jR: “How far can we go in the official games even we don’t know”

jR: “How far can we go in the official games even we don’t know”

Vega Squadron have been plowing their way through the Faceit Major, but not even the team captain Dmitriy “jR” Chervak knows how long that will last.

This being a third CS:GO Major in a row for the Russian team, most of the players are well accustomed with the pressure of the most important event in the game. Even though the Squadron managed to secure a respectable 9th-11th finish at the ELEAGUE Major earlier this year, they could not avoid the roster change that followed.

Vega Squadron, which for years remained one of the longest-running rosters in the game, had to let go two of their players earlier this spring. Sergey “keshandr” Nikishin and Nikolay “mir” Bityukov were replaced by Igor “crush” Shevchenko of pro100, and Anton “tonyblack” Kolesnikov of forZe.

The roster change left a lot of doubts in the team before the Faceit Major, but the Russian Sharks proved the doubters wrong. After a very impressive comeback, they overcame Team Spirit 16-14 in the opening game of the Major and further increased their lead by defeating BIG 19-16 the following day.

Team captain Dmitriy “jR” Chervak revealed in an interview, that not even he knows how far their team can really go.

Note: The interview took place before the game against BIG and was translated from Russian. 

Vie: You had a strong showing at a previous Major, but you really struggled to find your game since. Even after a roster change, your performance remained shaky. Why was that?

jR: We ourselves are still looking for answers to that particular question. (laughs)

Photo via HLTV.org

Vie: You had a roster change a few months back. Your performance this Major looks really solid, but was it enough time to get used to your new teammates?

jR: The atmosphere within the team is much better right now, we can freely discuss our mistakes and look for ways to fix them. How much time will we really need to minimize the number of mistakes is still unknown. Scrims have been going really well for us lately, but how far can we go in the official games even we don’t know.

Vie: What did your training look before the Major?

jR: It’s the same as usual, actually. We practice a lot and we work on minimizing the number of mistakes both as a team and individually.

Vie: So it must have been a busy time for your coach, Fierce?

jR: He’s the one looking for mistakes and helping us fix them. It’s just so much easier noticing these faults from the sidelines, than when you’re the one immersed in the game.

Vie: What are your goals for this Major?

jR: Top 16 and that’s the worst case scenario for us.

Photo via HLTV.org

Vie: What do you think about Winstrike? Will they be able to repeat their performance from the previous Major?

jR: They are a pretty good team. Lately, however, their performance was less than stellar, but that’s something they know best themselves, what they have to work on and what they have to fix. I think the repeat of the last Major is possible, even the upgrade, everything comes down to how well they will play themselves.

They proved that it’s possible once before, you just have to tryhard the best you can and trust your team.

Vie: Let’s talk about your game with Team Spirit. They looked really strong in the first half, but then they just collapsed. What do you think happened there?

jR: Team Spirit have gained a lot of momentum before the Major and they are in their best form right now in the history of this roster. The question always was whether they will be able to properly deal with the nerves and close out games. If they can find a way to do that, I could see them easily making it to Top 16 and once they’re there they would have a serious shot at Top 8.

It all comes down to whether they will be able to get ahold of their nerves before the rest of the games.

Vie: A few teams had some issues with the visas. Did your applications go well?

jR: It did, no issues whatsoever.

Still hungry for more? Head over to VIE.GG to compete against other esports fans!

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Nexus sXe: “There is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore”

Nexus sXe: “There is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore”

Making it to the next level and qualifying for the Minor are the two most important things for the Romanian Nexus, according to Cristian “sXe” Nita.

Coming out of ESL Southeast Europe Championship: Season 7 victorious meant a lot for the Romanian champions Nexus Gaming. For once, it cemented their position as one of the best teams in the region. They overcame the Balkan KlikTech and Bulgarian HEADSHOTBG to secure a first-place finish and nearly $3,000 in prize money.

But even more importantly it served as a proof of concept for the newly gathered roster. With very little practice together, the team overcame their opposition and won the whole event. For Cristian “sXe” Nita that meant a successful return to Nexus Gaming after nearly a year competing for other teams.

