gla1ve: "Without an AWPer I don't see us taking the No.1 spot for quite some time"
The Danish tactician shared his thoughts on the team's current state ahead of their long-awaited return to LAN.
The Danish team have had to place the AWP in Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen’s hands to make up for the departure of Nicolai "device" Reedtz, who was transferred to NIP in April after over five years with the Danish organisation. dupreeh has not been able to able to provide the same threat, with his numbers dipping across the board since the change.
Astralis head into IEM Cologne hoping to recover on LAN some of the old magic and stop a steady decline that has seen them drop down to eighth in the rankings ahead of the German event. Following early exits in their last three tournaments, Astralis are widely considered as outsiders for IEM Cologne — a sentiment that seems to be shared by gla1ve, who admitted that the lack of a dedicated AWPer is the team's biggest weakness at the moment.
“Hopefully, we're going to win it all [in Cologne], smash all the teams and we'll call ourselves the best team in the world [in two weeks] because we're back on LAN,” he said in a press conference when asked how long it could take for the team to become No.1 with the current roster. "But that's probably not going to happen.
"It's probably going to take quite a lot of time. Not having a specific AWP player pretty much hurts us. That's the worst part about us at the moment. If we had a consistent AWP player that wanted to play the AWP... dupreeh wants to rifle but he is playing the AWP because he has to.
"If we had an AWP player, I think we could be the best team in the world again. But since we don't have that, I don't see us taking the No.1 spot for quite some time."
dupreeh, who is averaging a 1.01 rating in his new role, explained that while playing with the AWP has been a learning experience, it has often led to frustration on the server. The 28-year-old said that he is forced to restrain some of his natural instincts with the 'Big Green' and that facing the top teams can sometimes be unforgiving.
"What has benefited me the most playing this role is understanding how AWPers approach the game," he said. "I can sometimes use that in my own game plan, like how I want to approach enemy AWPers or how they want to approach me. I'm learning more about a new role, which makes me a more complete player, I'd say.
"The consequences are that this is a role I've not been playing for that long and in which I do not feel completely comfortable. There have been some rough practice games and a lot of rough decisions. I think that in many situations I'd definitely prefer not to be an AWPer because it doesn't feel natural to me. I'll always feel more comfortable rifling and playing aggressively.
"I can feel the tingling in my fingers when I'm just camping with an AWP (laughs). I want to press W and go forward, and these are two things that kind of go against each other. At the same time, I've always had the mindset of trying to help the team the best possible way, and we made a decision that me picking up the AWP was probably the best solution.
"We've made a more hybrid composition of it and now it's shifted a bit more, and that also gives me a bit more freedom. I've definitely learned that being an AWPer in general against really good teams, who are really good at making sure you won't get these easy peeks and everything, can be really hard.
"To sum it up, I prefer to be a rifler, but at the same time, I'm just doing what it takes to help the team."
Without the benefits of a world-class AWPer, Astralis will be turning to Emil "Magisk" Reif for inspiration after he overcame a worrying slump in form. The 23-year-old rifler, who has averaged a team-high 1.07 rating in the last three months, explained that he has been taking better care of himself and that device's departure has rekindled a fire in him.
"device leaving the team gave me a lot of motivation," Magisk said. "It gave me the hunger to prove that it wasn't the correct decision.
"I also believe I had to work on myself on the mental side a little bit, also because of COVID. I had to figure out what I could change. I've been trying to get a little bit more structure in my everyday life as well. It's been a kind of tough period for me and it's been difficult finding an everyday [routine] that I enjoy. I'm getting into that routine now and I'm feeling a lot more energised.
"For me, it's definitely been about working on things outside of the game. It's been nice to be able to help the team more and put up better numbers as well."
Astralis will enter the server only on Friday as they are one of the eight teams that have earned direct entry into IEM Cologne's main stage. They have been placed in Group B, which will also include Natus Vincere, FURIA, Heroic, and four teams coming out of the Play-In stage.