The absence of Astralis has undoubtedly made IEM Sydney 2019 a more open event, with several teams fancying their chances of taking home the trophy.
The dominant Danes have been the best CSGO team in the world for more than a year but chose to miss the trip Down Under citing health issues associated with travel, preferring to prepare for Blast Pro Series Madrid, a tournament organised by RFRSH, which owns the Astralis brand.
During the latest episode of The Luckbox Podcast, Paul "Redeye" Chaloner was asked for his thoughts on Astralis' dominance.
Redeye said: "I'm going to use a Formula 1 analogy. If you think back to the early 2000s, Michael Schumacher won five world championships in a row in the Ferrari. Everyone said, 'God, it's so boring' other than the F1 fans. True F1 fans didn't think it was boring because they were enjoying a moment of pure dominance they hadn't seen since the days of (Juan Manuel) Fangio in the 1950s.
"They thought it was something unique and he ended up with seven World Championships, which is still a record to this day.
"Imagine a world where he was so dominant that, in Hungary, he said, 'Guys, I'm not attending'. Would that make it more exciting?
"It mixes things up. Is it more entertaining? You open the field, maybe it piques more interest. I'm not saying it would, I'm just arguing it could be and that's the same with Astralis taking some time out and not going to every single event. It opens things up.
"There is also the other point. They're owned by RFRSH, which runs Blast Pro and Blast Pro is at the same time. The sceptic would say, 'Of course they're not playing IEM, they're playing their own tournaments'.
"Just offering a balanced view here to weigh up both sides."
The Luckbox Podcast is a CSGO and Dota-focused podcast available on YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Picture: Blast Pro Series