We recently sat down with Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen, the in-game leader of OG Esports, to discuss his team's recent performance and his experience standing in for the team. He also discusses his plans for the future and his hopes of playing in front of a home crowd at the CS2 Major in Copenhagen.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on winning your game against 1WIN and making it to the 2-2 pool. On the second map, Overpass, you looked pretty convincing at the beginning, and then they came back. What was this game like for you?
Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen: I think it was a good game, we didn’t show our best on Overpass yesterday, so I think it was a good game. Yeah, they started coming back but it was a force buy they won, then we had weapon rounds and I fucked up with the calling, trying to punish before the smoke and not doing the strategy. Then the next round we won.
BLIX: You played for OG quite a while ago before you got cut, now coming in it’s pretty much a new team aside from Shahar “flameZ” Shushan and Casper “ruggah” Due. What do you feel is different compared to when you were in OG, now that you’re standing in for them?
niko: The difference is I’m the In-Game Leader this time, I was not last time. I think that’s pretty much it to be honest.
BLIX: How would you describe your IGL style? How are you leading the guys here?
niko: I think Casper and the assistant coach kakafu (Alexander “kakafu” Szymanczyk, ed.) are trying to help a lot with the entry rounds and stuff. So we have the rounds already planned a little bit, and then it’s just me and then I get help from the guys sometimes in mid-rounds.
BLIX: You’ve been out of OG for quite a while now, how’s the whole process? When did you know you were standing in, and did you have some time to prepare individually before coming into the team?
niko: It’s funny, it was the day before the RMR qualifier and I was on a skiing vacation with my family in Austria! They called me and asked if I could be in Poland the day after, I said “Yes, I can” but I didn’t play for five days, so…
BLIX: How was the preparation ahead of the RMR here?
niko: It was not that good, because I was sick like two weeks ago and Abdul (Abdul “degster” Gasanov.) was sick the week we had boot camp, so it was pretty rough, to be honest!
BLIX: From an outside perspective, as you were not playing in OG, what would you say is needed for the team to be able to take the next step? They are constantly fighting tier-one teams, but they aren’t getting the results that the individual performance and players would warrant.
niko: I think we need to play more together and work on consistency because sometimes one player is fully out. They should not have such a bad game, so the consistency of playing.
BLIX: You’ve been away for some time now, not playing in a team, and now you’ve come back. Would you say you have changed as a player? Do you still play kind of the same as back then?
niko: I’ve changed a little bit I think, because I’m also In-Game Leader now, so my role is more like to make the second guy good if I run in first. I don’t know to be honest how much I’ve changed, but the In-Game Leader part changed a lot.
BLIX: Is this a permanent change, or is it just with OG?
niko: Hard to say, but I think it’s a permanent change because I like the role quite a lot.
BLIX: Looking at the future, do you have any offers or do you just see this as a way to showcase your talent, help your old team get to the Major and play there yourself?
niko: I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I’ll keep playing well and help these guys as long as I can, and then we’ll see what the future holds.
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BLIX: I wanted to talk to you a little bit about CS2. You’ve had some time off before rejoining OG, have you had some time to play it yet?
niko: I played one ten-man, whatever FPL is calling it, that’s the only time I’ve played Source 2.
BLIX: Have you been able to get an opinion of the game from that ten-man?
niko: I think there are too many colors, I think it looks… I don’t know how to say it, but there are too many colors and shit. It’s bright and CT spawn is full orange, you cannot see anything. I think it’s too much.
BLIX: So you’d change the colors, at least? Anything else?
niko: Yeah I’d change the colors, but I haven’t played it enough to… I only played one game, that’s it.
BLIX: After this OG adventure, you’ll go back to being a free agent and CS:GO will still be on the table at least until the summer. How will you divide your time? Will you play CS:GO or will you try to get ahead of the game on CS2?
niko: It depends on what’s going to happen after OG, if I get an offer from a team of course it’s going to be CS:GO, but if I don’t get anything I think I’ll relax a little bit and be ready for the new season. Play a little bit of Source 2 and I think that will be it!
BLIX: Have OG said anything to you about what will happen next? Will you continue to play for them or is it just for this event?
niko: I will stand in for the Major cycle and then IEM Rio, Brazil, so that’s what I know right now and that’s what I’m going for.
BLIX: Do you look forward to starting to travel again? Because of course, you’re on home soil now, and then you’ll go to Brazil with the team.
niko: I’ve never been to Brazil so it’s going to be fun to try that, but I like to be here because it’s easy to go back home and stuff. Traveling is too much sometimes, for example now if we’ll have the Last-Chance qualifier game, we’re going straight to Brazil as well, so we had one month out from home. It’s too much sometimes.
BLIX: About the CS2 Major that was announced, PGL Copenhagen, it will be played next year. Have you been able to think about what that means for you? I can imagine it lights an extra spark in you to get on a team and play in front of your friends and family.
niko: Yeah, I think it’s going to be hard because there’s going to be a lot of pressure, you want to do it and go to the Playoffs. I think the pressure is extra when it is in your home, because it’s at home, so you want to do it.
BLIX: So your goal is hopefully to get to play on home soil in front of that crowd, right?
niko: Yeah, of course!