Philip “aizy” Aistrup has had an interesting few months. After being a long time member of FaZe Clan, aizy was given the boot when the team added Nikola “NiKo” Kovac and found himself playing in North, his first all Danish squad in a while. After a solid run at the ELEAGUE Major, North expected to improve, but with aizy the results have been a mixed bag. Meanwhile, aizy’s old team has become one of the best in the world.
All of that added up to what looks like a bit of a difficult period for aizy, but when Slingshot’s Mike Stubbs caught up with him after the team failed to make it out of groups at ESL One Cologne, he seemed pretty upbeat, all things considered.
Mike Stubbs: First off, recent form for North has, probably, not been as good as it could have been. What do you think has been going wrong for you guys?
Philip “aizy” Aistrup: It’s hard to say actually, because we actually felt really prepared for this tournament. I just think confidence is playing a big factor in it. I think we’re lacking a lot of confidence right now. Confidence is such a big part of CS, and if you’re lacking it, it’s pretty hard to play.
MS: So you’re kinda just hoping that you get that one big result that brings that confidence back? Or are you gonna try and make changes, to change the way you play?
PA: We don’t really know yet. The Major is coming up in one week, so it’s limited how many changes you want to be doing. I think just not getting the results is also a big factor of not getting confidence as well. Losing to teams you shouldn’t lose to will destroy your confidence and (losing) rounds you shouldn’t lose will destroy your confidence. So many things that will destroy it. In the end, it’s all about gaining it, and that’s what we’re trying to look for.
MS: You mentioned there the Major is next week and you mentioned that your confidence is a bit of an issue. What are your aims for the Major? What would you say is a good result for you guys?
PA: I would say of course we want to win it. Everyone wants to win it. But I would say semifinals would be satisfying, if you want to call that a result. I think right now we just have to gain some confidence in some way and have agreements on how we want to play and everything, so we’re getting confident into the Major.
MS: So kind of more generally, how is life in the North organisation? Obviously North, as an organisation, is still relatively new. It’s got the funding from the sports team. So how is it compared to other organisations that you’ve been with?
PA: It’s very different in the way they do stuff. You can feel kind of easy that it comes from a really professional sports club. Some organizations don’t really have that match of structure, for example, and North does. Of course there is stuff they could work on. Every organization has that. That’s also stuff that we are impressed by, as well. So, overall, it is a really good organization.
MS: When you first started out playing Counter Strike, did you ever think you’d be playing for a team that is funded by a club a big as Copenhagen?
PA: Not at all. I didn’t even think I would make money on playing Counter Strike. Back when I started I was just playing for fun and then, all of a sudden, you start to play with people and start to do a team and then, all of a sudden, you have a contract. Then it just builds and builds upward.
MS: Let’s talk about FaZe and your move to North. First off, why did that come about? Why did you decide to go from FaZe to North?
PA: Basically, I didn’t have anything against FaZe or any of the teammates I had there. It was just the basic reason of that, I miss playing in a Danish team. I played for FaZe for one and a half years, I think. Speaking English every day is, I mean it’s fine, but you still miss playing with Danish and being around Danish people when you are at tournaments, and so on.
MS: Since then FaZe have gone on and have become a pretty big team. Is there any hint of envy in you that, “I wish that I had stayed with them. So that, maybe I could’ve been in that big team now?”
PA: No, I’m grateful where I am. Of course when you get the world’s best player, in my opinion, at least one of them, it doesn’t matter who you kick or who you replace. That player will always, most likely, be better than you. So, to be fair, getting in NiKo would improve every team. I’m not jealous or angry that I left, or regret it or anything. It’s awesome, on their part, that they are having success. I’m still very good friends with them.
MS: You weren’t there to long, but when Karrigan (Finn Andersen) joined FaZe, that was what a lot of people see as the start of FaZe changing, and FaZe becoming the team that they are. So, what was it like, during that time, being on the team when Karrigan came in?
PA: We didn’t really have an in game leader before Karrigan came in. So, when he came in, we started to do results, and that’s what probably surprised a lot of people why I wanted to leave. In the end, I just had to follow my gut feeling wanting to be around a Danish team. Even though we started to do well, I just felt like this was the right decision.
MS: Do you think that’s something that you’ll continue throughout your career? You’ll only play with Danish players or mostly Danish teams? Or would you ever go back to a setting like that, where it’s mixed?
PA: No, I could go back to an international team, for sure. I think it’s hard to say if I’m gonna miss a Danish team again. I probably will, but it’s not like I hated playing in FaZe, or anything, it’s just that I missed playing with Danish people and being around Danish people.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack, illustration by Raphie Rosen