Nexus has secured themselves a Top 4 finish at the ESEA Season 28 Advanced Division, consequentially qualifying for a 16 team Premier Relegation tournament. Seven of the worst performing ESEA Premier teams will battle it out against nine lower league teams for four spots in the next season of ESEA’s highest league.

There, Nexus will have to overcome the likes of Virtus.pro, Movistar Riders, PRIDE, ENCE, and many others to take that next step towards international recognition.

To find out just how important it is for their team to secure this victory, we caught sXe for an exclusive interview.

Vie: How did you start playing CS? At what point did you realize you wanted to play it competitively?

I’ve been playing CS since I was 6 years old. My father got me into CS, he used to play 1.5 and 1.6 all the time with my uncle and so from there on it just kinda grew on me. I only played 1.6 just for fun, but then CS:GO came out and I got really addicted to the game. Slowly I sought competitiveness and so I wanted to pursue this stuff.

Vie: Then I guess your father isn’t really against your career in esports?

My family has always been very supportive of me and my career. For myself, it has been really easy to perform whenever because of all their support.

Vie: You went through the ESL SEE Championship in a very convincing fashion. Were you happy with your performance there?

Well, after I joined the team I knew we would win it because our synergy was tremendous considering we have played together in the past. The tournament was a great practice for us and we enjoyed playing it a lot.

Vie: There seems to be less and less competition in the whole SEE region for you guys. 

Our competition in the whole SEE region is based on two other teams actually, Valiance and Windigo. We will practice really hard in the upcoming weeks to prove that we can be the best team in this region. We will start with a bootcamp in the next couple of weeks and then we will move into a more permanent one, once Nexus finishes our brand new bootcamp location.

Vie: Both Valiance and Windigo had some success internationally, with Nexus somewhat lagging behind. What was keeping you back?

Well, first of all, we needed a serious organization in order to improve and some serious support, like the other Balkan teams had. Now that we have them there is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore.

Vie: The last time you were on Nexus you reached #47 in the World ranking — a record high result. I know some teams really chase a higher rank but Is that at all important for you?

We want to go to a Minor, then to a Major, rank is not that relevant to us. It counts of course but not that much. We care more about results and frankly, going to a Minor is our next goal.

Vie: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

I would like to thank all my fans for supporting me and everyone that supports Nexus. And don’t forget guys — 10k bots a day keeps bad aim away.

Follow sXe on Twitter @sXeCSGO.

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devoduvek: “Some people fail to understand that losing is a part of the game”

devoduvek: “Some people fail to understand that losing is a part of the game”

After a disappointing exit at FACEIT Europe Minor qualifier, we sat down with LDLC’s David “devoduvek” Dobrosavljevic to talk about his career in esports.

When the French-Serbian player first picked up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive back in 2014, he quickly rose through the ranks within the French community. By the time he played in his first Gamers Assembly, all eyes were on him — he was a guy with 400 hours to his name and he was keeping up with the best players in the country. It was only natural that suspicion arose.

The cheating accusations followed him for the next few years, up until his big break when he was invited to join Team EnVyUs. After that, he joined Sean “seang@res” Gares at Misfits, where he competed in North America for nearly a year and even qualified for his first Major at ELEAGUE Boston.

Since then, the 23-year-old player returned to France together with his teammate François “AmaNEk” Delauney to compete under the LDLC banner. Although being eliminated from the FACEIT Europe Minor qualifier by Aleksi “allu” Jalli’s ENCE eSports was a tough pill to swallow.

devoduvek opened up about dealing with cheating accusations, handling the pressure, wanting to return to Europe, and learning from the mistakes.

Vie: How did you start playing the game?

devoduvek: I’ve always been passionate about CS when I was a kid. I played the game for the first time when I was about 8 years old in a local cybercafe in Serbia during my summer holidays and I’ve been playing it since. I just couldn’t regularly play it because of school and stuff like that but I’ve always had the mindset to become really good when I was playing.

