Astralis CS:GO coach Danny ‘zonic’ Sørensen has released a statement regarding the recent controversy surrounding the team’s prioritization of events.
The Danish team have come under criticism lately for their prioritization of BLAST Pro Series events while opting to skip more prestigious tournaments like IEM Sydney, StarSeries Season 7, and DreamHack Masters Dallas.
BLAST, who are also owned by Astralis parent company RFRSH Entertainment, have themselves come under criticism for a weak format and what are seen as attempts to push for soft exclusivity as well as devaluing other premier tournaments by organizing their own events such that all of the top teams rarely compete simultaneously outside of BLAST Pro Series.
In a lengthy statement, zonic highlighted that Astralis’ selection of events in recent months came as a result of a number of considerations, such as the “standard of the tournament, possibilities to prepare, prestige, how the geography fits into our general travel plans, our previous results in the tournament, seeing the fans and our experience with relevant [tournament organizers].”
With regards to particular events they’ve skipped, zonic highlighted that the reason they were absent from DreamHack Masters Dallas was its proximity to the upcoming ECS Season 7 and ESL Pro League Season 9 finals, stating “we are back to back champions of both ECS and EPL and would love to give ourselves the best option of trying to defend those titles.”
Astralis’ absence from prestigious events in recent months recently resulted in their being knocked off of the number one spot on the HLTV rankings, with Team Liquid’s victory at DreamHack Masters Dallas carrying them over the Danes.
The change marks the end of Astralis’ record-breaking streak at number one, having held the position since April 2018, becoming the first team ever to maintain the spot for over a year. According to zonic, however, the ranking is not a primary motivator for Astralis, as “our mission is not the world rankings, but to do all we can to win the biggest and the right tournaments.”
For many, the loss of their top ranking also marks the end of the Astralis era, for now at least, with fans frustrated that a team many consider the greatest in CS:GO history relinquished their era through inactivity, simply failing to defend their title rather than actually being defeated.
Fortunately for fans of Astralis, the team are now heading into a series of premier events, kicking off with the ECS Season 7 finals on June 6-9. They’ll then be attempting to defend their title at the ESL Pro League Season 9 finals on June 18-23, before competing at ESL One Cologne on July 2-7.