With 2016 and the first month of 2017 over, i caught up with Jens "Snute" Aasgaard to discuss his performance, results and motivation coming into 2017. As well as Norway at the latest edition of Ogaming's Nation wars.
-2016 is over. Now you can view the year from an outside perspective. Have you become a better player since last year?
I would say so, yeah. The competitions were a bit easier compared to the years before, since Korea and the WCS-leagues were separate. Despite that, my own level has absolutely gone up after LOTV came out, and I think I am pretty close to an all-time high, skill-wise.
-You have had some huge results with second places in Goldseries and IEM Katowice. You hit the top 4 in a number of premier competitions. Dreamhack Valencia and Austin comes to mind. And of course victories at the Copa international in Mexico and NEO star in Shanghai. Do these results reflect a player of your calibre? Did you have a goal you managed to achieve?
The goal was to always perform as well as possible. The results were rather variable because of the single-elimination 32 system that was used by too many tournaments. The format wasn’t optimal for a lot of players nor the tournaments themselves. The biggest favourites could knock each-other out in the first rounds, and luck could decide a tournament-run. It could be that I would have enjoyed better results across the field if a different format was being used. But this can quickly turn into assumptions as it could just as easily have been the other way around. I am happy with the year as a whole, but I still have this feeling that it could have been better if formats with more group play had been used.
-You went out in the groups during Blizzcon despite being one of the foreign favourites for the tournament. How was your motivation to move on at the end of 2016?
It was a pretty heavy loss. My motivation was in a bad place after things went horrible both at the WESG-qualifier and at Blizzcon. I took a short break afterwards, but I quickly found the joy in playing again.
-What is it that drives and motivates you to play when you encounter resistance?
I think it’s just that I want to be an even better player, and simply because playing is fun. Every match is different, every problem or hurdle you face has a solution, and overcoming these problems is always a strong motivator.
-You have been active as a streamer lately. Is there a motivating component in «playing for others» or are you streaming mainly for the fun of it?
Streaming is definitely motivating, as there are so many who learn from it and find it entertaining to watch. I get a lot of positive feedback, so playing is extra giving when you are streaming.
-You started 2017 with OSC and NW4. Especially NW was interesting. You saved Norway in spectacular fashion both versus Australia and Ukraine. Against Ukraine you came back from a 3-0 with a reverse all-kill after losing your first match. What went through your head before that second game versus Bly?
It was a bit of a flashback, all the way to Nation Wars 2, when we were in a similar situation against Sweden in the online-qualifier. I thought back at it as a good memory and I tried to repeat that, one match at a time. And things fortunately worked out just like they were supposed to.
-You suffered some bad luck and drew Korea in the quarter-final. Do you think you could have reached the grand final had you drawn someone else first?
The drawing could have been better, but looking back I think all the other nations were solid enough to make us an underdog in any scenario. I was actually happy to pull Korea, as they had two terrans, but I wasn’t well enough prepared for the protoss. Against terran, things could have looked closer, but sadly, that’s just how things turned out.
-Do you see the possibility of any promising young talents to join the ranks from Norway? Is there any teamwork between you and them?
There are several great players in Norway, but reaching the top tier requires a lot of commitment. I know most Norwegian players, but there isn’t too much cooperation outside of Nation Wars. It’s impossible for me to say if there are any who are as focused to reach the top, but there are certainly passionate players in Norway and I hope they will practice towards the next NW and beyond.
-How does your road ahead look in 2017? Do you have a goal we should look out for?
My goal is to be the best non-Korean, and then reach the level of players like Byun, Dark etc.
-I don’t know if there is any “bad blood” between you and Zest after he knocked all of Norway out during NW. So to pull the competition a bit out of StarCraft; Who is the most handsome? Snute or Zest?
Haha! That has to be Zest :)
Photo: http://esport.aftonbladet.se @
Post: An interview with Snute on Nation Wars 4 and the end of 2016