As far as the scene outside of Sweden was concerned you came out of nowhere when you, f0rest and Tentpole joined up with Begrip and then went on to win WEG season 2 shortly afterwards. What was that experience of winning in South Korea like for you?
Oh man... WEG Season 2 is one of my best memories in my CS career. We had a great team with a good mix of players. Me, f0rest and Tentpole played together for a pretty long time before begrip, so we knew each other really good. We had our own room at the hotel with 5 PCs there so we could prepare really good before every match. IsKall and Calippo were great guys to have in a team as well, we came along really good both in-game and outside. For me it was huge to travel to South Korea back then, I had only been outside Scandinavia once before I made that trip so I was really excited to go there. We had a lot of fun and to win it felt really crazy. One of the happiest CS memories ever, if not the best one.
f0rest and Tentpole left Begrip for fnatic in early 2006 but you slipped into inactivity and became the forgotten man of that trio until your chance with NiP came along. What happened there? As a combination of players the three of you seemed to work so well together and there have been a number of things said behind the scenes about offers made to f0rest to join SK, especially during the early period when you joined them, so did you expect that the three of you would eventually end up reunited?
Well when Begrip died I started to play a lot of WoW. I didn't really look for another CS team and called it quits. Jmm, yes I wanted f0rest in my team a few times when we didn't have a lineup in SK, I mean f0rest is a great player who can say otherwise? There were a lot of times we were really close to ending up together again but things didn't go that way, and today I think we're all happy being where we are right now. As I said first I started to play WoW after Begrip died and I didn't play CS at all kinda until zet messaged me on MSN and asked if I wanted to come to Gamers Paradise in Stockholm and try to play with NiP. When he asked me I got kinda shocked but at the same time really happy so I closed down WoW and went into an CSDM server and well did my best in NiP.
Being as you've played with and against him for many years what can you say about f0rest? Did you have an inkling of what he would go on to become during your time together? Does the fact you were once team-mates take away or add to the rivalry at all?
f0rest is a really skilled player for sure. He was good in embrace and Begrip as well, and we all knew he had a good chance to become one of the best. But CS is a team game, and one player can't always win for a team, it happens but not often. Well it's always fun to play against Fnatic, we usually have a lot of fun matches against them and fun for the spectators as well. I have no personal rivalry against f0rest or any CS player. There is something special facing fnatic but the only reason is because we're both from Sweden.
The NiP team you joined in 2006 had been somewhat troubled up to that point in terms of making their lineup work. How quickly did you adapt to that team and what kind of role did you have within it?
I think I adapted pretty quickly to the playing style NiP had. I was amazed how good the guys really were, I had never played with such skilled players before so it was really fun to play. My role was nothing special really, walle was the in-game leader so I just did what everone else did. We bootcamped a lot the first few months with that team and played a lot together, HeatoN was a really good guy to have in the team becouse he really made us all play a lot and always tried to make us better.
Thinking back people often remember only the big moments of a year and those define it. So thinking of 2006 people will say Pentagram were the best team because they won WCG or fnatic for winning CPL Winter or MiBR for their ESWC victory. Being as NiP won five events, won silver medals, beat fnatic a lot of times and totalled over $105,000 in prize winnings do you feel like that team has been overlooked or underappreciated?
Yes, if you ask me I would say 2006 was NiP's year. We played really good that year except for the last 2 tournaments: CPL Dallas and WSVG New york. We really had a great year, and we should have won the WCG final, we won the first map and had a kinda big lead on the second one but then pentagram managed to take the gold out of our hands. The whole way to that WCG made it so hard to lose the final, the qualifer that year we had 2-13 on train against SK on the third map, we turned it around and took 14-1 as CT on train and won the qualifer.
Also we came back in a lot of matches there, played really even against the Finnish guys. EG had 8-0 on us on inferno and we turned that match around too, then on train against EG I think we had 14-14 and bought for win and ins aced with a deagle and we won 16-14. Wow, when I think about it I still get angry that we didn't win that final...
