Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke gained a new reputation this past weekend as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s newest villain. It wasn’t because North won; instead, it was because he threw shade towards their final boss, G2 Esports.
Prior to North’s semifinal match versus Team Liquid, G2’s AWPer, Kenny “KennyS” Schrub, said he and his team wanted to play North because of their “cocky” attitudes. North then swept Liquid on Nuke and Mirage–just as KennyS had hoped.
“Good luck Kenny; I will **** you up”, K0nfig said in response to KennyS after the semifinal. G2 and North were set to face off in the grand final of the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals against the Danes the following day.
K0nfig gave an edgy response to the G2-biased crowd in Dallas, Texas. “We don’t give a flying **** if you cheer for G2, and we’re going to crush them to show who’s the best in the world,” he said.
Although much of k0nfig’s pre-game trash talk seemed to be in good fun, the crowd tried their hardest to help G2 win the grand finals.
Fans were heard ghosting the positions of North during several rounds, according to several event attendees on Reddit. Ghosting is the action of giving away a player’s position to other players who are still alive, and it’s typically done by users in spectator mode. The fans even started a “k0nfig sucks dick” chant during Overpass.
K0nfig eventually showed signs of tilt with a fist slam into his computer desk that led to a technical match pause. North made a few enemies in the crowd that may have had a psychological impact on the team’s performance in the grand final. It definitely showed in their significantly weak Cobblestone (16-5) and Inferno (16-3) performances.
“Everything on stage was just fun and games,” k0nfig tweeted following North’s 3-1 loss to G2 in the championship. Yet it didn’t seem like fun and games to G2.
“We don’t like each other. We think they are way too cocky,” G2’s Dan “apEX” Madesclaire said in an interview with Slingshot Esports. ApEX also made a comparison between SK’s humility and North’s arrogance, talking highly of SK’s ambitions and attitudes in relation to North’s cockiness. G2 even wanted to call a “tactical” timeout at championship point on Inferno to “make them feel really bad”, but they didn’t because it would’ve been something that North would do in that situation.
North has also been notorious for attempting risky yet disrespectful kills and shooting bodies–especially recently. Most notably, k0nfig knifed GODSENT’s Andreas “znajder” Lindberg in a group stage match at the ELEAGUE Major in January, and he got a lot of flak from his team and from the community for it. In the case of the G2 versus North match, k0nfig was the root of the problem once again.
With these pieces of context in mind, k0nfig set himself and his team up for community disdain comparable to Fnatic of 2015. Fnatic’s two-major win streak in 2015 forced Counter-Strike fans into rooting for whoever Fnatic played at the time. The Swedish team’s form at the time felt seemingly unstoppable to the point that they could create cocky highlight reels and still pull off comeback wins. Instead of being cheered against for being too good, North are being vilified for being too arrogant.
The biggest difference between present-day North and 2015 Fnatic was that Fnatic could back up their banter and trash talk with tournament wins. Fnatic won two majors in a row plus many other smaller tournaments. K0nfig and co. can only boast several early playoff exits in 2017 and a runner-up title from the Pro League Finals.
K0nfig’s attempts at creating rivalry narratives seems to be a little more than what he and his Danish counterparts can handle. North lack the mental fortitude and talent ability to reach such heights.
“We probably ought to stop the banter since it seems to be wrecking us every time we do it,” said Phillip Rasmussen, the community manager for North.
K0nfig may be able to show some bite behind his bark with top frags, impressive stats, and easy clutches, but he and North need substantial results that prove their spot as “best in the world.”
Astralis, FaZe, and SK will need to have an in-game “talk” with North at the Krakow Major about that statement.