“It was what Element and XeqtR were looking for. That intangible thing they couldn’t quantify that could really usurp the SKs and the Adrenaline-x types. There was something, this cowboy element with the Americans.” – Griffin “shaGuar” Benger
When listening to Duncan “Thorin” Shields’ reflections, shaGuar had this great moment where he explained the formation of his team NoA. He explained that the foundation of the team was built up from the creative genius and tension between superstar player Ola “elemeNt” Moum and leader Jørgen “XeqtR” Johannessen. Lars “Naikon” Olaisen was the solid, consistent team player. And it was rounded out by two mad cowboys in shaGuar and Michael “method” So.
There are a lot of different archetypes of players: Aggressive, defensive, smart, consistent, team-play based. And then there is the cowboy. It’s an an apt name, as the cowboy is often imagined as a lone figure. He goes from town to town with nothing but his gun, hunts down bounties in a bunch of duels and rides off into the sunset. The lone hero in the wild, untamed West.
The Cowboy is a super aggressive wild player who doesn’t necessarily follow the rules of accepted combat. They’re often more than willing to make the crazy, cool play rather than the smart percentage move as they believe it will work. They are very much confident players, and though you can rarely use them as a foundation of a team, when you add one or two into the mix of an already stable teamwork foundation — as shaGuar did — you have the mix for an incredibly dangerous team.
Cowboys add a chaotic element to the mix that the other team has to be hyper aware of. For instance: The smart move for the CT is not to push through a smoke. Because of that, a T player is less likely to focus on the smoke and will look in a different direction or put a nade in their hand. Because that is the conventionally smart move, the dumb move of a CT player going through the smoke is now the smart move for a cowboy.
Even if the move fails, it adds an element of fear in the enemy. This player is willing to do anything. If it succeeds, it can light a fire and swing the emotional pendulum of a game in your favor. You hype up your team and can tilt the enemy into oblivion. The cowboy is very much a feast or famine kind of player. He’ll lose you rounds no other player could have lost, but he can win you rounds no other player could have won.
In that sense, the ultimate cowboy player in today’s Counter-Strike could very well be Jesper “JW” Wecksell. Once part of the greatest lineup in CS:GO history, he has made a historic transfer last week as he, along with Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, left Fnatic to join GODSENT. His career had gotten to a point where he had won so much that when he stopped winning, he said, “we just had it too easy to win titles that we kind of forgot how we won them.”
Although there were rumors of JW leaving Fnatic to play for Ninjas in Pyjamas, they never came to fruition, either because Fnatic was so successful that leaving the best team in the world didn’t make sense, or because the negotiations fell through. But JW and Fnatic eventually hit a breaking point.
Fnatic coach Viktor “vuggo” Jendeby (who has since changed to a management role), revealed that they had been pushing for JW to change roles in the game. Observing the game alone could tell you that the team had taken the AWP away from him and given it to either Dennis “dennis” Edman, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer or KRIMZ. At the same time, there were conflicts on who would be the initiator for the team: JW or dennis. These were signs that the team had lost faith in JW and tried to force him to change.
The thing about cowboys is they make for terrible role players. After clashes, Fnatic eventually decided to move on from JW and the decision snowballed into the roster shuffle we saw last week. And this is where JW’s crucible starts. Although he was never bad during the past few months, he wasn’t nearly the player he was in 2015 or 2014. The amount of “JW things” had lowered substantially. And though that can be explained as a conflict of roles with dennis, on GODSENT that will no longer be the case.
Markus “pronax” Wallsten is giving him the keys to the kingdom. He will be put back onto the main AWP and allowed to do JW things. The cowboy has free reign again, and I for one can’t help but hope he returns to that glorious form where he’d skip through a molotov, snipe Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, then skip back out back to long.
As JW said in his interview with Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen, “I just want to be JW again.” GODSENT has given him the chance. It’s time to see if this cowboy can ride again.
Cover photo courtesy of HLTV.org.