Heroic, Astralis, FaZe Clan, G2, and ENCE—five of the six CS:GO teams playing in the IEM Dallas playoffs from June 2 to 4—have one thing in common: All of them are led by Danish captains.
Heroic and ENCE, a full Danish team led by cadiaN and an international team led by Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer, respectively, have secured a spot directly in the IEM Dallas semifinals after scoring three consecutive wins each in the group stage.
Astralis (gla1ve), FaZe (karrigan), and G2 (HooXi), on the other hand, are in the quarterfinals because they lost one match in the group stage. All of the Danish captains with the exception of OG’s Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen reached the playoffs.
There’s a saying in the Counter-Strike community that Denmark knows how to produce top-tier captains better than any other country, especially due to the success of gla1ve (Astralis) and karrigan (FaZe) throughout CS:GO’s history. Gla1ve led Astralis to four Major championships and one Intel Grand Slam between 2017 and 2019, while karrigan led FaZe to win the PGL Antwerp Major in 2022 and the Intel Grand Slam in 2023.
While it’s hard to explain why Denmark has so many successful in-game leaders in CS:GO, this is probably because Denmark was one of the best countries in the Counter-Strike 1.6 days thanks to the success of teams like mTw and NoA. The old-school players likely built the foundation for the CS:GO pros and great players like zonic and ave later became CS:GO coaches.
MOUZ are the only exception in the IEM Dallas playoffs as the lineup is spearheaded by the Australian in-game leader dexter. Should they lose to Astralis in the quarterfinals on June 2, however, all teams left in the competition will be led by a Danish captain.