There have been more than 13bn words written about the decline of Astralis over the past few weeks, or that’s how it feels at least. CSGO has become obsessed with the idea the Danish five are falling off like it’s an egirl getting caught cheating on stream, but all the while something else has been going on, something more sinister, and more worrying, if you’re a fan of the North American game.
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You see, the narrative around the corporate evil of Astralis contained a hero, as it always does, and in this case it was Team Liquid. Ignoring the fact they are one of the richest orgs in world CS with arguably the most talented team in the game, the NA mix has been painted as the ‘people’s champion’ by a few even, illustrating just how strongly the scene feels about being abandoned by Astralis.
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However, as we said, there is a problem with this story, and that problem lies in the heart of the Liquid camp. For every impressive performance they turn in, there is a poor loss to a lower-ranked team around the corner too, and even across some series the team lets itself down, making it very hard to bet on them for any big title. It may be Spirit online, or HellRaisers taking a game in a best-of-three, but there is something unreliable about the NA squad.
Even at ESL Montpellier, where they came in as favourites for the event with ENCE and Vitality absent and the Danes doing badly, there was a surprise loss to North in a Bo1 in the first round. Many bookies have Astralis as the favourites still, at around the 2.1 mark, and Liquid just behind at 3.3 or so, but neither team is in any way reliable at the moment and it would be very interesting to see how those numbers changed if the likes of ENCE were included.
This is not to write off the project, as we know the massive potential of the team assembled under the horse-head logo, but betting on Team Liquid for this weekend’s title should be done with a pinch of salt. Their highs are very high, but the lows they can hit are significantly worse than the troughs we saw from Astralis in their peak, and if TL want an era they need to improve their baseline ASAP.
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Pictures: Copyright Helena Kristiansson / ESL