Xantares acquisition was pretty hype. Liquid look great, Navi will make changes after they fail at the major, many new teams to be excited for at the major - Vitality, Avangar, Ence, Renegades who look better than ever. This is also likely to prompt a swedish shuffle especially if NiP Fails in the morning. Lots of transfers to be done with Faze/mouz/danish t2/swedish scene upcoming.
"? If someone beats Astralis, it will be because Astralis dropped off - not because that team is legitimately better than the Astralis we saw last year."
Thats not how it works bro, teams dont go backwards, they stagnate or improve at a slower rate and other teams catch up, the game is always evolving and players are always improving in one way or another. So yes if a team beats Astralis and continues that form it will be because they are now a better team than the Astralis of last year, otherwise Astralis would literally change nothing and remain the best team.