Nukeduck Out, MagiFelix In for Astralis
Here’s a bit of unfortunate news no one saw coming: the Norwegian mid lane legend Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm will be taking a break from professional play, with Felix “MagiFelix” Boström taking over his spot at Astralis. This, in short, is quite a surprise. Why it’s happening at this point in time is also a mystery. All we know is that Nukeduck is citing “personal reasons” which, to be fair, is about as vague as possible. Astralis hasn’t provided any thorough explanation which, to be fair, is perfectly understandable — we just hope everyone’s doing alright in these trying times.
Rough Loss, But Tons of Potential
Now, losing your marquee player never feels good, regardless of the broader context. And Nukeduck, in many ways, was Astralis’ poster child. He is by no means as good as he once was, but he’s still a fairly solid performer and a grizzled veteran who can help his team out in a myriad of ways. And that, for a team as green and nascent as Astralis, was absolutely vital. Losing such a veteran, therefore, will seriously hinder their (already dismal) chances of finding success. To make matters even worse, Astralis actually looked somewhat acceptable throughout the first three weeks of play. “Somewhat” being the operative word here. They are, without a doubt, the worst team in the region, but even they can pack a punch when the stars align. And a good chunk of their success came through the mid lane. Without someone as resilient and flexible as Nukeduck to lead the charge, it’s pretty much impossible to imagine Astralis ever doing any better. They were already facing an uphill battle prior to his abrupt departure, and now things will surely get even worse.
Regardless, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, and MagiFelix will surely try to make the most out of this unexpected Astralis roster shuffle. Whether he’ll succeed or not still remains to be seen, but do temper your expectations. He’s always been a highly lauded solo queue behemoth, but whenever he took the stage none of that presumed talent was on display. It’s not that he was dreadful, but his play definitely didn’t blow anyone’s mind — especially not when juxtaposed next to his solo queue highlight reels. Still, he’s fairly consistent and obviously talented enough to make waves in the “little leagues” so it’s not like he doesn’t deserve the shot.
One could argue that this will be his best shot yet to showcase his talents and potentially breakthrough. The odds will certainly be stacked against Astralis, but at least they can compete without pressure and reserve — no one’s expecting anything from them anyway, so they might as well put their best foot forward and try to upset the long-established status quo.