In 2018 there have been many teams throughout the year that could be considered a top team. However, one team has stood out above the rest as the number one team for the whole of the year. That team is Astralis the Danish team with Gla1ve, Dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9X, Kjaerbye and Magisk.
No team in 2018 has been as dominant as Astralis this year having only three tournaments that they attended where they placed lower than top 4. Those events were: ESL Pro League Season 7 (6), Starladder Season 4 Finals (5-8), and Eleague Boston Major (12-14). While the major placing is bad for a team that is being touted as the best of 2018 it should be stated that this major took place right before they made their only roster move in the team. By replacing Kjaerbye they fixed their issues of roles and aggression in server. With a more balanced team composition and stronger team play, they dominated their second, third, and fourth events with him on the roster (Magisk’s first event with Astralis was Starladder).
With their early year stumble covered it’s time to move into their bulk of the year, championships. The first event won by Astralis was Dreamhack Marseille in an impressive 2-0 grand final against Navi. Following this event they went to Sydney and lost to rival team Faze 3-0 playing them in a close fashion on all three maps losing 19-17, 22-20 and 16-14 respectively on Cache Overpass and Train. They went home and topped ECS online 17-1 garnering a massive online win streak, won EPL S7 Lan against Team Liquid 3-1 and then went to ECS Lan and beat Liquid again in the final 2-0. After these events, they had a small stumble taking 3rd-4th at Cologne (losing to the event winner Na'Vi) winning Eleague Premier then losing to North 2-1 at Stockholm.
The Faceit Major was a turning point in 2018 for Astralis, making them a strong contender as the top team in the scene. After a few close games and blunders during groups they dominated the bracket stage and Na’vi in the final to take home their second major title under the org’s banner. They kept this high level of form into December taking the BLAST Istanbul, IEM Chicago and ECS final trophy along the way.
Just to close the year, Astralis won the first ever Intel Grand Slam by taking an impressive win at ESL Pro League Season 8 beating TL once again in the final. Astralis capped off the year with another impressive showing at BLAST Lisbon and taking the first Intel Grand Slam where other dominant lineups were unable (SK Gaming and FaZe Clan) was a true show of dominance for any team in tier 1 CS.
Will Astralis continue their dominance in 2019? Comment below!