glace: "CS is my livelihood"
Dust2.dk have conducted an extensive interview with Nicolai "glace" Jensen to find out more about the recently announced international mixture called Unity, such as what the origins were, how they're settling in and whether they've already made a decision about their new home.
glace talks all things Unity
In the following interview the former Copenhagen Wolves and Escape player discusses the origins of the mixture, how the squad is set up in-game, whether communicating in English affects them and more:
How did the team end up together?
Actually everything began with SKYTTEN, Maniac and I committed to gather a squad with potential to go all the way. At that point we also agreed that if the team felt a better replacement was a possibility we went with it. There would not be any free passes handed out. The only priority was the in-game level.
After TENZKI was removed from dignitas, I quickly came to terms with him and cadiaN about a trial period. This meant the end of Spitfire and SKYTTEN, but the swap paid off instantly and that led to the creation of the team.
Unfortunately we are holiday struck, which means we won't be able to practice until August 16th. My team mates had booked their vacations in advance. This means we will have quite a hectic start, with a bootcamp from the 22nd until Power LAN, then 2 resting days, and then straight off to Toronto for the next tournament.
Geographically you are scattered all over Europe. Where do you bootcamp?
We will be meeting up at my place in Amager, Denmark. We will be flying in 3 players, which made sense because we are going to Power LAN right after the bootcamp after all. We have been so lucky to make a deal with Ballerup eSport (Danish eSport organisation) who will lend us all the gear and hardware we need. We are of course very grateful of this.
How have you divided the positions on the team?
We have been testing two different setups. One where I was lurking and another where HS was the lurker. We decided to go with the latter for now and most likely in the future as well. Besides that we have cadiaN as in-game leader and AWPer. He takes over the map control together with Jesper (TENZKI) and I, while HS and Maniac lurk at the flanks. We have a casual approach to the mid round calls, which means that we can call openings and suggestions to cadiaN who then makes the final call. We have faith in each other, and if a call from anyone sounds certain, we instantly run with it.
You arrived in Unity after a very short period in Wolves. How come the Wolves adventure didn't turn into more?
Wolves was a fairly easy offer to accept, since my good IRL friend Snappi was a member and I also had a good connection with the other players. Unfortunately there were some problems with Wolves right from the beginning, which ultimately meant that all contracts were terminated with no penalties or buyout fees.
This happened just after the Danish shuffle started, where dignitas signed MagiskB0Y, which then led to gla1ve taking his former spot, and when the dust had settled Snappi and valde joined him in Team X.
SKYTTEN and Spitfire were at the origins of the international squad
How does the international constellation affect the team?
Our international constellation isn't a big barrier at all. TENZKI, cadiaN and I have all been used to speaking English in both Preparation and CSGO2x. It's already in the back bone, it just needs to be freshened up a bit. Get back into the rhythm as you say.
The only disadvantage concerns Danish events and bootcamps. It complicates things with two guys in Estonia (TENZKI and HS) and Maniac in Norway. Besides that it is just a question of adapting. We have created "code" words for various situations to cut down communication time in stressed situations, and by using that everyone knows exactly how to react.
With a majority of Danes, do you sometimes, in a hectic situation, forget to communicate in English?
Surprisingly not. To be honest once in a while a wild random Danish word appears when the pressure is on. And sometimes in a clutch/retake situation we switch to Danish, but it is a bad habit we are trying to kick, in order for everyone to be able to follow the play. It is impossible to make a strategy if two players have no clue what is going on.
What are the plans in terms of joining an organisation? What is your approach on this matter?
Right now, it isn't possible to know what we can expect from an organisation and for the organisations it's impossible to know what they can expect from us.
We are aware that we are a brand new team, with very few matches in our track record. But with that being said, we have plenty of experience and value as individual players. Three players have participated in three or more majors. We have a humble approach and know we need to prove ourselves as a team. That is why the current plan is to participate in both Power LAN and then Northern Arena before we make any decisions concerning a new "home". So both parties will know what to expect from each other. I would like to add though, that if the perfect opportunity arises, we will of course commit.
What are the pros and cons to postponing this decision?
The best scenario is of course to return from both Odense (where Power LAN takes place) and Toronto (Northern Arena) with top 3 placements. Then we would have removed any doubt, anyone or any organisation would have about the team and how we can perform.
On the other hand worst case scenario is of course the direct opposite situation where nothing goes as expected. After all, we are a new team with less than three weeks of practice before our two first events; both rather big.
You are currently ranked 5th in Denmark behind Astralis, Dignitas, X and Tricked. Does that match the self-perception in Unity?
I would have liked to see us place ahead of Tricked, since I believe we are a worthy contender of Team X. It's a bit shaky and I don't want to go too much into this discussion, but I'm certain that we will surpass Tricked after the next update of the ranking.
According to you, what is the current Danish top 5?
cadiaN was chosen to lead the team
What's the skill level between the other 4 teams in top 4 and Unity?
It is very difficult to answer. Astralis is at a whole other level, but Dignitas, Team X and Unity is basically three new teams just settling after a lot of player swaps. Add to that that everyone is returning from the summer holidays without too much practice. It will be very exciting and interesting to see how things will play out at Power LAN. Who will be able to make the best preparations and who is on form.
What are Unity's ambitions on a national level and also internationally?
Our ambitions are quite high, and if you ask anyone on the team, we aim for a top 16 ranking at a major, which we feel is quite a realistic goal over time. Perhaps 2017 will be the year with four Danish-based teams at a major? I don't think this scenario is unrealistic. As for the national ambitions, of course it could be fun to sneak into the top 3, but as long as it goes well internationally it doesn't really matter that much. Team X, Dignitas and Astralis is a strong top, and I think the rankings will change slightly over time, but among the four of us.
On a more personal level. How is your situation with education and a regular job?
CS is my livelihood and has been so throughout 2016. It was a tough transition, where I had to live month by month in the beginning, while chasing my dream. It's a necessary struggle until you reach a level where the salary can support you, but how many people can say that they actually live off their hobby? This should undoubtedly be the motivation and give you the drive and motivation, and at some point you will succeed if you don't give up. In relation to education, I have nothing but my HHX (high school) which I finished back in 2013. There is no doubt that I am planning on going back to school again at some point, but right now my focus is on CS.
What do your closest people think about your lifestyle?
Well, most think it's super cool. Both boys and girls. Most of them envy me for living as "free" as one may do as a professional, while making money off something as crazy as playing on a computer. My first tournament outside of Scandinavia will be Northern Arena, and everyone is super excited on my behalf, and think it's great that we're going to Canada to play. My parents were VERY skeptical at first, since there was not enough money in it, and I worked so little on the side in the beginning, so I just barely could cope with the rent, food and some fun with friends. They have lately been incredibly supportive and are actively following my matches and ask about our tournaments. But CS has been my first priority for so long, and it was the dream I chased for several years before it finally "succeeded". Play hard, go pro.
Is this the time where everything goes into a higher unity and the dream is realized?
It is at least now that I'm starting to get the feeling of "success". I am by no means satisfied with the level I'm at now, and will not be happy until I've won a major. It is of course the dream and what everyone is struggling for every day. I hope that this team can help to get a step closer, and maybe you will come see me at my first major with this roster. We have a really good mix of experience and firepower, which we hope will go well together.
With the following roster Unity will take part in Power-LAN on August 26-28 and Northern Arena, taking place in Toronto, Canada on September 1-4: