Photo via DreamHack

Who is HUNDEN and why was he banned from CS:GO?

Learn about HUNDEN's career as a player and coach, and what he made to get banned.

Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, one of the most controversial characters in CS:GO esports, might be up for a new coaching job in 2023 following his unban from Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC)-member events today.

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The 31-year-old has a storied career in the Danish scene of Counter-Strike that dates back to 2009, before the launch of CS:GO. Although he didn’t accomplish much in terms of trophies, he’s a relevant figure in the community, especially after the two bans he received.

Related: Controversial CS:GO coach HUNDEN unbanned by ESIC in surprise U-turn

In case you are not aware of who HUNDEN is or simply forgot after all the time he spent on the sidelines, this article will go through everything the former in-game leader has done in CS:GO.

Who is the CS:GO player HUNDEN?

HUNDEN started playing CS:GO professionally in 2012 and led multiple Danish teams, such as Copenhagen Wolves, Tricked, SK Gaming, ALTERNATE aTTaX, and MAD Lions. He was memed for a long time in his career due to not having the best individual performance, but in reality, he gave opportunities to many up-and-coming Danish players who ended up signing with bigger teams later on.

HUNDEN’s best work in CS:GO as a captain came in 2019. He led Tricked to win the V4 Future Sports Festival in Budapest, a $330,000 LAN tournament that featured Virtus Pro, MOUZ, and MIBR. That lineup also featured current Heroic player Rasmus “sjuush” Beck and current Fnatic star Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen, in addition to GamerLegion’s AWPer Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand and former Astralis player Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen.

MAD Lions acquired this Tricked lineup in November 2019, but it didn’t take long for HUNDEN to be removed from the project. He was benched in March 2020 and transitioned to head coach in April 2020 under Heroic.

Who is the CS:GO coach HUNDEN?

HUNDEN’s coaching carer got off to a good start. He helped Heroic grab a runners-up placing at DreamHack Open Summer Online Europe in August 2020 and most notably won ESL One Cologne Online Europe later that month over Vitality. That Heroic team featured cadiaN, TeSeS, and stavn—who are still a part of Heroic today—plus current Copenhagen Flames player Johannes “b0RUP” Borup and current benched OG player Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen.

HUNDEN didn’t get to enjoy much success once he hit the spotlight with Heroic since he was one of the 37 coaches implicated in the abuse of the infamous coach spectator bug that allowed the coaches to place their camera anywhere on the map and possibly pass that information to the players. ESIC banned the 37 coaches in September 2020 from all ESIC-member events, which includes tournaments organized by ESL and BLAST.

Related: ESIC suspends 37 coaches following CS:GO spectator bug investigation

The Danish coach was banned for a period of eight months after he assisted in the investigation. ESIC found out that he had abused the coach spectator bug on two occasions. The first one came against Astralis at DreamHack Masters Spring Europe in May 2020 and the second was versus Team Spirit at Home Sweet Home Cup five in May 2020.

Instead of letting HUNDEN go, Heroic kept him as an analyst during the whole time of his first ban and let him resume his head coach activities at the end of April 2021, right after his ESIC ban had expired.

Why was CS:GO coach HUNDEN banned for the second time?

To the surprise of many, Heroic revealed one day prior to the start of IEM Cologne in August 2021 that HUNDEN wouldn’t be working with the team during the prestigious tournament. His removal from the roster for IEM Cologne 2021 happened one day after he was linked to a move to Astralis as zonic was considering leaving Astralis.

After the end of IEM Cologne 2021, HUNDEN revealed on July 28 that he had not renewed his contract with Heroic and denied that he had leaked Heroic’s stratbook to another team prior to the start of IEM Cologne 2021.

Heroic parted ways with HUNDEN on July 29, 2021, over a “clear breach of contract.” The organization said he was removed from the IEM Cologne 2021 roster due to “severe trust issues” and that he blocked the team from accessing their strategy folder. An investigation conducted by Heroic found that HUNDEN had shared the team’s strategy folder with a “major” competitor at IEM Cologne 2021 prior to the start of the event. Heroic sued HUNDEN in Danish court and reported the issue to ESL and ESIC.

One month after Heroic and HUNDEN parted ways, ESIC banned HUNDEN for the second time. The esports watchdog did its own investigation on the matter, which included examining Google Drive access records, interviewing Heroic and the opposing team, and hiring a forensic expert firm to produce a report.

