LEC’s Origen Rebrands to Astralis
Origen, one of the 10 permanent partners in the LEC, will rebrand into Astralis starting with the 2021 competitive season. This is, without a doubt, quite a peculiar move. Astralis first entered the competitive League realm in late 2018, right in time for franchising. But for some odd reason, however, they didn’t want to compete under their own name. Instead, they opted to acquire Origen and use their branding. It was an obvious attempt at providing fans with a familiar logo to root for instead of building something from the ground up. Astralis is a well-known name in esports, but that means very little to the many competitive League fans who don’t follow other scenes quite as much, whereas Origen is well known for it’s Challenger to Worlds semi-finals run from several years ago.
There was some logic behind their reasoning, but needless to say, things didn’t pan out.
A couple of short bursts of excellence and flashes of brilliance aside, Origen failed to shake off the role of a gatekeeper. They were well-rounded, they had a fair bit of talent, but they could never deliver when it mattered the most. Certain members of the team underperformed, their drafting left a lot to be desired, and strange roster changes didn’t help out either.
As a result, competing under the Origen banner created more pressure than anything else. The fact that they also failed to perform — despite having some insanely talented players like Barney “Alphari” Morris, Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, and Elias “Upset” Lipp — only made things worse. This team simply needed to change in more ways than one. Fortunately, management realized the same thing as well. Going forward, Baltat “AoD” Alin-Ciprian will assume the role of Head Coach with Bjørn-Vegar “iHansen” Hansen helping out as Assistant Coach.
Furthermore, former LEC caster Martin “Deficio” Lynge has stepped down from his position as General Manager. Whether he’ll return to the LEC broadcast team or not still remains to be seen. Still, it’s a pretty safe guess to make, seeing how fans have been clamoring for his return ever since he left. The current broadcast team is exceptional, but having another color caster would surely help out — especially a seasoned veteran like Deficio.
What Needs to Change?
Fans have very little faith in Astralis’ current coaching staff. They’re not bad by any means and, in fact, they’re known as a fairly hardworking bunch. Astralis is all about maximizing performance and providing their players with all they need to get the job done. Still, their efforts mean very little if there are no results to speak of.
Right now, as things stand, no one’s quite sure how capable this coaching staff is, and after two fairly disappointing seasons, they’ll have to go above and beyond to earn everyone’s trust. The same goes for the vast majority of the starting line-up as well. There’s no telling who’ll compete under the Astralis banner in 2021. Most other top-tier teams already have stacked rosters, which means that Alphari, Xerxe, and Upset don’t have a lot of options.
If Astralis can pick up someone like Felix “Abbedagge” Braun or Dirk “ZaZee” Mallner for the mid lane, and Tore Hoel “Tore” Eilertsen or Labros “labrov” Papoutsakis for support, they’ll stand a much better chance of leaving a mark. With just those two changes alone they’ll instantly become a playoff contender, given that they perform up to expectations. They could also do a bit of scouting and sign someone from the “little leagues” like Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi.
The door is wide open for Astralis. They can bounce back in grand fashion, but they need to be smart about this — they need to make the correct moves and assemble a line-up that can match well stylistically. Whether they’ll succeed, however, is anyone’s guess.
To many fans, the Origen brand is no longer synonymous with a well-performing, championship-worthy organization, and that’s a problem. Fortunately, Astralis intends to start anew, and this time they’ll use their own (well-known) branding. Hopefully this isn’t just a superficial change — Astralis needs a makeover from head to toe if they intend on challenging for a spot at the top.