CSGO superstar dev1ce returns to Astralis: “Home again”
Danish CS:GO star Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz has re-signed with Astralis, the organization with which he won four Majors between 2017 and 2019, after less than 18 months on NIP’s books.
The announcement marks a return to competition for dev1ce, who has spent the last 11 months out of action due to mental health purposes.
dev1ce, who replaces Asger ‘Farlig’ Jensen in the starting lineup, returns to the organization that he represented during five successful years between 2016 and 2021. During that time, he established his reputation as one of the best players in the history of the Counter-Strike franchise, winning a deluge of titles, including four Majors, along with a host of individual accolades.
“I can’t describe how happy I am to be home again,” he said in a statement. “Astralis is very close to my heart and everyone who has been here for a period of time knows that it is a very special organization with great values, lots of internal support, and I am more than ready to help build Astralis’ future!”
Financial details of the transfer were not disclosed by Astralis, who said that dev1ce has signed “a multi-year deal” with the organization.
dev1ce’s return comes less than 18 months after he left Astralis to join Swedish organization NIP in a blockbuster deal reportedly worth $700,000. In explaining the move, he expressed his desire to cement his legacy and win the PGL Major in Stockholm — NIP’s home and the city where he was living with his then-girlfriend.
dev1ce became the face of a new era for a NIP organization eager to return to their glory days. But while results did improve after his arrival, international success remained elusive. At the Stockholm Major, NIP could not go beyond the quarter-finals, much to the disappointment of the home crowd and dev1ce himself.
At the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, it became clear that all was not well with dev1ce, who looked dejected after NIP’s shocking loss to Team Liquid. On December 10, NIP announced that the player would be sitting out the remainder of IEM Winter due to health reasons. He would never play again for NIP, who remained silent on the player’s situation.
A significant boost
dev1ce’s return happens during one of the darkest periods in the history of Astralis’ CS:GO team. The organization is still trying to pick up the pieces after the team failed to qualify for the IEM Rio Major (the first Major that it will miss). The situation was so severe that it warranted a comment from CEO Anders Hørsholt, who normally stays in the background.
The first step in their rebuilding process came with the termination of Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke’s contract after he broke an ankle during a fight in Malta, missing the Major qualifying event. It was later reported that this was not an isolated event and that the player had displayed “aggressive behavior” at IEM Cologne in an incident involving an unnamed member of the on-air team.
dev1ce solves one of Astralis’ biggest problems: the evident lack of a world-class AWPer. The organization tried multiple ways to fill the void created by dev1ce’s departure to NIP, first putting the AWP in Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen’s hands. When that failed, they went for dedicated AWPers. But neither Philip ‘Lucky’ Ewald nor Farlig was able to deliver the kind of high-impact, consistent AWP output that the team had gotten used to with dev1ce, with both players quickly coming under criticism from fans.
In June, Lucky returned to Tricked, the organization he had left to join Astralis. Farlig, too, will have to continue his career elsewhere, with Astralis Director of Sports Kasper Hvidt stating that the organization has “already started the work to find a good solution” for the former FunPlus Phoenix player.
After almost a year on the sidelines, dev1ce is expected to come in rusty and not at the right intensity level. He has kept himself busy by playing pug games with other Danish players, but he might require a few months to return to his best. Elisa Masters Espoo, a small event in November in Finland with $200,000 on the line, could be seen as the perfect opportunity for Astralis to ease dev1ce back into action without the added pressure of a big title on the line.
This will be the final stop of the season for Astralis, who will miss the last two big events of the year, the Fall Final and the World Final of BLAST Premier’s circuit.
But the changes won’t stop with dev1ce’s arrival. Astralis still need to find a permanent solution to replace k0nfig (academy player Mikkel ‘MistR’ Thomsen is currently filling the vacant role on the roster) as well as a new head coach. At the same time, question marks continue to surround the future of Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth, one of the two players with whom dev1ce is reuniting in this second spell on Astralis.
“Everyone knows that I have been through a difficult period, but I’ve taken the time out that I needed to recover and find the best version of myself,” dev1ce said. “That only gives me extra motivation and I want to focus my energy on looking forward. I have found the desire and joy to play again – I’m excited to get back to doing what I love, contributing to the team, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Astralis CS:GO roster
- Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander
- Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth
- Benjamin ‘blameF’ Bremer
- Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz
- Mikkel ‘MistR’ Thomsen (stand-in)