As you mentioned that WCG run saw a lot of comebacks to even get you to the final. With them occuring match after match clearly there was something in the DNA of that team. What do you think made NiP so good at overcoming adversity?
Ohh... first of all I would say the skill in our team was really high, zet was the best of the best and did a frag movie every match we played. We just had a great team and I think that game against SK back then when we turned around 2-13 to 14-1 made us all know everything is posible and it's never over. It's fun it was against allen and sometimes when he is cocky against me I remind him of that game and then he is silent ;)
Those last two tournaments, CPL Winter and WSVG New York, yielded some embarrassing losses to teams below your level. How did it come about that so soon afterwards you and SpawN left for SK, zet for coL and ins for fnatic? What are your feelings about the way that happened?
After those two tournaments everything went so fast, for everyone. People got different offers and wanted to try new things. We had a great year together but wanted to see different things and climb new montains. Yes, it was supposed to be SpawN, walle and I that joined SK in the first lineup. In NiP I became really good friends with walle and wanted him with me in SK but he wanted to stay in NiP and build a new team togeher with HeatoN and his brother (miniw). Now when I think about it I'm happy I joined SK back then, I have had 3 great years here and I'm problaby never gonna play for another organisation than SK.
The nine months before Tentpole and walle joined SK was a low period results-wise. Aside from the one big score winning at SEC over PGS there was a lot of disappointment and roster changing. Individually you seemed to be playing some of your best CS though, perhaps due to more freedom in your role. What do you think was the problem with that team?
Yea the lineup I joined SK with was allen, snajdan, vilden and SpawN. Nothing really worked for us becouse both vilden and snajdan wanted to call the tactics and they didn't really get along so good together. Yes I remember my role in the start was pretty free and it has always kinda been until today when I'm the in-game leader. Today I have to focus on other stuff and not just only make the frags. I like to be the in-game-leader right now and it feels like we have found a good style that fits us pretty good now. I know I don't perform as good individually as I did before, but I'm still learning and getting more used to calling for every tournament that goes.
The 2007 and onwards lineup of walle, RobbaN, allen and SpawN should on paper have been capable of winning events. Yet looking at the results of the next year there were some 2nds, and a lot of 3rd-5ths. Since SpawN was the one to leave the lineup people will point to him as the faulty part in the machine. Why was that lineup unable to win events?
It's not SpawN's fault that we didn't end up 1st at some events instead of 2nd. When I think about it it felt like we were really good with that team too, but we never really managed to go the whole way. It's really hard to say why we couldn't be better, I guess we all had something to do with it. There's not so many people I miss playing with but SpawN is for sure one of them. He is an awesome guy.
SK had GeT_RiGhT as a 6th man and tested him out in the lineup but when that didn't work he ended up joining fnatic and going on to a lot of success. Do you ever look back and feel as though more of an effort should have been made to integrate him into the team to try and make it work? Are there any regrets?
When you play CS on a professional level you do a lot of things together, you live together you travel together and with GeT RiGhT it just felt wrong. We couldn't talk to him or he to us, you have to see this as work becouse we do this as our living, but no one of us wanted to play with him becouse the fun part we had before just wasn't there anymore. I don't regret at all kicking him even though he is a really good player, sometimes people just don't come together, that's how it is.
Sure now some of you will say something like: So if you don't come along with anyone at your workplace you kick him? And that's not how it is, we had a choice and everyone wanted to do this. I don't have problems with people socially and I can be friends with a lot of different people. But that just didn't work out. He has grown now and is not the same person anymore though, and there's not any hard feelings between us these days.
The zet era of SK had its successes with some event wins and second places. Still it's difficult for people to figure zet out it seems. When he left NiP many felt like he was in the discussion for best player in the world. When he came back from Source despite those successes he was never the same player, even during his time in MYM he was not a standout for them. Having played with and against him how did you see that situation?
zet in 2005-2006 was probably the best I've seen ever. He had his own style of playing that no one else played. He was really aggresive as CT and he always succeeded with the most weird stuff. But as you said when he come back from Source he really never came back 100%. I dont know why, that Source year was a year when CS developed a lot, the whole movement in CS changed and people started to duckjump, stuff that he learned pretty fast but just couldn't hit his top notch form. He played great from time to time when he came back but not as consistantly as he did 2006.
