Astralis went beyond expectations at IEM Cologne 2021, the first premier CS:GO tournament to be played on LAN since IEM Katowice in March 2020. They were having a tough time in online tournaments, especially after Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz left to join Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The Danes were only stopped in the semifinals by G2, who are arguably a top-three CS:GO team in the world at the moment. The series was tight and Astralis had their chances to win it, but their in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander is proud of the team.
“It has been a difficult period, with only online tournaments where you have seen some teams perform extremely well, but where we have clearly not been in our right element,” the 26-year-old told Astralis’ official website.
“At the same time, we have lost one of the world’s best players, which was something of an upheaval for all of us. When you have played together for as long as we have, there will always be emotions that need to be processed… We also had to find new solutions in the way we play, and on that basis, I think there are a lot of good reasons for everyone on and around the team to keep their heads high. Especially after IEM Cologne, where we proved how well we can perform in the right element, and when we play our best.”
Astralis lost one of the best AWPers when dev1ce left and the CS:GO meta is leaning heavily towards AWP plays, especially during the online era. For now, Astralis has been rotating the ‘Big Green’ between gla1ve, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, Emil “Magisk” Reif, and Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen, depending on the maps. The strategy paid off during IEM Cologne, perhaps because their gameplan wasn’t clear enough to the other teams, but it’s something Astralis will need to evaluate moving forward.
The Danish team beat FaZe Clan, Heroic, and Virtus.pro at the LAN tournament, and were defeated by Natus Vincere, who would win IEM Cologne against G2, the team that eliminated Astralis.
“We took some good scalps along the way and a bit more cold-blooded we would have closed the third map [against G2] and secured a place in the grand final,” gla1ve said.
“It didn’t happen and I think the tournament shows what we are capable of, but also where we still have to add to our game. We have a team that can compete for the titles, and we now know exactly where we need to build on to take the next step. That’s the feeling I’ll take with me on this break, and even though there are still issues to solve, I have a really good feeling about the future.”
The best teams in the world will be on the summer player break, which runs from July 19 through Aug. 15, to recharge the batteries for the second part of the CS:GO season. Even though gla1ve has a good feeling after Astralis’ run at IEM Cologne, he also confirmed in a press conference during the tournament that most of the players’ contracts will expire on Jan. 1 and that it’s unclear who will be on Astralis’ team next year.