It is none other than the two time MVP Patrick “f0rest” Lindberg who comes at number 7 in this year’s top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com. His steady contribution and above average statistics in several categories throughout 2016 have led him to climb nine positions from last year.
With over a decade of experience, Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg is one of the most storied veterans of this ranking. The NiP player turned 28 last year and has been playing at the top levels of Counter-Strike since he joined Begrip in 2005.
After Begrip, f0rest joined fnatic in 2006 where he played with the likes of Patrik "cArn" Sättermon and Harley "dsn" Örwall. That fnatic eventually went on to sign Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund a couple years later, with whom f0rest has shared a team since then.
During his time in fnatic, f0rest won events like the CPL 2006 Winter, WEG e-Stars 2007, Intel Extreme Masters III, among many others. Particularly notable was 2009, when he and GeT_RiGhT first linked up and became a dominant force. The first time f0rest appeared in an HLTV top 20 ranking was in the ranking’s inception, when at the tender age of 22 he came in sixth in the top 20 of 2010.
After a couple of successful years, the f0rest and GeT_RiGhT duo moved to SK where they played from the beginning of 2011 to mid 2012. In SK, f0rest kept racking up titles. Among others, ESWC 2011, DreamHack Summer 2011, GameGune 2011. Individually, f0rest was once again ranked in HLTV’s top 20. In 2011 f0rest was able to scrape into the top 5.
Early in 2012 things didn’t go so well for f0rest as SK were unable to maintain the same level of success as in previous years. The next big change in f0rest’s career came with the advent of CS:GO. He and SK teammate GeT_RiGhT went on to form NiP in mid 2012 and put all their chips on the new game’s success.
That early adoption of the game allowed NiP to edge themselves into a dominant position for the first couple years of the game’s existence. During CS:GO’s infancy, f0rest immediately showed he was going to leave a mark in the game’s history, earning the MVP award at the first event NiP attended, DreamHack Valencia 2012.
With no top 20 ranking in 2012 due to the year being split between two games, f0rest was launched back into it in 2013, when he got 2nd place behind now longtime teammate GeT_RiGhT. That year, f0rest and GeT_RiGhT were part of the NiP that was able to establish one of the longest standing records in CS:GO when they won 87 maps in a row between September 2012 and April 2013.
f0rest and n0thing shaking hands
NiP beat coL at the ESEA Invite S14 Global Finals
In 2014, f0rest was once again a top 10 player coming in at number seven. That year NiP started to lose grip on their hegemonic reign despite making it to three Major finals. In the middle of the year some instability ensued when Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson was replaced by Mikail "Maikelele" Bill. The 5th spot in the team would become a revolving door with players stepping in and out.
In 2015 both NiP and f0rest lost some footing. Lindberg ended in the not so glamorous 16th place in our top 20 ranking, something which could be expected, though, seeing as NiP got overwhelmed by opposition. While still playing some decent tournaments the team was unable to win anything but the ASUS ROG Winter early in the year.
Coming into 2016 with the fresh acquisition of Björn "THREAT" Pers as coach, the first stop on the calendar for f0rest and co. was at IEM Katowice. There, the Swedes ended in an unspectacular 9-10th place. Despite that, f0rest had a really high impact rating (1.24) and a good rating (1.12), which was best-in-team. IEM Katowice showed NiP had some issues early on in the year, but f0rest still managed to put in a good performance.
"When Threat came in he provided us with a different view on how the game should be played and really helped us slow down our usually high paced game. It really was a different kind of time playing and we were really happy with how it panned out, but we also learned that it was not something that would last in the long run and we had to balance the two play styles to really become a better team, which is something I still believe we are trying to achieve—finding a middle ground for both playstyles."
Coming next was the first Major of the year at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. There, NiP ran into some trouble as Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi had to be replaced with THREAT due to visa issues. Despite that, NiP was able to retain its spot as Legends, making it to the quarterfinals. There, f0rest didn’t put in as big of a performance as in Katowice, but he was still a big part of his team being able to make it out of the groups.
Only a few days after Columbus many top-flight teams traveled to Malmö to fight for the first DreamHack Masters championship. In Malmö, NiP won for the first time since the aforementioned ASUS ROG at Assembly Winter in early 2015. Lindberg put in a solid 1.07 rating throughout the tournament with three PotM performances.
This was a good performance by f0rest, but not as crucial as he would become to his team winning tournaments later in the year. Although not as dominating as at other events, f0rest was still the team’s best fragger—a trend that we saw repeated at the other NiP tournament wins—, and was awarded his only EVP award of this year in Malmö.
"The win in Malmö is the best memory [of the year], with the home turf and the crowd, and really just everything about it.
"That event was so amazing in so many ways. The crowd was awesome to see, felt like 70% wore NiP jerseys. It was definitely something that gave us that extra spark during the event, and winning that one was such an insane feeling. It’s hard to describe but it trumps my victory back in ‘05 in Korea. We came together as a team that event and it made me really happy."
At the Season 3 Finals of ESL’s Pro League in England, NiP went out in semis which was a good result for a team that had been in turmoil before DreamHack Masters. In London, f0rest had a 1.03 rating and 68.3 ADR, which was not very high but still enough to lead his team.
The first season of ELEAGUE was a good one for f0rest. The Swede had a 1.16 rating and 1.23 impact, and a year-high five PotM performances. Despite going out in 5-8th, f0rest was showing he could consistently play well despite the team struggling to find form.
The only medium sized tournament f0rest played was DreamHack Summer, which the team came into without much practice. There f0rest had a regular tournament with a rating of 1.00 and no stand-out statistic, but was still the team's highest rated player.
