Written by: Richard Lewis
On the eve of the PGL European Minor, Fnatic acquired the supposed missing piece in their all too complicated jigsaw puzzle. With the prize being a chance to play in the major qualifier, the organization swooped in and made Epsilon and the Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun an offer they couldn’t refuse. The timing was terrible. Epsilon scurried to make arrangements for a last-minute stand-in, and despite that, played an incredibly close series against the eventual winners, GODSENT. Had Gidetun still been on the roster, who knows what might have happened. That thought won’t trouble the player propelled into a guaranteed spot in the tenth major here in Atlanta, his first.
When “Disco Doplan” first came to people’s attention, it was mostly for his ridiculous in-game name. Epsilon’s team announcement was met with the usual derision. “Who are these players?” was the recurring question, with noone really caring about the answer. The reality of esports economics is that it is better to have a bad team in a popular game than no team at all. As a result, fans have become desensitized to constant announcements from smaller organizations touting obscure names. No one expects them to do anything, and the lifespan of these teams generally tends to be short. Epsilon, either by accident or design, bucked that trend. They lasted longer than many assumed they would and it took a while for their talent to be airlifted into bigger franchises.
In that second tier, the team posted some decent results. For Gidetun, he started to catch people’s attention in May when he dropped 109 kills in a three map series with only two overtimes, including 41 in a single map against Millennium. Epsilon lost somehow, making people lay it on thick about how his teammates weren’t helping him on the server. That was never especially true, but this was not only a good run of form for the player, it also propelled him into the public consciousness as a real prospect. His numbers were good and there were some notable highlights. The team was earning wins against teams like Gambit Gaming and Alternate Attax, both of whom have played their part in ELEAGUE. They also had a relatively close series against NiP at DreamHack Summer where they picked up a memorable win over Hellraisers.
Gidetun was very much on the radar at this point. Another landmark 40 kills in an overtime loss against Team X, the line-up that would go on to become Heroic, got the memes flowing again. For many, he was now considered the next great Swedish talent off the assembly line that has been running since Counter-Strike was created. It wasn’t just fans paying lip-service either. In August, Ninjas In Pyjamas, dealing with an injury to Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi, came calling and did a deal that would see the prospect stand-in to play alongside the legends.
I’ve seen this many times. That big call-up is where many of these aspirants get found out. Either they crumble under the pressure, or they can’t fit into a system that isn’t built for them to shine. Not this time. He put in respectable performances as they picked up wins over Team Dignitas, EnvyUs and FaZe before being sent back to the comparative bush-leagues with Epsilon. In a recent interview, according to his teammates, Gidetun actually had an offer to join the team in a more meaningful capacity. When asked about him, NiP players will certainly tell you only good things, saying they expect he has the capability to become a “complete player.”
A lot of discussion has taken place about where this roster move leaves fnatic. The fans are excited and I can understand that. There’s no doubt that he is an upgrade for John "wenton" Eriksson who, for me at least, hasn’t looked like a player capable of wearing the black and orange. He is well liked, and by all accounts a model professional and great teammate. When those attributes are the ones most talked about, the appendix of that story will always be a tale of personal failure. Yet it’s still crazy to think that this move seems to have generated more excitement than the return of Freddy "KRiMZ" Johansson. It might be a lot of pressure to place on young shoulders. Or, given the evidence, maybe not.
Recently, we’ve poured praise on Cloud9 for developing two young talents, and this might be the right time for Europe to add to that proof of concept. William "draken" Sundin might not have the same explosive statistics as his now former teammate, but he certainly is knocking on the door asking to be noticed. Before Gidetun joined the roster that would become Epsilon, there’s no doubt Sundin was the star, having put in some hefty performances against E-Frag, LDLC White and Penta Sports in the PGL European Minor held in March. Fredrik "freddieb" Buö has also shown some promise since he joined, but it’s not clear whether or not he’ll be able to shine as the team starts to break up around him.
It’s an interesting time in Sweden for sure. GODSENT, a team that contained the core of the team that dominated the whole of 2015, are scraping wins in a minor tournament they really shouldn’t have been in. Fnatic has been hit and miss. NiP switched their fifth player yet again as Mikail "Maikelele" Bill leaves them for the second time in his career, despite the team winning a tournament, achieving a semi-final in the ESL Pro Series Finals, and qualifying for the ELEAGUE playoffs. Even a nation with an embarrassment of riches such as Sweden will occasionally need to roll the dice on some young talent. Gidetun’s success or failure might just dictate how many others get the chance in the not too distant future.