Astralis’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team announced on Twitter that In-Game Leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander will return to the roster to play in the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. Previously, gla1ve had been on leave for the birth of his son. He will be replacing Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen, who played through the IEM Fall qualifier that saw Astralis lock in their spot at the major.
This move marks the return to the core roster that won a record of three straight major tournaments throughout 2018-19: Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, Emil “Magisk” Reif and gla1ve. The fifth member, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, was signed by Ninjas in Pyjamas in April 2021. His replacement is the 18-year-old AWPer Philip “Lucky” Ewald — who Astralis brought over from Tricked Esport in Aug. 2021.
“It is never easy to take a player out of the starting line-up and with Lucas [Bubzkji] it can seem a bit unfair as, no matter the circumstances, he has been a true professional and always delivered his best on and off the server,” Kasper Hvidt, Astralis’ director of sports, told HLTV. “Danny [zonic] and I have had a good talk with Lucas around the decision. He is disappointed, but he also knows he is a big part of the team and he will give his best to help out.”
Bubzkji expressed his disappointment over Twitter, saying he felt “devastated to be left out, after being there to qualify.” This is not the first time that Bubzkji has been confined to the bench since being acquired from MAD Lions in July 2020. The Astralis roster has been in flux for the better part of two years as the team looks to nail down contract extensions for dupreeh, Xyp9x, Magisk and Head Coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen; all of whom are free agents in the new year.
“Losing out on my first major and not being able to play in front of a ‘home’ crowd hurts,” Bubzkji said. “But sadly there’s only five spots. I felt things individually were moving in the right direction towards the end.”
Bubzkji put up a 1.06 rating at IEM Fall Europe; a solid performance that helped Astralis place fourth overall at the event. Since coming to Astralis, the 23-year-old rifler has been working to return to the dominant form he had during his tenure on the MAD Lions.
I am devastated to be left out, after being there to qualify. Losing out on my first major and not being able to play in front of a "home" crowd hurts. But sadly there's only 5 spots. I felt things individually was moving in the right direction towards the end. https://t.co/oMuNz0iC4F
— Bubzkji (@Bubzkji) October 13, 2021
With so many contracts coming to an end, there is a still a strong likelihood that Bubzkji will find himself a permanent spot on the Astralis lineup. That said, the young Dane will be missing his first opportunity to play Counter-Strike at the major event in front of a live audience in Stockholm, Sweden.
The PGL Major begins in two weeks, on Oct. 26, with the challenger stage. While the substitution cost Astralis 20% of their total Regional Major Ranking points, the team still ends with challenger status. They will be one of 16 teams looking to battle their way out of group stages as they seek their fourth-straight major title.