That being said, when I started CSGO in November of 2014 after buying a PC that could run it, I was getting pretty good really fast and people started accusing me of cheating almost every game. This combined with my passion for the game made me believe I had the potential to make it to a pro level, especially that CSGO was really blowing up in popularity at that time.

Vie: Were the constant cheating accusations upsetting? 

devoduvek: Actually yes, but in the beginning, I was having a lot of fun, so it didn’t bother me that much because it was getting me a lot of publicity. After a year, when I started playing more and more competitively, it was a bit sad seeing people not acknowledge my skill, but just simply say that I’m cheating, instead. It never demotivated me, honestly, I just kept playing my game and that’s it.

The only thing that changed is that I had a really “shaky” aim, similar to that of Kjaerbye. I had a lot of confidence in it, but I knew it made people doubt if I was legit when they saw me play. After some time, it just got to my head and I started forcing myself not to shake my aim that much. That lead me to change my way of playing and stuff like that. Now I’m trying not to care anymore. I think this is how I should have dealt with it from the beginning.

Vie: Looking back at someone like ropz, who nearly quit the game before his career even started because of all the cheating accusations. Was it like that for you as well?

devoduvek: I think after the ropz drama people really understood how terrible it is for an upcoming player to be called a cheater like that. It was even worse for him than it was for me because he was playing in FPL and some of the accusations where directly coming from pro players. Hats off to him for handling it as well as he did honestly, look at where he is now!


Vie: And you chose to go pro either way. How accepting was the family of your newfound hobby?

devoduvek: It wasn’t really hard, I was just playing it and that’s it. When I was telling them I might become a pro and make some money out of it, they weren’t really believing it until it really happened. I’m still far away from what a “real” pro is, but they are being really supportive now.

Vie: You don’t think you’re a “real” pro?

devoduvek: I might be exaggerating a bit when I say “real pro”, but I haven’t achieved anything close to the G2, FaZe, SK etc guys. Having your name on a sticker is only the first step towards it, but winning tournaments or at least making it to the finals is what would define you as a real pro in my opinion.

Vie: Minor quals didn’t go so well for you guys. You entered every match as favorites but then it was like you never showed up in the first place. What happened? 

devoduvek: I think our mental preparation and discipline was just really bad for this qualifier. We have been playing together for only a month and we didn’t really have a lot of official matches together yet, it was also our first qualifier as a team. It helped us to fix a lot of the problems and I think that these kind of defeats are something needed to progress as a team. We could have qualified, sure, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I just see it as a part of the process if you want to become a better team.

Vie: And then you turned that around and won PMU Challenge the very next week. 

devoduvek: The games that we lost at the qualifiers helped us realize what we were doing wrong. Like, you can’t really see what is wrong in your game if you don’t lose meaningful matches, and since the minor qualifier was really important for us, it helped us fix a lot of the stuff during our bootcamp the next day. Also, the 2-13 comeback against REFLEX in our first match was really important because we showed a really good mindset during the game which helped us for the rest of the tournament.

Vie: Do you still find yourself frustrated over what happened a few rounds ago? Or maybe over a game you’ve lost a while back?

devoduvek: I think I have a good mindset on how to take a loss. Some people fail to understand that losing is normal and it’s just part of the game. Of course, there are different ways of losing a game, and some might be more tilting than others. But in my opinion, if you believe in your teammates and in your team, you need to be patient and believe in the work you are putting as a team. Constant work is what is going to fix the mistakes that make you lose.


Vie: Before you joined LDLC you were playing in North America. Was returning to Europe something you wanted to do all along? 

devoduvek: Yes. I had the option to stay in the US and I was going to but the will to play with French players was really strong. Playing with French people is really something that was motivating me at the time. I knew that playing in the US was just temporary.

Vie: Do you find either of the two regions better or more competitive?

devoduvek: That’s exactly how I differentiate the two regions — the overall player skill. There is just less good teams in the US. The good NA teams are equals to their European counterparts, but there are just less good teams to practice with etc, so that’s why the scene is weaker overall in my opinion.

