Published on WinOut.net (IIRC) in 2008.
After pushing PGS to the limit in the finals of ESWC 2007 NoA put themselves in the elite group of international CS teams and forced everyone to consider them contenders for the big events. Following that up with a 2nd at WCG ensured everyone knew NoA were no joke, they had combined their talent with a consistency that seperated them from some of the would-be top teams. The big news of the past month has been the removal of AWPer hpx for Danish legend whimp. This is not just a straight player for player swap, it has huge implications for the team now known as mTw.dk
hpx’s place in NoA/mTw.dk
Brian “hpx” Christensen is a player who since getting into top competition has continually impressed me with his style of play. In the days of being one of the star players of his team with less talented team-mates he was a shining light, putting up big numbers and taking down the big rounds his team needed to get noticed. With some of the help he got in the later NoA days he adapted his style correctly to become a unifying force. When his team-mates needed a momentum switching round he would bring out his AWP and get a vital pick, otherwise he’d played a smart game which allowed his team to build momentum and break opponents apart. As CT his play particularly deserves attention as despite obvious AWP talent he didn’t abuse that by attempting dangerous picks and potentially endangering his team’s chances on the risk of being a hero. Instead he played a very intelligent defensive game, constantly working with team-mates or repositioning. Focusing first and foremost on keeping the enemy off guard and then ensuring he picked smart shots, not just went for every crazy hail mary type attempt. This style fit his team’s overall dynamic very well and he was without a doubt top 3 in his team in terms of importance at all times. This in spite of becoming a subject of criticism on forums by armchair GMs who don’t understand the more advanced workings of top CS teams.
Jonas “whimp” Svendsen is a genuine phenom in the world of CS. One of the significant aspects of CS competition up until around 2005 or so was that very few players could adapt to the pressure of the big stage until they’d played in some such situations or had enough mid-level experience to move up to the next level. Like some of CS’ all-time greats that wasn’t the case for whimp and from the moment he made it to a team capable of attending huge events he went out and delivered an MVP performance to take them to an ESWC win. The novelty of him being so young wasn’t overplayed either, at the CPL events where The-Titans couldn’t use whimp due to age limitations they could only put together some above average 6th places. When whimp was in the line-up they won ESWC and came 2nd at WCG all in the same year. The next year he took an SK.dk team who really didn’t have a lot of cohesion and stormed into the finals with them. This guy has serious talent and it’s not even the kind of very overt madskills style most would associate with a star player. Looking at whimp demos you don’t see the mad headshotting of a zonic demo or the crazy movement skills of a solo. Instead what you see is a super consistent style of aiming which has him constantly hitting the enemy with bullet and then always being in the right place next to kill the next guy. The problem for mTw.dk is how they will translate his skills into their unit.
The big thing about hpx is not only was he a star player, capable of out-awping all but 1-2 of CS’ AWP gods, but he also really complemented their entire team style very well. Whimp is an allstar calibre player but it remains to be seen how taking out a talented AWPer and replacing him with a straight up rifle star will work. Against some teams that AWP is going to lock areas of the map off or punish pushes into long range zones. With whimp the game becomes more dependant on teamplaying with other riflers. This team needs to develop some chemistry very quickly if they want to maintain their level.
This is one of those deals where you can’t just say it’s bad before you’ve seen it since whimp really is THAT good. The key element is that this isn’t a case of putting a better player in and your team gets better, a lot of work needs to be put in for that potential to become the case. With hpx it was more a case of having a definite level of performance available at all times.