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"[I]t opens up a whole new part of the game": Iconic, Astralis taking aggressive new meta plays to Charlotte

In the new era of Siege, Astralis appear to be ahead of the curve.

Image via Henry Danisch, Astralis NA

If you’ve just arisen from a coma, or went out on a hike across a country without a cell phone, or were locked in a submarine for a month, you can be forgiven for being a bit confused at the final NAL 2022 Stage 1 standings. 

As it turns out, Astralis was the best team in the league, only Oxygen were on par with them. The rest are degrees below them. The new Astralis under Seth “Callout” Mik is disciplined, but creative. Aggressive, but drilled. 

One of the team’s brightest stars is David “iconic” Ifidon, who says that this team’s preparation for the Charlotte Major and the stages beyond is on point. One of Astralis’s biggest strengths is “trusting your teammates and trusting your eyes too,” which has led to several explosive plays in the region. 

Iconic is the most forward-facing member of the team, and also the highest-rated. He sits at second in the league following the regional stage with a 1.20 SiegeGG Rating – second to only Stage 1 MVP Frankie “VertcL” Cordero. 

The rest of the Astralis roster are no slouches, but there’s one face of the team. One of their strengths is utilizing the brand-new attacker repick well. “It [attacker repick] kinda ups the creativity you can have,” iconic said. “Being able to switch out operators and bring things that you normally wouldn’t be able to bring because of sixth pick … I feel like it opens up a whole new part of the game.”

Rapidly, attacker repick is being figured out. The best ways to utilize the meta are already being filled out by the time the first Major of the year rolls around, and by the end of the Major we’ll have a solid idea of which teams and regions are the best. 

Fundamentally, attacker repick has shaken Siege to its core, and currently Astralis is the North American team with one of the best handles on it. “It’s a whole new strategic part of the game too,” iconic says. It allows for flexibility, something that Astralis excels with. The roster excels at mid-round adaptations, and with the ability to change their early-round on the fly, they’ve become a formidable beast, capable of taking whatever form they need to execute on attack. 

Indeed, Astralis enjoys a 70 percent win rate on attack, and a solid 55 percent win rate on defense. Their attacking winrate is the best win rate in North America, by far. The defensive win rate is solid as well. 

Iconic describes the current Astralis roster as “hungry”. This is a team that was supposed to compete at a Major after the first stage of 2021 – it’s the first international competition for every single player except Aaron “Shuttle” Duggar. 

All in all, now is the best time to qualify for a Major. Fans are back in the stands for the playoffs – and there’s going to be a swell of sound after big plays in the playoffs of an event for the first time since the Six Invitational 2020. For a young roster, having the crowd in their corner can be a massive benefit. You can rest assured iconic himself is going to play into it – his flair for the dramatic is part of what’s made him a favorite among fans. 

Based on the results of the regional leagues, Astralis might be North America’s best chance at a title on home soil. With the crowd and their grasp of the meta, they may be new, but it sure looks like they have a decent shot to win.