Vie: About AmaNEk, you have been playing together for as long as I can remember. What’s the story behind it?

devoduvek: I know AmaNEk since the 1.6 days, even though we were not playing that much together back then we were good friends. So back when I started playing CSGO, a friend that we have in common told us that the game is good and we should come and play it. We have been playing together since then.

Vie: So you just approach teams as a package deal now? 

devoduvek: It’s just that we both believe in each other I think. When we left the US, we planned to make a team together with the French guys, and we happened to end up in Team LDLC.

Vie: Thanks for taking the time. Any shoutouts?

devoduvek: Thanks for the interview! I’m happy to be in LDLC right now, so I would like to thank them as well for all that they are doing for us!

Follow devoduvek on Twitter @devoduvekk.

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OpTic forsaken: “The first year of my competitive career I didn’t tell my parents at all”

OpTic forsaken: “The first year of my competitive career I didn’t tell my parents at all”

OpTic Gaming signed an Indian CS:GO team earlier this month and to find out more about this project, we sat down with one of the players, Nikhil ‘forsaken’ Kumawat.

In just one month, OpTic managed to announce the open tryouts for their Indian squad, go through the applications, hold all the events, and sign their new team. More than 1400 players signed up to join the Green Wall, but at the end, only five were chosen.

With this move, OpTic aim to become the pioneers in the massive Indian market and to nurture the young players by providing them the highest level of support. For forsaken and his teammates, it means an opportunity to prove their worth to the world.

The 21-year-old just received his degree in Civil Engineering, but instead of putting on a suit and joining a company, he opted for a career in video gaming. A move that did not sit well with his family.

Kumawat opened up about having to hide his passion for gaming from his parents, rising to the top of Indian esports in less than a year, and how OpTic Gaming helped him find comfort in playing the game again.

Vie: How did you decide that this was what you wanted to do with your time? Did you just wake up one day and thought — I want to play this game for a living?

forsaken: It all started in College when my friends, my seniors and I would have daily ten-man mix nights over LAN. That was the first time I played this game. As a beginner, I was pretty bad so I wanted to improve as fast as I could and beat my seniors, so I started watching YouTube videos, playing this game whole day with bots just to improve my mechanics and knowledge. I could see I improved really fast when in nearly a month or two, my seniors started picking me first over some of their own teammates for our mix games.

But due to our university internet having limited connectivity to Steam client we could never play online for more exposure. As soon as I had the opportunity to play online in late 2016, I started playing on SoStronk (a third party service in India, as FaceIT, ESEA etc.). After nearly a month or so, I caught the attention of SoStronk admin Akshay Singh. He praised me for my fundamentals and that boosted my confidence. After 3-4 months, I was approached by a mix team and we went on a good semifinal run on our first India based tournament. So it all started from there and after one and half years of playing, I have been selected for OpTic India squad.

Vie: How hard was it to explain it to your family, friends? Were they accepting of your choice, or was there mistrust?

forsaken: It was pretty hard, for the first year of my competitive gaming career I didn’t tell them about it at all, but after another 2-3 months it was hard to stall as my Engineering degree was complete and I had to start working, but that wasn’t something I wanted to do. I told them that I didn’t want to join that job, but I wanted to prepare for an entrance exam for IES (Indian Engineering Services) so I could get a great government job. That way I was able to play competitive CS for another ten months without telling them, but sooner or later they had to find out and they did.

It was pretty bad at first, but when I told them about OpTic Gaming and how it would make me happy, I was able to convince them. There was a lot of mistrust regarding the job because in India there is no such thing as making money by playing games. Our relatives would throw weird glances after hearing I would be making money playing games but all of my friends understood and congratulated me, so it’s changing with the new generation.

Vie: Let’s get right to it then — tell me about the state of the game in India. How would you introduce it to someone completely unfamiliar with the CS scene there?

forsaken: I would say it could be pretty solid given the opportunity, proper guidance, and coaching, but let’s just say there are opportunities but no guidance and coaching. So without proper guidance teams shuffle every six months and that leads to them underperforming. Players don’t believe in themselves and their team after a certain period of time and thus they underperform in SEA qualifiers.

