After North and Astralis waved their chances of becoming the Boston Major Champions goodbye, they immediately went to work on their rosters. And they made massive waves across the entire CS:GO scene.;
Pre-ELEAGUE Major: Boston rosters
Astralis: device, dupreeh, gla1ve, Xyp9x, Kjaerbye
Heading into the Boston Major, Astralis were looking to retain their Legend status from the previous Major in Krakow. Astralis, the Major Champions from the ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta last January, were coming into the event with their star, Nicolai ‘device’ Reedtz, recently coming off medical leave. His last event, IEM Oakland 2017 in November, saw device missing the first map due to a late flight and posting his only negative rating of the year — a 0.97 rating across four maps.
In his absence, Astralis first took on Dennis ‘dennis’ Edman, the Swedish pistol god, as a stand-in for BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen. He, along with 19-year-old Markus ‘Kjaerbye’ Kjærbye, posted the two highest overall ratings and led the Danish squad to a runner-up finish in front of the home crowd. However, dennis was unable to stand-in for the Danes at the ESL Pro League and ECS Finals, as he had played the regular seasons out with Godsent. Ex-Team Dignitas player Ruben ‘RUBINO’ Villarroel stood in for Astralis’s final events of the year. At the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals in Odense, it was Kjaerbye once again showing up, posting a 1.13 rating and a 57.8% headshot percentage, the highest of the entire lineup. However, RUBINO’S poor performace and losses to FNATIC and Hellraisers led to an early exit in the group stage, with a 1-4 record. The Norwegian player redeemed himself in Cancun, posting the highest overall rating (1.24) as Astralis finished a respectable 3-4th.
North: cajunb, aizy, MSL, valde, k0nfig
North came into the Boston Major on a downward spiral. A dominating regular season in the EU division of the ESL Pro League — second place with an 18-8 record — gave fans hope for North’s future tournament hopes, but a fourth-place finish in front of the home crowd at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen saw the team’s direction turning south. Mathias ‘MSL’ Lauridsen’s squad exited in 11-12th place at the ESL Pro League Season 6 LAN Finals, with the in-game leader posting an abysmal 0.70 rating and a -46 K/D differential. Their star players, Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke and Philip ‘aizy’ Aistrup, didn’t fare any better, posting a combined -30 K/D differential across the five maps. As that was their last event of 2017, the month or so between that and the Boston major had fans and the entire Danish scene wondering how North would show up.
Boston Major performances
Astralis: 12-14th place, 1-3 record in the Swiss stage
Astralis’s performance at the Boston Major left fans like myself saying, “Oh, how the stars have fallen.” The top Danish squad exited the Major with a 1-3 record, with their only win coming against their domestic counterparts, North, in an epic 16-14 comeback victory. In their one-sided defeat to mousesports, not a single member was able to post anything higher than double-digits, due to their inability to shut down Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný early in the round. Overall, the Boston Major was a poor showing from every single player on Astralis, with device posting the highest overall rating and the only positive rating (1.02).
Heading into the second half of their match against North, device and Kjaerbye only held eight kills each. With a 4-11 scoreline, their backs were up against the wall and facing a potential 0-2 record heading into the third day. And did they deliver. On the back of an eight-round winning streak, both players came back to eventually take the map 16-14 and put North on the chopping block the next day.
North: 15-16th place, 0-3 record in the Swiss stage
North’s course didn’t change for the better at the Boston Major. In the New Legends Stage, it was cajunb who fell flat, posting the lowest overall rating at the tournament (0.70). As a whole team, no one posted a positive rating, which comes as a surprise, given their rather competitive scorelines in their three maps. In the first half of their match against Astralis, which saw them take a commanding 11-4 lead, it was MSL on top of the scoreboard with 17 kills, with stars k0nfig and aizy each at ten kills. A second-round reset in the following half gave way to North losing 11 out of the remaining 13 rounds and gave Astralis the 16-14 comeback victory. In the end, k0nfig only picked up 3 kills the entire half, with aizy faring better: eight kills.
In their elimination match against BIG, which they were favored to win heavily, it was cajunb who fell flat again, posting a mere 58.7 ADR. Kevin ‘keev’ Bartholomäus shut down cajunb’s AWP, picking up five AWP kills against him. K0nfig posted a near-even 0.97 rating, but even that wasn’t enough, as Johannes ‘tabseN’ Wodarz shut him down seven times and posted a 1.66 rating as they sent home Denmark’s #2 team.
Post-ELEAGUE Major: Boston rosters
Astralis: device, dupreeh, gla1ve, Xyp9x
North: mertz, aizy, MSL, valde, Kjaerbye
Just a day after the conclusion of the Boston Major, on the 26th of January, North relieved Caspar ‘ruggah’ Due of his coaching duties. Their 0-3 exit from the Major, alongside ruggah’s inability to be “in the office with the players every day,” led Jonas ‘whimp’ Svendsen, North’s director of esports, to move their Academy coach, Alexander ‘ave’ Holdt, up to the main roster.
Just three short days later, on the 29th of January, North announced that cajunb would be benched for up-and-coming Academy player, Daniel ‘mertz’ Mertz. During his time on North Academy, mertz has been their top-performing player, posting a 1.22 rating, with cajunb posting a 1.09 rating across the same timeframe. The very next day, k0nfig was benched, and a report from DBLTAP’s Jared ‘DeKay’ Lewis suggested another North Academy player, Nicklas ‘gade’ Gade, would take his spot.
Astralis, on the other hands, did not have any planned roster changes, which was confirmed by a tweet from Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander. However, the entire scene took notice when North tweeted this on the 1st of February, something about a ‘significant signing’. Just two hours before the 12:00 CET announcement, Kjaerbye revealed to the rest of his teammates and coach Danny ‘zonic’ Sørensen that he would be joining North, reuniting him with MSL. This revelation was a shock to the entire CS:GO scene, especially Astralis, who expressed dismay and disappointment at his sudden departure without prior knowledge. Astralis’s gla1ve tweeted this, stating that although he was shocked and disappointed at the circumstances surrounding Kjaerbye’s departure, he would be “more motivated than ever,” a sentiment shared by the rest of the Astralis squad.
As of current, Astralis are without a fifth player, but rumor has it that cajunb could be reuniting with device, Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen, and Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth, the four of whom date back to their Team SoloMid era.