Nico: "Our A-game can beat anyone"
For our eighth pre-ESL One Cologne interview, we sat down with Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen to see how Copenhagen Wolves' preparations are going.
This will be the first LAN test for the former LeftoverZ team, who were created in May when five talented Danish players decided to get together after finding themselves on the market.
CPH Wolves were one of the four teams who secured a spot at ESL One Cologne via the online qualifier, in which they played with Danni "smF" Dyg as a stand-in.
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's side will be going into ESL One Cologne with hope, rather than expectation, as they will only be able to practice with their full lineup for a few days prior to the event. Still, Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen thinks that the team have the potential to cause an upset or two in Germany if everyone does their part. Continue reading to find out what the Danish AWPer thinks about the task that lies ahead.
Nico is back to activity after a long hiatus
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: We've just recently started playing together as a team so we haven't had much time to prepare for the event. We had an agreement within the team about when we would start playing after the summer break, and then in the middle of everything ESL One Cologne was announced - and obviously we wanted to attend that, so prior to being able to attend, we had to rearrange our agreement and work out how much time we would have available.
Unfortunately, due to complications we won't be bootcamping but we'll surely be playing as much as if we were. We're bootcamping online if you can say that. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we're not even close to being as prepared as we wanted to be. I think smF (stand-in for various occasions] has been playing more with the team than some of the players on it, including myself, because of vacations in different time periods. It is something we have not been able to do anything about, unfortunately, but what we will have done is playing as a team for approximately eight full days before going into this awesome event...
After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: Obviously NiP not getting at least a top 3 is almost a sensation in my eyes, but it just shows that most people have caught up to them. The biggest surprise would probably be NiP losing vs. both Epsilon and Dignitas - especially because I know my fellow Danes don't want to meet NiP anywhere but the final but they played amazingly this event and I'm also quite surprised that they didn't go through to the final after watching a few of their games beforehand - but that also shows how the entire level of play has risen up and the competition is harder than ever, it feels. I can't wait to "test" it with my own team and my own set of skills at ESL One Cologne, I almost feel as excited about this as when I was 13 going to my first LAN event.
At ESL One you’ve been placed in group B together with Na`Vi, London Conspiracy and LDLC. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: Na'Vi is our first matchup and hopefully we'll go out of the game as victors. Their online results lately haven't been A+ material but this is LAN and obviously they've got a lot more experience together than we do. I believe we have the chance to beat any team out there if we can bring out our A game but it'll definitely require a bit of luck considering we haven't had a full 2 weeks together as a team. Also it's gonna be fun playing vs. GuardiaN again I'm sure we'll have a few standoffs and it's gonna be terrifying and exciting to see who goes out as the victor. LondonC have shown some really good potential recently and LDLC are as dangerous as ever. I believe the top two places in the group could really go to any of the teams - I believe it's gonna be very close and I really can't say for sure who will go through.
Nico is looking forward to the AWP duel with GuardiaN
What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarter-finals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand finals?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: Well, considering that we haven't played together for practically any time, we're happy just to attend. We got through the qualifications with our stand-in, Danni "smF" Dyg, and he deserves a lot of recognition for that. We'll be extremely happy to go through the group but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't mean the world, but of course I would be lying if I said we aren't going for the grand prize - we'll certainly do our best and hopefully we can do some damage and bring out some upsets.
Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: As we've just recently got our contracts, it has been implemented in the agreements. Both we and Copenhagen Wolves CEO Jakob Kristensen got to an agreement we think is fair for both parties and we're all very happy with it.
It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: Well, I love to play the maps, for sure, it's always exciting when changes happen, but to implement them prior to one of the biggest event in CS:GO history seems like a huge mistake. We've gotten to play them a bit and it just seems so confusing and random at times. I'm sure that the results will vary a lot for a long time on the new maps. I think they should implement them in online tournaments instead and then after, let's say, 6 months, implement them in offline tournaments. That way people would have a lot of time and chances to practice the maps and get to know them. Now it just seems like they threw them at us, stating that we will have to play them in about three months in a new kind of veto system which makes it even harder to learn both maps for newer teams - like ourselves. We have to learn 7 maps now - before we could say like, 'let's not not play dust2 and overpass', so we could focus on every other map in a time-span of three months. The new veto system is alright, this way we can play something else than inferno 24/7 - but the two new maps shouldn't have been in the map pool yet.
At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax). Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: Maybe LondonC? They are where fnatic were at least before they won DreamHack Winter - did a few upsets but never really got the top podium places. I don't know really, I'm just saying them because they are kind of new to me. I believe the podium will be filled with those who are already recognized as the best teams in the world.
You have a very strong lineup on paper, but it’s hard to gauge your level as a team because you’ve been playing with smF as a stand-in for you or cajunb throughout the summer. Are you afraid of your lack of teamplay, and how not having played a lot with this lineup, especially in gla1ve’s tactical system, may hurt you?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: I'm not afraid of our lack of teamplay,our game will definitely reflect that we have not had a lot of time to practice, but I'm more excited to see how well we can do than our mistakes. There's a lot to work on as a team and we'll do that eventually. Right now we're going into this event with barely any expectations but with hopes of doing well. The tactical level will rise a lot after a few months together, but it won't hurt us at the event. gla1ve is a really good caller, one of the best in the game in my opinion, and if we can get his calls started and our individual skill shines, there's no stopping us.
You’ve been one of the game’s best AWPers are your peak, but seemingly come and gone since the active Western Wolves days. Do you think you can still be as dominant with the weapon as you were in 2013?
Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: I certainly hope so. It's not really that different from when we played together in Western Wolves and if I just get a decent amount of hours then I believe I can take on anybody - not saying I will win 10/10 duels or even hit 10/10 shots but I'm not afraid to fail, I believe in myself and if I didn't I wouldn't even bother to play. Hopefully I can contribute as much to the team as I did to Western Wolves back then and that's all I can hope for.
CPH Wolves have been drawn alongside Na´Vi, London Conspiracy and LDLC.com, with the Danish side due to take on the Ukraine-based team in the first round of matches, on Thursday.
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