Straube: I know device is extremely fond of Jame and all that he has done as an AWP’ing in-game leader

What kind of Astralis can we expect in the future, and how does Alexander "br0" Bro fit into the team? Read our interview with Kasper Straube from Astralis here.

In the second part of our interview with the Director of Sports at Astralis, Kasper Straube, we talk about the benching of Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, the role of Alexander "br0" Bro, and what kind of considerations they have had making Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz the new in-game leader.

You can read the first part of the interview down below.

The curious case of Benjamin “blameF” Bremer

In-game leaders in Counter-Strike are often players who are most likely to end up at the bottom of the scoreboard with low ratings. Individually they are suffering from the fact, that they are responsible for calling out the strats, keeping up with the enemy tactics, and often find themselves in some of the most difficult positions and spots to try and shoot heads on the server. But in Astralis, Benjamin "blameF" Bremer was not following the norm. Since he took over the responsibility as in-game leader from Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, he was the highest-rated player on Astralis and one of the highest-rated players in the world. In 2024 that trend continued with Benjamin "blameF" Bremer being rated at 1.15, while Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz is rated 1.08. Now he finds himself benched on the team.

So why was it necessary to bench the highest-rated player on the team? We asked Kasper Straube, Director of Sports at Astralis.

- As mentioned earlier, we have identified what we believe to be the reasons behind our team's underperformance. The realization that our Counter-Strike foundation was not robust enough prompted us to seek a new in-game leader. Additionally, we felt that Martin "stavn" Lund and Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard should revert to their original roles, the ones they played at Heroic, where they naturally exert more influence and assume more central positions. Given these considerations, it became evident that certain adjustments were necessary. Upon concluding that Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz both desires and is prepared to take on the captaincy, we were left with the task of determining who should assume the anchor position on the roster, acknowledging that resources would be allocated among the central roles on the team.

Q: So, Alexander "br0" Bro is brought in to be a support player?

- Yes. He will be a support player to allow Martin "stavn" Lund, Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard, and Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz to take on the roles, where they can have the greatest impact. We have seen Victor "Staehr" Staehr make a big role change on the team, which he has handled superbly. He has been fantastic in doing a lot of the supportive roles. But on a modern-day Counter-Strike team, you need to have more than one to do that, and therefore by definition Alexander "br0" Bro will be a support player on the team, Straube explains.

With the recent signings of Martin "stavn" Lund and Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard from Heroic rumored to be around the $2M mark combined, it is obvious that Astralis were not going to switch out any of the new signings right away. Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz as the AWP’er and new IGL was obviously never going to be touched, which left Victor "Staehr" Staehr as the only possible candidate to change if you wanted to keep Benjamin "blameF" Bremer on the team.

- I can fully comprehend your perspective on Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, acknowledging him as a remarkable player who is now benched. I completely agree. He is an exceptional player with high intelligence, exceptional skills, and has all the necessary qualities. However, our objective wasn't to add or maintain a certain amount of firepower or introduce additional voices. Instead, our focus was on becoming highly specific and precise about where we wanted to allocate our resources and vocal contributions, Kasper Straube points out.

- We would really like to make the team even more homogeneous in relation to playing the same type of Counter-Strike. And that is also why the choice has fallen on Alexander "br0" Bro to replace Benjamin "blameF" Bremer.

“Not, but we will carve our own path”

The discussion to elevate Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz into the position as in-game leader was a big surprise for most of the Counter-Strike community who had guessed on various Danish in-game leaders as possibilities to take over from Benjamin "blameF" Bremer. All with the same playing style as a true team player, who was ready to sacrifice themselves for the greater good in any round that demanded it.

- This is the direction that I believe many anticipated us heading in. However, I also believe there are examples of alternative approaches that can prove successful. I'd like to highlight Casper 'cadiaN' Møller for his tenure with Heroic. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but I consider it some of the best-looking CS ever played. If you turn back time to the good old Astralis era there wasn't a designated sacrifice player, but rather individuals who were willing to make sacrifices when necessary. It is probably also more the philosophy that we are looking for. We want to create a team where everyone can take the place they need, and everyone is willing to do it for each other, Straube, who has a past at Heroic, stated.

cadiaN and Jame faced each other in the Grand Final of the IEM Rio Major in 2022

Casper 'cadiaN' Møller and Dzhami "Jame" Ali are two of the most successful AWP’ers, who are also in-game leading at the same time. When asked about the latter, Kasper Straube breaks out in a smile.

- If I remember correctly, device is extremely fond of Dzhami "Jame" Ali and all that he has done as an AWP’ing in-game leader. I have no doubt that they also have some differences though. So, I don't think we should expect Astralis to become We must carve our own path, Kasper Straube emphasizes before putting full confidence behind the decision to let Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz be the new in-game leader.

- There are no guarantees, but there are prerequisites. When I joined Astralis, I engaged in discussions with all the players, including Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz. Naturally, I inquired about past experiences and his thoughts regarding the future, not just tomorrow, but in the months and years ahead. Already back then, he told me that he sees it as a natural thing that he could become an in-game leader at one point or another. He lives and breathes CS, and he aspires to continue doing so for as long as possible and he wants to do it where he wants to do it the most, and that is in Astralis.

- The primary consideration for me is that he - as every other player - has a certain number of years at the highest level. Along that time, he can either conclude an admirable career or choose to prolong it. A way to extend a career for players is to adapt like we see in a lot of different sports. When you look at his exceptional skills, his intelligence, strong work ethic, and the ability to stay abreast of developments on the server while maintaining enthusiasm for innovative gameplay, you undoubtedly possess qualities that will help you adapt into a successful in-game leader.

The new Astralis lineup is currently scheduled to make their competitive debut at the IEM Chengdu tournament in April. For now, the most important thing for Astralis is to find their feet in the new constellation.

- There's no certainty about the pace of progress. While we all aspire to secure a victory tomorrow, it's possible that it might take a bit more time before we position ourselves favorably to achieve that, Kasper Straube says.

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