Astralis submit seven-man roster for IEM Katowice including academy player vester
The Danish giants stressed that it is very unlikely that the 19-year-old will get to play in the prestigious competition.
Astralis have announced that academy player Mads "vester" Vestergaard has been included on the roster submitted for IEM Katowice. Kasper Hvidt, Astralis' Director of Sports, explained that the decision should be viewed as an indicator of the organisation's commitment to developing young talent rather than as a new strategy, stressing that it is very unlikely that the 19-year-old will see any game time in the $1 million competition.
"We want to signal that Astralis Talent is a part of the organisation," Mr. Hvidt said. "It's about letting them see and feel some of things that make Astralis what it is. We are not expecting vester to actually play during the tournament and it would be a bit too ambitious to assume he can already play against the best teams in the world.
"Should we end up in a situation where two players are out, we will not hesitate to use him on the server, though. Otherwise, he wouldn't be a part of the squad."
The Astralis Talent roster was unveiled on December 16, one month after the organisation announced a player development program designed to "create a recruitment platform and training partner" for the organisation's main teams.
The academy team, guided by veteran Dennis "vnG" Vang, are currently in 10th place in Elgiganten Ligaen Season 16 with a 4-7 record. Later this week, they will be taking part in a the Snow Sweet Snow 2 Regional qualifiers alongside Lyngby Vikings, Tricked and Copenhagen Flames.
According to the ESL Pro Tour's transfer regulations, a roster "can contain up to two substitute players on top of the regular ones." Astralis aren't the only team making use of the rule, however: NIP have submitted a list of seven players for the competition with Young Ninjas duo Anton "Sapec" Palmgren and Tim "Mann3n" Isak as substitute players.
Astralis currently have six active players on their roster, although Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen has featured for the team only once since the start of the year. Earlier this week, the 22-year-old rejected reports suggesting that he is looking to leave the team to find regular game time.
Astralis will play their first match in IEM Katowice on Thursday at 15:30 against a team coming out of the Play-In Stage. Evil Geniuses, G2 and Heroic are the other teams so far confirmed in their double-elimination group.
The lineup submitted by Astralis for the showpiece competition is the following: