The head coach of FURIA CS:GO’s roster, Nicholas “⁠guerri⁠” Nogueira, spoke about a possibility the Brazilian esports organization will expand their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive project to a six-man roster. As stated by guerri, the idea came after seeing other prominent squads making the same decision with their teams.

FURIA CS:GO Head Coach Inspired by Astralis

Expanding rosters to feature six or more players became a hot topic of discussion since March when Astralis announced they were expanding their team with the signing of Patrick “⁠es3tag⁠” Hansen, who joined the Danish esports organization in July. After announcing their expansion, the four-time Major champions went on to take one step further and signed Jakob “⁠JUGi⁠” Hansen and Lucas “⁠Bubzkji⁠” Andersen but have since parted ways with JUGi, leaving them with seven players on the team.

In a recent interview, guerri⁠ revealed he looks at Astralis’ project as a successful example of how much value a team can gain from having a larger squad. The Brazilian strategist also praised the Danish organization for its efforts to break the “cultural barrier” in the CS:GO scene and admitted that he finds working with a six-man roster very appealing.

“After watching the changes in some organizations, I decided to closely study the topic of having six or more players,” guerri said on Twitter.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the future of CS. With FURIA’s support, we will implement this in the coming months.”

Six-Player Roster New Meta for Professional CS:GO Teams

The viability of a six-man roster in a game that is only played with five active members at any time has been debated for a while and has only recently become a divisive talking point. While many analysts, players, and team managers believe expanding their teams to feature an additional “reserve” player is not an optimal decision, arguments can be made having a substitute player at your disposal could benefit the roster as a whole.

The positives of having a six-man roster are mainly from a competitive standpoint, as it lessens the impact of the individual player’s form on the results of the whole team. That correlates with instances when a player suffers from burnout and needs some time off to refill his batteries, in which case the sixth player is a perfect solution for the problem – as was the case with Astralis.

The second benefit of having a sixth man available is the tactical advantage it could potentially bring. It is significantly more challenging for teams to put together the optimal tactic to defeat their adversaries if their opponents can bring in another player who adds another layer of complexity to their strategy.

Last but not least is the impact on the team’s map pools. Professional teams often have a signature style that makes them more efficient on certain maps and less efficient on others. By adding a new player with a different playstyle and strategy, the map pool can drastically change, especially when the sixth player is a “map specialist.”

Despite all the positives, there is also a significant pitfall – the tough choice of which five players will get to play. Such decisions can be frustrating to manage while keeping a healthy relationship between the players. However, this is not an exclusive CS:GO problem and can be spotted in other eSports titles and professional sports.

Talking about the internal competition between players for a spot on the starting roster, guerri stated he believes it’s beneficial for the team and their long-term success.

“That thing about a player feeling that there will be a shadow, that at any moment they will feel pressured if they perform poorly? In football, if a striker isn’t scoring goals and there is a backup, the coach will make changes,” guerri said.

“This internal competition is healthy for the team… The player needs to understand that it’s not a team plus a backup; everyone is part of the team.”

First Change in 12 Months

FURIA CS:GO has not made a single change to their roster, and instead fielded the same five players since September 2019, when they acquired former Luminosity Gaming AWPer Henrique “HEN1” Teles. HEN1 teamed up with Yuri “yuurih” Santos, Andrei “arT” Piovezan, Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo, and Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato. Even though the Brazillian squad stayed unchanged for more than a year now, it would be fair to say FURIA CS:GO did not need to change anything, considering how successful they have been in their competitive endeavors.

In the past three months alone, FURIA CS:GO has won BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 American Showdown, DreamHack Masters Spring 2020: North America, and DreamHack Open Summer 2020: North America. They also secured a bronze medal from BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 American Finals and made it to the semi-finals of ESL One: Cologne 2020 Online – North America.

Due to their success throughout 2020, FURIA CS:GO climbed to No. 4 rank in the global CS:GO standings in June, which is to date the highest FURIA CS:GOhas been rated in team history. As of the most recent update (Monday, September 21), FURIA CS:GO dropped to No. 9 in the world, but are still ranked as the third-best team in the North American region, behind Evil Genuises (#3) and Team Liquid (#8).

Whether or not FURIA CS:GO’s decision to add the sixth man help them break into the top three is at this point anyone’s guess. Still, if other team’s successes with an expanded roster are something to go by, we can expect to see a lot more of FURIA CS:GO in some of the biggest CS:GO competitions.