Jonatan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg recently announced his return to competitive CS:GO as a player, after retiring last year.
Now the former Fnatic coach shares his thoughts on the feelings after returning to the scene, his memories – and the longing to face his former teammates again.
– If I kill JW and pick up his AWP he’ll go on a mega tilt. Then they’re screwed and I’ve won, Devilwalk tells Aftonbladet Esport jokingly.
In the history of CS:GO, only one person has ever managed to win a major tournament both as a player and a coach. Jonatan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg pulled off the feat while wearing the Fnatic jersey. Arriving at DreamHack Summer, still wearing the organization’s clothing despite leaving them two weeks ago, he sat down with Aftonbladet Esport to talk about the days past, feelings and memories from his time with the team when they dominated a game that has taken the World by storm lately.
– Fnatic will always have a place in my heart. That doesn’t just disappear like that. It’s my whole career and it always has been. Everything I’ve experienced, the success and everything else in the Fnatic jersey. Half of my wardrobe is black and orange clothing, Devilwalk tells Aftonbladet Esport.
”Nobody recognized us at DreamHack Winter”
As summer has swept in over Sweden, it is followed by a dedicated bunch of gamers making their way to Jönköping, Sweden, overencumbered with computer equipment. Their goal: To attend DreamHack Summer and be a part of the largest LAN on Swedish soil with everything it entails from eSports to live shows.
There’s no doubt DreamHack has a special place in a lot of Swedish, and foreign, esport hearts. But few people have more memories of success and defeat at DreamHack than Devilwalk.
– I have so many memories from this place. But it’s a bit weird, because the year we won here nobody recognized us when we walked through the halls. We wore Fnatic jerseys but we looked the same as everyone wearing them. Nobody wanted autographs or photographs. Back then only Ninjas in Pyjamas existed, he says and continues:
– But now when you walk around here and you don’t even play in the best team in the World, a lot of people still want you to sign stuff or take a picture with them and that’s incredibly fun.
”I never doubted we were gonna win”
After having played more deciding games against previously mentioned arch rivals from Sweden than a normal person can count on their fingers, Devilwalk now says he didn’t have any doubt that Fnatic would win the first CS:GO major. When they arrived in Jönköping 18 months ago to play for a prize pool of 250 000 dollars, few people had faith in the squad. A lot of people were convinced that NiP would claim the victory easily.
– My best memory from DreamHack is a feeling we had in Katowice as well. When we said the first day: ”Holy shit, we’re gonna win this thing, I just feel it”. I never doubted a second that we weren’t gonna win it. I’ve just had that feeling twice and that was during DreamHack Winter 2013 and in Katowice this year, he says.
”More value in burying the hatchet”
Their win over the ninjas marked the beginning of a new era in CS:GO, but they didn’t quite get the boost they anticipated. After a couple of demoralizing losses and early exits in tournaments Devilwalk decided a change was needed. That meant firing himself and his teammate Andreas ”schneider” Lindberg who he recently teamed up with again in 1337.
– Even if I made the decision to kick him out of Fnatic – a decision he was pretty mad about in the beginning – we’ve experienced a lot together. We’ve shared so many feelings of success and failure. You can’t be mad at each other for life after going through that together. There’s more value in burying the hatchet in a lot of ways. We still have so many good memories.
”Looking forward to face Fnatic”
Now the teammates in 1337 face another turnaround in their careers. The two major winners have gotten back together to take the community by storm. But even though Devilwalk says the team still needs a lot of weeks of practice and preparation, he still thinks they would ”do good against Fnatic”.
– It would be extremely fun to face them. If I kill JW and pick up his AWP, then I think he’ll super-tilt. Then they’re screwed and I’ve won. They’ll win of course, but I think we can inflict some damage to them.
You out of all people should know how they like to play?
– Yeah, I actually have a couple of anti-ecos we developed for Katowice to see how other teams could act against us and try to stop us. The main goal with that was to see how we could adapt mid round if we noticed we were being ”anti-stratted”.
But then they’ll now what you know?
– Yeah, I’ll be some kind of mindfuck after mindfuck. But it will be exciting. I’m looking forward to that game. But we need a couple of more weeks to come together as a team.
”I felt I was kind of taken for granted”
At the end of May, Aftonbladet Esport broke the news that Devilwalk was about to leave Fnatic and head back to competitive play. It wasn’t an easy decision to take for the successful coach, and it had been stirring in his head since the Katowice win.
