BLAST ASTRALIS Scaled 1
Credit: BLAST



Valdemar ‘valde’ Bjørn Vangså has been benched by OG in a move that makes sense to absolutely fucking nobody. Their best player without a buff from the Big Green, valde, has long been a stalwart of the Danish scene, and his presence was the only reason any of us cared about this team.

It should be fantastic news to a host of top teams, most notably Astralis, the supposed greatest organization in the history of Counter-Strike.

The team led by supposedly the greatest IGL in the history of Counter-Strike. The team that, even after kicking Philip “Lucky” Ewald, somehow stooped even lower after managing to be knocked off PGL Antwerp by Team Liquid of all teams.

Pimp seems to have spotted this opportunity, too, as he tweeted:

And this is a sentiment that even OG themselves seem to share, as they tweeted this after that terrible loss against Liquid.

Are they right to be saying this? Let’s take a look.

Sorry, Xyp9x

Image: Astralis

Andreas “xyp9x” Højsleth is a legend, one of the pioneers of the Support role, but let’s face it: he’s shit now. It was a bad idea to resign him for 4 more years, and 7 months later that is undeniable with his abysmal 0.92 rating in 2022.

Unfortunately then, he is the obvious makeway for valde, but positionally too it makes sense. Valde is – at this point – better than xyp9x in every CT role they share, he would also be more than capable of  adapting to the ones they don’t. On the T side too he provides far more versatility. 

There’s a huge firepower deficit in Astralis,  even poor Benjamin “blameF” Bremer can’t carry this team  in his huge arms, this is the biggest problem that valde can cure in an instan

If we look at 2022 alone, his reasonable 1.05 impact rating absolutely dwarfs xyp9x’s pitiful 0.8.  If we look at ADR, valde wins out again with 0.74 to 0.65. KPR? You guessed it, he wins again with 0.68 to 0.54. Oh, and if you were wondering about his HLTV rating? It’s 1.12.

Just the 0.2 better then. That’s reasonable.

Valde dies less too, which is also quite important. Especially when you consider that the best team in the world has three players who just don’t die.

Look, it wasn’t my intention to dump on xyp9x here, but it’s clear in every metric that valde is the better player. He can plug and play and also relieve pressure on blameF in late rounds to allow him to become more aggressive, something we saw he exceeds at for a short while on Complexity.  EntryF is hot.

Heinz, or HP?

Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

More importantly, this is a question of sauce. And valde is dripping in it.

Xyp9x is boring. He is the epitome of an Astralis that plays everything by the numbers, grinding down opponents with a playstyle so close to perfect that Johan Cruyff’s Counter-Strike doppelganger had a wet dream over it.

However, with the inclusion of Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, Astralis find themselves with an opportunity to kill this reputation and finally become a team with the capacity for excitement. 

And not just to cheating Danish crowds.

All you have to do is look at valde and xyp’s Nuke 1v5s to understand.  Valde decimates NRG with five headshots without reloading, and xyp9x somewhat boringly defuses the bomb without even firing a bullet after North forgot they planted it.

We’ll forget that valde was playing for North in that game.

The Pearly Gates

With valde in the team, Astralis could once again battle for places in the late stages of tournaments. It’s hard to believe that this is a team we will never see win again – even if it seems likely right now.

He might not fix every problem, Asger “Farlig” Jensen will never replace Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, and the whole world knows it. Even his IGL is making it painfully obvious he’s aware when you look at Farlig’s rifle percentage. 

But that being said, you can’t argue that valde wouldn’t be an upgrade to this team. Any opposition is just weak sentimentality.

“I hate to say it – but xyp9x is a bum. Valde’s a baller and that alone is enough for this move to make sense”

Jaxon

Sam McKenzie covers a variety of competitive first-person shooters, with an emphasis on Valorant and Counter-Strike esports. He also has a passion for football in both the real and virtual worlds, and contributes his expertise in FIFA esports.