We had a talk with gla1ve prior Cologne
Topic: Catching Up with gla1ve – Cologne Aspirations, Finding Form and Parenthood with Astralis’ IGL
We were able to catch up with gla1ve for a short chat during the semi-finals day of the Pinnacle cup to talk about the current state of Astralis, his expectations for Cologne, rumours regarding a new AWPer, and his new work-life balance after somewhat recently becoming a dad!
If you’re unfamiliar with gla1ve, below is a brief history of his Counter-Strike tenure before we get into the interview:
SneakyBeaky Andy PGL | Stefan Petrescu
Gla1ve, one of the greatest IGLs to touch Counter-Strike
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander first started playing professional Counter Strike Source back in 2010. In his first notable tournament, he played the DSRack LAN #2 where he participated with "PENTIA" together with some recognisable players like "muffeb" and "Rejin".
In the first four years since CS:GO was first released in 2012, gla1ve had a tumultuous time settling in, playing in multiple different line-ups, but in November 2013, he played the first ever Major together with n!faculty and managed to place 9.-12.
A lot happened in-between, including a stint on Heroic, the team that’s since become his main regional rival, but come 2016, Astralis picked up gla1ve to replace Karrigan where he would go on to win four Major wins along with a plethora of S-Tier events.
Are you happy with where the team is right now?
After dev1ce decided to leave the team in early 2021, the seemingly "unbreakable" roster fell apart. Later in the year dupreeh, Magisk and zonic also split ways with Astralis and gla1ve, going on to sign with Vitality. Since then, the team has struggled to relive their glory days, with their most notable recent struggles including not qualifying for the Legends Stage of the PGL Antwerp Major. With that in mind, we asked gla1ve if he is happy with his team’s current situation:
"Of course I'm not really satisfied with where the team is now because I want us to be higher up in the ranking, I want us to do better consistently. I know that we are capable of playing better than what we have been showing in the past and I am confident that we will show that again in the future and this is the first step of the way for us.”
IEM Cologne is one of the most prestigious events in Counter-Strike remaining a fixed part of the yearly Counter Strike calendar. When asked if the roster is going to be competitive, if not gunning for top spots in Cologne gla1ve had the following to say:
"If we show our true level, which I know we can play, I think it is possible for us to actually play for the title in Cologne, but I also believe that if we do not find the consistency we are also a team that can go out in groups and not even making it to Cologne. It is all about the consistency for us and both individually, but also teamplay wise we need to find a better groove."
Astralis were able to recover their form coming into the event after some shaky tournament showings, making the main event in the arena where they will play in the opening quarter-finals game against MOUZ later today. IEM/ESL One Cologne has been one of the very few S-Tier events that Astralis were unable to win in their prime, so a win here would be hugely significant for gla1ve and Astralis as an organisation, but the competition will be heated.
Revamping Astralis’ Map Pool
Historically, Astralis has had their permanent map ban in Mirage, but with their semi-recent roster revamp, they also decided to switch up their map pool to include all seven maps. When asked if this is the team finding their comfort zone or if this new map pool will be a permanent feature, gla1ve had the following to say:
„We are trying our best to be better on the maps that we are not feeling that confident on and I think we are starting to get there. So hopefully in the future, we will have more maps that we can play. Right now we are aiming for all seven maps. We still feel like that is the right tactic but the future will tell if we are right or not!“
This approach appears to be working as Astralis are starting to find consistency, but Vertigo, the map that Astralis perfected to punish Team Liquid at the Starladder Berlin Major, is no longer up to par, which could see it being pushed out of their preferred pool despite blameF putting up some monster performances.
Changing times: changing up the team, time management and becoming a father
Although the team veered towards collapse in 2021, gla1ve decided to continue his trust in the Astralis project and signed a new three-year contract in mid-July of the same year. Only a short time after this, gla1ve became a father. With that in mind, we asked gla1ve how he copes with this new work-life balance.
„Of course it is tough. It is tough when you just became a father eight months ago and you have to build up this new team. It takes a lot of work and I am glad I have my girlfriend who takes mainly care of our son. It’s really nice of her, the support is insane! If it wasn’t for the support I would have no idea how I could do it. I am extremely satisfied with the balance that I am starting to feel right now and hopefully, I can up my game a bit individually and with that, focus even more on the team and make it better. That’s my goal."
Following up, we inquired further into how he’s started to split his time in terms of practicing, competing and if he thinks he’s been spending more time than not with family:
“No, not really to be honest. If I look back at the last four years or so, I think I’m playing the same amount of hours and using the same amount on CS. But one thing that I noticed is that maybe I need to use a few more hours than I did in the past [in exploring how to adapt to new metas], because when the meta is changing and new teams are catching up; we’re not ahead anymore and we’re starting to fall behind. I need to use more time. It’s not enough to just practice and try some new strats. I need to put more hours into it and I’m having a hard time doing that because after practice, I don’t always have the time to watch demos of other teams so I want to structure my time a bit better.”
Piecing the puzzle together
There was also a brief period of time where gla1ve decided to pick up the AWP fairly consistently over the team’s actual AWPer, so we enquired whether this would be a more permanent fixture, or if gla1ve was just trying something new for the strat book:
“I mean, I wanted to try and be the AWP player, but it was mainly because me, k0nfig and blameF had the same roles on T-side, so we had a hard time balancing the T-side. So, I said let me try playing the AWP so those two could keep their respective positions, but that didn’t work, and I had a hard time being an AWP IGL player, and I didn’t feel like I was that good on the AWP anyway. So, yeah, it feels good to be back in my old role.”
Do you feel like there’s been a missing link since the Major-winning Astralis disbanded?
“No. No, not really. We’re just working hard to get back on top and not thinking too much about the old Astralis”
And how does it feel playing with this new roster versus the old one - is there the same synergy and the same passion?
“Yeah, I think so. I think people are really motivated. I think there’s more motivation than what we had at the end of the old team in the last year or so. When covid hit, the motivation started to shrink, after Dev1ce left and stuff, so yeah, I think the motivation is high. People are doing good, working hard, and it’s nice.”
And was there ever a possibility of you bringing in a new AWPer in the coming months, or was that pure rumour?
“I don’t think so. I mean I’m not the one taking the decisions about the roster. We have people in the back and our sports director and our coach to do that. I can’t say for sure if it’s only rumours, but I haven’t heard anything about us wanting to change players. For me, myself, I haven’t said anything at least.”
The new team
The current line-up of Astralis consists of gla1ve, Xyp9x, k0nfig, blameF, and farlig. The last two changes of the active line-up were farlig replacing Lucky and trace replacing ave as the coach of the team. Although the team is so incredibly historied, it’s comforting to see that "the good old days" are not hindering the motivation of the current line-up or gla1ve himself.
It’s still yet to be seen how this "new Astralis" fully develops and if they will be able to reinvent themselves as a Major winning squad. For now, they look as if they’re continually improving, and IEM Cologne will be a perfect test for them. Thank you to gla1ve for taking the time to talk to us and we wish him and his team good luck today against MOUZ in the opening game of the IEM Cologne playoffs.