The Balancing Act

A Counter-Strike match is a constantly evolving battlefield that I have to conduct in real-time.

My players make that job very easy for me sometimes, but when I need to make those decisions, it’s team over player every time.

Players want to make their own decisions and make moves based off of their own instinct, and I have to take that into account. I do believe there should be some space for those things to happen, but I have to be aware of it and work around it.

If I say yes to everything, the structure falls apart.

This is a team effort, but in the server, it’s on me to make sure we execute that effectively.

Being strict and firm as a leader is very important. You have to know what your plan is, and you have to show your players that you believe in every decision you make.

Let’s say dupreeh wants to run up short on Mirage. It’s not as simple as “dupreeh goes up short”. I have to know how we, as a team, are going to react if he takes down an enemy in that position. What if he loses the duel? How will the team react then?

At the highest level, there is no time to stand still and think about your next move.

Leadership runs in my family. I don’t believe anyone can be born as a leader, you have to acquire it, but everyone is born with the potential to be one. In my family, it just so happens that everyone, at some point, has been a “leader”.

My father was a teacher, working with children that lack the social skills to fit in the other classes. My mother is a leader in her job, and my brother is always the captain of his football team. I had to work on it myself, but with inspirations like that all around me, it’s natural that I too became a leader.

I played a lot of football as a kid. In school, and in one of the best academies in Denmark, a team called Brøndby IF.

I had always been playing video games, as most kids do at some point, but it was an injury in my knees that lead to me playing much more Counter-Strike than I had done in the past. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to play football again, so I needed something to fill that void.

It did not take long for me to find out about esports and the competitive side of Counter-Strike. Whenever I’m watching something – football or Counter-Strike – I’m trying to watch the best in the world.

Whenever I wasn’t playing the game, I would be watching it. If good teams were playing, I had to watch it.

One night, there was a match happening in China, it might have been Fnatic, or Na’Vi, or NiP, I don’t remember, but it was two very good teams. The problem was that I had to be up for school in the morning. I ended up going to sleep just a little bit earlier than normal and set an alarm for 3AM. There was no chance I would miss the tournament.

It wasn’t just about watching the games for entertainment. Just watching the games unfold didn’t really satisfy me. I wanted to know why the teams were doing what they did, and how each player moves and acts during the round.

Players like f0rest, GeT_RiGhT, cArn, and Zonic were the ones I studied back then. I used to think things like: “Why did he make that decision? Why did he move like that in this round?”. They helped me to become a better player.

You know, I never actually told my parents “Hey, I want to be a professional Counter-Strike player”

My mom and dad both knew that there wasn’t a lot of money to be made from video games when I was younger, so they definitely had some concerns that I was spending too much time at the PC. They helped me understand that it’s important to balance my time and make sure I’m not neglecting other parts of my life.

There’s quite a funny story about the first time they realized that I could make some actual money from the game.

I’ll tell you:

I qualified for the first CS:GO major with n!faculty, which was amazing. This also meant that we would be getting the sticker money.

It turned out to be around $25000, compared to our salary which was around 250 EURO per month at the time.

I couldn’t even really explain to my family how I suddenly had a little bit of money. I’d like to see anyone try to explain that they had hundreds of dollars because some people bought a sticker of them in a video game.

They just didn’t get it, but they were happy for me.

When I got my first good contract shortly after that, it became clear that this was now my career and something I would pursue properly. Of course, there was no guarantee it would work out, but it’s very nice to be able to say that I “made it” with Astralis

It’s funny to look back on those days actually. I used to come home from school and download the Demos of all the in-game leaders of all the best teams in the world.

Just between the ages of 15 and 17, I learned more about the game than I ever had before, and perhaps even since then.

Learning from watching other players is fine, but now that I’m at the top, I’ve had to adapt.

They always say it’s harder to stay at the top than it is to get there. I agree with that.

As a team, we are very good at reflecting on our own strengths and how they fit into the current meta of Counter-Strike.

Perhaps more importantly, we spend a lot of time doing the same thing but for other teams. What are THEIR strengths in this meta, and how can we minimize those strengths with our own performance?

As a team, we are not unbeatable. There are constantly other players trying to figure us out, and teams that force me to keep updating and upgrading our style of play.

We work closely with our organization, RFRSH, to make sure that everything regarding our setup is as optimized as possible. It’s good to have people around us, from coaching staff and performance team to management, that help us achieve our goals, and who make sure we can focus entirely on performing

There will be rounds, matches, and series that we lose. But I know that my team and I will do everything we can to make sure that we stay ahead of the pack for as long as we can.

Image Credit: RFRSH Entertainment

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