It’s a new Astralis but with the same goals: to peak at the Antwerp CS: GO Major.
Astralis is one of the biggest names to compete the IEM Katowice Play-in stage. But this Astralis is not the same that has dominated the Counter-Strike scene for years. There are a few familiar faces on the roster, but it is very different from the Major-winning roster.
In the lead-up to the Katowice main event, we spoke to the Astralis roster about the team’s performance and personal adjustments on the new roster. Astralis face MIBR in their opening match of the tournament.
“We have had some role changes which hurt us a bit in the beginning”
Q: You have had a tough time since the last quarterfinals. The individuals are obviously lacking a bit in their performance. What have been the big issues over on the tactical side.
gla1ve: I think we have some different issues. Of course, we have had some role changes which hurt us a bit in the beginning cause we used time to fix some stuff. And now we have to fix the same stuff over and over again. Because we changed up the roles. Also we need to find ourselves individually also. I think it’s been about adaptation from K0nfig and blameF coming into this team. The way I am calling and the way I want to play and also for us to learn how they want to play and stuff like that.
To mix those two teams, of course it will always take time. And I hope we will start showing it.
Q: What was the decision-making behind these role-changes?
gla1ve: It’s a bit of a long story, but when blameF and konfig came in, they were both used to being in map-control. Me and BlameF had all the same roles: he had in Complexity, I had in Astralis.
The way we thought it would work out the best was to put me on AWP so I could be in map control with blameF and k0nfig. Lucky could be on one of the sites and Xyp9x on another site. That’s what we tried, it didn’t work out very well. I would put blameF into Lucky’s position and me into BlameF’s position and Lucky into my position. So yea, some role-swapping and on CT side, we have me and Lucky switching positions.
Q: Lucky, You played very well recently and have been more into the team’s progress. Can you share a little bit about your training process that you used to achieve that result you have right now?
Lucky: It’s mostly about this team now. With the old team, it was a little bit more chaotic, no one really knew what was going to happen. Then BlameF and K0nfig came in and it’s a bit more calm now.
And then I switched to the rifle position and had to adapt to that. Now that I am back to the AWP, I feel I am at home. It’s just a better feeling now that you know this is the team right now. There will be no more changes right now, so it’s just easier to evolve as a player and as a team when that is settled.
Astralis gla1ve: “I think we need a little bit more time before we are at our best level”
Q: The last time we entered the Spodek arena, Astralis was the best team in the world and got upset by Navi in the semifinals. What is the goal for you at this event. A run into the playoffs perhaps?
gla1ve: First of all, we want to proceed from the play-in. That’s the most important part for us. I think it would be a pretty big loss for us if we didn’t manage to do that, so we want to give it our all. Of course we believe in ourselves, but we need to show it as well.
Q: Last year, at IEM Katowice was one of the last events for this Major winning – Astralis roster. How have you experienced the last twelve months?
gla1ve: A lot has been happening in the last twelve months, changing teammates, becoming a dad, some of the meta has also been changing inside the game.
Overall, I am just excited to get back to playing tournaments in arenas again. Hopefully we can show that we are still able to compete for titles. I’m not sure if it’s now, but at least in the future, I believe we can show that. That’s what my mind is on now.
It’s been a hectic twelve months and it’s been a lot of stuff that’s been going on. But I’m happy with where I am now and I’m happy with my teammates.
Q: You guys have reiterated that the Astralis roster is a long term project. How long are you guys into the process, do you think?
Gla1ve: I mean I think we need a little bit more time before we are at our best level, I would say a couple of months. Hopefully, we will get to our peak at the Major, that’s what we are aiming for at least. That’s our goal.
Q: I guess it’s fair to say that you (Xyp9x) have underperformed in recent tournaments. Now that we are back to LAN, are you confident that you are going to be able to play better as you did in Cologne last year?
Xypx: I agree with you. I have been underperforming and also during this online era. I think being back at LAN is where I thrive. Hopefully I can show that in this tournament and I believe in that. I hope I can show my skills here.
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Q: Recently your nickname came up in the news. More recently cause of criticism for you from Thorin. He said you are out of shape right now. Do you feel the same, what can you say about it?
Xyp9x: Sure, there’s critics about everything and it comes down to how the team is performing and how we as a team just perform in general. Sometimes it’s about my decision-making and aim but it’s also about how the team functions.
Sure, I can take the blame on me and I’ll keep grinding and working hard. But yea, it’s something I am working on and will keep working on.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot of freedom on the team” : blameF on move away from IGL role
Q: You (blameF) recently moved from an IGL role to being a player on Astralis. How has the transition been for you as a player?
BlameF: The transition has been fine. I feel like I’m getting a lot of freedom on the team. I got a lot of the same roles as before (on the CT side). On the T side I have a few new positions and I feel like I can do a lot of new stuff in my positions.
It’s not like I have to sit and do something specific in one position, I can be creative and do a lot of stuff in the new positions.
I think it was rough in the beginning, not to call, because I’m just used to calling a lot about what I see on the map and stuff.
And now all of a sudden, sometimes it gets called and I don’t see the map because I am not in the position to see the map. That was a little bit weird in the beginning. I feel like I’m used to it now, not calling. Now it’s nothing weird for me anymore.
Not being the IGL and not having to call, what do you think the ceiling is as an individual player. What can you achieve?
BlameF: Obviously we are trying to make the team great. I think the best players in the world play on teams that function. If you have a team that’s No. 1 in the world and everyone wants to be good in the team. That’s what we are trying to do in the team.
What I do individually depends on what we can do as a team. I believe this team can be the very best in the world, but we need a lot more time than we thought.
Q: (To Glaive) Last year you became a father. What does it mean for you to become a father? Is it hard for you to combine the role of being a father and IGL in Astralis?
Gla1ve: Ofcourse, I am really happy to become a father. It means a lot to me. Everything is starting to work out a little better. Ofcourse, always when something as big as having a child happens in your life, you need some adaptation.
It does feel like I am starting to find out how I want to handle things. I’m pretty happy and I think it only goes one way from here and that’s better.
Q: Xyp9x and Gla1ve can be called the veterans on the Astralis team. How do you ensure the team synergy stays together, outside of the game?
Xyp9x: I think it’s important to have that synergy outside the game cause it translates into the game. It’s something we are working on everyday. We come from different cultures, because K0nfig and blameF have been playing in the U.S. They are used to something different. It’s something we are working on everyday. We are trying to develop this mental state in the team and just having nice conversations with each other and bonding with each other.
Astralis will face MIBR in their opening IEM Katowice play-in match, a best-of-one affair. Despite a rather poor showing in recent times, the raw potential on the Astralis roster coupled with the experience makes them a real threat to some of the other favorites at Katowice. But first, the Danish squad has to go through the play-ins if they are to make an appearance at the Spodek Arena.