Markus ”Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye and Team Dignitas have gone through desperate times – with multiple roster changes – and seemingly have come out on top.
Now they’re looking to be on a paved road to the top.
– I’m convinced we don’t need to wait a long time before we’re considered a top team, and the first step is qualifying for the first million dollar major, Kjaerbye tells Aftonbladet Esport ahead of the MLG Columbus qualifiers.
In his early teenage years, Danish Counter-Strike talent Markus ”Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye started working harder and dedicating more and more time to Counter-Strike: Source. Soon, however, it’s successor Global Offensive was announced. A combination of unwillingness to switch game while being torn between different commitments, such as football, made him take a break.
After a while he came back, bought a new PC and a 120hz monitor, bringing new joy to the game he once spent hours on end practicing. Working his way up through the Danish gathers, the 17 year old Dane finally got his first big shot – after literally begging Danny ”BERRY” Krüger to let him replace recently VAC Banned Emil ”zaider” Brandt in the team NO SIR.
Coming straight back from a vacation in Spain, Kjaerbye started practicing hard core, training that soon paid off as the squad won Assembly Summer 2014.
– It was huge for us, Kjaerbye tells Aftonbladet Esport and continues:
– Since then everything has gone so fast for me. Some time after I made the choice to leave some of my best friends in order to reach the next level with Copenhagen Wolves, Kjaerbye tells Aftonbladet Esport.
The members of Copenhagen Wolves consisted of the core that would later become Team Dignitas, with players such as Jacob ”Pimp” Winneche, Philip ”aizy” Aistrup, Mathias ”MSL” Lauridsen and Nicolaj ”Nico” Jensen.
In the spring of 2015 many considered Dignitas to be one of the world’s ten best teams. While gaining more and more success, it’s in hindsight also clear their issues were stacking up.
Ahead of the Cluj-Napoca major qualifier, Swedish star Andreas ”schneider” Lindberg was brought in to replace one of the team’s most long-standing members, Nico.
– It was a very messy and desperate period for our team where we felt like a change was needed in order to reach the Cluj major. The Cologne major had slipped for us, in what is the toughest loss of my career so far, and it was really hard for us to replace Nico as we had a lot of ups and downs with him and we liked him a lot as a person.
Former major winner schneider didn’t stay in the team for long as the language barrier was tougher to deal with than expected. For Dignitas the latter half of 2015 came with multiple roster changes, as Jesper ”tenzki” Mikalski was signed to replace schneider and Ruben ”RUBINO” Villarroel got picked up after the team decided to let Pimp go.
Everything seemed to be getting back on track, but then came an offer from G2 Esports (now FaZe Clan) to buy out Aizy, an offer he ended up taking.
– That was very sad at first, but it also gave us the chance to sign Kristian ”k0nfig” Wienecke who was a very promising player, Kjarebye says and continues:
– He had previously played temporarily with SK Gaming, but he rather wanted to join our team. Of course Aizy is a top notch guy and player and had great performances with us, and I can’t blame him for accepting the offer and going to what he must have thought would be the better team. We’re still good friends just like when we were teammates.
Dignitas recruited k0nfig, a Danish talent that much like Kjaerbye has been hyped as one of the country’s most promising prodigies.
How do you see him as a player?
– I think he’s got a lot of talent and if he keeps improving he can reach a really high level. He had an even faster way to the top than I had and has been playing well from the beginning of his career. He need some more experience as he’s only been playing in the top for a few months now. He will have a great career without a doubt, if he stops being afk in practice because of talking with girls, Kjaerbye says with a smile.
During the team’s shaky period, Dignitas was accompanied by 1.6 legend Danny ”zonic” Sorensen, who had been picked up as their coach. At the end of the year however, it was announced zonic was instead going take part in the revamped mTw lineup – and therefore leaving Dignitas.
– We miss Danny as a coach and person. We really liked him a lot and I think his experience could have brought us some good things. But he wanted to join mTw and try the comeback which we respected, but I’m forever grateful he made us realize what we needed to do in order to get success.
As it stand, Team Dignitas consists of Kjaerbye, k0nfig, RUBINO, Tenzki and MSL. In recent days this lineup has had a huge upswing, contesting some of the best teams in the world. According to Hltv.org they are currently the 7th best team in the world, only 23 points below Virtus.Pro.
On Friday one of their most important tournaments begin, the qualifier for the upcoming North American major, MLG Columbus, where one million dollars is on the line.
What are your expectations for the event?
– I expect us to qualify first of all, even though every team will come well prepared. I think Renegades and Cloud9 will be fighting for the other spot, but Gambit shouldn’t be underestimated either. We don’t really play against most of those teams normally, so I’m not sure what kind of level to expect, but I’m confident that we will qualify if we just play our A-game. Right now I’m just looking forward to play again, as we haven’t touched CS since ESL Barcelona, the jet lagged Dane says.
What do you think the future holds for the team?
– I think we have a bright future a head of ourselves. We have very high expectations and that helps us to not get satisfied and instead go through the small mistakes and rounds that have made us lose close games against the world’s best teams. I’m convinced we don’t need to wait a long time before being considered as a top team, and the first step is qualifying for the first million dollar major.
How far do you think you can go?
– I think I can be the best player in the world some day if I keep improving and keep my work ethic and priorities right. I’m only 17 and I can already feel how much I have improved in my career. I think I’m very humble normally, which makes it a lot easier to fix my mistakes and learn from them.
– That’s still just a dream and milestone of mine and I’m not close yet, but I’d rather stay optimistic and go for it rather than accepting my opponents being better than me. I feel a lot more confident in my new role, with this team and group of friends, and don’t see what should stop me and us of achieving great things in the future.