Still he was/is a great player and a good friend. We have had a lot of fun together both in NiP and SK. Too bad he doesn't play anymore but I wouldn't say it's over, you never know. :)
Having been out of the spotlight for quite a while Tentpole has become a somewhat forgotten player. He seemed to be one of the great all-round players in the game, a player who could do a bit of everything to help his team win. What did you think of him and are you surprised he has never mounted a serious comeback?
Yes you're right, Tentpole was an awesome player, probably the smartest player I ever played with. I learned a lot from him and it's sad he lost his motivation for CS. No I'm not suprised because he didn't like CS at all in the end. Mostly wanted to spend his time with his girlfriend instead of practicing with the team just didn't work in the long run. He had played for a really long time and I guess he wanted a change in his life. But for sure one of the best players you can have in a team, he had perfect communication skills and a great eye for the game. There are not many players who understand the game like he did. Sadly I don't ever think he will make a comeback, and I think he is really happy in his life now.
SK's overall level was raised when Gux came into the lineup and it seemed as though the team gradually became a serious threat to win big events again, despite not managing to do so. Being as the kHRYSTAL era lineup before had been less consistent but won a couple of events is it a foregone conclusion still that you had to take a risk on such a great individual player like Gux?
I think when Gux joined our team everyone got some new motivation to perform better as well, we knew Gux was a really good player when he joined SK and that made the others practice more and get the will to win feeling back. Before ESWC we won IOL against fnatic in the final and we played really good at ESWC. I really don't wanna speculate how good we could have become with Gux or anyone else, now we have to focus on WCG in the end of September.
SK just managed to win SEC so how do you weigh up where you rank at the moment overall? On one hand the prize money there was good, on the other there weren't many top teams in attendance. Is SK top 3 in the world? Top 5? Where is it fair to place your team?
I think we always have been top 3 in the world with all the lineups we had over the years. I know my team is capable of beating any team any day. We're gonna try be in the best shape in a long time for WCG and hopefully take home a gold medal there. That's the only thing we have in our minds right now.
You and walle have been in two WCG finals only one map away from the gold medal. Do those losses haunt you at all? Does it have any effect on your confidence going into similar situations? With no mouz or fnatic at this year's finals can this be called your best chance to win a gold medal?
The losses hit you a week or two after the tournament, more time than that is not possible because you have to focus on the tournaments coming up. There is no time for looking back in CS until you quit, there are always new tournaments and you always have to set new goals. We will have 3 weeks of good practice time before WCG, there is nothing that will stop us from practicing except for 2 days when moddii is changing apartment. Best chance for gold? I don't know, we still have good teams there like mTw, Na`Vi, FX and EG. It's never easy. Even if fnatic and mouz were there it's not even sure we would have played them.
There are quite a few younger players amongst the lineups of the top teams at the moment, in particular in the Swedish scene. Do you feel as though there is a time limit on how long you can continue to compete at the top level? Are you the kind of person who needs to accomplish certain things before he leaves or can you take satisfaction in what you've done so far?
I don't think there's a time limit, but I think there is a time limit on the motivation. As long as you have motivation to play and want to win it's no problem. If you lose motivation it's gg. If I quit today I wouldn't be satisfied yet, there are still a lot of things I wanna win and I still have a lot of goals. I don't know how long I will play, the last years I've said "this is the last one" but then it's December and a good tournament is coming up in January and it's like, what the hell let's go. I love cs and I love to travel around the world and compete. I don't know long I will keep playing but this is probably my last year... ;)
You've been calling strats for SK from DreamHack Summer onwards this year and previously you did it for the team's victory at DreamHack Winter 2008 also. How would you describe yourself as a strat caller? Can you name anyone else you've played with or against who has a similar style?
