cadiaN: "It is rough when you can't play; people forget you in this game"
cadiaN had been benched in North for nearly six months before he got an opportunity to join up with Heroic, filling a gap left by Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, who had decided to sign for North American side Complexity.
Since then, the new lineup has gone on to surprise some top-tier opposition, advancing to the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals after topping a group featuring NiP, Vitality, and Sprout, qualifying for StarSeries and eliminating Natus Vincere from the Turkish event before falling at the hands of Evil Geniuses.
After the Danish side exited the competition in Belek, we had a chance to catch up with cadiaN to talk about a variety of topics surrounding his departure from North and the addition to Heroic, such as his transition from an in-game leader to an AWPer and his thoughts on his new teammates.
Let's begin with the break you took after being benched by North. You did some on-camera work for the Danish broadcast but didn't play. Did you want to take a break or were there no opportunities to get back in the saddle earlier?
There were a few opportunities that didn't happen early on. I was under a contract, so North was, of course, asking for a buyout for me. At that stage, there was no one willing to pay the amount that North wanted to get. There was a very cool stand-in opportunity that didn't happen either, which I was kind of disappointed about. But that was the main reason. For me, personally, it was not a good situation. I wanted to play, but I was not able to due to the contract. And when it's not your own decision to leave the team it is rough when you cannot play because the longer you are out the less attractive you are, people forget you in this game. Things move quickly, there's a new event every week, a new chance for other guys to show themselves. But this Heroic thing had been ongoing for quite a few years, so, finally, it happened.
How did it happen, was it just a blessing that blameF got that opportunity in compLexity?
Yeah. I was in contact with quite a few North American organizations who wanted to build from scratch and also organizations that already had people on the roster. It wasn't my main priority to go there. I would do it if it was my only chance to play top-tier Counter-Strike, but I was hoping to stay in Europe and in Denmark. The NA offers didn't really fit what I wanted and what they wanted. I thought Heroic, North, OpTic were a done deal, but then blameF signed with compLexity. Heroic had to change a lot of roles to bring me into the team. es3tag was AWPing, b0RUP had gotten all of these new roles, and all of a sudden all of them had to change, so I'm very happy and lucky that they wanted to bring me in as an AWPer and change the entire system.
Since you left North, their results haven't really improved, not in a significant way. In hindsight, do you think the decision to remove you was the right one?
For me, it wasn't the right call. But I think the team chemistry wasn't good, especially towards the end. Not in a way that people were fighting and so on, but I wasn't seeing that winning mentality, I wasn't seeing people who we were willing to sacrifice for their teammates, so something had to happen, in the end. At that time, it was me being cut, and it is what it is. I was willing to work with what we had in the team, but I think with the mentality that we ended up having as a team, something needed to change. And if that was because people weren't buying into my philosophy or me not making the philosophy work accordingly or whatever it was, there were some issues, for sure. We had very good online results, but then on LAN we were struggling a bit more. At times we showed our highs, but, boy, did we also show some big lows.
Touching back on Heroic, you've once again picked up the AWP but given up the mantle of the in-game leader. Does this role fit you best?
In a sense, I guess. I can focus a bit more on myself moving around the map. But also, we have a system, we're running strategies, whereas I maybe have a bit of a looser playstyle when I'm calling compared to Snappi, which frees up the AWP a little more. At this point, it's also fine to just focus on doing this and knowing where to move, what to hold, and so on. I think it can definitely benefit me, as well. In the long run, we will incorporate more of my peeks and my style, but, as you can see, with what they have from blameF and what they've added from Snappi, things are working pretty well from only playing together for three weeks. But, personally, I like leading. I feel like I'm a leader type and maybe I will lead sometime in the future again, but as it is right now, I'm very happy with having Snappi as an in-game leader. There's also space for me to help, especially in the midrounds I'm very proactive, and also you can see Snappi, he's not the kind of in-game leader who doesn't frag, I think he's having a lot of impact games and impact rounds.
Snappi wasn't leading when blameF was still part of the team. Was there ever a discussion that it could be you?
