Image via Valve | Photo via Karrigan/Twitter (Public Domain)
Having played with the core unit of Astralis for nearly three years, karrigan’s in-game leadership was credited as being one of the factors behind the Danish squad’s success last year, where the roster started to be considered as one of the best teams in the world. Despite amassing consistent victories against top teams at the time such as Fnatic, the Danes’ results in 2016 pale in comparison. The team has failed to claim a single trophy throughout the year, and despite the addition of the incredibly hyped rookie Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye, good results just seem to evade the roster.
While no specific reason has been cited for karrigan’s benching, the official statement on Astralis’ website reads that he “has been benched by Astralis’ coach Danny ‘zonic’ Sørensen,” which suggests he was removed due to his in-game performance.
In the 26-year-old’s stead, Astralis will now compete with Anton “notaN” Pedersen in the ongoing season of ESL Pro League. How long notaN will be present in the line-up has, however, been questioned already, given his lack of competitive experience as well as recent rumors, which claim that Astralis is potentially looking to acquire Heroic’s Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander.
Karrigan himself appears to be taking the decision in stride. The former in-game leader released a short video clip titled “Im benched in astralis.” The video features karrigan sitting down on a bench followed by him gleefully waving towards the camera.
Astralis’ debut series with notaN will be played in today’s ESL Pro League, where they will be taking on G2 Esports at 2.20 pm CDT.