Astralis vs SK is one of the most anticipated matchups in CS:GO, especially on Overpass. When the two teams started playing each other on a regular basis in late-2015/early-2016, SK won every Overpass match up through ESL One New York 2016. Since New York the two have played each on Overpass seven times, with Astralis winning the map every time. Astralis are the only team to consistently best SK on Overpass, so what are they doing against SK that no one else is?
First off, Astralis is a team that thrives on comfort, sticking to the gameplan and dominating when on the front-foot. For IGL gla1ve, Overpass is his highest rated map individually and his most refined tactically. Combine that with Device’s calculated dueling and Dupreeh's fast-paced entry-fragging, and you can see why they're so dominant.
But SK is an equally talented squad with an aggressive counter. The combination of FalleN's dynamic, aggressive AWPing, Fer’s relentless pressure at Party, and TACO’s calculated pushes at Monster is designed to trip up teams who use structured pushes to grind rounds - teams like Astralis.
But Gla1ve took it upon himself to find a counter to SK's counter: he developed one of the strongest, most adaptive defaults in the world complimented by his god-tier mid-round calling.
Astralis’s default game on Overpass has seen many evolutions, but generally we can see it look something like this. This defensive positioning excels at punishing minute mistakes from the CTs. By the mid-round, Astralis have set-up around the map, slowly taking bits of control at party and water. Watch as Dupreeh hits a quick shot onto Taco, prompting Astralis to transition into taking more map control as a team. Carefully they clear out angles together, allowing them to punish felps who is playing in bathrooms alone. At the same time, Xyp9x picks FalleN peeking monster aggressively and SK suddenly finds themselves in a 2v5.
This slow creeping, map control taking, mistake punishing style defines Astralis’s T-side and is the perfect way to grind-out rounds against the relentless pressure of SK’s CT side.
Gla1ve is also managing to adapt his strategy to the constantly evolving Overpass meta. Rather than stick with their standard default, Astralis has recentlcy fallen more in-line with the fast map control focus many elite teams have shown on the map.
As seen at IEM Katowice, Astralis now take areas of the map together early in the round. Rather than being fully spread out as a team, Astralis are defaulting towards A early, taking long control and methodically mollying out angles that FalleN favors. Importantly though, Astralis remain active in the mid-round off their default. They don’t just hold map control for p ushes anymore, they pressure for map control, with Dupreeh opening squeeky and picking TACO as a result. At the same time, device is creeping down long with the AWP while Magisk and Gla1ve clear bathrooms together. Device then mollies out long corner snagging a pick on fer. This prompts Astralis to execute onto the site late, completely overwhelming SK. Astralis takes the round thanks to a structured approach with early map control and capitalizing on openings found through active mid-round pressure.
It is because of plays like this that everyone looks forward to the Astralis vs SK match up. Many top teams try to emulate this slow Astralis style, only to be punished by the aggressive plays of fer and FalleN. Astralis have shown an ability to constantly evolve their default setup, though, always finding a way to punish SK's aggression while staying one step ahead through mid-round calls. When you add in the dynamic, shut-out AWPing Device can pull out against FalleN and Astralis’s incredibly adept site holds on CT-side, you’ve got a team that can beat SK seven times in a row on one map.