Changing times in the competitive CSGO scene

We all know how esports can be frustratingly unpredictable. But recently we have seen the world of Counter Strike turned upside down. Last week gamers were spellbound by the fact that Astralis managed to beat ENCE to become the victors at the IEM Katowice Major, and this event marked a turning point in competitive gaming for this classic first-person shooter.

Astralis are a Danish team who are well-known for their thorough and methodical approach to CSGO, and whilst their workmanlike approach was hardly spectacular, they managed to see off many teams who boast way more star power in their squads. As a result, gamers witnessed high profile teams like FaZe Clan and Cloud9 making early exits from the tournament and it signals a sea change in the Counter Strike scene.

The IEM Katowice Major was a very different tournament from last year’s Boston Major. This saw the so-called ‘international superteams’ like FaZe Clan and Cloud9 going head to head in an epic final that was notable for its hype as well as its impressive gameplay. Both teams are some of the most valuable esports organisations in existence, and Cloud9 was even valued at well over $100,000 million.

As such, the Boston Major gave gaming fans to see some of the most famous names in the business in action. But recently both teams have suffered from a touch of egomania from their team-members and the fortunes of these esports organisations have taken a slide.

Cloud9’s roster has become notorious for their in-fighting. Whilst the team’s managers spent plenty of resources in attracting big-name stars like Autimatic, Stewie and Tarik, only two out of these three players are still in the line-up. FaZe Clan relied on the likes of Karrigan to guide the team and make sure that stars like Olofmeister and GuardiaN worked well together. But with Karrigan out the picture, it’s clear that FaZe Clan just aren’t the team that they once were.

The fact that both sides didn’t even make the final of the IEM Katowice Major will be regarded as a disaster for the team owners. Similarly, anybody who had gone to a CSGO betting site like to back either side will have been alarmed by their sudden fall from grace.

But just as a major sports clubs like Manchester United or Real Madrid can suffer dramatic changes in fortune, it seems as that esports is also prone to this condition. What’s interesting is that it is a combination of player egos and poor communication that is being blamed on the recent lack of success from FaZe Clan and Cloud9.

This is a marked contrast to the mild-mannered likes of Astralis who produced a tight-knit team who were able to use tactical knowhow to become arguably the greatest CSGO team of recent times. Such an approach differs from the likes of FaZe Clan who have spent significant amounts of time and money in gathering some of the world’s best CSGO gamers in the same team.

For a while, it looked like the big money investments had paid off. Cloud9’s CSGO team became the first North American team to win a Counter Strike Major, whilst FaZe Clan won the IEM Sydney 2018 tournament. However, it looks like Astralis’ sober approach to gaming could have helped them maintain the upper hand and become the best in the business. And whilst the Danish team might lack the explosive firepower of their rivals, there is little doubting their incredible winning record.

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