jkaem on Apeks' run: "I would say it's my greatest achievement"
Apeks' run is one for the history books, smashing the tier-one divide along with the likes of Into The Breach, Monte, and GamerLegion by taking down far larger and prestigious organizations in their run to the semi-finals. Despite ultimately missing out on the BLAST.tv Paris Major finals following a close loss to Vitality, Apeks showed they can mix it up with the best teams in the scene on stage.
One of the most senior names on the team, Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad, has had an equally unorthodox journey to the top, having been one of the first players to step into the international scene with G2 and FaZe before joining the Australians of Renegades and 100 Thieves. However, for the Norwegian veteran, this new journey with Apeks has been something special as he told Dust2.us' Ryan Friend.
The journey feels unreal. When I think about one year ago when I signed for Apeks I never expected this, in the back of my head I had the hope I would play at least one more Major, but I never expected a semi-final. To be fair we were close versus Vitality and if we played a little bit better we could've pulled it our way.
If you think about Fragadelphia compared to now, its a different team, everything is different.
Apeks truly did look and feel like a different team than the one seen at Fragadelphia 17, with jkaem being able to recount the moment where he left his international squad could take down one of the best teams in the world.
We believed after the T-side on Mirage... versus Grayhound we 15-0'd them on CT-side. When your CT-side has been strong the whole event, we believed. But, it's Vitality in the end and I think they deserve to win the whole damn thing, props to them.
Despite having made top four at StarLadder Berlin 2019 with Renegades, and not having too much time to think about how much this tournament means in his lengthy career, jkaem already feels that it is one of his greatest achievements.
Shit, I haven't really had time to think about it. When I'm mid-tournament I try to not think, 'Oh shit if we come, who gives a shit we're already happy,' but it's definitely a big big achievement for the club as well. It's a small club, but a big club in a way they are willing to go all in and give us everything we need as a team. I would say it's my greatest achievement ever actually.
Part of that sense of achievement is being able to go so far with a smaller organization like Apeks, which has helped show how strong the tier two scene has become in Europe with the likes of Monte, GamerLegion, Into The Breach, and of course jkaem's Apeks.
This Major definitely showcased the level of online tier-two CS. If you look at GamerLegion, Into The Breach, and Monte specifically, winning tournament after tournament, of course the stage was new for them and they got destroyed, it's new for all of us. Last stage I played on the Major stage was four years ago, it felt new for me. I felt maybe not nervous but I wasn't too comfortable.
This Major showcased the level of tier two EU is crazy high and many of the tier two teams are stronger than the partnered teams.
A massive reason the divide between tier one and tier two in Europe has grown smaller and smaller is due to superstar youngsters like Mihai "iM" Ivan, whom jkaem revealed Apeks tried to sign.
100%. The amount of quality players in the tier two, tier three scene in Europe is crazy. Of course CIS is highly represented when it comes to big talents, especially AWPers, but when I signed for Apeks and the first project went to shit we were talking about who to pick up iM was on my list.
Then we spoke to iM and he told us GamerLegion promised to build a team around him so he stayed. He has been a name that we have been interested in for a while and I'm not surprised that he's delivering these numbers.
However, one of the issues for non-partnered teams in Europe is the need to play dozens of arduous open qualifiers online, something jkaem is hoping Apeks have moved past due to their stellar performance at the Major.
I am not sure about IEM Cologne, these types of prestige events is invited to the greatest orgs and teams, but I'm sure we'll get invites to closed qualifiers and now it's up to us to keep delivering and getting there. Getting into that spot is good for us because a few months ago we were grinding all these open qualifiers and it was hard.
To close, when asked for his thoughts on what comes next for the team with the release of Counter-Strike 2, jkaem said his hope was to continue to compete at the top though only time will tell.
It's a good question. When the CS2 beta came out, we played it a couple of times but we decided that if we qualify for the Major, we'll go all in on the Major, fuck CS2 for now. We can't mix two games so now is the time to starting looking that way. I am one of the older guys, I've had a long career, will I manage to go over? I hope so, I will give my best and time will tell.