How have you carved out your role on North?
That has been a longer process. I feel very good with Valdemar “valde” Bjørn on board now, all players have more responsibility now. It is very important to succeed as a team. Back with Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen & Casper “cadiaN” Møller I used to be Entry Fragging. That was quite natural for me, after having done the same thing in my career up until that point. Nowadays I’m a bit more of a lurker, playing many outer positions. It has been a huge eye-opener for me, and inspiring having to learn many new and challenging roles. I realized that changing things up for me, and challenging myself, getting out of my comfort zone, has made me a more well-rounded player and I feel I perform more consistently. Even if you are succeeding at a certain thing, you need to challenge yourself and your teammates more and more these days, to stay ahead of competitors. The competition in CS:GO is greater than it has ever been.
Having been with North for the past 18 months, seeing the general roster turnover, how has it been for you?
It has been challenging at times. In general we have created some moments together, that we will never forget. Winning Dreamhack Masters Stockholm against Astralis was huge for us, and a milestone for North. It reminds us that with hard work and a strong belief in each other, winnings big titles are possible.
It is important to dream big. You need to separate dreams and have belief, but always set reasonable goals though. If you do better, that is just a bonus.
We’ve had different rosters, and maybe a few more changes than I probably anticipated was going to be necessary, when I joined North - but then again, I like to play in an organization that wants to win, whatever it takes. I love having fun and traveling with teammates I like, but my drive has always been winning. None wants to waste time in a competitive environment.
We only have the privilege of such a career for a certain amount of time. We have at times been way too influenced by previous disappointments, which I think, has made us lose confidence in ourselves. A big part of the cure for that has been bringing in Torbjørn “mithR” Nyborg. He is very dedicated coach, who brings us a lot of positive vibes, and he remind us that in order to perform our very best, we need to enjoy the game. Obviously, it’s also a job for us nowadays, but you still need to have as much fun as possible with the game itself. That is something I believe in, because motivation is a strange thing and hard to explain. But it’s paramount in any success story. If the guy next to you is more talented, you better work twice as hard as him or just forget it.
- Read the interview with gade
Insightful CS:GO Articles
Event previews, strategy articles and all the latest oddsFollow Pinnacle Esports
What drives you to be the best player you can be and when did you transition into becoming a competitive player?
My competitive career began, when I turned 16. At that point I was very motivated, by the dream of eventually proving the people who didn’t believe in me wrong. Back then in 2014, maybe only 3-5 teams could make a living off competing, therefore I knew I had hard work in front of me. I remember some of my family members’ faces, when I told them I would skip an education at the university, in order to pursue my dream in gaming. I mean, I would any day advise youngsters to take an education, but obviously, this was a huge opportunity for me. Furthermore I knew that if I couldn’t make it, there was always a possibility for me to take an education (which is free in Denmark).
I became a part of Dignitas, back in 2015 and that was when I made a huge decision to drop out of my marketing and economies studies. I really liked school, and my grades at one point were better than ever. My first year there was also kinda my breakthrough in CSGO. When FPL launched, I believe I played 200 games in one month. I was completely addicted to learning from the best and getting a place to show off my talent, because I didn’t like my daily life back then in 2015 with our MSL, Pimp, aizy & Nico: I would go to school from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. I would cycle home fast to practice and play FPL after until like 01:00 AM. But I couldn’t fall asleep because the game was in my thoughts - and ended up turning on the PC and playing until 4 AM. I would sleep 3 hours, go to school and the first thing my teacher would ask me is if I ever slept at night!
Having mentioned that you’ve worried about not fulfilling your talent in a previous interview, where do you see your gameplay reach throughout the rest of the year?
Nowadays I’m more aware that I do this because I love it. I’m somewhat addicted to becoming the best, you could say. The difference is just that I do it for myself and never to prove myself to anyone else. You need to surround yourself with positives vibes and close friends through the bad times to reach your full potential, and sometimes you end up reaching new heights you never thought you would reach.
It has been challenging at times. In general we have created some moments together, that we will never forget.
I try to visualize different scenarios in my head going into a tournament. For example running in the gym makes me picture our team lifting a major trophy. It is important to dream big. You need to separate dreams and have belief, but always set reasonable goals though. If you do better, that is just a bonus. Winning the Major at the age of 18, probably had a major effect on my expectations going forward in my career. That can be a very good thing, but maybe also bad at times. It’s important to find ways to motivate yourself, dreaming about trophies could be one. But in the rough times, you need to take a step back, look into your life and accept the hard reality of being far away from that. You need a tough discipline to evaluate yourself and sometimes take a step back and ask yourself if the amount of work and intensity is aligned with what your dream of. If not, you have a problem and that has haunted some players previously I believe. That is why no matter your motivation to pursue this career, you really need to love the game enough. Even after launching the game, the day after a failed Minor, that you know for the next hours will remind you 24/7 of how big of a chance you just blew.
A good example of drive for me was the Atlanta Major in 2017. I knew how hard I would work every day making our dream become reality. But then again, I also knew going into it that it would be very difficult, and I was still very young and inexperienced. Everything worked out for me and on the day of the Grand Final, I had a strange feeling of it being destiny at times. I would use the high and frightening expectations and turn it around to something fun, where it felt I had nothing to lose.
- Read the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 Preview
In your eyes what is success and what is failure?
The ultimate success for me is waking up happy every day. That can be more challenging than it sounds. Calling this a “regular job” would be a lie, it feels more like a lifestyle. My career has always been a top priority for me. I like to spend time outside practice learning about psychology, but it’s necessary and important to also have many other things in life. You need to take responsibility for your own health and happiness first and foremost. Failure is the most underrated and human thing in life, you never know how things will pan out in the future anyways. So why don’t you try to let your failures be a lesson, instead of a burden keeping you down? Making big decisions has previously been difficult for me, but I try and turn my failures and disappointments into something positive. Winning is fun, but it will always be temporary. The day where you don’t win will come at some point, therefore I try to live more in the moment take anything for granted. As an 18-year old, you take everything for granted. I definitely feel like I’ve matured. You honestly only learn new things about yourself when you dare to walk into the unknown, make mistakes and fail. That is my experience with failure, having been there many times from my point of view. Failing doesn’t bury me anymore, I can be down for half a day maybe - no one can always be positive - but then I try and put things into perspective, and always end up realizing life could be 100 times worse, so why let minor things in perspective, ruin your day or mind-set?
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year old self?
Smile kid! You have just won a Major and even crowned the MVP. Don’t let the new and high expectations from others and yourself obscure your future relationship to the game you love. Going into Atlanta you knew that you were still just a kid in the beginning of his career. Don’t let the praise and thousands of messages from friends and some of your biggest idols change the way you act. Be proud, but never be satisfied. It sounds like the same thing to others, but you know the importance of difference between the two in elite sports. You are still the same. Winning and being the best is fun, but never forget your only initial goal and motivation of just learning something new in-game and yourself every day. As cliché as it might sound, just try to become better than yesterday in all aspects of life.
You can follow Kjaerbye on Twitter, @KjaerbyeCS.