Xyp9x on Astralis’ Mental Changes, and Insights on Magisk, S1mple, and Zonic

Thorin sat down with Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, the former support player for TSM and Astralis who is now an assistant coach for MOUZ. In the wide-ranging interview, Xyp9x offered a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the legendary Astralis roster, sharing intimate insights about the team’s tight-knit culture and the mental approaches of top players like Magisk, S1mple, and Zonic.

Xyp9x spoke candidly about the personal growth he experienced in transitioning from an elite in-game player to a coaching role, noting the unique challenges of guiding superstar talents while maintaining strong relationships. He delved into the tactical nuances that made Astralis so dominant, as well as the importance of developing resilience and adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape of professional CS2. Xyp9x’s unique perspective as both a former player and now a coach provides fascinating commentary on the evolution of the top tier of competitive Counter-Strike. Listeners come away with a deeper appreciation for the mental fortitude and teamwork required to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

Xyp9x’s Coaching Resurgence at MOUZ

In 2016, the team formerly known as TSM officially rebranded as Astralis, and they would soon face the toughest years of their time at the top of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. After their meteoric rise to the pinnacle of the game, the Astralis squad began to struggle, bombing out of some group stages and making roster moves that delivered questionable results. One such change was swapping out veteran player cajunb for the young talent Kjaerbye, which did not have the intended impact. Late in 2016, the team took a significant gamble by bringing the in-game leader (IGL) talent gla1ve back from relative obscurity to lead the squad. This decision would prove to be a turning point, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astralis went on to win the first major championship of 2017 and cement their status as the world’s best team, challenging for their own era of CS:GO dominance. They didn’t quite manage to repeat that success at the second major of the year in Krakow, losing a hard-fought semifinal match to the eventual champions, Gambit Esports. However, it would be the following year, with the addition of Magisk to replace the outgoing Kjaerbye, where Astralis soared to a level of play unlike any other team in CS:GO history. Reflecting on this period, Xyp9x, the veteran Danish player, noted a significant change in the mental approach of the team. “We started to feel invincible, like we were just going to go in and blow these people away,” he recalled, drawing a stark contrast to their mindset against Gambit, where they were confident but not overly cocky. Xyp9x emphasized how critical the team’s bonding, chemistry, and self-assurance were in cultivating that sense of invincibility. “We enjoyed ourselves and felt a mutual understanding when we played as one,” he explained. This transition from being underdogs to perceived juggernauts required a confluence of factors, including unparalleled team cohesion and preparation. Discussing the dramatic events that led to the formation of Astralis’ legendary lineup, Xyp9x acknowledged it was an “amazing story.” When Kjaerbye unexpectedly refused to re-sign with the team, it was a real shock, but it forced Astralis to seek out a replacement. “As a result, we’ve put together arguably one of the best lineups in CS:GO history,” Xyp9x noted. While they considered other options like k0nfig, he was thrilled with the choice of Emil “Magisk” Reif, who brought his own unique qualities and proved to be an excellent fit for the team. The topic of who deserves the title of “greatest of all time” (GOAT) in CS:GO is a thorny one, and Xyp9x provided a nuanced perspective. While players like s1mple have undeniably breathtaking individual skills, Xyp9x believes that Astralis’ own star player, DevIce, exemplifies true greatness through his approach of playing for the team and sacrificing his own spotlight. “It’s more than just points; it’s about how someone lifts the team and helps them reach the top,” he said.

Xyp9x also spoke at length about the pivotal role that Zonic, Astralis’ head coach, has played in the team’s success. Zonic’s power to shape the roster and enforce team rules makes him stand out as one of the first truly impactful coaches in esports. But beyond just tactical acumen, Zonic’s ability to navigate team dynamics and foster a positive, motivated culture is what sets him apart. “He deals with problems straight on, creating a space where players are backed up yet also answer for what they do,” Xyp9x explained. Even amidst recent turmoil within the Astralis organization, Zonic’s coaching style, which blends firmness with kindness, has been crucial in building the team’s spirit and guiding them to historic achievements. After the legendary Astralis era, the team went through a period of decline, leading to lineup changes and upheaval. During this time, Xyp9x himself became inactive, playing for Astralis Talents for a while before eventually returning to inactive status. The once-dominant Astralis squad had to navigate a challenging transition, facing questions about their future and the sustainability of their previous success. Despite the ups and downs, the Astralis story remains one of the most captivating and influential in the history of competitive CS:GO. From their humble beginnings as TSM to their meteoric rise to the top, the team and its key figures, like Xyp9x and Zonic, have left an indelible mark on the scene. Their pursuit of excellence, their commitment to team dynamics, and their enduring legacy continue to inspire players and fans alike. After a period of inactivity, Xyp9x found a new opportunity as an assistant coach for MOUZ. This move turned out to be a great decision for him. As a veteran player with a wealth of experience, Xyp9x has a lot to offer the young talent on the MOUZ roster. Working alongside head coach sycrone, Xyp9x has been able to share his expertise and help guide the team’s development. The impact of Xyp9x’s coaching contributions has been evident in MOUZ’s recent results. The team recently won the ESL Pro League Season 19 championship, showcasing their ability to compete at the highest levels of Counter-Strike. They followed that up with an impressive second-place finish at IEM Chengdu 2024, further demonstrating their growth and potential under the leadership of Xyp9x and sycrone. It’s clear that Xyp9x has found a rewarding second chapter in his Counter-Strike career. His deep understanding of the game, combined with his aptitude for mentoring younger players, has proven to be a valuable asset for MOUZ. As the team continues to strive for greater success, Xyp9x’s steady guidance and wealth of experience will undoubtedly play a crucial role in their continued development and achievements.

What do you think has been the key factor in MOUZ's recent success under Xyp9x's coaching?
Xyp9x's expertise and guidance in helping to develop the young MOUZ players
The synergy between Xyp9x and head coach sycrone in leading the team
Voted: 2

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