Astralis are reportedly set to sign Patrick “es3tag” Hansen in a bid to assemble a six-man CS:GO esports roster, which the Danish organisation believes will help them find more stability following a disappointing start to the year.
The news could spell disaster for China’s FunPlus Phoenix, who had hoped to acquire the promising Danish pro as part of a deal that would see them sign the entire Heroic CS:GO roster. It is understood that FPX could call off negotiations if es3tag ends up leaving for Astralis.
Should the deal between Heroic and FunPlus Phoenix collapse, the latter side would have no team to field at FLASHPOINT. That would throw yet another wrench in the works for the nascent CS:GO league, which secured only eight partnered teams instead of the desired 10 ahead of its launch and was just recently forced to turn to an online format amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“I am unable to comment at this moment, as we are making legal preparations,” said Erik Askered, CEO of Heroic.
“This is due to the fact that we know and can prove that Astralis has acted in bad faith, and have considerably affected the sale of Heroic to FPX.”
If es3tag ends up leaving for Astralis, it would mark the organisation’s first roster change since signing Emil “Magisk” Reif from OpTic Gaming as a replacement for Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye in February 2018. Although Kjærbye’s departure was a massive shock, the move marked the beginning of a golden era for Denmark’s top CS:GO team.
Since then, Astralis have won 16 high-profile events, including three consecutive CS:GO Major titles and Intel Grand Slam Season 1, while holding onto first place in the CS:GO world rankings for a record 406 consecutive days. That streak came to an end earlier this month when Natus Vincere took over the no.1 ranking with their win at IEM Katowice.
Es3tag was first seen in a competitive CS:GO environment in 2014, when he played under Über n00bz. He later played for several low-level teams, including KappaKappa, Epiphany Bolt, Team Orbit, HeyGuys, Escape Gaming, and Tricked Esports, before teaming up with Heroic in June 2017.
With Heroic, es3tag achieved a handful of solid results at A-Tier LAN events, including gold medals at Games Clash Masters 2018, Toyota Master Bangkok 2018 and DreamHack Open Atlanta 2019, as well as a third-fourth place finish at EPICENTER 2019. Throughout that time he averaged a 1.07 LAN rating, won 54.2% of maps played and held a 1+ rating on 60.7% maps.
It remains unclear whether es3tag will end up joining Astralis and it’s likely we won’t know the answer to that question for some more time, considering he is currently in Los Angeles attending FLASHPOINT with FunPlus Phoenix.