When Victor "Staehr" Staehr was signed by Astralis, it was met with a lot of excitement. One of the best young talents in Denmark, it was a signing that proved Astralis still had a pull within the region, and still intended to become one of the best in the world once more.
However, the same could not be said for Johannes "b0RUP" Borup. Seemingly an uninspired signing at the time, fans felt like b0RUP was a 'leftover', and that team would have been better off by sticking with now former Astralis Talent player, Alexander "Altekz" Givskov.
With the season now deep into it’s second event, that original estimation has already been proved wrong. b0RUP has impressed, and with the team now qualified for both BLAST Premier Fall Final and the IEM Cologne 2023 Playoffs, we spoke to the new Astralis man about his time in tier two, replacing Andreas "Xyp9x" Hojsleth, and playing under Benjamin "blameF" Bremer.
Sam "AN1MO" McKenzie, BLIX: What's it like playing under blameF as an IGL?
b0RUP: Oh it's great, he's one hell of a leader. He's very smart at the game and it always feels like two steps ahead on T side and CT side, it's just a pleasure.
BLIX: How good is it to have two true superstars like blameF and device?
b0RUP: It feels great. Obviously I know my role and I know what I need to do to just do my part, obviously I want to do more than my part, but you can always count on those two to always perform. We have two other superstars in Staehr and Buzz as well, who can always deliver as well, so it feels great to have two consistent players who take so much control, and space, and talk so much during the game.
BLIX: When the team was announced, you were a bit of a surprise signing, and maybe that meant that some fans weren't as excited about you as they were about Staehr, are you happy with how you've performed so far?
b0RUP: Yeah, I'm super happy. I know there were a lot of doubts, but I think people are slowly starting to look at me with a good eye. They're seeing what I'm capable of and that I can pop off sometimes. Even though it's not my role to perform at that kind of level, but I know what I'm supposed to do and I'm here to do that and a lot more, which just gets unnoticed.
BLIX: Does it add pressure knowing you're here to replace someone like Xyp9x?
b0RUP: Not at all. I know that I have different values than him, and I think my values contribute a lot more to the team that what he was doing in the role at the certain point in time. Now they need something more because there's another IGL and playstyle, and I'm quite happy. I think my role fits way better.
BLIX: You were on Copenhagen Flames before Astralis, was it a disappointment to see the project come to an end the way it did?
b0RUP: Definitely, it's one of the funniest teams, I love all of the guys on there and we had so much fun all the time. We even tried to stay together, but it didn't work out. It's a shame that it went that way, not that I'm not super-stoked to be on Astralis or wouldn't have said yes even if I was on Flames, but of course, it's a shame to say goodbye to such good friends.
BLIX: You were in tier one before with Heroic and dropped down into tier two, what did you learn in that time?
b0RUP: When it was my first real time in the tier two environment, and I learned a lot of stuff. Obviously it was many years ago and a lot of things have changed, metas have changed, the way people call has changed, but I learned so much about how it is being in a real good team and how you prepare and how you want to approach matches and stuff like that. I think I just learned a lot in general because cadiaN calls a very loose style, so you just learn so much more about CS than if you play a very strict, execute style, right?
BLIX: What would you say about the idea that tier two CS is more innovative than tier one right now?
b0RUP: I think tier two actually does deliver a lot of talents at the moment, and, as you said, innovates the meta. There's so much data to go off from them, they obviously just play a lot more matches and they have the firepower down then but it just goes unnoticed because they don't have the experience. Yeah, I know first hand that birdfromsky likes to be creative and play his own way, and it just works out so well, so when he does compete against better teams they're like 'woah, what's happening here?' because he's playing against tier two teams, and he's a step ahead, and he goes unnoticed, so when we play against them, we play different.