Hunden playing for Mad Lions
Photo via DreamHack

CS:GO fans can’t believe Astralis sacked HUNDEN just 6 months after controversial signing

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Astralis is making major moves ahead of Counter-Strike 2, but the community isn’t quite sure about these maneuvers. Astralis announced the release of two key staff members, Kasper Hvidt and Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen on June 21, which has led to one of the more bizarre fan responses in recent memory.

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The Danish organization hired former professional handball player Kasper Hvidt back in 2017 to bring some “real” sport expertise to the esports organization. That move propelled Astralis to the greatest run in CS:GO history, during which they won three straight Majors and everything in between.

Hvidt’s contribution to that success cannot be understated, but the general consensus is that his time simply ran out. Current Astralis is a far cry from that championship-winning squad and the organization clearly decided it’s “time for a change,” as stated in its official announcement.

If Hvidt’s departure was met with a common feeling that his collaboration with Astralis had simply run its course, that of Hunden was, shall we say, a little more divisive. HUNDEN was officially signed by Astralis as head analyst in January 2023, but the key word here is “officially.”

According to a series of reports by Richard Lewis earlier this year, HUNDEN was in contact with Astralis as early as April 2021. He was helping build the team and actively recruited players for Astralis while still contracted with Heroic.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. HUNDEN has served not one, but two lengthy bans for violating various rules. First, he was part of the 2020 coaching bug scandal that led to dozens of CS:GO coaches being banned from competitive events. Then, a year later, he was banned again for leaking confidential documents to a rival organization while under contract with Heroic.

In light of all this, Astralis’ signing of HUNDEN immediately after his most recent ban was lifted was heavily criticized. If the organization thought releasing Hunden would then be met with universal acclaim, that assumption was wrong.

Fans are perplexed at Astralis’ willingness to go through the PR nightmare that is Hunden just to axe him six months down the line. It’s not just regular fans either. Former Astralis player Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen is equally surprised at his former employer’s actions, saying that if they were ready to accept the baggage that comes with HUNDEN, they should have at least stuck with the original plan.

Astralis is clearly preparing for CS2 with these major changes and only time will tell if the org chose the correct path. Through present lenses though, its organizational moves seem increasingly more head-scratching.


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Author
Kiril Stoilov
Dot Esports general gaming writer. Loves writing, games, and writing about games. Began working in the industry in 2018 with esports.com, before moving to earlygame.com, and later joining the Dot Esports staff. Though a single player gamer at heart, he can be seen noobing around CS:GO lobbies.