The Heroic Tale of Denmark’s Prodigal Son Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander

We glorify the superstar. The individual who is willing to enter a free fall of doubt and anxiety – risking friends, family, money, all for an almost unnoticeable improvement in their own game. The ones who have a willingness to sacrifice it all for a millimetre, a microsecond, a pixel. Whilst we worship the success stories of this devotion to a craft, we are quick to dismiss those that make a wrong turn when they put it all on the line. Whether it be in the form of a sandal, poor performance, a psychological barrier or just an abrasive personality; a misstep at an inopportune moment and shown in the wrong light can be the catalyst for the end of a career. Even the mightiest of talents can be brought down by thousands of tiny digital arrows, fired by an outraged community.  

Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander name is one that can make the online warriors of social media nock their arrows before he even speaks, due to a stigma he created in late 2014 after an incident regarding tournament organiser Gaming.dk. Drama arose after gla1ve and teammate Nico’s girlfriends weren’t let into the venue, due to tournament rules about bringing extra persons into the event. Following this, it was reported by hltv.org that gla1ve threatened to boycott the event if his girlfriend wasn’t let in, and although the issue was eventually resolved the grand final was delayed by an hour.

The actions of this event struck a certain, previously untouched chord within the community and due to the preventable nature and far-reaching consequences of g1la1ve’s actions, he received highly specific and channelled hate. This community hatred, combined with a six-month ban from Gaming.dk, €250 fine, and “tumultuous results” according to the Copenhagen Wolves organisation, resulted in gla1ve being kicked from the roster. His exit from the second best Danish team at the time, and being cast out into the wilderness of semi-professional play showed just how far he had fallen from his pedestal since his time with Western Wolves in 2013.

Source: HLTV
Source: HLTV

As a part of Western Wolves, gla1ve was the mastermind behind a Danish side that could play upset to the best teams of not only that specific era but in the history of CS:GO. With gla1ve’s only strategic rival at the time being Ex6tenz, his new tactical outlook on the game provided stark contrast to the skill ladened teams of Virtus.Pro, NiP and ESC. However, the Western Wolves time in the sun was short-lived, with star awper Nico proving problematic outside the game. The rise of teams with a mix of both sound tactics and raw- aim, like, Astana Dragons, Epsilon, and then even later Fnatic, proved to be too much for gl1ave’s system.

After his time on this elite Western Wolves roster, gla1ve played in a number of Danish line-ups under many different organisational banners. Although he was never again apart of a world-beating team and was always competing to be second best with the meteoric rise of Dignitas/TSM/Astralis proving impossible to follow, gla1ve did play in the group stage of every single major from 2013-2014. This catches us back up to gla1ve being kicked from Copenhagen Wolves at the very end of 2014 and heading into the New Year.

Gla1ve went from the best Danish team and trying to upset for international titles, to the second best Danish side winning domestic LANs, to not even the Third best side, but rather playing in semi-pro pug teams and online cups.

This period of mixed pug sides in 2015 was by far and away the lowest point of his career. Failing to make it through open and closed domestic qualifiers; there were months of inactivity. No big prize pools, no steady salaries from big organisations but a lingering tainted reputation from the community after the Gaming.dk incident. His overall stock value as a player was so low that not even being picked up by his former org – Copenhagen Wolves – at the start of 2016 was enough to raise any eyebrows. Failed qualifier after qualifier. 10th place in ESEA premier. Losses to unnamed mix-teams. Collapsed lung.

Source: HLTV
Source: HLTV

Playing under the banner of the Copenhagen Wolves didn’t invoke the same level of performance that the Western ones had previously provided. It seemed that with these results 2016 was going to be another unremarkable year, for an unremarkable player.

However, on May 26, 2016, after an almost two-year absence from high-level professional play, he was given a seemingly impossible opportunity.

Following the ruling of recently added star player Kjaerbye not being able to play at ESL One: Cologne 2016 due to the Major/Minor system, Astralis were in dire need of a fifth man. This fifth man would have the task of being a strong enough band-aid fix to get the top Danish side past a tough group stage and into the round-of-8 to secure legend status. The responsibility of helping push Astralis to this point would fall on the unlikely shoulders of gla1ve. The announcement of his inclusion into the roster raised more questions than encouragement, and the expectation of the community was that he would be nothing more than a mule to carry money and guns around for the rest of the side.

Source; HLTV
Source: HLTV

Playing in his first major since Dreamhack Winter 2014, against fellow Danish side – team Dignitas – gla1ve was anything but a mule. Dropping 22 kills with an 85+ ADR, gla1ve helped carry a slumping Xyp9x over the line and secure a win for his new side. Although the following game was lost to Gambit, again gla1ve was not on the chopping block for a poor performance; rather he defied expectations and ended the game on top of his team’s scoreboard. However, in movie-like circumstances – after the Gambit game – pivotal entry-fragger Dupreeh was hospitalised and unable to play for the rest of the tournament due to an appendix infection. To replace the fallen man, Astralis coach Zonic stepped in, to play alongside the already fractured team and face domestic rivals Dignitas in the final group stage game – a Bo3 – to achieve the ever important legend status. Although gla1ve didn’t frag with the same consistency as he did in the first two games, he played an important utility role alongside Zonic, that was important in supporting a redeemed performance from Xyp9x that secured them a 2-1 win, and a treasured place in the playoffs. Although his time on the stage in Cologne might’ve been cut short by a swift 2-0 by Virtus.pro in the round-of-8, his impact on the Astralis players and supporters will have a lasting effect with their auto-qualification into the next major of 2016.

After his moment of unbridled praise in ESL One Cologne 2016, Gla1ve returned back to a calibre of play that was more suited to his career trajectory, as a part of the newly unsigned – Team X (Friis, MODDII, gla1ve, valde, and Snappi). After qualifying for two large international LANs, it was reported that many outside organisations were hungry to pick-up the Danish side, but rather than take these offers the players decided to form their own, player-run organisation – Heroic – a fitting name for gla1ve’s story.

Source: HLTV
Source: HLTV

Playing under this new banner, gla1ve and his team have gone on to have a string of surprising results – winning the domestic Power-LAN over Danish counterparts Astralis and Dignitas, placing third at Northern Arena amongst the best of North American Counter-Strike and notching consecutive upset results over elite sides at both StarLadder and Dreamhack Bucharest. With these solid consistent, performances under their belt and hot form to support it, the Heroic roster has made a solid campaign into the top ten teams in the world, and has for the first time since his Western Wolves days, given gla1ve a taste of success on the international LAN stage with his own team, and with a community that has forgotten the past and welcomed him back with open arms.