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December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas! This is the last one before Christmas, and we’ll probably be too hungover for a Boxing Day special, so have a good holiday. In this edition: Astralis’ new groove, a whole load of roster moves and ESL turning Pro League into the Champions League.

Get your Buzz cut short

Illustration by NovaH. Source: Astralis

To the stars and beyond!

device is clearly sick of playing with academy players. His time at NIP was tainted by their fetish for playing any academy player with above a 1.00 rating as the 5th, and Astralis were somewhat forced into playing MistR after k0nfig turned into Scrappy Doo.

But with device back on Astralis, it was time to ditch the no-namers and bring in a great player to be Astralis’ fifth and save the day. Brace yourself; Astralis have signed Stae- nope, erm, Sjuus— not him either.

Buzz. Buzz is Astralis’ fifth. Wow! Thank god we’ve gone away from academy players and instead signed a 19-year-old who has played a full four maps against top-10 opposition.

Alright, we’ll remove that tongue from our proverbial cheek. It’s a little underwhelming, but Astralis did try and pick up Staehr and Sjuush, who both rebuffed the offers. Can’t imagine why.

“Do you want to get baited by blameF and device and be scapegoated for every loss?”

On the other hand, perhaps this is a shrewd move. Bubzkji (who knows a thing or two about being signed by Astralis, but less about playing for them) reckons he’s quietly solid and at least is a true anchor. Maybe he is the Magisk replacement Astralis have needed for the last year.

As much as we’ve mocked Astralis for this, it’s actually quite refreshing to see a team not just sign the biggest name or the highest-rated player available and actually try something. If Buzz actually fills in the roles they need and is quietly impressive, they’ll be fine.

You don’t need that much firepower when you have blameF and device.

Last time Astralis were clever and tried a shrewd move they picked up Lucky, and look how that ende— ah, yeah. Fair enough.


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The January (December) Transfer Window

  • hades has officially left ENCE and can now be signed for nothing. Well, you might have to pay him a salary. That’s up to him.
  • slaxz- is another AWPer who you could pick up for no buyout if you need one, as Sprout are replacing him with Xellow. Nah, us neither. His numbers look superb, though.
  • Perennial nomad lollipop21k is once more looking for a team, despite speaking English, Spanish and Russian and being one of the best deathmatch players in the world. Maybe it takes something more than that.
  • The wonderfully named Svedjehed is leaving EYEBALLERS with Peppzor in his stead. Downgrade in the name department, probably upgrade in the server.

Round Robin is dead

The day has come. No more Striker spreadsheets. No more dead rubbers.

The last pillar of round robin, ESL Pro League, has fallen. Instead of six six-team groups, there will now be four groups of eight teams.

Well, ‘groups.’ Instead of GSL, Swiss, or anything familiar ESL are wheeling out a brand new triple-elimination format for each of the four groups. We basically get a mini-tournament each week.

Yep, that’s 32 teams — who gave Infantino the keys? MORE TEAMS, WE NEED MOOOORE

Anyway. The earlier you qualify, the later you start playoffs from. So win the initial group bracket, you start in the quarters. Lose the final of bracket one or win second bracket, ro12. Win third, ro16. Simple, right?

Now, multi-elimination brackets come with their own problem. We can see from BLAST that giving big teams lots of lives means that they don’t really try until they’re on their last one.

But, whatever. It’s EPL, it’s not like ESL even wants this to be a good event. That would just steal eyeballs away from Katowice and Cologne.

It’s designed to be on stream for as many hours as humanly possible for as long as humanly possible. And the new format achieves that without the nonsense that comes with round robin. It’s a win.

Meanwhile, Valve have continued their spree of Christmas presents by announcing their regional standings. The whole formula will be public soon, so stay tuned, but for now, we’ve got you sorted with a Twitter thread.

The TLDR of that TLDR is that it is broadly a similar ranking to HLTV and ESL that will be used to generate invites for the closed qualifiers before the RMRs.

Is it going to be better than using open qualifiers? The Major will have better teams for sure, but watching Astralis in the open qualifiers was as good as any Major final if you ask us.


Ninja’s vanishing trick

Illustration by Crash_ Source: PGL

They say being a ninja is a dying occupation, and the world’s lost another.

Es3tag, the Dane who was brought in to make dev1ce hap- we mean for his cs acumen, has been kicked from NIP. This change has been predicted for a while now, come on, no one seriously expected REZ to remain the AWPer did they?

With Astralis and Heroic both settled, you have to wonder where es3tag will end up. He himself has said he’ll take some time to “properly gauge what’s next”. This means it’ll probably be a while until we see the ex-ninja’s newest venture. Leaving an even bigger ninja-shaped hole in the world.

But fret not ninja lovers, es3tag will be replaced, and the world will gain one more ninja. Though that does beg the question: Who will replace him?

There are only a few available AWPers actually good enough for tier 1, one of them being Mantuu. He tweeted “all I want for Christmas” right as the news of es3tag leaving dropped. Unfortunately, he’s still held by the curse of UKCS, so he’s tweeted “nvm” since.

The reason for this follow-up? It looks like the new ninja might not be so sneaky. Headtr1ck, who’s currently on the Na’Vi academy bench, has started following everyone in the NIP organization he’s been able to find. Coincidentally, he’s also an AWPer.

Are we saying that social media follows are a good way to gauge any roster information? No. otherwise, Messi would’ve joined Chelsea at least 4 times by now.

What is a good way to gauge roster move information though is by following Luis Mira, and he’s come out and said NIP are interested in Headtr1ck. For once, the following tab came out on top.

The move makes sense, after all a ninja’s illusion is nothing but a trick in your head.


Have a holly, jolly Christmas

🎄 We wish these people an extra happy holiday

  • Some of you might already know up-and-coming talent S3NSEY, while others might not. Either way, he’s had a bit of a rough time, so give the man some end-of-year love.
  • We’ll miss you and your annoying prop-tracing mannerisms, gade.
  • b4rtiN needs the extra love, having to move to VALORANT is hard enough.

👨‍🏫 Good news, everyone!

  • Women’s CS is on the up, and ESL have made a nice video to help highlight that.
  • Maxim has blessed us with an early Xmas gift for those of us who dareth tread on FACEIT.
  • Valve have changed the Regional Standings, once again. That might sound like bad news, but no! You get a free tl;dr thread where we’ve done the thinking for you!

👺 Don’t like Xmas? We gotchu: things to rage at

  • Apparently, Denmark-based BLAST organizing a tournament in less than controversial Abu Dhabi has rubbed Danish politics the wrong way. Sports and politics do mix?
  • Yet another place to vandalise Astralis jerseys at, great! (Please don’t burn Hummel stores)
  • Here we are, writing this newsletter for free. Meanwhile, FaZe are making 11k a map. With the teammates we get in MM we should be getting that much too.

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