In October 2020, Cloud 9 announced a complete roster overhaul aimed at regaining their lost glory. The roster changes cost nearly $6 million.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, four of the five players making up the new CS:GO team cost a total of $3.5 million, including player buyouts and salaries for three years. The final signing was the largest, which cost a whopping $2.1 million.
Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen, who has been part of Astralis since July, was the final signing. The $2.1 million deal went on record as the biggest ever for one CS:GO player.
After making a name for himself on Heroic, 24-year old es3tag joined the Astralis active roster on July 1, 2020. At the time, Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander and Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Hojsleth were on leave.
Following gla1ve’s return, es3tag remained on the active lineup. It was, however, expected that with Xyp9x’s return in November 2020, he would be moved to the bench.
During his time with Astralis, es3tag competed in two events. He won ESL Pro League Season 12 Europe and finished 5-8th in ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe.
Besides es3tag, the new Cloud 9 roster includes Alex ‘alex’ McMeekin, Ricky ‘floppy’ Kemery, William ‘mezii’ Merriman and Ozgur ‘woxic’ Eker.
Alex was the first player signed for the new roster in a deal valued at $1.65 million. He came from Team Vitality and took on the role of in-game leader and captain. Known as one of the best in-game leaders in CS:GO, he previously led Vitality to victory at ECS season 7 and EPICENTER 2019.
Woxic, whose deal value totaled $1.365 million plus a $296,000 transfer fee, has the role of sniper in the new team. According to HLTV’s 2019 player rankings, he was the 12th best player in that year.
Mezii joined the team in support role from GamerLegion in a deal worth $426,000 following an $83,000 transfer fee. Floppy got a deal worth $432,000 and zero transfer fee.
Cloud 9’s decision to reveal financial details of the new signings is unconventional and could set a new precedent for the industry.
Astralis Leads CS:GO Teams Globally with $8.2 Million in Tournament Winnings
The rebirth of Cloud 9 is exciting as the team has suffered a slump since the 2018 ELEAGUE Major victory. Despite their frequent roster changes, they have not managed any wins after that.
According to Win.gg CS:GO team rankings for September 2020, Cloud 9 does not make an appearance in the top 10.
The source ranked Astralis as the best team overall. Among the statistics supporting the choice, the report revealed that Astralis won 90% of the rounds in which it scored the first kill. Evil Geniuses was ranked second while G2 eSports was ranked third.
Not surprisingly, Astralis team members take the top five spots on the list of the most highly paid CS:GO players globally as of September 2020.
Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmunsen took first place with $1.772 million while Xyp9x took second spot, with $1.771 million in overall earnings.
Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz who had a total of $1.737 million was third and Gla1ve was ranked fourth with $1.602 million. Emil ‘Magisk’ Reif rounded up the top five with $1.366 million in overall earnings.
At the time, Astralis was not only the leading team globally by tournament winnings but its earnings were also almost double than those of the second-ranked CS:GO team.
Astralia had a total of $8.217 million from 88 tournaments, while second-placed Team Liquid had $4.593 million from 132 tournaments. Fnatic was third with $4.510 million from 196 tournaments. Cloud 9 sat in tenth spot with $2.539 million from 178 tournaments.
Cloud 9 Ranks First as the Most Valuable eSports Team
Team Liquid is ranked as the top team in terms of total eSports earnings according to a report by eSportsEarnings. From a total of 1,840 tournaments, it had won $35.70 million as of November 13, 2020.
OG came in second with $33.94 million while Evil Geniuses is third with $24.26 million. Cloud 9 was 12th on the list, having won $9.93 million from 760 tournaments. On the other hand, Astralis was 17th with $8.35 million won from 92 tournaments.
Interestingly, Cloud 9 topped the list of the most valuable eSports organizations in 2019. According to a Gamezo report, it was valued at $400 million, tying with Team SoloMid for first place. Its annual revenue was estimated at $29 million, compared to $35 million for Team SoloMid.
Based on the report, Cloud 9’s top ranking was attributed to its success over the years in League of Legends (LoL) and CS:GO. It was also tied to their London Spitfire win in the first season of Overwatch League.