• Ryan "RushB" Friend

Rapid Reactions: OpTic's New Danish Roster

OpTic Gaming is one of the true giants of esports — but they’ve never quite managed to crack Counter-Strike. When it looked like they’d finally come good, they lost a key component. Peter ‘Stanislaw’ Jarguz left in February 2017, just one tournament after the side won ELEAGUE Season 2, arguably one of the biggest tournaments an NA team has won in recent years. Since then, that roster has been split up and moved around.

Now, a new dawn for OpTic fans — with a full Danish roster, the OpTic ‘curse’ may finally be shaken.

  • Rene ‘cajunb’ Borg

  • Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke

  • Jakub ‘JuGI’ Hansen

  • Niklas ‘Gade’ Gade

  • Marco ‘Snappi’ Pfeiffer

With the addition of JuGI and Snappi, suddenly an interesting team has turned into an incredibly dangerous one. Snappi, an In-Game Leader who has notoriously spent a lot of time in the shadows of the traditionally more successful Danish IGL’s finally has a chance with some serious talent. K0nfig, at his best, was a genuine top 5 contender — and JuGI has added consistency to his impressive array of skills. Cajunb, the veteran of the team, is a steady role player with great experience and Gade is a young, raw talent who’s already shown what he can do in the previous iteration of this team.

Obviously, it’s impossible to know how good this team is, and any predictions could look silly in a few months, but it’s easy to get excited. K0nfig and JuGI are really fun to watch and both have incredible ceilings, but it’s important to remember that k0nfig hasn’t been at his best in recent months. With a 0.87 HLTV 2.0 Rating in the last six months, it’s clear he isn’t at his explosive best; but that is only a small sample (19 maps) and he has had personal issues recently as well as moving abroad. However, he still has to find that form and as we’ve seen, that doesn’t always come back.

The real gem here is Gade, a player who is very highly rated by North, who are currently loaning the Danish talent to OpTic. He’s notorious for being an extremely driven, hard working young player and has shown serious talent in the handful of official matches he’s played. He’ll be working with experienced players and an IGL notorious for making stars, so this is a real opportunity for him to break into the top tier.

In fact, this team follows a very traditional structure. A dedicated IGL, a veteran support player, a star awper, star hybrid and a wildcard talent. It’s not like FaZe, for example, who have four star players, or Mouz, who took a second star and made him IGL. It’s a lot more like Astralis, who are the team to beat at this moment in time; and also the blueprint for most Danish sides.

The loss of Cobblestone from the map pool might be a hindrance to this team — they have an IGL who was very good at calling on that map and some explosive talent that could have utilised the powerful B executes that dominate that map. However, with k0nfig and JuGI as a dynamic double AWP, they should still be strong on maps like Dust 2 and Train. Train is a map that OpTic have traditionally been good on, so it’s nice that this team should be strong on it too. Danish teams tend to be good at Overpass, too, and k0nfig was a monster on Cache. Every team seems to be playing Inferno at the moment, though, and I think this team might struggle at first there. The meta seems pretty set on Inferno and OpTic will be coming in quite cold on it, especially as JuGI hasn’t played too many officials recently.

The double AWP of k0nfig/cajunb and JuGI is an utterly terrifying prospect that should be able to shut down a lot of T sides on some of the more AWP-friendly maps, if they can get the economy rolling. Train and Mirage for example are easy to fit two AWPs in on, and JuGI and k0nfig are good enough to replicate Mouz’ famed double AWP on the CT side.

What can we realistically expect from this side? It’s really hard to know for sure, but you have to feel that with the talent in the side, they could easily break top 10. I think a lot rests on Snappi — we’ve seen him lead a Heroic side to some decent placings, but he’s never had this much talent, and whether or not he can actually frag on this level remains to be seen, also. If Snappi turns out to be as good as people are hoping, there’s no reason this team can’t be one of the best in the world. Gade might have to become a real consistent talent to make this team a genuine contender in events, but even if he’s just a decent third player, this team should still be pretty dangerous.

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