Heroic Gaming’s recent acquisition of Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen, following the loss of IGL Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander was certainly an interesting roster shuffle. Nearly every CS:GO oracle would have expected gla1ve to join Astralis once Finn “karrigan” Andersen left the squad, but his sudden departure left an aftershock nonetheless. As for Heroic, picking up niko as a replacement for gla1ve seemed like a natural move, while the majority may see this move as a huge bolster to Heroic’s roster, there’s always the possibilty niko will follow the path of two fellow Danes.
Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen was initially showcased within the Danish scene alongside longtime teammate Jakob “JUGI” Hansen as part of Revival Gaming. Because of his talent, niko had his first taste of success with the HUNDEN-led TRICKED eSport after two months spent in the Danish scene. Since then, niko has excelled under the leadership of the scrutinised Nicolai “HUNDEN” Peterson, boasting a 1.14 rating before joining the higher ranks of Heroic. Known for his ability to trade frags with excellence and hold bombsites down with ease, niko was quickly compared to the likes of Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye and Philip “aizy” Aistrup.
What did these three players have in common? Each surmounted the competitive ladder at an impressive rate, rising from nothing, to playing against the best of the best in no time. Aizy and Kjaerbye have their current misfortunes but their history speaks for itself – as for niko, his path currently seems to be following a similar trail to the other two pros – his time with Heroic could potentially mark his own demise.
Philip “aizy” Aistrup made a name for himself as part of the current Dignitas lineup under Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, who utilised aizy as the “star of the show.” Aizy’s incredible potential quickly came to fruition during his time with Dignitas, most notably during the CEVO Season 8 LAN Finals – his heroics earned him his next career move when G2 eSports (now FaZe Clan) acquired him for his consistent performances.
Since then, the road has been far from aizy, as the FaZe lineup became plagued by leadership issues and aizy’s own dip in performance.
Marcus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye first made headlines at the age of 16, when he played with the Pimp-led Copenhagen Wolves in his first major ever, Dreamhack Winter 2014. In the period between his time with Copenhagen Wolves to his time in Dignitas, Kjaerbye was touted for his ability to up his game when the team needed him the most.
When Astralis later scouted a replacement for struggling René “cajunb” Borg, Kjaerbye was immediately picked as their first option. Since then, Kjaerbye has been shining ever so brightly for Astralis, yet the results and roster troubles of Astralis once again reared their ugly head. In their current situation, they have lost their IGL karrigan and are currently facing performance issues with Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth and Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann.
Niko’s arrival may yet spark a conflict between niko and Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså, both of whom will look to assert themselves within the lurking role. Heroic will need a strong strategy and a formidable leader:
“While we are in the unique situation of being masters of our own destiny, we also have to recognise that we are like any other CS:GO team which will see occasional player transfers.
“As five co-founders, we decided that it made good business sense to sell gla1ve to Astralis. As five players, we decided that niko is an excellent new fifth man who can fill gla1ve’s shoes.”
Marco “Snappi” Pfieffer
As gla1ve took up the leading role, the gap will need to be filled as he takes his leave. On paper, it seems logical for Snappi to take the lead from his current support role – but where does that leave niko? There may well be a conflict of interests.
With MODDII and a rising star in valde, niko may feel uncomfortable and overshadowed by the two when sharing team roles. Snappi will need time to calibrate to his newfound role and niko may not be the piece that completes the puzzle.
When a team loses their IGL, it can take months to recover from the loss. Unless Snappi can find a way to mix the three together and create a tasty dish, Heroic and niko may not be able to mesh a squad together. Niko was not the replacement Heroic needed, the roster should have sought an IGL who could fill the void in their squad.