Why Astralis Are The Best Team We’ve Ever Seen in Professional CS:GO
This has been one of the most common topics of discussion in recent weeks, especially with Astralis retaining both the ECS & EPL titles as well as picking up the first ever Intel Grand Slam. It’s definitely a safe assumption to state that they are easily ONE of the best CS:GO teams we’ve ever seen, however, are they THE best? I’ll be delving into the various other “eras” we have seen through CS:GO and comparing the team, their opponents, and the scene surrounding them.
There are a lot of factors at hand when comparing the different eras of CS:GO — it’s easy to look at NiP’s run at the start of CS:GO and state that statistically they were the best team we’ve ever seen — however, it’s not fair to measure them against the likes of Astralis. Whilst NiP’s run through the start of CS:GO is impressive, the teams that they were facing were not quite as competitively backed as they are now. Teams back then were not being paid as handsomely as they are now meaning some teams were unable to play full time. This meant they could not commit as much time as they can now. NiP had one of the main advantages in this instance, as they were one of the first full time salaried teams in CS:GO. It can be argued that Astralis have an advantage in a similar vein to what NiP had all those years ago, the fact that they have the prestigious backing of RFRSH which allows them to have specific individuals in roles that others do not have — the sports psychologist comes to mind.
Another factor when comparing the teams, is the consistency. This is where I feel Astralis thrive the most when compared to others. When looking into their consistency, I think it’s worth noting the key event in their timeline: IEM Katowice 2018. This was the 2nd event with newly-acquired member Magisk. They finished 3rd/4th at this event losing out to FaZe Clan 2–0. From this event onward, they have won 61 of 71 series played (bo1, bo3, bo5). These numbers are that of the original NiP. As well as that, they have only finished in the top 4 of events since then — only placing 3rd/4th at ESL One Cologne (losing out to Na`Vi) and BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen — where they lost in a stand-off game to Cloud9. The level of consistency is unparalleled. In the 11 finals they have made in 2018, they have won 9 of them. They have done this while losing only 26 maps of their 131 maps played on LAN since Katowice. This, as a stat alone, is absolutely incredible when taking into account the level of opponent they face at events. Having a map won:loss ratio of 4:1 is unfathomable.
The final thing to take a look at, is how they’ve managed to do this through the span of an entire calendar year. In this year alone, they have managed to do many things that a lot of teams during their own eras were unable to do. They’ve managed to win the Intel Grand Slam (whilst this didn’t exist until around 15 months ago, the stretch of events won isn’t met by other teams during different years). They’ve managed to retain both of the premier online league titles (ECS & EPL). This is seen as one of the crazier situations, as all of the other teams will be looking to them as the team to beat — however, they have shown their more than capable of putting up fights from event to event, and be able to win both titles.
All in all, they have managed to do this whilst playing some of the greatest CS we have ever witnessed, with all 5 players competing as well as each other. It can very much be argued that they have the best set of players we have ever seen.
I think it’s fair to say that Astralis are the best team we have ever seen in CS:GO.
The real question is, will they be overthrown in 2019? It will take one hell of a team for that to happen in my eyes.