Nick J. March 21, 2020
FunPlus Phoenix has reportedly had enough of Heroic and that could carry huge consequences for the entire Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene.
According to reports from both HLTV and 1pv.fr, Astralis has been courting Heroic’s Patrick “es3tag” Hansen for some time in an effort to build a six-man CSGO roster.
Some found it odd that FunPlus Phoenix decided to reveal their entrance into CSGO close to a week after it was already widely reported. The official announcement came from the Chinese organization on March 15.
Despite the announcement, FPX's deal with Heroic doesn't seem to be set in stone. According to reports, the company behind the reigning League of Legends world champions could call things off with Heroic if es3tag decides to jump ship. That could carry huge consequences for Flashpoint and the ESL Pro League.
Reports indicate that as Flashpoint’s start date approached, the league and its teams were struggling to find a 10th franchisee. As a result, Flashpoint allowed FunPlus Phoenix to join as a founding member without having to pay the league’s $2 million buy-in, which had priced out most CSGO organizations.
If es3tag does leave to join Astralis, there is little reason for the Chinese organization to rebuild the Danish team. Flashpoint’s buy-in and fines for dropping outside of HLTV's top-20 rankings, as well as the general instability of CSGO may be too much for an organization that is dipping its first toe into the game.
Astralis roster changes could shake up all of Counter-Strike
Astralis has slumped recently, with the biggest example of this being the Danish powerhouse's lopsided loss to Natus Vincere at IEM Katowice 2020. More recently, the team suffered an embarrassing defeat to Ninjas in Pyjamas at ESL Pro League Season 11.
Adding a sixth man would offer the team a way to shake things up and give opponents different looks without breaking up a major-winning lineup.
As for whose shoes es3tag might find himself in first, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen is a likely candidate. Despite having won four majors in his career, dupreeh has struggled to this point in 2020. es3tag leads dupreeh in kills and clutches over the last three months, with es3tag winning 54% of one-on-one situations compared to dupreeh's 25%.
FunPlus Phoenix is next set to face off against Orgless in Flashpoint Season 1. Astralis will play its next match against Team Vitality in EPL Season 11 after nearly losing to a weak ENCE roster.