When blameF left, I think they instantly decided that Snappi should be in-game leading. And then they were looking into if they should add another rifler or another AWPer, and they ended up adding an AWPer. I had worked with Snappi before, he knew what he was getting, a very proactive guy who speaks a lot and hypes up the team, so I think that's what they went with, in the end. But there wasn't really a discussion if I should lead or not. Snappi is very comfortable with doing it, I think he likes it as well.
Obviously, you have had some success quickly, making it through Pro League, making it here and being able to take down Na`Vi and challenge EG. You've almost been known for being able to enter teams and have success with them quite quickly, how do you think that always happens? How have you managed to do that with this team?
It's a good question. I think maybe because my style in general and also when I'm playing is fairly loose, so I'm just used to the chaotic kind of CS where you don't have all the agreements down. I've just tried it so many times that if something is called and I'm not really sure, I'll ask what to do at the right times and other times I'll just go with the flow and fill in and pray that I'm doing the right thing. I just tried it so much that this chaotic CS is fun for me and I'm getting used to it. Also, I think I'm proactive in making decisions, I'm not just sitting back and spacing out, I'm constantly making sure I'm part of the gameplan as well.
This tournament setup is quite uncommon in today's Counter-Strike, it allows teams to trash talk back and forth since there is no real noise-canceling, and we saw quite a bit of that in your match against EG, you seemed to enjoy that a lot.
I was in shock, I was surprised! We were going to play this event normally. Like you said, it's not really usual, normally people don't do this anymore. They were going ham, they were 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, and they were screaming, I had never heard anyone scream before and I had played them a lot of times when they were NRG and they would never say a word, they would be the most silent team. I was like 'what the heck is going on?' But then I also knew, my true enemy from the local LAN days, don't f*** with that, I was just yelling back, and I feel like it ended up being more annoying for them than it was for us. They were yelling a lot and we started grinding back the rounds and according to what I heard from a spy out there in the back, CeRq was telling them that they should stop yelling so much for the second map because that's what got us fired up. Maybe CeRq can confirm it or not, he's a good friend of mine, let's see, but they were definitely more quiet on the other maps. I was surprised, but it was fun. Just friendly banter.
You were coming from the underdog position, as well, so maybe that worked in your favor.
Exactly. I was also saying to the boys, honestly, 'we're the underdog, they're No.3 in the world, whatever energy they're going to use in this, let them, and let me scream back at them, it can only benefit us.'
stavn has been drawing a lot of attention because of his recent performances and consistency. What do you think about him now that you've gotten a chance to play alongside him?
He's one of a kind, for sure. I remember spectating him when he was like 13 or 14 years old at PowerLAN 2016, the LAN Heroic won against Astralis. He was playing the BYOC and I think he was playing against some pretty good Danish team, ranked sixth or seventh maybe, being 13 years old and he was like calling around his team while just owning. People have also seen it at Copenhagen Games and so on, what this guy is capable of, he had like 100 kills in a best-of-three or something. But what's unique about stavn is his game sense, it's different from many others'. He's hyper-aggressive, which can also sometimes hurt, but that's what makes him different compared to a lot of other players I've seen. He's versatile, he can AWP, he can rifle, he can do anything. He has a very bright future, for sure, he's going to be one of the biggest stars in Counter-Strike, I think.
Tell me about the long-term goals with Heroic. Despite the little time together, you have had some success already. What else are you looking at? Locking down the second-best team in Denmark status, perhaps?
Of course, you want to be the second-best Danish team, but also, in the end, what does the second-best team in a country mean when you want to be the best team in the world, you know? Long-term goals, we want to establish ourselves in the top-15 and the top-10. We will take it step by step. We want to lift some trophies as well. If it's DreamHack Opens, if it's Pro League Odense, whatever it is, we will be there to try and win some trophies. I think that doesn't happen as often as people think that players actually get to lift trophies, so we'll fight to do that if it's DreamHack Open or whatever. I think we need to just keep on working hard. This team has a lot of potential. b0RUP, super-insane aimer, and, like you said, es3tag has been moving around between 20 different roles and look at him, he's still performing. He's one of the best teammates, which I also think is the reason why he's been on Heroic since forever. So I think the future is bright for this team. Obviously, there's still a big learning curve, we need to gain experience as a team, widen our map pool, our strategies and so on. But these three weeks have been a good sign of what could happen with the team.