Official: Astralis create six-man roster with es3tag signing
Astralis have confirmed the signing of Patrick "es3tag" Hansen for an unspecified period starting July 1, which will increase the roster to six players.
With the addition of the 24-year-old and the establishment of a six-man roster, Astralis are hoping to improve working conditions for their players and allow them to take a break for physical and mental recovery when needed.
In a thread of Tweets, the organization's CEO, Nikolaj Nyholm, explained that extending the roster had been their goal ever since Nicolai "device" Reedtz took medical leave for several weeks in late 2017, which caused the team to utilize stand-ins at the last two tournaments of the year, BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen and ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals.
Although it has been a recurring point of discussion in the scene, a permanent six-man roster is unprecedented at the top tier in CS:GO, where teams who require a substitute normally opt for temporary stand-ins. The closest Astralis' move comes to is a recent development in AGO, who currently have a seven-man roster and strive to have two players for each position.
"Our work with Astralis and all our teams is focused around performance and health. It’s our responsibility as an organization to secure optimal conditions for our employees on all levels, and especially our players, who on a constant basis experience the highest pressure to perform. Increasing the roster size to six players is something we have worked on for a long time with relevant stakeholders in Counter-Strike," Astralis' Director of Sports, Kasper Hvidt, said in a statement.
"This approach is no different than in traditional sports, but it’s new to Counter-Strike, and a change like this will take time to optimize for full advantage. The players, coach and our performance team have been involved in this decision and everybody agrees it is the way to go."
es3tag will join the Danish organization after his current contract expires, which all but confirms rumors of negotiations between FunPlus Phoenix and Heroic being incomplete and in jeopardy due to Astralis' last-minute move.
The signing has caused a response from Heroic's CEO, Erik Askered, who revealed that the organization is making legal preparations after Astralis had allegedly acted in bad faith and affected the sale of the team to FunPlus Phoenix. Nyholm went on to defend his organization's actions, saying none of them were taken to the detriment of Heroic or FunPlus Phoenix, both of whom had according to him been notified of es3tag's signing to Astralis.
Astralis will have the following roster from July 1:
Nicolai "device" Reedtz
Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander
Emil "Magisk" Reif
Patrick "es3tag" Hansen
Danny "zonic" Sørensen (coach)