All good things come to an end and no one in pro CS has managed to rekindle the old flame devve and his Danish buddies are looking to try – and that is before factoring in his year-long absence from elite-level competitive play.

Postmodern Astralis belongs in no art collection

Once fabled for their rock-like consistence and mercilessness, the latest iteration of gla1ve’s squad exhibits none of the attributes that once helped him conquer the world. However, unlike with FalleN, the fall from grace is much more like a slide, it seemed like there is – or was, until a recent fistfight – more than enough oomph to work with in the current squad, even if they remained frustratingly inconsistent.

This iteration of Astralis is perhaps the most inconsistent team in pro CS, with an elite-level ceiling and a Master Guardian 2 floor, jumping between “best Ancient in the world” and “well I guess we just got crushed by Bad News Eagles.” It’s especially jarring to see this from the in-game leader who brought us the most menacingly consistent squad of all time.

It’d be time to call it an end of an era if not for the fact that Astralis’ storied period of dominance has already ended quite a while ago. However, they are still kicking, even if this roster is clearly transitional.

Enter, device. Supposedly. Again?

The prodigal son and the preferred team

Here’s what’s apparently still a million-dollar question: would dev1ce’s return help or hinder the squad? The answer might not be as clear-cut as it seems. The pros are easy to rattle off: a firepower upgrade on farlig, existing rapport with gla1ve and Xyp9x, his high level of play. But there are also cons, quite significant ones at that: this was the very team and org he’s left before, he’s been out of competitive CS:GO matches for a long while and time continues to slowly tick away the way it does with every athlete.

Pro CS has a really poor track record with this kind of reunions. Veteran viewers may remember how little the restored Fnatic lineup did after they went through their GODSENT period, despite how good they used to be back in the day, the dominant team of their time. When mutual failure brings the players back into the same fold, how can one realistically expect a good result?

Counterpoint: karrigan and rain. Point: GuardiaN’s late-stage blues.

The G-shaped shadow

Besides, there was another high-profile AWPer who returned to his old hunting grounds after a set of shaky performances, looking to make things great again: it was GuardiaN back on NAVI, who, admittedly, did have s1mple to contend with for the big green, but simply wasn’t able to live up to the rigors of tier 1 CS anymore, and he’s been languishing far beyond the surface ever since.

FACEIT stats are not necessarily indicative of a player’s ability to keep up with the ever-shifting metagame, or his ability and willingness to get back to the grueling travel schedule of Counter-Strike esports. In all games, a player with a big following is better off financially by going down the streaming path: right now, that is essentially device’s lifestyle, jamming a metric fuckton of games from the comfort of his home.

Simply put, we have no idea whether he still has the motivation to compete at the highest levels or if he’s looking for one last huge paycheck. Not that anyone could blame him if he’s truly burnt out: he’s been there and done it all. What is for sure, though, is that this is a huge and expensive gamble, much bigger than NIP’s purchase was: Astralis are buying an unknown commodity. This, in late 2022, is Schrödinger’s device, who will remain a mystery until he is measured again.

Photo credit: HLTV