Denmark, a country for young men. When it comes to Counter-Strike, Sweden has overshadowed their Danish neighbors for almost the entirety of the game’s existence. The game’s stars and best teams all hailed from Sweden and they collected all the trophies – NiP, Fnatic, SK Gaming, Begrip. HeatoN, Potti, GeT_RiGhT, f0rest, SpawN, friberg. The list goes on and on.
But the winds of change have blown over Scandinavia over the last two years, and now Denmark calls the best teams and players their own. Of course, we’ve had Astralis (formerly TSM, Copenhagen Wolves) amongst the world’s elite since 2013. But today Heroic, North, OpTic (soon to be all Danish) and even the Fragsters have joined the ranks.
Kjaerbye, Magisk and k0nfig stand for this change like none other. They initiated Denmark’s rise in 2016 and in their footsteps many of the up-and-coming Danish players are treading.
All three have gained international recognition in the past two years, playing with one another in either Team Dignitas or North under Denmark’s very own star-maker, Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, who taught them the ropes and then sent them out into the world.
First, Kjaerbye left Team Dignitas, where he played with MSL, to join Astralis. Only a few months later, Astralis won their first CS:GO Major at the ELEAGUE in January of 2017 and Kjaerbye was named the MVP of the tournament.
Magisk and k0nfig continued to play for MSL under North’s banner in 2017 and grew the team into a true international contender that challenged for titles. Especially k0nfig drew attention to himself through his flashy, aim-heavy and at times cocky play. He almost single handedly shot his team into the finals of the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals in Dallas, where they lost to G2.
Magisk on the other hand never managed to crawl out from under k0nfig’s shadow during these times in North, as he wasn’t able to keep up his great individual form from the previous year. This led to Magisk’s benching halfway through 2017 and ultimately to his transfer to OpTic Gaming. A short, unsuccessful project that ended right before Pro League Season 7 and set in motion the carousel that sent this trio onto their current journeys.
It came as a shock and surprise to Astralis, when Kjaerbye announced this February, mere days before the trade deadline that he would team up with MSL and North once again. Without time and too many options, Astralis signed Magisk. And k0nfig decided to give the NA route a shot by signing with OpTic.
Three months later, it is quite clear who of the three had been dealt the best cards. Magisk is flourishing under Astralis once again. Even though the team did not intend to replace Kjaerbye, in hindsight it was a blessing. The synergy and team play that made Astralis so strong in the past has returned to the roster. With Magisk in the line-up, device and dupreeh have returned to form as well. After a superbly dominant victory at DreamHack Marseilles and a strong campaign in Pro League, Astralis is the strongest contender to claim world number one status in the uncertainty era.
The grass is not so green on Kjaerbye’s and k0nfig’s side. Especially the former had high hopes after reuniting with MSL to bring North back to the top. It has to be pointed out, those hopes have been crushed severely. Every single LAN North has attended in 2018 has been disappointing to put it lightly. At least in EPL they are still in the running to make the playoffs. They have a chance to qualify for Dallas if they win two maps against the Hellraisers tonight.
K0nfig sits in a similar boat. He has managed to qualify for the Pro League Finals in Texas with OpTic, but just this week the org announced that Snappi and Jugi will come in to replace stanislaw and ShahZaM. Again, k0nfig will be in an uncertain situation, forced to rebuild and start from scratch. In the long run, the change to an all Danish line-up is probably a good thing, but a long and hard rebuilding process starts anew with no certainty of it working out.
Just three months ago, Magisk was clearly in the worst position out of these three players. The tides have now turned, and he is the one smiling from the top of the mountain that is Danish Counter-Strike.
Kom så, Kjaerbye, Magisk & k0nfig!