What we need is a group of knowledgeable people, international coaches, a professional ecosystem that would guide the players to believe in themselves, the process and learning the right way. And Optic Gaming are giving us exactly that.

Vie: What does it mean for you guys to be playing for OpTic? Representing a world-famous team must be great, but there’s probably a lot of pressure there, too?

forsaken: Playing for OpTic is exactly like a dream come true, not because how great the organisation is but also because now I will finally be playing with a bunch of players who are willing to give their 100% on and off the field for the team, as well as take advantage of their professional ecosystem, their massively knowledgeable coaches etc.

Playing for OpTic is like playing in the best way possible. Representing OpTic is certainly an honor for each one of us, but there is close to no pressure. I will be playing this game in the most comfortable way possible and if you can’t perform at the highest level in your comfort zone, then you shouldn’t be competing at all. OpTic have taken care of every little detail for us, both as gamers and as people.

Vie: OpTic are basically infamous for having some of the most passionate fans out there. Did you already get an opportunity to experience their support?

forsaken: When the official OpTic Gaming twitter handle announced our lineup, I got a massive boost in my following on Twitter, many of the OpTic fans are already here supporting and congratulating us. Some were not [as welcoming] but we are super stocked to prove our capabilities.

Vie: Tell me more about the OpTic India project. What’s it about, where is this heading?

forsaken: OpTic India project came all of a sudden when they announced their interest in having an all India lineup for the project. Almost every other CS:GO player in India was excited about the project just like I was. India is a huge country and OpTic believed that in population so large there are definitely super talented players and OpTic are known to enter spaces and give a chance for that space to grow and develop with the power of their brand. We are getting every resource and tools that a professional team anywhere else in the world might have.

Vie: Tell us more about the process. How did they determine the best talents in India?

forsaken: So OpTic announced the project, partnered with SoStronk and AFK and they assigned SoStronk to do the tryouts. So there was a registration link to apply for the tryouts, almost 1400 players registered. Then, they conducted an online theory test (related to the in-game knowledge of an individual) for every role a CS player may have (Entry, Support, Lurker, Awper, and IGL), and according to every individual’s answers, they selected 80 people out of 1400 registered for the LAN tryouts. After almost a week, they conducted the LAN tryouts with SoStronk Admins analyzing and measuring every individual. On top of that, an OpTic representative observed everything.

They set up many different teams with each team having every role player, then the matches were done and each player was thoroughly observed for their game-sense, mechanics, decision making, leadership quality etc. After full 2 days of offline tryouts, eight people were selected for the primary list, out of which they selected The Final 5.

Vie: Being selected out of 1400 applicants must feel great.

forsaken: I was one of the five, I felt great. After a year of struggles, I was finally able to find a team that has every quality of a winning team. I was selected for the role of support player, that’s the role I have been working on for quite a long time now and I am glad that I will finally have the opportunity to showcase every support quality I have on and off the game.

Vie:  So what are the long-term goals for your team? India today, the world tomorrow? Or are you taking it one step at a time?

forsaken: Well yes, we are taking one step at a time. Having said that, our first goal would be to mold each one of us into a different piece of a puzzle and find our place in the team, act like a team, perform like a team. Then we will be looking to dominate Indian scene and maintain at least a Top-5 ranking in South East Asia within the first 8 months.

Vie: It’s been emphasized how gaining international experience is important for any team. Do you think being in a relatively closed off region will keep you behind? 

forsaken: It has always been said that if you compete with the better you become better because you learn those things that make the other team better. Top Indian teams practice with South East Asian teams most of the time but we are far away from being a stable Top-5 in the region. Any Indian team right now needs a better professional guidance and coaching. I can’t comment on the ceiling of the team right now because we are far away but I definitely believe given the proper system, practice and international experience we as a team are going to prosper into a solid unit.

Vie: Where and when will we first see you guys compete? 

forsaken: Our first tournament will most likely be ESL India Premiership Fall season but before any tournament comes a lot of practice (laughs) So we are focusing on that for now.

