What IF everybody’s star players are leaving? aizyesque breaks down the likely - and the unlikely.
Contrary to popular belief, the Danish shuffle is not a cool new dance. Nor is it some type of weird sexual euphemism - no, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon that appears once every fourth French shuffle in Counter-Strike.
This one comes shrouded in mystery. Rumours of who is or isn’t available exist only in whispers, between the lines of PR statements involving terms like ‘seven-man rosters’ and ‘burnout’. For example, there are 'rumours' of Astralis players Xyp9x and gla1ve not returning, which is almost certain to kick start a Danish revolution.
Astralis players rumored to potentially not return, which could mean them needing new players.
North still underperforming
Mad Lions benching bubzkji
Will Heroic/x6tence be targeted, or look to trade up?
With Xyp9x and gla1ve potentially available, teams may feel forced to make a change. Kjaerbye is currently dealing with some stress and health issues too, but there are murmurs around him moving on as well - and for the sake of this article, we’re going to assume everything is true. It should be mentioned that North is adamant that Kjaerbye isn’t leaving, but that would be a boring article. So, nobody is safe.
Bubzkji is apparently being benched on MAD Lions, and though he said in an interview at DH Masters that players don’t really want to join North, he’s about as obvious an upgrade as North can find anywhere. North need firepower like dogs need attention, or like matchmaking players need an AWP - desperately. Bubzkji has it in abundance; a 1.13 rating over the last six months makes him hot property and he’s the best Danish player you could realistically get if you’re Astralis or North.
He could find his way on Astralis, honestly - though this would require a reshuffle in roles, he’s talented enough to do it. Astralis may need a new leader, though according to Richard Lewis’ exposé, Astralis believe all of their members can IGL.
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Any other options?
Who else is available in Denmark? karrigan is having a rocky patch with mousesports and may be interested in a return to the Danish scene, Gade has been rumoured to be leaving North a few times in his stint there, valde’s time with OG hasn’t gone swimmingly (though he will likely want some more time and LANs, it’s worth noting that an Astralis gig is hard to turn down) and mertz has been going off for Singularity and appears to have got his head down and worked on his issues.
If we assume es3tag is there to stay, and JUGi is unlikely to be a constant 5th, Astralis will need a player. valde would be an intriguing fit (but unlikely), karrigan seems to be a regression, Gade doesn’t make much sense either. I would be shocked to see mertz too, so realistically it leaves Bubzkji, Kjaerbye or an international player. Or, somehow poaching stavn, who would surely cost a fortune.
Kjaerbye back to Astralis would be incredibly interesting. He hasn’t been a consistently brilliant player for North, but who has? Astralis breed consistency, and it would be intriguing to see if he could recreate that Major MVP form once again. That would maybe give North some wiggle room financially if they want to upgrade.
The rumours would suggest Gade would be the one replaced - the enigmatic giant has flattered to deceive in recent times, but his robotic aim could easily see him recover into a very solid player. kristou is only on loan, though his improvement has been sharp and fast, and due to him being younger, cheaper and more malleable, he seems like he might stay on North.
Gade for Bubzkji would be a super solid move for North, though to afford him, selling Kjaerbye seems to be the only option. And that’s assuming Bubzkji would even consider it, which he likely wouldn’t.
Heroic are chilling with their solid team who have been doing well, but if Xyp9x and gla1ve are potentially available, it would be hard to resist. A team of TeSeS, stavn, b0RUP with those two would almost certainly be the most dangerous team in the region. They likely are the only team who wouldn’t necessarily need Bubzkji as their stars are already impressive, though you could swap one of TeSeS or b0RUP, which would be exciting and open one of those two up to MAD Lions.
For MAD Lions, it would be hard to find an upgrade on Bubzkji. Kjaerbye is about their best shot, in a fresh environment. mertz has the talent but acoR has the AWP role nailed down, while somebody like stavn is likely to be expensive. That said, if they get a large buyout for Bubzkji, Heroic have shown they’re open to selling already.
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Winners and losers
Who are likely to be the biggest winners of the Danish shuffle? Weirdly, Heroic and North are best placed. Should Bubzkji be benched, and Xyp9x and gla1ve eventually leave Astralis, those two teams are getting much weaker and three stars enter the market - either that, or they go international, and Denmark loses.
Astralis are most likely to be the biggest losers, but MAD Lions could miss out if they don’t replace Bubzkji properly. My inner North fan is well aware that North will somehow miss out and end up losing, somehow signing nobody and losing Kjaerbye or something, but they’re in a good spot to upgrade if they have a little bit of money to spend… which might be the problem.
The winner will be the richest team, the one who can afford stavn, Bubzkji, gla1ve or Xyp9x. Either MAD Lions or Heroic could have a real shot at ending this player break as Denmark’s finest.
Hypothetically, of course. Maybe it’s all just rumours. French shuffle, anyone?
Images via ESL