After a string of failures and hilarity, the all-Danish squad has outperformed expectations in dev1ce’s first outing as an IGL in terms of results and the eye test alike, but it’s debatable whether they showed enough to suggest they can live up to the superteam billing people tossed around after their multimillion-euro signings. So, will the Astralis machine chew up even more of its children in the search for another era?

IEM Chengdu: a first test, mostly passed

First, the positives. A semifinal run is a semifinal run, especially from a team that has long struggled to be at least as much as the sum of its parts. Losing to FaZe Clan at a CS2 tournament is nothing to be ashamed of, especially in a close-fought series that went to a decider map.

Better still, dev1ce clearly squeezed more juice out of his teammates than blameF could at the RMR, and it didn’t even come at the cost of his individual performance, at least as far as K/D stats are concerned – though brain freeze moments like the way he died in the final round to FaZe with his knife out are clearly a sign of a player still looking to manage the additional cognitive load of in-game leading.

astralis device stats

Still, not bad for a first outing, all things considered, all the more so considering how the newest youngster, br0, gave a decent account of himself in a support role. Chemistry matters as much as tactics in CS2 matches, and for a first outing, this iteration of Astralis seemed infinitely more cohesive than anything blameF managed to cook up throughout his ill-fated tenure.

Still, it’s worth noting that the going only got tough at the very end, at which point the team and its captain fell apart entirely. And that’s just one of the early concerns.

dev1ce as an IGL: here is the bearish take

If you had to take a single moment to encapsulate all potential problems with dev1ce as an in-game leader, his latest anti-monitor escapade would be the one:

This can be a dealbreaker by itself for any elite team. Can you name a single combustible in-game leader who made it far in Counter-Strike, someone who got to lift trophies despite lacking poise under fire? (In fact, here is an even more damning question: would any other top-15 team pick dev1ce up strictly to become an in-game leader?)

The man himself touched upon the moment in a post-elimination tweet, but simply put, this isn’t good enough. If the playoffs of a mid-tier IEM event elicit this, how will he handle the pressures of more prestigious competitions?

That’s just one of the issues. A rematch tells you a lot about the teams and players involved, and the way karrigan was able to make adjustments for the playoff match despite his team clearly being gassed showed that, at the very least, the dev1ce playbook isn’t yet deep enough to go up against the best in the game.

Put these two factors together and you’ve got causes for concern.

Also, the pressure of a ticking clock. The man’s been known to take time off from the chaos of the world, which is not an option as the in-game leader, especially with an org that has long been underperforming and has felt the consequences of that at its bottom line. Clearly, dev1ce has won the internal power struggle to get himself this promotion, and he has tons of leverage, but how many event’s worth of handwaving does that warrant – and if the team begins to spiral out after a set of poor results, can he take things by the scruff of the neck he never seemed to do in the past?

Next up: the Pro League. Its long and grueling (and honestly, somewhat boring) format will give Astralis a good chance to work through protocols and go through the paces against a varied level of opposition. It will also give everyone else a whole lot of more demos to study. The impact will reverberate all around the Counter-Strike world – and should dev1ce’s game go wrong, also on his monitor.