Vie: There have been some talks about a $300k tournament coming to India, is that still on the horizon?

forsaken: I really don’t have any knowledge as of now but I have heard there are some tournament organizers in India working with PGL, so that’s something to look forward to.

Vie: Thanks so much for talking with us. Any parting words?

forsaken: I really want to thank all the great people that have always been there for me, including my parents, Anissa, Akshay, Prashant, and everyone.

Photo credit: OpTic India

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NaToSaphiX: “My performance always takes a hit when I stream on the [game] day”

NaToSaphiX: “My performance always takes a hit when I stream on the [game] day”

We caught up with Niels Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen for an interview on his way home from a two-week Sprout bootcamp in St. Ingbert, Germany.

Sillassen, probably best known for his YouTube channel, always remained at the edge of professional play, representing several top-tier Danish teams, including Team123, eFuture.dk, and mTw. The player himself, however, insists it’s the opposite — he’s a pro gamer before he’s a YouTuber, not the other way around. “I still try to balance both things but it does get harder every day,” he says.

The Danish AWPer joined Sprout three months ago, after a lengthy trial period within the team. Since then, the Germany based organization lost two of their founding members in Paweł “innocent” Mocek ,who joined Tempo Storm, and Kevin “kRYSTAL” Amend. As a replacement, the team announced the signing of North Academy and Team Singularity alum Dennis “sycrone” Nielsen just a few days ago.

NaToSaphiX talked about their bootcamp with sycrone, building new Sprout, and the hardships of balancing pro gaming career with streaming.

Vie: First things first — how was your bootcamp? Where were you staying? Is this a routine bootcamp in Sprout’s training schedule or is it in preparation for something specific?

NaToSaphiX: We were staying at a bootcamp house in a smaller German city called St. Ingbert where we were set up with PCs and had an entire house to ourselves. Last time we had a bootcamp (just before I was announced) it was in Sprout’s HQ in Berlin where we had a super nice setup with Caseking PCs and Noblechairs. At the first bootcamp we stayed at a hotel during the days of the bootcamp.

We’re not really preparing for anything in particular but with minor qualifiers coming up it felt like a good time to meet up and practice.

Vie: Were you bootcamping as a four-player-team, or were you joined by a mystery fifth?

NaToSaphiX: We were joined by a mystery fifth at the bootcamp, who is not under contract and who might never be. We’re still figuring out who the last piece of the puzzle is going to be.

Vie: Finding new players must be difficult. How does that work in Sprout? Who makes the final call — the players or the management?

NaToSaphiX: The final decision is made by the management/coach but it’s always with the players’ interests on top. If the players don’t wish to play with someone, we will not be forced to do so, which I think is a really good approach.

Vie: Speaking of, you yourself officially joined the team fairly recently. What goes into a “trial period” with a pro team? 

NaToSaphiX: A trial period is basically a period of time where you play with a team and they evaluate whether or not you’re good enough to play on that level. It could be anything from aim to attitude to communication to fitting in socially. It’s pretty straight-forward in the sense that it’s just a trial period which is used to see if you’ll fit in with the team in the long run.

Vie: How did you get into Sprout in the first place?

NaToSaphiX: I had a really good friend, Sprout’s manager, Emir, who somehow managed to get me in for a few praccs. I guess I must’ve impressed them or at least not made a complete fool of myself since they let me play with them for an elongated period of time that eventually lead to me being signed officially. A bit of an unorthodox way of making it onto the team but I’m definitely not complaining (laughs)

Vie: You are a Dane in a very German team, that must have been daunting at first. What’s the communication like? Do you have some sort of “No German” policy set in place?

NaToSaphiX: It was definitely daunting at first but I never really saw it as such a big problem. When I joined there were rules in place so that the Germans were forced to speak English even during 2vsX situations, which I don’t think is the right way to do it. After I joined the Germans now speak German to each other if they’re the only ones alive, which I think makes for a better synergy during those rounds. If we’re out in public together or just hanging out on TeamSpeak after a day of practice or officials, there is a “No German”-policy in play, yes.

Vie: You have been always riding the edge between being a pro player and a YouTuber. It can’t be easy trying to manage both at the same time? What does it say on your business card these days — pro player or Youtuber?

