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SK.walle "We can't take anything for granted"

By Michal 'Carmac' Blicharz
Aug 19, 2008 20:13


ImageDennis "walle" Wallenberg sits down with Carmac to give a big interview about SK Gaming's Counter-Strike team and its hopes of winning the ESWC Grand Final.

The Swedish SK Counter-Strike team will be one of the favourites to win the tournament in San Jose. Although throughout the year the lineup of Dennis 'walle' Wallenberg, Robert 'RobbaN' Dahlström, Abdisamad 'SpawN' Mohamed, Jimmy 'allen' Allen and Kristoffer 'Tentpole' Nordlund have shown very solid performances, they never managed to dot their I's and win a major.

The ESWC Grand Final is the most important Counter-Stirke tournament in the calendar and will be the ultimate test for the Swedish team. If not in San Jose, then where can they prove that they are good enough to be the number one team in the world?

Will you consider a third place in San Jose a defeat?

If we were to finish third I would be disappointed at first, but I would probably realize that a third place is all right after a while. Aiming for top 3 during a year is pretty realistic I would say, but I really wanna do well at this ESWC.

" At Kode5 vs mTw we played well but didn't manage to keep it up through the last map and I'd give credit to mTw for not letting us do that. "
At Extreme Masters the Mouz players said that if they had lost to you after the close game, SK would have won the championship. At Kode5 mTw said exactly the same thing. What's missing?

I'm glad to hear that other teams still think that we're good and do something else than just talk shit behind other teams backs'. I'd say the mouz loss was a bit more random than the mTw one. At Kode5 vs mTw we played well but didn't manage to keep it up through the last map and I'd give credit to mTw for not letting us do that. I'm not sure what's missing but after having lost a lot of close matches like that, I hope we're done with that soon and can come out on top with the momentum on our side next time.

What does your practice before the ESWC look like compared to your previous boot camps this year?

We've been trying to come up with some new stuff to balance out the stuff we've been weak with, and just practice situations we have lost too easily in the past. We're especially trying to minimize our mistakes giving the other team the advantage.

ImageDoes this mean that we will definitely see a stronger SK team than before?

I think we've always felt as if we can win the tournament we've been on, we just haven't been able to play our A-game at the right time. For example, we always play very well during group stages but fail to play our A-game during single-elimination rounds and that's where we need to pick ourselves up. I wouldn't say our game itself needs that much improvement, except for small stuff and getting rid of silly mistakes being made. I think we might see a stronger SK if we prepare mentally as well as in game : ).

Will the fact that SK players are in the ENC at Games Convention influence the team?

We will lose time to practice which is a pity but the guys are representing Sweden and have the chance to win some money so that's just the way it is. It'll work itself out, we'll use the time we have to practice and just keep in shape individually up until ESWC.

" I'd say we have a team with huge potential and a great mix of players but we're not using it as well as we could. "
Is this why you beat Fnatic quite regularly but tend to lose when it counts more?

Yeah, you will often see fnatic play poorly in group stages but pick themselves up during playoffs and we're all aware of our weakness with this. We have to go into every match 100%, one match at a time and not take anything for granted.

How close or how far from reaching its potential is this group of players in SK Gaming?

I'd say we have a team with huge potential and a great mix of players but we're not using it as well as we could. I think that we will soon because we've started to analyze and work on our mistakes more and more and with more time, we will only get better.

ImageIs Fnatic the team to beat? Or is it MYM or mTw?

I'd say mTw is, they have been playing great and they've improved a great deal during the last months / year. I think it's also very interesting that whimp improved the team SO MUCH, allowing Sunde to go from a rifler back to AWPing where he was before NoA.

What would it take to defeat them?

I think that mTw is the team closest to being flawless from time to time. Their game is very good and they make smart decisions at the right time, while not relying on random/impulsive decisions. To beat them you would need a lot of flow for sure, and be able to read them. You would need a lot of momentum, simple enough.

But with CS being quite random, relying alot on who has the better day and with a good start, being able to control the economy-system. Any team can lose on any given day, even mTw.

"The adrenaline kick of making a huge, match-deciding round or having your teammate do one is awesome."
And what's happening with MYM and Fnatic? Why are they not back to their winning ways?

It's hard to say. I think both teams have different reasons for not being as successful as they both were for a period each. I think that MYM might have been over-analyzing their losses too early when things weren't going their way a while back and changed too much tactically. They had a very aggressive concept that worked for them and I think sticking to that would have put them back in the very top eventually. They never slacked and always played a lot. Fnatic, on the other hand might have gotten too comfortable and not played as much as they used to and other teams simply caught up with them, teams like mTw etc.

What do you enjoy most about playing Counter-Strike in major competitions?

I love playing important matches vs good teams, win or loss it's a great feeling being there playing. The adrenaline kick of making a huge, match-deciding round or having your teammate do one is awesome. Stage-matches are also very enjoyable with a big audience, trying to keep your nerves under control and it's a great feeling coming out on top in those matches. That's what CS is to me, those memorable clashes between two good teams when the money and pride is on the line.

ImageWhat about the meta game between strat callers? Does it have meaning for you? Is that an additional "mano a mano" challenge in a CS game for you?

It does have a meaning for me. It's very hard for an ingame-leader between two teams that know each other well, for example us and fnatic. Coming up with something new, trying to read the opponents even though you know they could read you as well. There's a good example of that. When RobbaN and SpawN joined SK and I stayed in NiP at the beginning of '07, RobbaN became ingame-leader of SK and I was still calling for NiP. Back when me and RobbaN played in NiP we were the ones who came up with a lot of the tactics and we always used to talk about where and when to call everything so whenever we in NiP played SK, he read what I was calling a lot of the time and that was really tough, he knew me too well : ).


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