Stronghold recently published an interview with CSGO Analyst YNK. They have discussed a number of issues which range from his career as a player to the best team in the world.
You can read the interview below or at Stronghold.gg
Maestro: First of all, I’d like to start with some questions about your time as a Counter Strike player. You started your career as a player, but how did you get the opportunity to break on to the scene?
YNK: Well, we basically created the opportunity for ourselves. We applied to attend the MadCatz Vienna tournament in 2013 and we paid for everything out of our own pockets since we just wanted a chance to compete with the best. There we managed to beat some good teams like Lemondogs (ranked #3 world at the time) and 3DMAX (the old Reason Gaming lineup from CS:S with GuardiaN, PhP, oskar, among others).
That really put us on the map and because of that success, we got more opportunities to practice and compete against the best teams in Europe, which is the best and fastest way you can improve.
You have represented your country, which must be a good feeling. You also played alongside Mousesports’ NiKo, who is considered to be one of the world’s top players. If you knew you could’ve been where he is today, would you still be playing CS:GO, or would you have still taken the same path of being an analyst?
I don’t think I could ever be as good as NiKo is, but if I could compete at the highest level of play, I would have definitely kept playing, nothing beats the feeling of competing, I love it. But things took a different turn at that time, and I’m happy where I am now.
Obviously, you retired and soon became an analyst. Was this always the plan, or did something or someone persuade you to join the analyst world?
I started as an observer, seeing how tournaments started hiring people for that role but after a while I started thinking about becoming an analyst, I thought there was a niché on the desk I could fill so I slowly started working towards that goal until DreamHack gave me a shot at the Cluj qualifiers in Stockholm. No one persuaded me per say, but there were people who encouraged me and helped me achieve that goal, like Tgwri1s from HLTV and Anders.
Not too long ago, on August 31st, the announcement was made that you would be joining the RoomOnFire group of analysts and casters. How has that helped you overall? Has it helped your improve your casting ability?
It helps immensely, you work together with some of the best people in the industry, you have people enabling you for whatever it is you want to do in terms of creating content etc. And of course, you can get feedback on your casting/content although I feel I’m my own biggest critic.
There is lots of travel involved. For example, you recently traveled to São Paulo for the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals. Do you enjoy the travel aspect of getting to go to various cities and countries, or is it something which you would rather not do?
I love the fact that I’m able to visit so many countries, experience different cultures and explore amazing cities like Moscow or São Paulo most recently. That being said, with the amount of travel we do, it’s hard to keep any sort of routine and the body inevitably suffers. At the moment I’m fine with it but at some point in the future I’d like to tone down on the amount of travel.
Also, at that event you also got to throw a cream pie at Jason “Moses” O’Toole, a moment of true glory to say the least, and a moment I’m sure everyone enjoyed (myself included). However, do you prefer events when they are more professional, or when they have little bits of fun like that?
Haha, that truly was glorious even if I did go a bit too hard on Jason, but hey, it was for a good cause! Personally, every event is fun for me, I get to talk about CS with my friends! It is nice though to spice things up every now and then, keeps it interesting!
Now on to some questions about general Counter Strike. With SK Gaming’s recent “rise and fall,” who do you think is now the best team in the world?
I think Virtus.Pro is the #1 team at the moment, they have a very deep map pool and they’re in good form for the time being, but I think the scene is super competitive right now, so it will be very exciting to see how things will go in the next couple of tournaments!
Continuing on the theme of “best in the world,” who do you think is the best player in the world?
I think it’s very difficult to pick just one player and I generally don’t do it but at the moment it’s gotta be s1mple, his form is just unreal at the moment.
Of course, it’s a very early prediction to make and anything can happen over a couple of months, but who do you think is set to win the ELeague Atlanta major?
Still long ways to go, but VP, NaVi, SK are main contenders with teams like Dignitas, NiP being right behind them but they have to qualify first. I’m interested to see how fnatic and Astralis will look in two months time, those lineups also have a lot of potential.
As you picked up on Twitter a few days ago, during the final of the ESL Pro League, Cloud 9 seemed to be pretty dominate over major champions SK Gaming, with you saying they had been “losing soooo many fights from awkward spots.” Do you think Cloud 9 can return to being one of the top teams in the world?
I think it’s possible, the true task lies ahead, no one will take them lightly anymore and they have to keep working and keep improving to remain a contender internationally.
The North American scene is a bit shaky right now, with Cloud 9 rising up to widely be considered as the new best American team after Team Liquid’s slow decay. Do you think Team Liquid will be able to rise back up to take the top spot, or do you think Cloud 9 will stay at the top for a while?
For the meantime, Cloud9 will remain the best NA team but Team Liquids biggest problem was leadership after the departure of peacemaker. Now with the addition of zews, they’ve found a solution for that problem, on paper at least, so it’s possible for them to bounce back and regain that spot.
You’ve stood in for teams in the time that you have been retired, but would you ever consider picking up the mouse again full time?
I think I would, nothing beats that feeling of competing, even with all the stress that comes with it, but not anytime soon, I’m very happy where I am at the moment!
As I always ask in interviews, what advice to you have to players or casters who are looking to break onto the scene?
For players: keep grinding, keep improving, being a pro player is much more than just having the mechanical skill, you need to work on communication, game sense, and being a person people would want to play with. Form a team with people who have the same goals or just keep grinding individually, through FPL or Rank S you can get noticed by pro teams.
For casters/analysts/journalists etc: Same rules apply, create some content, look for feedback, put it out there, if you’re good enough people will notice you eventually. There’s so much CS nowadays there’s definitely room for new talent, look at what FACEIT did with ECS and the community casters, they gave the opportunity to everyone to come in and cast some premier CS matches in a big league.
And finally, thank you very much for the interview. Are there any last things you want to say?
No problem, thank you! As some of you might now, the CS:GO talent, alongside pro players and other personalities have started a Movember campaign to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues. You too can support the cause at bit.ly/esportmovember!