Related: ESIC bans former Heroic coach HUNDEN for 2 years

ESIC’s findings were that HUNDEN was negotiating a move to the opposing team he leaked Heroic’s documents to but didn’t disclose the name of said team. That team was believed to be Astralis because of the HLTV report in July 2021, but Astralis chose not to comment on whether it was in talks with HUNDEN or when Dot Esports reached out.

ESIC also found out that the opposing team never accessed the documents HUNDEN leaked. But because he was under contract with Heroic at the time and tried to share sensitive information from Heroic’s stratbook with another competitor, ESIC concluded the following:

  1. “Created a threat to the integrity of an ESIC member event (irrespective of whether or not that threat materialised);
  2. Created a threat to the reputation of an ESIC member (irrespective of whether or not that threat materialised); and in doing so
  3. Threatened harm to the reputation and competitive integrity of esports, and ESIC’s member ESL.”

Upon ESIC banning him on Aug. 27, 2021, HUNDEN said in an interview with TV2, a Danish TV channel, on Aug. 26, 2021, that he was leaving Counter-Strike for good. HUNDEN also claimed that some of the Heroic players knew he had used the coach spectator bug in 2020 but did not name them. The Heroic players at the time of the coach spectator bug episode were cadiaN, TeSeS, stavn, niko, and b0RUP. Heroic denied the accusations.

ESIC investigated the matter and gave niko a warning and a six-month probationary period after niko admitted “complicity in the cheating exploits” of HUNDEN. ESIC didn’t find sufficient evidence that cadiaN, TeSeS, stavn, and b0RUP knew as well. ESIC included in its report that niko has ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, which affects a person’s ability to distinguish right from wrong, according to the ADHD and Asperger’s Team at the National Autistic Society and the ADHD Foundation.

What was HUNDEN up to after his second ESIC ban?

After his two-year suspension in August 2021, everyone thought that HUNDEN had been absent from CS:GO until a report by Dexerto emerged that said HUNDEN was believed to be working with the Astralis players in a coaching and analytical capacity.

One of Dexerto’s sources claimed HUNDEN had been working with Astralis to help create tools and video lessons for Astralis’ partnership with Aim Lab. Astralis confirmed that HUNDEN took part in said project but denied that he kept working with the team in any coaching or analytical role.

Despite all the controversy around HUNDEN, Astralis also said it would leave the door open for HUNDEN to return in a more competitive capacity after his ban was lifted in August 2023.

“We would like to comment in general, though, that once [HUNDEN]’s ban has expired, should we have the need, we would not have any second thoughts about offering him a position as an analyst or the like,” Astralis told Dexerto. “Nor should any other esports organization. He should not be treated any different than any other coach or player who has received a temporary ban. Not during the ban and not after the ban has expired.”

ESIC lifts HUNDEN’s ban on Dec. 2, 2022

In a surprising turn of events, ESIC said in a press release on Dec. 2 that HUNDEN was free to once again coach in ESIC-member events after they reached an agreement on Nov. 29. He only served eight months of his original two-year ban.

ESIC offered little to no explanation for unbanning HUNDEN ahead of time, citing that the Danish coach agreed to undergo “relevant training.” ESIC will also review its policies and procedures to ensure it’s “consistent with good industry practice and fit for purpose.”

HUNDEN released a short statement of his own and thanked his legal team at Howard Kennedy LLP for guiding him through what he described as a “very difficult” period. “Matters have now been concluded on the basis of the agreed joint statement, and further comments won’t be made,” HUNDEN said.

Dot Esports has reached out to ESIC and HUNDEN for comment on this situation.

Astralis appoints HUNDEN as head CS:GO analyst for 2023

HUNDEN has effectively replaced the former analyst Frederik “LOMME” Nielsen in Astralis on Jan. 5, the organization announced. This will be HUNDEN’s official return to CS:GO esports after ESIC unbanned him in December 2022.

“It has been a long process, and there have been many things we had to discuss with my role and everything I have been through,” HUNDEN said to Astralis’ official website. “Now I’m just happy it’s all in place, and I already feel how much it means to me to be up and running and to have talented people around me who trust and support me.”

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Leonardo Biazzi
Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.