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Gnaske Talks Counter-Strike History and New Team for ALGS Year 4

Professional Apex Legends player Gnaske talks about why Apex Legends keeps him playing, where his passion comes from and the early times of Apex.

We had the chance to sit down and talk with Casper "Gnaske" Præstensgaard, former player for the Pioneers and professional Apex Legends player. Gnaske has recently put together his own team named “o7” to compete in Year 4 of the Apex Legends Global Series. We had a chance to talk about what got him into gaming, why Apex Legends is his game or choice and where his passion for competition comes from.

(This interview has been edited for clarity.)

I want to kind of start from the beginning here and I want you to go back as far as you can. What is the earliest game that you remember playing that you would say sparked your love for gaming?

I only really got a computer when I think I turned 11 or something like that. So the only experience I had playing video games before that was at my cousin's house and we played Left 4 Dead 2 and that got me into gaming. And then the first game I really started playing a lot was Counter Strike.

Besides Apex Legends, are there any other games that you currently enjoy or play in your downtime?

At the moment, no. But a few months back, it would have been League of Legends a little bit on the side. I've reignited my passion for Apex Legends. So now I'm playing many hours every day. And Apex Legends is pretty much the only game I have time for at the moment.

What about Apex Legends keeps you playing? Why do you stay with it instead of any other Battle Royales, shooters or League of Legends?

I like the fast pace of Apex Legends. I actually played a lot of battle royales before Apex Legends. Even though they would captivate me for a little bit, it just kind of got stale pretty fast. And I think it's just the fast pace from Apex that I like. I think the Time To Kill is perfect too. I think it just helps captivate me.

If you had a complete pass to rework or nerf any legend, the development team is yours to mold as you like. What changes would you make to the game?

I'd buff Pathfinder’s tactical ability, so it's a shorter cooldown. I'd make his hitbox smaller. Make Wraith’s portal a little bit bigger. Caustic would just get removed. Catalyst removed. And make it so it's only Wattson, Pathfinder, and Wraith again.

What would you say is your greatest strength as an Apex player?

My greatest strength is my in-game leadership. I'd say I take pride in my leadership outside of the game too.

Gnaske at the Apex Legends Global Series Playoffs.

Gnaske at the Apex Legends Global Series Playoffs.

Being able to lead in a game as fast-paced as Apex Legends isn't an easy feat. It's definitely a skill that you have to train over time. How do you think that you came to be such a great in-game leader?

I dropped out of school to pursue Apex Legends professionally. I moved in with my grandpa across Denmark. So no social life, no nothing for seven months. In those seven months, I spent 12 hours every single day, no breaks. Literally every single day. I didn't have a single day off. So we had EU scrims for three and a half or four hours and ace scrims for three and a half or four hours. And everything else I would spend either playing ranked or VOD reviewing and that's what got me good at IGL’ing.

For me in Apex Legend, it's like riding a bike. Once you learn it, you kind of get it. And that once you get the fundamentals and your like philosophy in the game sorted then everything else comes relatively naturally. It gets pretty much intuition.

Then what do you think your greatest weakness is and how are you going about improving that?

Hey listen, I'm the number one most humble person in the world, okay? But, my greatest weakness…it's hard for me to answer! I am pretty good.

What do you think is one skill or aspect of the game that to you is essential to being the best Apex Legends player?

Discipline. If you don't respect yourself and other people's time, if you don't put in the time, if you don't do stuff even though it might be boring, then you're not going to make it, regardless of how good you are at the game.

You mentioned dropping out of school in order to pursue Apex Legends professionally. That must have been a big decision. How did your loved ones and those around you accept that decision?

My mom wasn't really with it. My dad said, “screw it, do it.” It was really the summer of 2020 when we became three times European champions, like almost in a row. And that was when my mom was like, OK with it.

It took like two years or something for my mom to be fully supportive about it. But my dad, my dad was with it. I wouldn't have been able to do it without their support, though. If my circumstances were a little bit different and my parents were more set on me finishing school and getting a degree and stuff like that, then it definitely would have been a different story now.

Can you recall what one of the most challenging moments or memories that you have of playing professional Apex Legends was and what you learned from it?

Probably the early times of Apex Legends. In the early days, I was relatively mid. No one wanted to give me a shot. No one wanted to trial me. No one wanted to attempt to team with me. Or the people that would were not necessarily that good. And I never really had a shot.

I ended up having to take matters into my own hands and trialing people. And I ended up trialing, it was something like 200 different people. And then I finally found my team. So it was like six months of just looking for a team.

What do you think that you learned from that experience?

Drive, I guess. I don't know the English word for it, but like sticking through, you know?

Where do you think that your drive for competition comes from?

I've always wanted to be right. If that makes sense. Your teachers told you one thing, then I always wanted to be the right one. Every time there's an argument, I always want to win the argument. So I think maybe, some of my competition comes from that. But other than that, I've actually never really liked school sports or sports outside of that, where I've been like I need to win. It was really Apex Legends that helped me become passionate about competition.

Gnaske and the Pinoneer's walking out during the ALGS Championship.

Gnaske at the Year 3 Apex Legends Global Series Championship.

If you had to choose between winning or constantly seeing improvement in yourself, which of the two would you prefer?

I think both of them. There's a correlation between both of them. I don't think you'll see yourself winning if you don't see yourself improving too, so my answer would be both even though that's maybe a boring answer.

Is there anyone, whether it's a team or a singular player, that you look up to or feel that you've learned something from? Sort of like an idol or role model within the Apex Legends space?

I've learned a lot from everyone that I've deemed good enough to put time and effort into studying. I don't have an idol, one person I looked up to. Whether they like it or not, everyone has helped me to become better. I guess in that regard, all the good players are my idols.

Looking back on the Year 3 ALGS, how do you think that you and your team performed overall?

I think we performed okay. Not happy about the results, but not upset about the results either. Split One Playoffs, we always used to play with the sub. That's not really our team, if that makes sense. In the Split Two Playoffs and Championship, we got sixth and eighth respectively.

I'd say from an org standpoint too, I'd say top 10 is respectable. As long as you have a team in a battle royale where there's a lot of randomness, that consistently will get top 10. I'd say from an org standpoint it would probably be okay.

But for me personally, I'm not too happy about it. I'm sure things will change this year. I'm sure I'm gonna be happy about the results.

What are you most looking forward to in Year 4 of the ALGS?

The new team that I have has shown great passion. As the IGL, coach and analyst all-in-one I've always been the one to do all the preparation and I'll just do it by my own accord which is completely fine. But these teammates have shown to do stuff without me saying it, without anything and I absolutely love that. So having people around you that are also passionate and dedicated…it makes you want it even more too. And I'm really, really optimistic about results in year four. I think it's going to be really good.

You can watch Gnaske playing Apex Legends on his Twitch Stream or follow him on social media.