DBLTAP’s Jarek “DeKay” Lewis spoke to Astralis coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen during the FACEIT Major to talk about Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander’s leadership skills and how the team hopes to stay on top of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world.
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: One of the things that’s probably a struggle for you guys is you’re the best team. Everybody copies you. Who are you supposed to copy? Who do you look to for ways to tweak your game?
Danny “zonic” Sørensen: We also copy stuff. We also look at different opponents and how they play, especially on maps we don’t feel super confident on. Right now, we play all seven maps, even though we haven’t been able to prove ourselves on Cache. So yeah we copy, but it’s also about being a step ahead of the competition. And we can see that people have copied a lot of our things, especially our utility usage. I saw MIBR today they used it on Overpass. In some ways, it’s a pat on the shoulder. But perhaps also it’s a bit annoying because it was our idea and people can just steal it. We spend a lot of hours in the server trying to come up with new stuff, and we also copy stuff.
JL: What do you think about gla1ve as an individual player? There’s a lot of in-game leaders who, when it gets deep into a series, they’re focused on micro-managing and they kind of lose track of their individual play. What do you think makes him so good at still being a good individual player always?
DS: I think it’s a tough question to answer because I haven’t figured out gla1ve even myself. I think he is so underrated. I know that I’ve said that before, and a lot of people already classify him as one of the best in-game leaders, also on the individual level. But in my book, he deserves top 15, top 10 in HLTV’s rankings. He is so important in our games and the way that he structures the team. He’s a mind-blowing player, and I’ve been playing for 18 years. To have him as my in-game leader, I couldn't be happier. He’s so smart. He’s so talented.
JL: It’s impossible to stay on top forever, but Is there anything else you guys think you can do to stay there continuously as long as you can?
DS: We are inspired by a lot by the traditional sports world. We copy a lot of their stuff. We have a former Olympic professional handball player as a sports director for Astralis, so he has covered a lot of stuff with the guys. We are doing a lot of stuff from the traditional sports world, but as I just said, these guys were not professional two years ago, one year ago. They also need to learn, but right now things are going good. So for me it’s important we have this structure on the team that we do the same thing each tournament. We prepare the same way against each opponent and we don’t do anything different. That will keep us grinding and keep us going. And we have set ourselves a goal that I can’t reveal, but we are not there yet.
JL: It’s been a long time now since Kjaerbye left. I’m curious how you feel now about it. Were you worried?
DS: I was worried, but after the talks with Magisk I had before he joined us, he called me a lot. He was really motivated. He was really hungry. He wanted to prove to the world that him getting benched by North was the wrong move. And I think that him playing in the (United) States and going back and forth with the teams, he was really hungry to play with our stable team. He’s really dedicated. He’s really smart also with his utility usage. He has been a huge benefit to our team.
JL: Before you guys came here, you did lose to North and Kjaerbye was able to get a trophy (at DreamHack Stockholm). How did you feel for them? I know you lost to them, but outside of that, how do you feel?
DS: As zonic, the coach of Astralis, I didn’t like it. But as Danny, and as a friend of Markus, I was happy for him. He’s been through a lot, and I like him as a person. I have a lot of history with them. So as an individual person, as a private (citizen), I was happy for them. But as the coach of Astralis, that was tough.
Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack