We caught up with Tim “nawwk” Johansson at the BLAST Paris Major's European RMR A to talk about their recent matches, his time in NIP, CS 2 and more.
Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on making it to the 2-2 stage. From the outside, it seemed like a pretty convincing win from you guys. Can you talk me through the game?
Tim “nawwk” Johansson: Yeah, we felt really good when we knew that our opponents would be Sprout. We played them online a few times and we almost always came out with a win. Yesterday we got that.
We looked forward to playing them and we were happy with whatever map they would pick, or we would pick. We just played with confidence in our game and it worked out.
BLIX: Does this raise the confidence going into the 2-2 game? Because there have been countless close matches here, including your match against FaZe and that must raise confidence, even though you lost.
nawwk: For sure. We're also a bit more confident in the BO3s because in BO1s it's always shaky. There are always nerves thinking about the pistol rounds and all that. But when you have a BO3, you can't complain about something. If you win, if you play well, simple.
BLIX: Now, I want to talk a little bit about you. You've been in Apeks now for about a year or so. Prior to that, you were with NIP and then you were a free agent. How was your time in NIP? Did that time make it easier to transition into an international team with big players such as Apeks?
nawwk: Yeah. My time in NIP was good. It wasn't that long. Device replaced me. I think I played for one and a half year-ish, but my time there was good. During the transition to Apeks, after I got benched in NIP, I took some time off the game for like five or four months. I came back to Apeks a little bit rusty.
But for sure my time in NIP helped me here. I've been playing decent so far. I can always be better, but I'm happy where I'm at right now, even though it would have been a bit underwhelming for Apeks but we're slowly getting there.
BLIX: Do you think that there's anything that you could have done differently to change the outcome and maybe do something that could have been done to make your stay on the team longer?
nawwk: That's a hard one. I don't think so. If device comes and knocks on the door, you're kind of just screwed in a way. There's nothing to do. No matter how well you play, I feel like. Maybe if it's s1mple level, of course not. But device is another beast and there's nothing to say about that. I don't think... I don't know. It's too hard to think about that.
BLIX: You had some free time after that. Did you have any offers other than Apex? What was it that ultimately made you choose Apex?
nawwk: I had a few other options as well. But I think I went to Oslo, spoke with the head of esports, and had a good conversation about the plan of the roster and stuff. That sold me and there was no going back.
BLIX: This is your first Major now. It's also the very last CSGO Major. Does it put a little bit more pressure on you? Your first Major and the last Major in CSGO to put your name in the history books and try and get that medal.
nawwk: It does a little bit for sure. But then you have to also remember in this RMR, we are underdogs, so we still have that pressure off us as well. Both yes and no.
BLIX: How would you describe the whole Major cycle for you guys so far?
nawwk: We got invited to closed [qualifiers] instantly due to the Valve rankings, so we never played open [qualifiers]. But we went through it pretty cleanly with a 3-0 score in the closed qualifier. Everything is great so far. There's nothing to complain about, like the cycle and how it works.
BLIX: Obviously, there was some time between NIP and Apeks. Would you say that you changed as a player since then and in what ways do you feel that you have changed or developed?
nawwk: I think I was a little bit too defensive in my NIP days. There were too many thoughts of trying to find an identity. I still find myself being a bit too passive sometimes, but I'm slowly working on it and it's definitely getting better.
BLIX: Do you see any difference in terms of organizations?
nawwk: I actually don't know. I feel like from the outside, because they're a bigger brand, NIP for sure, they look better. On the inside how it works — I feel like they're on the same level for sure.
BLIX: Now, before I let you go, I want to talk about CS2. Have you been able to play it yet?
nawwk: Yeah, I played a little bit. I like the new mechanics. It's always fun with new stuff. I still find it quite a bit clunky, though, and like laggy. It's like matchmaking now, 64 tick, that's the only negative part of it.
BLIX: The upcoming tournaments and events will probably be in the CSGO and then CS2 will come out in the summer. How do you think you'll divide the time between the two games?
nawwk: That's a hard one. I guess you have to focus on CSGO now until I change. I don't think I would play too much in CS2, maybe a game here and there. But of course, right now, at the RMR, if you qualify, it's the Major. I will keep on playing CS:GO until there are no more tournaments.
BLIX: Your teammates jkaem and STYKO have a lot of experience. Do they help you if your nerves take over here at the Major?
nawwk: I think we all help each other is the correct answer. There are nerves for everyone, all of us. I feel like we even it out and help each other, all of us five.
BLIX: This isn't your first international team, right?
nawwk: No, I played in GamerLegion with ScreaM.
BLIX: Do you feel like there's a difference in terms of communication between GamerLegion and Apeks? Is there anything that you have noticed between then and now?
nawwk: I wouldn't say so. It was so long ago as well when I was 19, I think when I played with GamerLegion. I can't remember, but I don't think so. It's pretty similar.
BLIX: Did that experience make this transition easier, going from NIP to an international team, when you have played in an international team before?
nawwk: I don't know. I feel like Swedes are pretty decent at English. So for me, it wasn't that hard to change my language. Maybe a little bit, like callouts and stuff. But other than that, I know my English. I play pugs and speak English all the time. So, I know what it's like.
Feature Image Credit: BLAST