Following DreamHack Summer was ECS Season 1, which was a disaster for NiP. After a measly three maps, the Swedes were out, with the whole team flopping. There, f0rest had a season low 0.79 rating, and just 65 ADR.
"That was a tournament we most likely should have skipped if you can act like Mr.Hindsight, but during that time we took the call to go there and we all felt that it was the right thing to do. But what ended up happening during that event was not something we came prepared for and it kind of put us off balance for the coming tournaments."
ESL One Cologne was the first real big blow of the year for NiP. There, the Swedes were knocked out in groups after not being able to keep the CIS side FlipSid3 at bay. In the five maps played f0rest was, once again, the best rated player on the team, although with no impressive numbers.
SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 was f0rest’s best event of the year. At the second tournament NiP won this year, f0rest was once again the team’s top fragger. With a staggering 1.22 rating throughout nine maps, 1.25 impact, 83.7 ADR, and 3 PotM performances, it was easy to see why he was awarded his first MVP medal of the season.
We asked f0rest if he saw a correlation between his performances and his team winning tournaments:
"I haven’t really looked at it that way. When we won these tournaments, I said the MVP medal was for the [whole] team, as it truly felt that we came together as a team. It just showed the potential we had within us. If we could only figure out how to get there more often.
"Personally, it feels amazing to still be up there competing with the best, it gives me a lot of motivation for the upcoming year. This year was really all about the team, though, every tournament win was just a beautiful showcase of teamwork."
EPICENTER: Moscow didn’t go as well for NiP. The Swedes got caught on the wrong end of a four way tie, and didn’t go on to play more than the six maps corresponding to the round robin. There, f0rest was the 4th lowest rated player on the team, the only time that happened all year.
The Swedish side then put on a good performance making it to the quarterfinals of the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals. There, f0rest was the second highest rated player, with 0.98, which seems somewhat unimpressive. With a more than decent 72.2% KAST he still contributed to the team’s success.
The second season of ELEAGUE didn’t go as well as the first one for f0rest, and NiP was eliminated in 5-8th position again. In Atlanta, f0rest had an average performance, but didn’t show his star power as he had in Kiev or Malmö. The team was back with pyth for the first time since he was sidelined because of problems with his arm.
To end the year f0rest made the star power reappear to take NiP all the way at IEM Oakland. There, NiP won its third tournament of the season. With a 1.11 rating, a season high 84.2 ADR across 13 maps, and a 1.18 impact rating, f0rest was named the MVP of the event becoming only one of a handful of players to earn 2+ MVP awards this year.
"[I remember] the game against SK in Oakland. The final map. It’s something that stands out to me. The way we managed to come back and have the strength to do so was just so amazing to experience with the guys. I guess we’ve done a lot of those in past, but it really felt like it sparked something within us again and it just made me very proud to be a part of this team."
The last tournament played didn’t count towards the top 20 ranking as it was the Major Qualifier, but at the event in Atlanta NiP hit a wall and were eliminated by Vega Squadron, meaning NiP will miss a Major for the first time in CS:GO history.
"The loss over at the Major Qualifier is my hardest loss to date, the hardest one to process, but I’ve been thinking about it back and forth and I’ve let it go by now. We had a few discussions regarding the game and it really did feel like people understood why we lost and what needs to be done."
After that last disappointment, we asked f0rest what his and his team’s goals were for 2017:
"As a team I want us to become the number one team for a longer period of time. I know we have what it takes, we just have to solve this puzzle before February hits us and it’s time to start again, but I’m positive we can do it. Personally, I’m just excited for the upcoming year and eager to become even better individually. I know I need to find the right balance between AWPing and rifling. I’ve felt that I have played a tad too much with the AWP lately and would like to tone it down a bit."
Why is he the 7th best player of 2016?
The amount of impact f0rest had in his team winning events was tremendous, as he was the team’s best fragger in all three of the tournaments NiP won. At those events, he got an EVP and two MVP medals, something not many players have been able to achieve.
With the exception of EPICENTER: Moscow and the ECS Season 1 Finals, f0rest has been an incredibly stable all-around player, with above average numbers in almost every category (kills, surviving, impact, damage per round, AWPing, and KAST). On top of that, he showed some star power at a few big events, helping his team win trophies.
"I still have that burning motivation that you ain’t getting rid of me just yet. I have a lot of fight left in me and I know I can do so much more. It just feels like I’m learning something new every few months which helps me grow as a player. This year I played a lot more with the AWP, for example, which in the end will help me become a more versatile player."
Only one of the events he played all year was a medium-sized event, while the rest were all big (95 out of his 104 maps), which means that while his 1.05 rating at first may not seem so impressive, it is because it has not been bloated by blowouts at smaller tournaments.
A statistic that helped f0rest make it this far in the ranking is his clutching. With 47 1vsX rounds won he is the 4th best clutcher of the year. On top of that, he has the tenth best T-side rating in the game, with 1.10.
"I’m surprised by that [clutching] statistic since I’ve been told by my team that I’m the worst and they laugh at my situations when we practice. But in all seriousness, I’ve been working really hard on trying to understand how people will act in certain situations, what the outcome can be, and it’s something that through a lot of practice with the team I feel I got a much better understanding of the game than previously."
When asked what young player he sees capable of making it into the top echelons of CS, f0rest said that after playing with him, he thinks Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun is a good candidate to make it into next year’s top 20.
"I’m going to go with disco doplan. We played with him for a short period of time and he really has what it takes to become a good player. I wish him the best of luck in fnatic!"