing field when peeking versus an AK-47. Now T-side players need to flash into angles just as CT-sided players did previously. Entry fragging is completely changed.
Which has the potential to really throw a wrench into things for Danny “zonic” Sørensen, the mastermind behind the Astralis machine. He expertly noted in a recent interview with HLTV.org that any change, no matter how big or small, has the potential to be disruptive to a finely tuned system that has worked to near perfection for close to a year now.
Any changes to the game do not benefit us at the moment because we are currently the best team in the world. I haven't put much thought into that, I'm still working under the same conditions as before the AUG meta
But in that same interview he demonstrated that Astralis is not only aware of the changes surrounding the AUG meta, but is preparing counter measures in anticipation of them. Which is good, because the odds that they’ll encounter the weapon are pretty high.
A glimmer of hope for the rest
So is Astralis vulnerable? Perhaps not. Are they more vulnerable now than they were during the year that went almost entirely #ToTheStars? Absolutely. The fact remains that they are still the best team in the world for a reason. Their intangibles in CSGO are second to none.
They have one of the best AWPs in the world in dev1ce, one of the best fragging IGLs in the world in gla1ve, and the ability to win even the bleakest looking rounds thanks to the Clutch Minister himself in Xyp9x. Rounding out your team with players like dupreeh and Magisk isn’t too shabby either, we’re talking about a team that made up a quarter of the HLTV Top 20 Players of 2018 list just on their own.
So do they remain favorites at this event? 100% yes. But the door is open for the likes of a Team Liquid, Na'Vi, or one of the other legends to ascend to the throne.
This is the field’s best chance. So what will it be in the Champions Stage - #ToTheStars or #BackToEarth?
Main picture: Copyright ESL | Adela Sznajder