Swedish version

Fifflaren on life after the career and the state of NA CS

av Björn Ehrnberg

Seven months have passed since Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson retired from the professional scene. Since then, he has moved to New York and started working at Twitch.
Now he tells Aftonbladet Esport that the everyday lifestyle we mortals have to walk through was something that he was looking forward to.
– I had planned this for a very long time before I moved, so it wasn’t too big of a change. I was longing for some normal hours, the former CS:GO star says.

In the beginning of November last year the story broke: Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson left Ninjas in Pyjamas and at the same time decided that his professional career in CS:GO had come to a close. Several months have passed since then and in that time span Fifflaren has been casting events, fetched a job at Twitch and also managed to move across the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite a rather stressful start to his life in the States, he now says that the acclimatization has been smooth and most things are now in order.
– It feels awesome. I like it a lot and have wonderful colleagues at Twitch. It was bit difficult in the beginning before we got the apartment in order, but now I have my computer in place and more spare time. There’s a lot of work of course, Fifflaren says and continues:
– But so far I have nothing to complain about.

Fifflaren handles partnerships in CS:GO at Twitch. From his offices in New York, the former Ninjas in Pyjamas pro makes sure that viewers and streamers get the most out of their experience, at the same time he tries to provide a better environment for his old colleagues on the professional scene.

– We are not really an organization, we are more like partners with both the players and tournament organizers. What I like to do most during a work day is to make sure that the players are having a good experience at events. While I was playing I was never approached and asked whether I liked the tournament set up and how we felt during the event. Now we are somewhat of an intermediate between the players and tournaments and we send the feedback we receive to the organizers. What we are trying to do is to make stuff better for everyone involved in CS:GO.
– In other words is my work not centered around streaming, it’s not like we go to friberg and tell him to stream. Streaming is a fairly small part of the stuff we do.

In short you are somewhat of a power-broker since you are the platform all tournaments want to broadcast on?
– Exactly. If somebody comes and ask for a partnership we obviously look into it. The thing is that it doesn’t have to be a gigantic tournament, if they have potential we help them out. Sometimes all they need is the ability for their viewers to change the quality of the stream.

Are you also scouting potential partner candidates among all those who dream on becoming big on Twitch and making a living playing CS:GO everyday in front of thousands of people?
– Before I started to work at Twitch I had more or less never watched a private streamer. If someone would have mentioned a name I’d would have been completely clueless. I watched, and still do, a lot of CS. So in terms of professional casting I have a good grasp on stuff, but when it comes to the private streamers I’ve had no insight whatsoever. But lately I’ve been watching a lot more streamers to see what it is that lure so many people to the streams. Ever since I started we have signed a lot more private streamers under our partnership deal.

Have you been considering to start streaming yourself?
– I have actually, Fifflaren says with a noticeable joy in his voice.
– When I moved here it was a bit chaotic. Everything wasn’t really in order in terms of apartment and so on. At the same time my computer was not complete. But I have been thinking about it, I just have to fix some protection before I can start streaming. In the future I might be able to get a PC to the office so I can stream from there.

Well over half a year has passed since Fifflaren retired from his professional career. During that time he hasn’t been playing more than 40 hours of CS:GO. But the fingers are hungry for some Counter-Strike again and recently he joined up with some friends in a team participating in ESEA. However, the comeback didn’t go as planned.
– We faced a team that had one victory and four loses. They won their only game through a walk over. So when I stepped into the match I though ”this will be easy”. We got totally destroyed. – But that is what I like about playing on this level. We laugh a lot and have fun while we play. During the games we obviously scream at each other, but at the same time we make fun of the guys who makes mistakes. Whenever the match is over, we are friends again.

Aren’t they looking at you as the team’s super carry?
– Yeah, they do, Fifflaren says accompanied with a huge laughter.
– And there I sit and suck.

Thanks to the move over the Atlantic, Fifflaren has gotten a greater grasp on the North American CS:GO-scene, a scene which recently underwent a major reshuffle. Robin however, was not really impressed with the outcome of the transfer circus.
– When it comes to the reshuffle I actually was a bit disappointed. There were some players who switched teams but nothing earth shattering. There was no wow-factor. When I look at how the teams look I still think that Cloud9 has the strongest squad. And that was the only thing about the shuffle that amazed me, the fact that C9 picked up  Ryan ”fREAKAZOID” Abadir. It was fun because I could not have imagine it, and I think no one could have.
– Before moving here I used to think ”how can the NA scene be so far behind?” Now I have noticed that they are a bit outdated when it comes to playing the game. Even though they probably watch games in Europe it seems like they don’t realize how they need to adapt to the game.
– The americans are receiving a fairly good salary to play Counter-Strike right now, even though I don’t know the actual numbers, they no longer have an excuse to not get better. Some fairly huge organizations have ventured in to the scene so they should be able to attend more tournaments even outside of NA. In all fairness, they should be able to attend all the tournament, not only a major or two.
– With that being said I still believe the NA scene will become better thanks to all the big organizations that at this moment are backing up the players.

How much contact do you have with your old teammates from NiP? I know you were close to Adam before your time in Ninjas in Pyjamas, but are you guys still hooking up on Skype?
– It hasn’t been too much of that lately. I still love the guys and I always look forward to meeting them at tournaments and whatnot. We talk a lot and I get to see how they are doing and so on. But even though we write to each other from time to time, it’s not like it used to be.

What do you think of Christopher ”GeT_RiGhT” Alesund becoming the in game leader of the team?
– He has actually been IGL before. I think it was during Esport-SM at the end of 2013 he was the IGL. I remember when I used to play how you could come to a point where you run out of ideas as the in game leader.
– I think the move is needed in NiP. They need to give Richard ”Xizt” Landström a chance to just focus on fragging in order for him to get some new influences and ideas and when you look at the players, it is only ”Totte” who’s been an IGL before, of the Swedes in the team.
– I don’t think that Patrik ”f0rest” Lindberg should be the guy calling the strats. He should only focus on killing the opposition. Adam ”friberg” Friberg has wanted to call before, but he is a bit messy in the head, Fifflaren says with a laughter.
– With the players they have at their disposal, GeT_RiGhT was the right choice.



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