Pimp: "I want to get to a point where people within the community respect me for [analysis]"
Following his departure from Team Liquid, Jacob "Pimp" Winneche has become a familiar face on analyst desks for a multitude of events over the last two years. He sat down with RBM to talk about his career, becoming a better analyst and dealing with community backlash at the ECS Season 7 Finals in Wembley last month.
You were doing analysis at the FACEIT Major in London and have returned for the ECS Finals. Do you enjoy London as a city?
I very much enjoy being in London. It’s similar to where I live in Denmark. It’s not a big culture shock when you get here like when you travel from Denmark to America or to Brazil for example. Somewhere else you’d need to adjust not only to time zones but also the culture, whereas for London, I wouldn’t say I feel at home but I would say that it’s way easier to just get on here. It’s a nice city, there’s a lot to watch and people in general are very nice as well. I’m enjoying my time and definitely look forward to coming back for more ECS seasons or more events here.
You were in Dallas before ECS for DreamHack Masters and have ESL One Cologne and IEM Chicago coming up before the player break too. While also officially being a CS:GO streamer, how do you manage your time between events and find time and motivation to stream?
Well, I don’t! I guess that’s a big problem. As you said, I do have a busy schedule, travelling a lot, working pretty much all the events I can get to work at. I feel that I learn something from every event I go to and it’s always fun to work for different organisers as well. You learn a lot of stuff from different people and that motivates me. I can always get better at what I do as well in terms of analysing so I’m motivated in that sense.
For streaming, it’s a little bit up and down if I'm honest with you. I love streaming when I have time for it but also it’s stressful because when I’m finally at home, you’d think it would be alright to take three or four days off and have that weekend that I never have when I travel, but instead I decide to stream and work instead.
Sometimes it does get stressful, but the way it motivates me is that when I’m streaming, I get to connect with the community in a different way. When you’re on the analysis desk, you’re talking into a camera up there and you focus on the game only whereas when you’re streaming, you can focus more on the chat, more on each individual in the chat and I like that a lot. I think that is something I would miss if I didn’t do it despite it being stressful.
On your stream, the audience is obviously mostly positive, people are generally enjoying it-
Do you think as an analyst, you get a lot more unfair criticism?
I would say so. It’s something I’ve come to terms with and also it depends on your style of analysing. I don’t hold back. If I feel strongly that MiBR, for example, are playing absolutely garbage at a tournament, I wouldn’t hold back and try to sugarcoat it and obviously there will be a lot of Brazilian fans out there taking that to heart. I don’t always understand why it has to be like that. I think I’m doing my job and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I hold back, if I didn’t say what I actually meant and if I didn’t get to express my feelings ‘cause it’s a no-brainer in this case. MiBR had a rough tournament, they weren’t playing good, they didn’t really come in to this one being as good as they should considering how much time they’ve had to prepare, so I like to look at the subject’s nuance and if I come to the conclusion that there’s something negative to be said, that’ll be said.
Obviously there will be guys who interpret that in a negative way and I’ve come to terms with it in the sense that you can’t save everyone. I think I am staying true to my job and I am doing my job as good as I can. If I do that and people get butthurt, then that’s their problem.
Speaking of bad tournaments, Astralis didn’t perform well at ECS. Could you see a possibility for such a poor showing from them before the event started?
I really didn’t. I think Astralis is one of the most professional teams in the world. They’ve conducted themselves in a way that every other team in the world would have been looking at Astralis and trying to copy their setup. Everyone wants a sports psychologist, everyone wants their boot camp facilities, everyone wants the setup they have behind them. It’s a very professional setup and it allows them to perform as well as we have seen Astralis perform.
This event was an outlier. I don’t think we’re gonna see Astralis bow out of a tournament like we did here again. It’s gonna be one of two ways. Either Astralis completely crashing, them feeling under the weather and not being able to fight back, which when you look at it, seems a little bit unrealistic considering how great their setup and players are, with the experience they have, or this is going to ignite them and make them work harder, get back to the Astralis level we know they can be at. Nobody’s gonna be promising that they can be the best team in the world again consistently as they had been for more than a year. Astralis are one of the best teams in the world and I’d be highly surprised if that changes throughout the year despite them having a rough period right now.
Thinking about the other Danish teams, North have done well recently but the likes of OpTic are in a weird spot at the moment. With such strong individuals in the region, why do you think these teams are struggling in the shadow of Astralis?
North also have the professional setup behind them. They’ve been trying a lot of different stuff and I think that’s been the main problem for them. Maybe they haven’t been taking the right decisions with some of the players they brought into the lineup being mediocre. It’s just not good enough if you have the ambition of being one of the best teams in the world.
I also think that when you have a team of the calibre of Astralis, yes it’s going to elevate the entire scene, those are the guys you’re going to look up to and that’s the level you want to reach, but I also think it hinders a lot of the teams.
Back in days when I was playing, Astralis, TSM as they were called back then or even Dignitas, were the best team in Denmark without a discussion. We were always very close and felt that if we just step up a tiny bit, we would be better than them, we would be able to beat them and that sort of elevates your level. You constantly feel like you have something to reach out for. Whereas for North, OpTic and who else is playing in Denmark these days, they know that Astralis is out of their league. They know that even if they elevate their level just a tiny bit, they won’t even get close to Astralis. There may be some motivational issues and some subconscious playing into it as well if you really want to dig into it.
Overall, I think it’s one of the most underestimated motivational things there is in Counter Strike. When you have a national team that you’re fighting against to be the best national team, it almost doesn’t matter how good you are internationally, as long as you can say that we’re the best in our country. That rivalry we don’t have right now because North are simply not in Astralis’ league and I think that is a part of it at least.
Are there teams right now that, if you were given an offer, you would consider joining and pause the streaming/analyst work?
There’s potentially two or three teams in the world that I could see myself play for, where I could hand on my heart say that I would be a player that could make a difference on that team, but also a team that could do what I wanted it do it for me. I’ve been very clear about this before. I don’t want to go back to playing unless it is 100%.
When I was on Team Liquid, I dedicated my entire life, I moved to LA, everything to focus 100% on Counter Strike. It was a great experience but it was also hard. I have learned from that experience. As soon as the surroundings, as soon as my teammates, as soon as I get a feeling that the guys around me are not investing as much time or effort as I do into something, that demotivates me a lot. Unfortunately, that’s part of what happened in Liquid. There were some players that I didn’t feel wanted it enough and that got to me as well. That’s when you start to go away from that 100% mentality.
If I can find a team or offer a team where I am 100% sure that this is a team that wants it fully, I’m willing to go all-in. Yes, I’m very self-conscious about my own abilities, I know how good I can be as a player and I know that right now, it will probably take a few months before I could get back to the old level that I was playing at, but I know that would be possible if I really wanted to. It requires the right team, right circumstances and it doesn’t seem realistic right now, which is why I am focusing on my analysis career and hiring a speech coach who is helping me with some of the- I wouldn’t say issues, but the stuff that I can get better at in terms of speaking English and articulating myself in a more prominent way.
Right now, I’m 99.9% focused on becoming a better analyst and I want to get to a point where people within the community respect me for that as well. As a player, I achieved a lot. As an analyst, I have achieved a decent amount, but it doesn’t matter what you achieve. What I want is to get to a point where I feel that I have done everything I could to become the absolute best version of me as an analyst and hopefully that will gain the respect of the community at some point. It’s not there yet right now, I would say, but it’s hopefully getting there.