Lukas “Gla1ve” Rossander has had a wild year playing Counter-Strike.
His year began on the Copenhagen Wolves, a team that would eventually cease operations in June. He spent time with Team X, a group of players left in the fray of SK Gaming’s acquisition of the Luminosity roster. He played with Astralis as a stand-in at ESL One Cologne Major and has rejoined Astralis on a permanent basis as the Danish team prepares for Group C of ELEAGUE, which runs this weekend and airs at 10 p.m. Friday on TBS.
Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to catch up with Gla1ve to talk about his year, becoming an in-game leader again and his hopes for Astralis.
Vince Nairn: What are you guys expecting out of ELEAGUE this weekend, as it’s still pretty soon since your re-acclimation to the team?
Lukas “Gla1ve” Rossander: Our preparation has been really good. If you take the time into consideration, we have been bootcamping for seven days for this event. Had some official games at the bootcamp as well. They didn’t all go so good, but I think the preparation has been pretty good. I think we’ll have a decent start to the new lineup.
VN: What’s it like just being back with these guys and getting to play with them full time?
LR: It is an amazing feeling. When I was with them in the last major at Cologne, it was so nice to be with them. We’re all friends. To get the opportunity to play full time with them now is just amazing to me. They believe I’m a really good player and an in-game leader and I am going to try to prove that.
VN: How would you describe your entire year? You started with the Copenhagen Wolves, and that situation ended kind of abruptly. Then you head to Team X, fill in for Astralis at the Major. How would you sum it all up?
LR: It’s been a really fast path, a fast road. I’m so happy to finally achieve what I’ve wanted for a long time. I had a small break before playing with the Copenhagen Wolves, and getting back, my only goal was to get onto this team. This has been a goal for me for such a long time.
VN: Astralis has had a bit of a difficult time, especially since the MLG Major. What do you bring to the team that can help push them back to being one of the best in the world? I think we have a lot of things to work on right now. We have been in a slump for quite a long time. I think I have what it takes to get them back. Right now, it’s going to be working on the T-side. I’m going to use my knowledge to help us win more T rounds. After that, we are going to work much harder on the CT side.
VN: What’s your overall impression of ELEAGUE?
LR: Except that they thought I was Karrigan, everything has been great (laughs). It’s my first time here, and everything was nice. The studio was really good as well.
VN: What do you think about playing on live TV? Some pros have thought it’s really cool. Others haven’t cared so much. Does that add anything special for you?
LR: It is amazing. I think it’s going to be broadcast in local Danish television as well. It is really nice for me to have this experience. Also just to see the atmosphere and how it’s going to affect my own game. It’s going to be fun.
VN: You mentioned your goal was to get to this team. What was your struggle like throughout the year to get to this point?
LR: The (idea) that people weren’t sure I was ready to go back to being an in-game leader was a struggle for me. I always knew it myself, but I wasn’t going to say anything publicly because I’ve always had an in-game leader and have appreciated my in-game leader a lot. But now I am an in-game leader myself and believe I can do great things with this team. I always knew I would someday go back to being an in-game leader. On Heroic, I wasn’t, but at some point, I knew if I needed to be on the best Danish team, I needed to go back to that.
VN: The idea of over-saturation has become an important one this year with so many different events happening. As someone who has spent this year with teams in multiple different tiers, where do you fall in this debate? Are there too many tournaments?
LR: I think it was pretty nice, when we played on Copenhagen Wolves, because we didn’t have many events. We had some online games. But it wasn’t against the best teams. When we played at a (LAN) tournament, it was always against the best teams. It was nice because you had something to practice for and something to look forward to. This is definitely a problem. What you can do about it, I’m not sure. The big fish are just trying to eat all the small fishes, it seems. It’s not working out right now. The teams have to take a stand at some point.
VN: How do you as players walk the balance between wanting to play a lot because you love the game and there are more opportunities versus playing too much and getting tired or not being at your best?
LR: It’s a tough question to answer. But I think it is tough when you travel a lot. When you do this, taking 12 hours one trip and to do that all the time, then you are of course getting tired. Therefore, you won’t be able to do your best. It would just be nice to look forward to a match against an opponent and maybe you could prepare for a match in another way.
VN: Besides that, how would you sum up the year for Counter-Strike in general? A lot has happened.
LR: I think this year has been really great. We had the gambling scandal, but except that, the year has been really good. I think a lot of people thought maybe the gambling scandal would do more harm that it has done. The community has shown we will live, even without much gambling — though maybe that will come back someday, I don’t know. But I think it’s nice to see esports and Counter-Strike grow so much, and it’s really nice.
VN: We are used to, for the last year or so, having one team that most people consider the clear-cut No. 1 in the world, whether that was Fnatic at the end of last year into this one, or Luminosity/SK winning two majors. But right now it’s pretty wide open. What’s that like as someone on one of the teams trying to break through to that top tier?
LR: I think it’s for sure that we are not considered the best team or one of the best teams in the world. It’s tough to see a clear favorite. I think SK has done a lot of good work. But it’s an open spot for everybody, and of course we’re trying to work as much as we can. It’s fun to be a part of.
Cover photo courtesy of HLTV.org