This is a questions for my team-mates and I don't like to talk about myself. I can say that I'm trying to use the players in my team the best way I can, I don't wanna have it so schoolish, I mean if someone wants to do something I don't say no. I like to be the in-game-leader though, and I think I handle it ok. I still have a lot of things to learn from it, because I haven't been it for such a long time but I will get better at it. The worst thing for me would is if I felt that some team is reading our tactics, then I would really blame myself. I don't want that to happen. No I don't know anyone who's like me ;)
Thank you for the longest interview I've ever made! Also I wanna thank SK Gaming and our sponsors: acer, steelseries, kimikuro, playhugelottos.com and sansibar!
(Photographs copyright of Begrip and fragbite)
@Thooorin on twitter.
2001-2002 Pro-cybernews (Editor-in-Chief)
2002-2003 Gamers.nu (Lead Editor)
2004-2005 ESportsEA (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2006-2008 ESportsEA (Editor, Community feature host)
2008 TAO-CS volume 1 (Co-author)
2008 TAO-fRoD (Co-author)
2008-2009 WinOut.net (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2009-2012 SK Gaming (Editor-in-Chief)
2012-2013 Team Acer (Editor-in-Chief)
2013-2014 OnGamers (Senior eSports Content Creator)
Pro bono publico:
2001-2002 XSReality (Site administrator)
2003-2004 Team3D (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2012-2013 fragbite (Blogger)
2013-XXXX [POD]Cast (Co-host)
2005 Down with the s1ckn3ss
2009 fRoD Quick and nasty (part 1)
Events attended for coverage purposes:
2001 CPL London (Pro-cybernews)
2001 WCG Qualifier (Pro-cybernews)
2002 CPL Summer (Gamers.nu)
2002 WCG Qualifier (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Oslo (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Winter (Gamers.nu)
2003 CPL Cannes (Gamers.nu)
2003 Clikarena (Gamers.nu)
2004 CPL Winter (ESportsEA)
2009 WEM (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Best of Four (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Cup Europe (SK Gaming)
2010 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2010 WCG (SK Gaming)
2010 WEM (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V European Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Assembly Winter (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V World Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Copenhagen Games (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Summer (SK Gaming)
2011 SK vs. FX showmatch (SK Gaming)
2011 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2011 ESWC (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI Kiev (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI World Championship (SK Gaming)
2012 WCS Europe (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Open Valencia (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (Team Acer)
2012 IPL5 (Team Acer)
2012 HomeStory Cup VI (Team Acer)
2013 IEM VII World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 MLG Winter Championship (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Spring Week 10 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S1 Ro16 (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Summer Week 9 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S2 final / LCS Europe Summer playoffs (Team Acer)
2013 Riot S3 World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2014 LCS Europe Spring Week 5 (OnGamers)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV Asian Finals (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM V Shanghai (ESL-TV)
2011 ESEA-invite S8 (WinOut)
2011 GameGune (WinOut)
2011 SEC (WinOut)
2013 Dreamhack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Steelseries CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Summer (DH-TV)
2014 Gfinity G3
2014 Dreamhack Stockholm CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
Pro bono publico:
2010 ESWC (lvl^)
2010 Arbalet Cup Dallas (lvl^)
2010 GameGune (lvl^)
2010 fnatic PLAY (lvl^)
2010 WCG Nordic (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Winter BEAT IT (whisenhunt)
2011 EPS Winter (whisenhunt/ESL-TV)
2011 WCG (whisenhunt)
2011 IEM VI Kiev EU qualifier (SK Gaming)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup April 28th (FACEIT)
2013 Prague Challenge (District)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup September 8th (FACEIT)
2013 FACEIT Monday Cup September 9th (FACEIT)
2014 ESEA Invite S15 LAN finals (NiPTV)
* Winner of the Heaven Media 'E-sports Journalist of the year' awards for 2012 and 2013.
Throwback Thursday: SK Gaming in Counter Strike 1.6
The CPL & SK Gaming - 20 Years of eSports
HeatoN enters Esports Hall of Fame
SK's Impossible Dominance in 2003
Moments: ESWC 2011
THE NEW JERSEY