AnJ: "I've lacked consistency since NRG, so I really hope that we can make this team work"
HLTV.org spoke with Allan "AnJ" Jensen following his departure from Nordavind, discussing the reasons behind his departure, his recent addition to the ex-Fragsters ESEA roster and ambitions and goals for 2019.
AnJ recently parted ways with the Nordavind organisation, following the team's inability to meet expectations within the allotted trial period. The move saw both Jensen and former teammate Kristian "akez" Kornbakk depart the starting roster, leaving Nordavind with three active members.
Formerly of organisations such as Tricked, NRG and Singularity, the 24-year-old has been praised amply for his capabilities on the server, named by some as one of the most outstanding prospects to emerge from the Nordic region in recent times.
HLTV.org caught up with the player following his exit from the Norwegian organisation, discussing a few burning topics, including his recent move to ex-Fragsters.
Recently, you parted ways with the Nordavind organisation, having joined them on trial in September. The stated reason behind this was the inability to meet expectations. What goals did the roster set out when you, akEz and H4RR3 joined?
The primary goal set by both the players and the team was to win the national league, the so called “Telenor Liga”. Nordavind is the only participating organisation fielding a roster that gets paid a full-time salary, and obviously that puts the expectations and pressure on everyone on the team to win. We qualified for the LAN playoffs and made it into the final but lost to Kingpins 1-2.
During the previous Major cycle, the team came very close to making it into the Minor, so obviously we had the goal of, if not at least making it into the closed minor qualifier then at least proving that we had what it took to beat some prominent teams during the process, but we never really made it further than the first game of day two. We also didn’t manage to make it through advanced playoffs to either qualify directly or at least hit relegation, actually we almost didn’t even make playoffs, which in and of itself was embarrassing to me.
But even as I feel like the disappointment in those three things could be enough, we also had very inconsistent practice results and never really found a good stable level at our lowest peaks. We showed great signs of potential at times, but that never really showed during official play, to all of our frustrations.
In hindsight, was there anything specific that you feel the team could have worked on over the course of the four months to have achieved satisfactory results come conclusion of the trial period?
I honestly feel like we had the proper preparations going into the Minor qualifiers. We had a lot of practice days and had established a decent map pool with at least two or three strong maps, which should be enough to at least keep you in the game for the b1s, and we did demo reviews of what material we had, so I honestly wouldn’t have changed the amount of practice we had going into the Minor qualifiers. We did, however, make a pretty stupid mistake, in my opinion, when we decided to bench akez prior to the Telenor LAN, resulting in us having to field our coach as a fifth player.
I feel like that decision was made out of frustration and desperation, because it became clear that the iteration of the lineup didn’t work as we had hoped. But the decision was made as a team, so there is no running away from it - but seeing that you asked for hindsight opinions, that is probably what we should have done differently to at least have won the national league.
You recently joined the ex-Fragsters ESEA roster - are there any long-term prospects for this move?
That’s definitely where I’m looking to bet my chips in this period. They asked me if I was interested in giving it a shot, meaning I would have to help them during this season of MDL and also attend the danish GGW LAN coming up in a little over a week with them and play the LOOT.BET HotShot series. This gives us a bunch of online officials against good opposition, while also allowing us to test the waters nationally against other Danish teams, to see how we mesh together as a team, and look at what potential of the roster.
They took a big blow when the roster fell apart with refrezh joining OpTic, an opportunity that he without doubt has earned, and stepping into his team trying to fill the footsteps is going to be hard, but I’m confident that I’m able to bring a lot to the team that should help with not losing the potential they had shown during 2018. One of the key parts of what Fragsters and the players stand for is consistency. It took them a good while to get where they are now and to achieve what they did in 2018, and consistency is something I have lacked ever since I returned home from NRG, so I really hope that we can make this team work, so that I can be part of something consistent again, so I can get back to the level I know I can be at, and get even better.
A returning figure in the (ex-Fragsters) roster is LOMME, who joined the team alongside you. He is said to be the in-game leader for the mix - how did the mix come to the conclusion he would be the best choice for the role?
To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s certain that he will continue to be the in-game leader, if he will maybe step back into a supportive role or what will happen down the road, everything is kind of just being tested out right now. But it’s what we’re going with right now, to see how it works out for the team.
The core (stavn, dragonfly and torben) are used to playing in their old way, which is a bit more loose and based on reactions, mid-round calls etc, and obviously they are kind of “attached”, if you can say it like that, to their old way of playing, as that is what has worked for them. But changing two players does mean that you can’t just expect everything that used to work to still be working, so I think having LOMME do the calling brings a new feel to the team, as he brings a bit more structure while also embracing the looser style of play.
Over the past couple of years you have been part of a range of organisations, namely Singularity, NRG, North Academy, Tricked and, most recently, Nordavind. The odd one out in the list would be NRG seeing as it’s US-based. How was your experience playing for them? Did it differ significantly from your usual of playing with Denmark-based organisations?
Playing for NRG is definitely something that I would’ve never gone without having tried. With NRG being such an established name in the esports scene, in CSGO and a variety of other titles, you can easily feel the infrastructure is ahead of the Danish organisations I’ve played for, with North being the only one I got the same feel from, but since my stay with the Academy team was very short I can’t speak too much about it.
Obviously there is a lot more money to work with, being such a huge brand with insane backing, but after joining I was immediately sat down with the owners so they could get a feel of what kind of a person I was, and what my mentality towards winning and the game was, and I could actually put faces to the guys making the decisions and paying the checks, which was definitely an awesome experience. But no matter the efforts put into it from a big name like NRG, you will probably always get the feeling that the Denmark-based organisations provide you with kind of a more personal relationship to the team as a whole, as they’re often way smaller and maybe only have a few titles representing them, so in that sense you feel more connected to the team, but I don’t prefer one or the other as they bring different positives and negatives.
Another significant difference would obviously be the pressure, both from the organisation but also the community. Once you go from being mainly a national presence into the international scene, playing in the higher leagues and getting paid more money, the expectations and therefore also the pressure rise quite a bit, so that’s a thing you have to learn to deal with, but as the sport develops this is something that you get help with from the organisations, as we see more and more teams having mental coaches working with them, not only in NRG-size organisations, but we also had that in Tricked, which is a great sign, being able to work with the pressure.
Many have described you as one of the most promising CS:GO talents to have emerged from the Nordic region in the recent past. What ambitions have you set for yourself in the scope of your CS career?
My goal probably aligns with every other pro. Ever since I realised that I might have the chance to go pro and do something with CS, the goal has been to reach a Major and eventually become good enough to be on a Major-winning team. But no matter what, I want to be able to look back at my career once I’m done and be proud of what I’ve done and accomplished, both as a player and on a personal level, be it in terms of developing my abilities to work with different people or being able to meet different cultures and so on.
Are there any specific goals you have set out to achieve in 2019?
Honestly, my biggest goal for this year is to get back to a point where people can recognise me as the player you described me as in the previous question. When I had my breakthrough with Singularity I guess the “praise” was justified and I felt very confident due to it, but I also realised that during 2018 I did not play up to that potential, which obviously hurt my confidence.
I want to achieve more consistency in 2019, and hopefully transform that into a spot at the Minor and into regaining my status as an actual contender for the top teams. Things can move really quick sometimes, so what will happen is hard to predict, but I know I’ll put in the work to get back to where I think I belong.