NaToSaphiX: For sure if I had to pick one, I’d pick Pro Player. It’s the achievement I’m the proudest of, since I’ve had to work insanely hard to get here. I still try to balance both things but it does get harder every day. I hope to at some point hire a video editor, a social media manager, and just a regular manager, so that I can get some help with keeping everything afloat while I work towards becoming the best Counter-Strike player in the World.

Vie: You haven’t been releasing that much content on Youtube and your streaming schedule is shaky at best since you joined Sprout. How are your fans handling it? Are they supportive of your newest endeavor?

NaToSaphiX: I think my streaming schedule has been shaky for a few years, it’s something I enjoy doing from time to time but my relationship with my stream is somewhat the same as with my shower. It’s always somewhat hard to push myself under the showerhead but as soon as I’m under the falling water, I never wanna leave. With streaming, it’s the same, it’s hard for me to find the time and energy to start my stream but as soon as I start I don’t want it to end. I think my biggest problem with playing CS and streaming at the same time is that my performance always takes a hit when I stream on the same day, since I’m usually a bit exhausted. During the times where I play a lot of officials, I steer clear of streaming, so that I can perform at my top level in every game. Everything comes at a cost in CS.

As far as my YouTube schedule goes, videos usually get postponed by me either not playing enough (not having enough highlights), not having enough time to edit or traveling too much (I have 15 minutes of highlights sitting at a PC that’s 300km away, so I can’t make videos currently). When Summer comes, I’ll be moving back into my hometown with my beautiful girlfriend and I won’t be traveling as much anymore, which will not only give me more time but also means that a situation where my highlights are 300kms away won’t happen.

As far as the fans go, I think they are super supportive of me, which I really appreciate sooooooooo much! They are very understanding and never complain about me not having enough time to make footage. It’s just a situation where I feel they’re extra excited when I do put out new content (through my stream or my YouTube), as it’s a somewhat rare occurrence currently (laughs) So that’s something I’m very happy with.

Vie: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

NaToSaphiX: At the end I just wanna use the time to say thanks for the support, the kind words that show up through my comment section on YouTube, on my Twitter, through the chat/donations on Twitch and on Reddit.

I really can’t believe that I get to travel the World with my best friends, playing the game I love and at the same time supporting my life and my future. None of it would’ve been possible without the support of the people on the other side of the monitor, so thank you a thousand times for pushing us to even greater heights!

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HUNDEN: “Communication is harder for international teams only in the first six months”

HUNDEN: “Communication is harder for international teams only in the first six months”

One of the most experienced Danish in-game leaders, Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, descended upon us to talk about the difficulties leading an international team, calling in English, and the future of multilingual lineups.

HUNDEN became an important part of the competitive CS:GO community since the launch of the game in 2012. Although he played exclusively in Danish teams, the 26-year-old has made some waves internationally, playing for teams like Copenhagen Wolves, SK Gaming, and myXMG. With the latter, he even attended DreamHack Winter 2014 — the very first Valve sponsored Major tournament.

For the past nine months, however, Petersen has been playing for a legendary German team ALTERNATE aTTaX. September of last year, HUNDEN officially joined the all-german line-up and for the first time in his career started calling in English. Since then, the German team secured a first-place finish in 99Liga Season 7 and ESL Meisterschaft: Winter 2017, and most recently made it to the final of GG.BET Majestic: European Qualifier, where they will face Team EnVyUs for a spot in the LAN finals.

“Making ALTERNATE aTTaX great again,” is what Petersen calls his efforts to take the team to the level he knows they deserve.

Vie: Before you joined ALTERNATE aTTaX you’ve been playing at the top of the Danish scene for a long time. What made you decide that it was time to “move abroad” and explore other options?

HUNDEN: I decided I needed to try out something new. After we ended up at number 21 in the world rankings with Tricked (Friis, Es3tag, Borup, AcilioN, and I) I felt it was time to try something different when Es3tag went to Heroic and Friis went inactive. So, after a few weeks, I had some good offers and stuff like that, I could have even moved to NA, but making ALTERNATE aTTaX great again was something that motivated me a lot.

