What’s the biggest difference from the 1.6 days and CS:GO when it comes to the experience itself and the game?
— Firstly; if I played 1.6 for two weeks today, I’d probably still consider it the better game. But I can’t really compare the two since I never played professionally in 1.6. I only played on an amateur level, so comparing the two in that way is hard. In terms of raw gameplay, I guess I could say that I miss 1.6.
Which map would you like to see back in competitive?
— Old Mirage… Old Nuke. I miss old Mirage in particular!
What would it take for you to play with Fnatic or NiP? That includes roster changes, organizational changes, or bringing over some team mates?
— Right now I’m very comfortable. It would of course be fun to play for Fnatic together with JW and flusha again. I miss them quite a lot. They were the guys I “grew up” with when I decided to make this into a career. But I really enjoy playing with my current teammates. I don’t think I could swap them for anything at the moment. Not for money or anything else.
The old Fnatic roster at the DreamHack Winter 2013 Major: flusha, JW, schneider, pronax och devilwalk What would you say has been your biggest mistake throughout your career?
— I guess it’d be Fnatic. The biggest mistake was probably the person I’d let myself turn into towards the end. I know I’m damn good at CS, but I was very rude towards my teammates for a brief period. But it was a good lesson. Like, I’d never act that way today.
What’s your comment on DreamHack Bucharest 2013?
— When it’s all said and done it’s obvious that we were partly in the wrong, but everyone involved is friends today. It was all overblown but this is what happened:
We won the map and shook hands as usual, and nobody seemed to have an issue. Then we were approached 15 minutes later and we’re told that we have to replay the overtime since everyone wasn’t clear on the rules. We think that our win is a win, and no matter the rules our victory was decisive enough to not warrant a replay. In the end we play again and there’s a ton of frustration before and after the game… I don’t know… Someone acted out more than the others and we all kind of just latched on, but that’s no excuse.
Really mature by us, I know. But at the same time I think people need to understand that we had already shook hands and thanked each other for a good game before any of this. WE were the ones who had been wronged in the end. I stand by that even today, but that doesn’t give us the right to spout immature stuff towards NiP. I do, however, think it’s time to just let it go.
"I cried for days" — znajder about having to leave Fnatic What were your thoughts after you were dropped from Fnatic?
— I cried for days. I fell into a deep depression. My girlfriend I had been together with for two years was the only thing I felt I had left that could make me feel motivated and happy, and we broke up at roughly the same time due to her life heading in another direction. So I just crashed. It was the first time I’d ever felt depressed and I was just down in the dumps.
How do you feel today? Have you gotten over it?
— No. Definitely not, but I’ve grown a lot due to what happened back then. As a player, person, teammate. Everything. I keep telling myself that, at the end of the day, this was all for the better, but it’s obvious I still would’ve wanted to play for Fnatic. I’m happy with where I am today though.
Does Godsent feel like an organization you’d want to play with for a long time?
— Yes! I mentioned it briefly before, but it’s not just the team that makes me feel that way. It’s also the people behind all of this. Everyone is really friendly and supportive. I haven’t felt this level of support in any other team I’ve played for except for Fnatic. I don’t know if it’s pronax that enables it, but everything is just so comfortable.
Are you aiming at becoming a top three team in the world?
— Of course we’re striving towards becoming the best, but you’ve also got to be realistic. This year I’d say that breaking into the top 10, maybe making top eight, is a realistic goal!
At what stage did you come into the team? Had pronax already decided that you’d be playing from the beginning?
— I was only brought on to the team because pyth signed with NiP, so I kind of slipped in on a banana peel. I was playing with HellRaisers at the time. They asked me at the end of 2015 and I agreed to join almost immediately. I think what happened was that both pronax and twist declined playing for NiP because pyth had told them that he’d stay. But pyth wanted to play for NiP in the end.
znajder at DreamHack Summer Open 2016 What’s your relationship with twist like?
— Man, twist and I, we… It’s a bit of a strange situation. Not anymore but… We respect each other as players and whenever we’ve played together we’ve always thought that the other was a great player. I still consider twist to be one of the best Swedish players.