– I started thinking and felt that I was getting a bit burnt out. All the demos I watched and all the analysis I made still paid off but I wasn’t appreciated as much by the players. I actually felt I was kind of taken for granted and that made it less fun. At that point I made the decision that it’s much more fun to play because you get more appreciation from your teammates since you’re all a part of victories and defeats.
But you’re leaving the safe haven in Fnatic to face an uncertain future?
– That’s the way it is. But money isn’t the reason you do this. If you were looking for cash you would never have entered eSports to begin with. At first we didn’t get any money at all, instead we were in the red every month we played. But it’s so much fun just doing this. There’s no real reason to think about money because there’s always be cash and if you need more you can solve it somehow. After the career as a player there are so many possibilities now. You can do casting, managing or coaching jobs and so on.
– I want to squeeze the very last bit of gaming I have inside of me before I quit.
”It’s motivating as hell to stream”
Have you noticed your reaction speed getting worse as you age, considering even though you’re young you’re not exactly fresh meat in the CS:GO community?
– No, I haven’t noticed myself becoming slower. On the contrary, I feel that I’m improving with age. You get calmer and more stable than I’ve been before. Back then you could either get five headshots or not get a frag in six or seven rounds. Now I’m calmer and better and at the same time I’ve learned a lot during my days as a coach in Fnatic.
– I’ve been able to look at Olof ”Olofmeister” Kajbjer and JW to see how – and when – you should play aggressively or passively. I’ve taken a lot of their play styles and implemented to my own game and it’s actually going damn good. It’s actually extremely healthy to have a break from playing and then coming back with fresh thoughts and ideas, so you don’t get stuck in old routines. I don’t think I can be read as easily now, and I understand better how the opponents think when they face me. I have a better overview and know more about how to counter certain players.
”We’ve attracted some sponsors”
You started streaming more frequently even before you left Fnatic, and since you left your viewer numbers have increased rather dramatically. How does that feel?
– It’s motivating as hell. I’ve had damn positive reactions after my decision to play again. I haven’t received any hate or been told it was the wrong move. What I’ve heard is instead: ”Thanks for what you did in Fnatic and good luck in the future”. Stuff like that is really great to hear. When it comes to Twitch I’m ecstatic about the support I’m getting. At the same time I think the numbers rose just as the news broke because people wanted to hear what happened and see how good I am and how good the team can become.
What’s the situation in the new team? How many of you play full time?
– We’ve just started playing full time after some of the players have finished their studies. Now we have more time to scrim, but we’ll have a short vacation in the end of June. Other than that, we’re all playing full time. And we’ve attracted some sponsors who are still secret.
”SK Gaming never tried to contact us”
There was a lot of talk that SK Gaming would pick you up after they failed to secured what became Kinguin. What can you say about that?
– They never talked to us. They never even tried to contact us.
Was that a disappointment?
– No, it wasn’t. It’s just as good that they picked the team they picked because we would’ve turned them down. They don’t have the best reputation among players since the ”Potti and Heaton-incident”.
Are you talking to other organizations right now?
– I’m in talks with three different organizations. We’re trying to find the best deal for us. It’s of course great that people want us, but the deals we’re looking at now are nothing stellar.
How does it feel to not have Patrik ”cArn” Sättermon around you anymore?
– He’s always around, Devilwalk replies with a laugh.
– We’re really good friends and we chat sometimes. But I miss him of course, and we may not talk as much as before. But he’s there and there’s no lack of cArn.
Replacing Devilwalk in Fnatic will be Viktor ”vuggo” Jendeby. The ex Team Property coach was a big part of Fnatic’s success in Katowice and when the team arranged a meeting to discuss replacements Devilwalk had already made up his mind.
– When I made my decision I sat in a meeting and said he was the best candidate and I could see that when we worked together before Katowice. He will do a really great job and he already has a good connection with the players.
”An indescribable feeling to win Katowice”
Devilwalk has left Fnatic, but Fnatic still hasn’t left him. Sitting at DreamHack wearing a jersey and cap adorned with the team’s logo, he shares the memory of the moment that he’ll remember most fondly from his years in the organization: The victory that meant he became the first person ever to win a major both as a player and a coach.
– It was different, sure. But it was still almost the same thing. The only difference really is the cash. I didn’t get the same cut when I won as a coach, but that doesn’t matter. To share the Katowice win with ”Jeppe”, ”Prolle” and Flusha especially, guys I had played with for so long, was incredible. It was an indescribable feeling. It’s not about the money, it’s the title that matters.
– I’ve been a World Champion, and that’s pretty cool.
Not many people can throw that title around.
– No, not many people at all, Devilwalk says and smiles.