Vie: When you joined them in September you were the only non-German in the team, that must have been daunting at first. What was the communication like? Was it hard for you to keep up with the rest of them? 

HUNDEN: The beginning was rough. Before I joined them, I had played like 10 games of Counter-Strike in English with a very small amount of info. So in the beginning, when I had to explain everything in English until everyone was understanding my ideas was really hard. My hero in this lineup is for sure my coach Torbjørn “mithrtv” Nyborg. He became the head of the team pretty fast — all the players could go to him if they had some personal issues, issues with my way of calling, etc.

Vie: Did you have to set some sort of ‘No German’ policy in place?

HUNDEN: We tried to create some “No German” rules, but it seems like the Germans still don’t understand.

Vie: I’m sure you are used to it by now, but what was it like having to call in English? Did it make you change the way you approach shot-calling?

HUNDEN: It was hard in the beginning. The official matches in the first 3 months were really hard. I was nervous, I felt like I had to show up with some good reads and calls. But overall I think I’m improving a lot as an in-game leader now. I have a new understanding of the game now, thanks to Torbjørn’s hard work with both me and the team. I know how important it is to talk about the gameplan, reactions and stuff like that when we have time to practice.

Vie: Speaking of, aTTaX historically have been pretty much an all-German team. Now, like half of the squad are Danish. Was that your plan all along? Will we be seeing an all-Danish aTTax by the end of the year?

HUNDEN: I really really like all the German players who have been on the team and also in the management. Tizian was a special one, me and him found each other pretty fast, so I was sad when he got bought out of the contract [by BIG]. EcfN was one of the kindest teammates I have ever had. It was a hard goodbye — we miss him in the social part of the team. Niklas, the old general manager, the guy who made me join aTTax… Good guy, wishing him the best of luck!

So no, I enjoy all the Germans, all of them are great. aTTaX will never be a full Danish team! I like to call in English, and I’m improving a lot here!

Vie: And you are not the only one — there has been a massive uptick in international teams recently. What’s your opinion on that? Do you think communication is holding international teams back or is it something that can be easily overcome?

HUNDEN: Communication is harder for international teams only in the first six months. But when you start thinking in English, and your callouts start to come up naturally — like they would in your own language — it starts to feel normal. When things start to feel normal, you just grind the confidence you need.

Vie: I feel like you can’t talk multinational teams and not mention SK Gaming. It wasn’t just me, that was pretty crazy, right? How big of an impact can changing the primary language have on the team?

HUNDEN: It will of course have an impact on their team play and all the small things in the game. I don’t support this lineup change at all. They were the best team in the world when they just played in Portuguese, now it seems like they have a lot of misunderstandings and that will affect them for the next 4-5 months as well.

Vie: International lineups like mousesports or FaZe have been climbing the ladder quite impressively lately, but the overall “supremacy” of Europe seems to be fading. Would you say that has more to do with the increased level of other regions after all?

HUNDEN: Since everything is available just a few minutes after the game, I think it’s easier to study playstyles from other parts of the world. Also, there’s a lot of money in the game right now. The teams have enough money for full-time coaches, full-time analysts, etc. So I’m pretty sure we will see teams like TyLoo make it even closer this year if they will keep the same lineup.

Vie: Who would you say are the best free agents on the market right now?

HUNDEN: I’m not into the free agent show. But I’m pretty sure we will see faveN from EURONICS Gaming making even more of an impact this year. If we go to Denmark — if TeSeS [of Squared Esports] can get 100% into the game and learn the last part of teamplay, I know he will play for a bigger team this year. Since my best buddy AcilioN is out of Imperial, I know he will be a good pickup for all teams who want to be a part of a top30 team in the World.

Vie: Do you ever think about going back to play with your Danish comrades?

HUNDEN: Next for me is just staying here in ALTERNATE aTTaX and I really want to make them great again. I think we have a really good team now with Console on board. I love being here. I already had some offers from Denmark — who could support me full time as well — but they got denied because I love staying here!


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