Enough is enough. The Danish teams not named Astralis have finally reached a point where the best pieces left are spread too thinly among North, OpTic, Heroic, FaZe’s bench and free agency. When you look at the squads on paper you have two teams, North and OpTic, that should be consistently fighting for a position in the Top 10 or better, but have fallen short many times over 2018 and early 2019. Heroic have been inconsistent as well and missed out on even attending the Minor this cycle. It’s time to set a clear hierarchy and put the best possible teams together with the players remaining. With that in mind, let’s look at some potential changes for these Danish lineups.
If I’m Jacob “Maelk” Toft-Anderson, Senior Vice President of Operations at OpTic, my first priority is making sure I lock up K0nfig. If you keep K0nfig along with refrezh, who just signed a two-year deal, you have two very solid starting pieces for any team. K0nfig has shown on this OpTic lineup his willingness to be flexible. Where MSL had K0nfig often going into bombsites as a secondary rifler for North, Snappi has had him playing the main entry role to gain map control or flat out take a bombsite altogether. It’s up for debate what his best position is, but as the kids say “get a man who can do both.” Selflessness in the server is a great trait to have as a teammate.
Beyond K0nfig and refrezh the rest of that lineup is up for debate. Cajunb has had some of the best stats since that lineup’s inception, but he is very rarely holding tough positions on CT or going in first on OpTic’s T side. He seems like a player who knows what his best spots are and wants to continue to play those. JUGi has been the biggest disappointment maybe in all of Counter-Strike this past year. His ability to single-handedly carry games that he had on Heroic seems to have evaporated completely. I’ve seen some journalists and redditors say a new in-game leader like Karrigan could unlock his potential, but Snappi was JUGi’s IGL in Heroic during his best ever form, so I’m not sure that argument holds much water.
Most, if not all, would agree that OpTic could do with some changes. I think the issue is in deciding what kind of changes do they need. Do they bring in just Karrigan for Snappi and leave the rest of the lineup the same? Is that really enough? Karrigan has been poor as an individual player for some time now and if he’s unable to unlock the potential of that four man core, OpTic could end up in the same position they are now only with less firepower.
I think everything depends on North in this shuffle. Once, or if, the first move is made by North there will be reactions to that and the pieces will start to fall into place. If changes are to be made at the in-game leader position for OpTic, and they are able to hold on to their key pieces, I think the best five that could be put together would be cadian, cajunb, k0nfig, refrezh, and valde. Cadian coming in would be a two birds with one stone move (sorry PETA). He would take over both the awping and in-game leading responsibilities which have plagued this OpTic lineup. Remember, this is only the best-case scenario for OpTic. I think anyone not named Astralis will struggle to pry valde away from North. Speaking of…
North is still a relatively new lineup of five, but having missed out on the major after failing to take a map off of ViCi Gaming in the last chance qualifier over the weekend, North may have already decided to change a few things. Valde is the cornerstone of this lineup. He’s the only piece I look at in North and think “What would they be without him?”. I do think that North hold all the cards in this shuffle. OpTic have had organizational issues over the past year and that they are still recovering from and they might not be willing to buy their way out of lineup issues like they’ve done in the past.
Bringing in someone like Karrigan, who has an established personal brand to in-game lead seems like a no-brainer for North. It’s another marquee Danish signing and if you can keep Kjaerbye and valde and possibly even cadian by taking the in-game leading pressure off his shoulders, you have the foundation of a strong lineup. I think aizy might finally be on the chopping block for North and if he is I think North will look to poach cajunb from OpTic to replace him. Gade can’t feel very safe on this lineup either. Even though he’s an older player age wise he’s still a rookie in experience standards and that has shown throughout his time on both OpTic and North. He has insane aim and mechanics, but not the game sense to back it up. He might just be too inconsistent to keep.
Again, if North are to make changes, you have to start thinking about best-case scenarios. In North’s case I think the best possible outcome looks like this: karrigan, valde, Kjaerbye, cadian, cajunb. I don’t think mertz is ready to make the leap back up to a North or OpTic yet and as we’ve establish JUGi has been poor. Cadian would have less pressure to perform individually and lead at the same time and he could help karrigan with mid-round calling and preparation. NaToSaphiX is a notable free agent on the 1st of February, but his stock value with the top Danish teams especially North is unknown. If cadian were to move on from North there are no shortage of options.
Heroic are very much in a position to pick up the scraps left behind by OpTic and North, but this time around the scraps could be more than enough to build a Top 15-20 team out of. If Snappi does leave OpTic I can see him making a quick transition back to Heroic for Acilion. Heroic recently picked up Benjamin “blameF” Bremer to replace MODDII and with a few tweaks here and there Snappi could find himself back in his comfort zone on Heroic. Gade, Aizy, ex-fragsters players, and NaToSaphiX are all options that could strengthen that lineup.
As the last Swedish member of Heroic I imagine Friberg could be on the chopping block. Best case scenario probably looks like this for Heroic: Snappi, mertz, es3tag, niko, and blameF. I do think bringing a player like aizy, if he was benched, would bring a level of experience and selflessness to the lineup that could push them into being real contenders. Snappi has accomplished more with less before, who’s to say he can’t do it again?
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