Danish CSGO powerhouse Astralis are set to sign a new member to their ranks without the intention of replacing any of the starting five already on the payroll.
A deal that would have sent Heroic’s Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen, along with the rest of the team, to Global Offensive newcomers FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) has fallen through, first reported by HLTV.org and 1pv.fr.
Though the team transfer was officially announced by Heroics and FPX, Astralis managed to pry the 24-year-old AWPer and add him to their already impressive pool of talent.
Even though CSGO supports a five-man team, Astralis will not announce any departures from their three-time Major-winning squad.
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Update, March 22, 11:05 AM EST: Astralis CEO Nikolaj Nyholm has confirmed that es3tag will officially join the team on July 1, 2020, at the end of his current contract with Heroic. Although they attempted to sign him early, Heroic asked for an $800,000 buyout for the three remaining months on his contract.
The Danish devils haven’t made changes to their CSGO team since 2018, when the org parted ways with Markus ‘Kjaerbye’ Kjærbye and replaced him with Emil ‘Magisk’ Reif.
In the year-and-a-half after the deal, Astralis went on a legendary tear through the Counter-Strike scene that saw them earn 16 trophies in stacked tournaments – all the while holding World Rank #1 for a record-breaking 406 consecutive days.
However, the new decade has been less than kind to the dominant Danes, at least for their standards. Before earning the top honors at the StarLadder Berlin Major, 2019 had been shaky for Astralis.
Though it seemed impossible at the height of their power, it actually looked like the rest of the CSGO scene had caught up to the team in terms of firepower and tactical prowess.
Coming off a 3rd-4th finish at Intel Extreme Masters XIV, Astralis are currently 2-1 in group play at the ESL Pro League Season 11, sitting in fourth place.
As for FPX, they have already been fielding the Heroics lineup, along with es3tag, in Flashpoint Season 1.
Questions now remain in the aftermath of the Astralis acquisition: How will Astralis marry es3tag to their plans of becoming the world’s best again? What will become of the Heroic lineup as it becomes a four-man roster? Can the League of Legends Worlds champ FPX assemble another top team, this time in CSGO?
With Flashpoint well underway and Astralis competing in the ESL Pro League, expect the answers to those predicaments to come sooner than later.