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Astralis benching blameF was long overdue, and here’s why Esports.net

There we have it. After just over two years in the active roster, Astralis has finally benched blameF from its CS2 team. He’s played a few different roles, taking on the IGL mantle as well as the team’s primary baiter (sorry, “lurker”). After the latest farce saw Astralis miss its third Major in a row, patience has finally run out despite the player signing a new deal back in September 2023.

Astralis has claimed blameF’s benching is “with a potential sale in mind,” and we think it’s the right call. In fact, we think it’s long overdue – and here’s why.

blameF flatters to deceive

blameF Astralis

Credit: Astralis

Look, we’ve heard it all before. Yes, blameF puts up good numbers on the server, but we think that he has flattered to deceive on Astralis. Many of his kills are eco-frags (there’s a reason he’s nicknamed ecoF), as well as impactless kills made while trying to save his weapon. He’s a top aimer, but he’s never utilized this in a way that allows him to be impactful.

So how fair is the “baitF” narrative? In our eyes, very fair! Over the last three months, can you guess which player on Astralis had the least deaths per round (DPR)? That’s right – blameF. Now, as a skilled rifler, that’d be fine, but as an IGL, it’s terrible. The most successful IGLs at the moment aren’t afraid to sacrifice their lives for the team. Think of HooXi, apEX, and karrigan, who all have 0.70, 0.68, and 0.71 DPR respectively over the last three months, compared to blameF’s 0.60. Hell would freeze over before those guys had a lower DPR than their stars. Instead, blameF is often the last alive, left to save whatever equipment he has for the next round.

Astralis stats

Credit: PGL | Image modified by Daniel Morris

Crucially, this doesn’t change when he’s not an IGL. He’s often the last alive as a rifler, too, leaving him wide open to the baitF allegations again and again. You might think this is fine when he’s putting up good numbers, but ultimately, accommodating this sort of playstyle can affect the makeup of the entire team. Astralis, quite rightly in our eyes, have decided it’s just not worth the hassle anymore.

Something had to change

Astralis

Credit: PGL

The team with the most Major wins ever missed out on its first-ever home Major in Copenhagen. You didn’t really think Astralis would let that slide, did you?  Even if it hasn’t always been blameF’s fault, the results during his time on the roster have been largely unacceptable. Something had to change, and realistically, blameF was the only option. You could see the distraught on the players’ faces after the loss to 9Pandas.

There’s not a single world where Astralis benches its talisman dev1ce after a few poor months. It’s no secret that the organization spent an eye-watering amount of money (believed to be in the realm of $2 million) on jabbi and stavn after the Heroic CS2 roster drama, so they’re a no-go right now. That leaves Staehr and blameF.

Now, everyone knows that Astralis is the King of bad optics, but even they wouldn’t dream of benching Staehr, the only player who can hold his head up high after the RMR debacle, after forcing him to do the exit interview despite the presence of senior players. If change was to come, blameF had to go.

What next for Astralis?

Astralis

Credits: PGL

With blameF’s reign of terror at an end, Astralis is now looking to find their new fifth. Given the leadership void and timidity in the team, someone with a big personality who can rile up the current roster is needed. We’ve got a few options. First up is obviously gla1ve. Now, there’s nothing pleasant about crawling back to your ex with your tail between your legs, but in Astralis’ case, it might be just what is needed. With gla1ve looking reborn at ENCE, it’ll be post-Major before they can negotiate his return – if he’s even interested.

Next up is Patti. ECSTATIC’s IGL knows what it takes to reach a Major, and Astralis will be kicking itself after he previously spent 10 months across 2022 and 2023 in its Talent squad. Again, if Astralis can swallow its pride, it could prove a solid move. Then there’s birdfromsky, but we think he may have been away from the top level a little too long for this kind of pressure.

Finally, and hear us out, there’s HooXi. If G2 bombs at the Major, there’s a chance he could be on the chopping block, and we think he’d be the perfect pickup for Astralis. There’s ample firepower between dev1ce, Staehr, stavn, and jabbi, so they can deal with HooXi’s worse stats on the server. As a caller, HooXi is a master of getting his stars in the right place at the right time, as well as getting the most from his AWPers. If G2 decides to go a different route, he’d be worth a look in the post-Major reshuffle.

Daniel Morris

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