It’s fair to say that hardly anybody would have predicted North’s miracle victory at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, a victory which looked to be the motivation booster for North going into the FACEIT Major. However, they bowed out of the Main Qualifier with a record of 2-3 after losing 2-0 against Vega Squadron. This surprise exit cements North as one of the most difficult teams to understand in CS:GO; The Danish Enigma.
While I think the problem lies in their roster, it’s criminal to suggest North’s roster has mostly been good as of late. Their leader Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen has seen an upturn in form. For example, at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, he achieved a 1.06 rating which is his highest rated top-tier LAN since the ELEAGUE Premier 2017. Even at the Major, he achieved a 0.99 rating despite North’s exit; not that bad of a rating for MSL. A large reason why his form has improved is his increased comfort AWPing, with his new role almost mirroring Liquid’s Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella. MSL is North’s IGL and he picks up the AWP when it needs to be used, and it’s fair to say he’s looked very comfortable with it. At Stockholm, he achieved an average of 7-8 kills per map with the AWP, while nitr0 achieved an average of between 6-7 AWP kills per map at the FACEIT Major Main Qualifier. Both players did well with the AWP at these respective competitions, and nitr0’s AWP usage is praised, therefore it’s clear to see that MSL’s hybrid AWPing is up to scratch.
Philip “aizy” Aistrup, is a rifler for North, is one of the primary targets for criticism. However, his statistics show the opposite. He is yet to have a negative LAN event since the Copenhagen Games 2018, and he stepped up in Stockholm. He achieved a 1.17 rating as North battled their way to victory; a performance he earned many plaudits for. Furthermore, he has a +37 1v1 conversion rate on LAN; helping prove how useful he is at the end of the round. He is infamous for his excellent clutching ability, and he is often regarded as Denmark’s second-best clutch player, after Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth. At the FACEIT Major Main Qualifier, his team won 61.5% of rounds where aizy got the first kill; proving how vital his entry fragging is for the team.
North’s star player, Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye has been one of North’s most consistent performers ever since he joined the roster. He’s had one negative LAN under North, where they crashed out in Cologne, and apart from that, he has been nothing short of stellar. At the FACEIT Major Main Qualifier, he achieved a 1.07 rating as he threw himself at the task of dragging North to the next stage of the Major. He won both of his 1v1 situations at that tournament and achieved an important 1v2 in the first round of overtime on Overpass against HellRaisers. He also had a 1.02 K/D ratio over the entire event, proving how he had a more positive effect mid-round than a negative one.
One of North’s top players, who many deem superior to the team, is Valdemar “valde” Bjorn Vangsa. He’s an excellent rifler and is versatile in his role. At the FACEIT Major Main Qualifier, he achieved an even 1.00 rating. This is decent considering North’s exit and proves his solidity. At Stockholm, he was on a different level. A 1.16 rating at the tournament made him North’s highest-rated player, along with aizy. He achieved a 1.09 rating in the Grand Final against Astralis, and his 1.26 rating on the deciding map was one of the large factors as to why North managed to close it out. Furthermore, his excellent K/D of 1.23 further conveys the fact that valde was integral to North’s success.
I feel that the problem lies in Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen. He’s been poor for North recently, a 0.92 and 0.91 rating at Stockholm and the Major Qualifier respectively stick out as his weakest performances. During the Major Main Qualifier, he failed to step up when his team needed him. In the deciding match vs Vega Squadron, he achieved a 0.73 rating. This is the match his team needed him in the most. That fact combined with niko’s youth and inexperience at the top level leads me to believe he’s not ready for a team of North’s calibre. Furthermore, I think his poor performance against Vega in the deciding match leads me to believe that niko is unreliable; he cannot step up when his team needs him. Therefore, I think that North ought to allow his loan from Heroic to expire and then pick up a different player to replace him.
In my opinion, North should pick up Jacob “Pimp” Winneche. This is because Pimp has publicly said that he’s desperate to return to competitive Counter-Strike, and it’s easy to forget his long history in the Danish scene. He was part of the Dignitas and Copenhagen Wolves rosters that were highly-rated at the time. Most recently, he was seen on Team Liquid almost two years ago where he earned many suitors in America. I think his quality rifling and his versatility with AWPing make him the main candidate for niko’s replacement. I think it would give North a double-AWP CT setup which is becoming the standard nowadays, and give MSL more options if he doesn’t want to use the AWP. I believe Pimp is North’s best pickup, and I hope we get to see it unfold.