This weekend fans will be watching another BLAST Pro Series event, this time in Madrid. However, this event might have more implications than we think. After all, this might be the point where Astralis era starts fading away.
Why is that? Let’s understand below.
Did skipping events really led Astralis to this point?
One of the biggest controversies in recent times in the CSGO has been Astralis participation, or lack thereof, in big events. The number one ranked team in the world has consistently skipping events, in favour of BLAST Pro Series tours.
Be it due to contractual obligations since RFRSH owns both BLAST and Astralis or not, it doesn’t matter. Astralis has skipped StarSeries Season 7 and IEM Sydney 2019, premier tournaments, that they should’ve attended.
Now, Liquid, the second ranked team in the world won IEM Sydney 2019. With this victory, the team also many valuable points in the HLTV world ranking. To the point where they got closest to Astralis than any other team has been this year.
So, with a third event skip coming down the line, Astralis might see themselves going down in the ranking. And of course, this would be the first time in one year that Astralis would drop from first place.
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Astralis isn’t invincible anymore and BLAST is the perfect place to show this
BLAST Pro Series features a different event format that focuses on best of ones. BO1 matches are criticized by fans and analysts since a long time ago and for a good reason.
One-map games don’t allow teams to fully explore their tactics. This turn matches in momentum games above everything else. Astralis have achieved an amazing balance between firepower and tactical prowess, but those BO1s aren’t the best for the Danes.
As we saw in the last event Astralis attended, BLAST Miami, MiBR was able to dominate the Danes. MiBR took the momentum and won over them with a 16 – 2 score. Liquid and FaZe capitalized on this and also won over Astralis in the same fashion.
Coming to Madrid this weekend, ENCE and Na’Vi must be eager to follow in MiBR’s steps. After all, both teams know how to put their best players to use and test their opponents in every aspect. Astralis will be surely in a drill in Madrid.
Even winning might not be enough to stop Liquid rise
Of course, the possibility of Astralis winning this event hasn’t been discarded. After all, they are the best team in the world and their Miami result might just be from a bad day. However, even winning here might not be enough.
As stated, Liquid is very close to Astralis in the world rankings. If the North Americans put a decent show in Madrid, they will be really close to the Danes.
Then, if they follow with victories at cs_summit 4 and DreamHack Masters Dallas, which Astralis will skip, Liquid will probably reach first place in the ranks. Even if not, they still will have other shot to reach the top if they manage to qualify for ECS Finals.
Overall, Astralis days on the top are being counted. Unless Liquid has a giant downfall starting from Madrid, they will be taking a break from the throne. And Liquid’s downfall is not something to count with, after all, they just won IEM Sydney.
What does this mean for the Astralis era?
Falling from the first place won’t instantly mean the end of an era. It will mean the end of a record that won’t be beaten any time soon, sure, but that is it.
However, this will open the first major hole in Astralis reign. Since they established their dominance, they have been beaten a few times but always came back stronger. This time though, they haven’t events booked to show that the previous one was a fluke.
Still, Liquid will be tested by fire shall they take Astralis place. After all, after Dallas Astralis will be present in the next three major events. While Liquid presence hasn’t been confirmed for ECS Finals, they will be in EPL and ESL Cologne.
Those two events will certainly be of utmost importance. Liquid knows that they can win, but so does Astralis. If Astralis win in the bigger picture, they might return to the first place, shakenly. If Liquid wins, though, Astralis era will be nearing its end.
So, what this all means for Astralis era is that simply missing out events might’ve triggered a snowball effect. Like we saw in Miami, teams are starting to understand them. And while playing many events in a short while is bad, so is ignoring tournaments.
This snowball effect, that of course, will depend on Liquid.
Astralis and Liquid rivalry is heating up as Summer is coming in
While Astralis dominance back in IEM Katowice 2019 was undisputed, this time around they have a real challenger. In fact, there’s a chance that in the upcoming Summer major we see Astralis coming as the second-ranked team in the world.
For CSGO viewers, this couldn’t be better. Fans have been waiting for a rival for Astralis for a long time, and the year-long dominance might be closer to its end than we think.