Photo via BLAST Pro Series

Zonic: “Astralis is prioritizing Astralis—period”

Astralis's coach talks about recent criticism and the team's travel schedule.

Danny “zonic” Sørensen says that his team isn’t prioritizing BLAST Pro Series tournaments—and it’s hard for him to believe fans think otherwise.

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“There is so much talk going on these days, but I honestly do not believe that anybody really believes in stuff like this,” zonic said. “Astralis is prioritizing Astralis. Period.”

Some in the CS:GO community aren’t happy about what they interpret as Astralis and Team Liquid skipping big tournaments of the CS:GO circuit in favor BLAST events.

Steen Laursen, vice president of communications and brand at RFRSH — Astralis and BLAST’s parent company—has already contested many of the community’s accusations. He says that the agreement the teams made with BLAST is no different than what teams do with ECS and ESL Pro League.

Astralis has become the best team in the world since they won DreamHack Masters Marseille in April 2018, over a year ago. Astralis often skip some tournaments to ensure play at the highest level.

“We are blessed to be in a position where we have complete control over our schedule,” zonic said. “And since 2017 that has meant we prioritize events to make sure our preparation is optimal. Or as good as possible.”

Astralis’ agreement with BLAST is not different than any other team: All organizations that partner with BLAST have to attend five events this year.

We prioritize these events the same way we do others: time for preparation, quality, travel time and everything that affects the team and players,” zonic said. “That means that, as an example, we [will] skip BLAST Los Angeles to go to ESL One Cologne. We could make both, but we prioritize Cologne and won’t risk a lackluster performance.”

Astralis have good reason to be careful about travel. One of the team’s players, Nicolai “device” Reedtz, suffered severe gastrointestinal issues in November 2017 related to the strain put on his body from an excessive travel schedule—like the trip to IEM Sydney, an event that Astralis skipped this year.

Better travel planning—in addition to other treatments—played a huge role in improving device’s medical condition, according to zonic, and his situation is now completely under control.

“We would rather participate in fewer tournaments, being a 100 percent ready in all respects, and we would of course never gamble with anyone’s health,” zonic said. He said the schedule is made by himself and the players and no one else

For zonic, BLAST makes the players lives easier by offering a professional setup and hospitality.

“We travel a lot, and whenever we do it’s with a clear focus on competing,” zonic said. “We are not here to relax. The better the setup is, the more we can focus on the competition and our performance.”

BLAST isn’t the only good tournament organizer in the circuit. Zonic said that ESL and other companies are also doing a great job.

“It means so much to the teams to know that everything is well taken care of. This is what I mean when saying ‘quality of tournaments,’ it is something that is very high on our list.”

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Leonardo Biazzi
Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.