Image: BLAST | Michal Konkol
Counter-Strike careers are quite fickle, you could go from the top to the bottom in a blink of an eye. No one knows this better than jks who, one year ago, won IEM Katowice standing in for FaZe Clan only to end up teamless for a good portion of the year.
We spoke to him about this and more here at IEM Katowice 2023.
Sebastian "Horizzon" Lalic, BLIX: Between February and August, you came off the high of winning Katowice and then you were off a team for a while. Did you at any point panic?
Justin "jks" Savage: "No, there wasn't really any panic, I just went home and spent time with my family and friends.
There were a few teams reaching out to me, and for every team that reached out to me I expressed interest and went as far as they would want to go with me, It wasn't up to me. I chose the best one in the end."
BLIX: If you get an offer, how do you decide which one is right?
jks: "For me, it's if the team makes sense and the players on the team make sense, and if I want to play with them. In the past, I made some decisions that if I could go back I'd probably change. I think it's just because I probably rushed too fast into them and didn't do enough research.
To me at least, it's making sure the team works out fine and in my mind, everything would make sense. Also that I would have fun on the team because if I'm not having fun I don't really want to play, it doesn't matter how much I'm making."
BLIX: You were one of the first people from the Australian scene to go international, were you nervous about it?
jks: I was nervous about it, but it made sense after spending so long on the same team. People were going to go different ways at the time and during that time it was covid. So a bunch of things affected my decision-making. In the end, it worked out and was a necessary decision for me. I think it could have gone better, but it was a necessary step.
BLIX: If one of your fellow Auzzies came up to you and asked: "Should I go international" Would you say yeah, or stay and build that scene up?
jks: "It depends on what team they're on, but right now I'd say yeah, take it. Maybe in the past, my answer would've been different when I was on an Australian team. We were always trying to make the best team possible. Nowadays it would just be take it. The more Australians exposed to the International team, the more experience playing with International people, the better because, at the end of the day it's making the people in the Australian scene better."
BLIX: When you joined an International roster, was there a moment when you realized you were missing out before?
jks: "Yeah, the officials are different from the way Australian teams play because when you're playing in an Australian team you're limited to that region and the thought process. The way you play the game, the way you talk about the game, the way you review the game, and think about the game is all Australian-based, no one has ever had experience from the outside in the European or NA scene that is much more built up and grown.
There's much more experience in the EU and NA scene, and when you don't have that in the Australian scene you're very limited in terms of what is the best option. People have way more experience in the EU scene, If you think about it that way, it makes sense."