It was early 2020 and a storm was coming if you had your nose in the right place; Gla1ve stated in a sound-bite from late 2019 that players were quickly beginning to get burnt out with the constant barrage of high-stake matches offering neither rest nor reprieve to rosters ranging from the highest level of play to Tier 3 amateur bouts.
Nothing changed, and players started dropping like flies on the back of a tumultuous and stressful non-stop schedule and Riot’s new first-person shooter Valorant coming out with a promise of opportunity to start anew.
Astralis ended up dropping two players as they both recovered from burn-out and fatigue: legendary IGL Lukas ‘Gla1ve’ Rossander and Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth, of which the latter has yet to announce himself ready for a return to play.
Astralis was up a creek without a paddle to their name and started looking frantically for a player that could help fill the void.
They found Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hensen who has been on the roster of Heroic for an astounding three years and grabbed him up in a deal that many presumed would simply be a temporary body in the shoes of the massive fragger Xyp9x.
A NEW ERA BEGINS.
One brand. One Family.#ToTheStars pic.twitter.com/Ts5OWNi6OR
— Astralis (@Astralisgg) September 15, 2020
Fast forward a few months, and Patrick Hensen is now readily turning into a legend in his own right, even bearing in mind the extremely short tenure he has with the legendary Danish team.
In the past month, Es3tag has become the highest-rated player on the pristine Danish team of Astralis; a monumental achievement considering the pedigree alone of the European team. While it’s worth bearing in mind that Astralis is generally considered to be in a proverbial slump at the moment heightened by the pandemic that shifts matches into an online format and players suffering from burnout, he’s still outperforming everyone else on the roster.
Magisk comes in a close second based on nothing but kill differential (+63/+62), but considering KAST metrics along with the number of maps played puts Patrick surprisingly ahead of the Astralis veteran.
All of this ultimately boils down to a singular facet: as scary as Astralis were to face on stage before the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve now somehow turned the pandemic into an ever stronger boon for the juggernauts of European CS:GO, and the 24-year-old Es3tag shows no sign of slowing down.
Astralis is going to be riding deep as they stroll to the December matches that have promise of finally bringing back offline play; as scary as they have been, they’re exponentially more frightening coming out of this bizarre CS:GO scene.