But in Property the two of us fought quite a lot. Our egos clashed so playing with one another became a bit of a love-hate kind of thing, and it went on for one and a half years. Now we get along fine, however, and have learned to focus on the other’s more positive aspects. In the past we’d actively look for the other person’s faults, nobody’s perfect you know. Nowadays we appreciate playing together and I think that we’re one of the best Swedish duos around.
What do you think is the most important for becoming a pro in CS today?
— It’s a hard question to answer. You need talent, insane amounts of work ethic and a bit of luck. I don't think this applies to everyone who’s playing CS:GO professionally nowadays, though. People like myself and JW, we never played for the money, and I think that a lot of people getting involved in CS:GO do it because of the riches. If you don’t think you’ve got what it takes you just need to be honest with yourself. Me, JW and the crew all played actively for 6-7 years before we got anywhere at all. You need to have the desire, and not be motivated by the money. I don’t think that many people will reach the top if that’s the only thing motivating them.
"The best player I've ever played with or against is flusha because he's incredibly smart" How do you balance relationships with family members when you're a pro?
— It’s gotten a lot better since CS:GO has grown so much. When I played for Fnatic it was kind of embarrassing to bring it up, you know. Partly because of how low the salaries were at the time. But it's changed since then. Just two years have passed and already the older generations get esports. Even your grandma understands that being a CS:GO pro is cool and that you can actually make a good living off of it. When just a few years ago, it'd be embarrassing to even bring up.
Could you talk about what's going on between you and Emilia Hult? What was the reason behind the Oddshot?
— I think she's the nicest person I've gotten to know this year. She's extremely funny, cute, nice and completely crazy. Just kidding! Regarding the Oddshot… I don't know, we've been on a few dates and we both like each other quite a bit. It was just for laughs and we’ll see what the future holds.
Who's the best player you've ever played against?
— The best player I've ever played with or against is flusha because he's so incredibly smart. The most annoying I've ever played against must be GuardiaN. You just walk up to a corner and all of a sudden you're dead. So those two are at the top but for different reasons.
Who’s your idol, if you have one?
— f0rest is someone I've always admired. I think JW has a video on an old computer of me gushing on Ventrilo when watching f0rest’s perspective during a match. He's always been an entertaining player to watch. I always enjoy watching good players though, right now I'd say coldzera’s my favorite! I think he's an insane player so I try to learn from him.
Top 3 players in the world?
—coldzera, GuardiaN, flusha
coldzera’s one of znajder’s favorites You actually play with the arrow keys?
— Yes I do, on and off, at least! I just switch it to something reminiscent of WASD when I play..
But what works best?
— It’s hard to say. At our most recent event I wrecked with WASD, and the even before that I played great with the arrow keys. I think that’s my biggest flaw as a player, and it's probably what’s keeping me from being amongst the best. If I play poorly in a game I don’t have the time to analyze my own play, so I just begin messing around with my settings instead. I switch my config up all the time, which is why I never share it with anyone when they ask. Of course it makes things harder for me, but it’s a compulsion at this point. It’s just so deeply ingrained in me.
How do you find the motivation to play and be the best?
— I already know I’m a good player, and I just want to showcase that fact more often. I don’t feel as if I’ve given it my all yet and I keep on fighting to achieve that goal. It’s been my dream since I was 12, and I’m not giving it up.
At what point would begin considering retirement?
— When I feel that I’ve given it my all. I have no idea if that day comes when I’m 35, 30 or next year. I just want to feel… Like, when I played with Fnatic everyone knew I was a good player, but the rough patch I went through kind of didn’t let me show that to the world. Except Godsent, I’ve had a hard time playing the role I feel the most comfortable in, but now I’m back on track.
This year I think that I’ve been playing great in most tournaments, and that’s exactly what I want to show. The people who’ve talked down on me since my Fnatic days three years ago, who call me overrated, I just want to make them shut up. I know that I’ve already had a very successful 2016, and I just want to keep that momentum going.
Translation: Sam " Wndwrt" Nordmark