F.C. Copenhagen and Nordisk Film form North, sign ex-Dignitas for two years

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Thumbnail image courtesy of F.C. Copenhagen

F.C. Copenhagen and entertainment company Nordisk Film have formed a new esports organization dubbed North and have acquired the former Team Dignitas roster on a two-year contract, the organization announced Tuesday.

“We are two leading companies within entertainment and sports venturing into eSport at the very highest level. We see great potential and have high ambitions with NORTH that [we] will be among the world's strongest from day one,” said Anders Hørsholt, CEO of F.C. Copenhagen, in the team's press release.

The news closely follows an HLTV report on Dec. 20, based on an article in Danish finance publication Finans.dk, which stated that the Nordic football club was looking to acquiring FIFA, Dota 2 and CS:GO players. The report notably came a day after Dignitas parted ways with their CS:GO roster.

The team have also named Jacob "Maelk" Toft-Andersen, who was most recently the team manager for FC Schalke 04's League of Legends team, as the organization's sports director. He says that North's foray into CS:GO is only the beginning.

"Already, we have one world-class team within Counter-Strike, but we want to expand to other games. There is a large talent pool and we see ourselves as very competitive when it comes to attracting and developing the best eSport players," Maelk said in the team's press release.

Maelk was released from FC Schalke on Aug. 9, 2016 due to "restructuring" and notably after the team was relegated from the EU LCS. He was also the former owner of LoL team Elements, however Maelk is best known for his career in DotA and Dota 2 and attended The International 2011 as part of MeetYourMakers and The International 2012 as part of Evil Geniuses.

Regarding the new North branding, Maelk said in a video interview with FCK TV that he felt it was indicative of the team's overall goals.

"We are the north. It represents us really well. And it's important for us to not just be Denmark, not just be Copenhagen, but to represent an entire region that, eventually, will take over the rest of the world."

Maelk also noted that North was in esports "for the long haul, whether that's three, five, seven or 20 years."

The former Dignitas roster has had an up-and-down year in 2016 as they failed to qualify for the first Major of the year at MLG Major Championship: Columbus and finished 9-12th at the ESL One Cologne 2016 Major.

After the acquisition of Emil "Magiskb0Y" Reif from the former SK Gaming roster on July 15, the team has had a noticeable upturn in the latter half of the year. They won EPICENTER: Moscow and achieving Top 8 finishes during ELEAGUE Season 2 and ECS Season 2.

North is set to kick off 2017 by competing at The ELEAGUE Major 2017 on Jan. 22-29. Though the Danish squad are labeled a Challenger team after advancing through the qualifier, they will be one of the top contenders at the Major.

Here's what North's roster looks like:

  • Mathias "MSL" Lauridson
  • Emil "Magiskb0Y" Reif
  • Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke
  • Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel
  • René "cajunb" Borg

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest. You can follow him on Twitter.

North sign aizy

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Thumbnail image courtesy of NORTH

North have signed Philip "aizy" Aistrup, the organization announced on Wednesday.

aizy last played for FaZe Clan, but left that organization on Tuesday, following reports that he would depart FaZe to replace Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel on North.

"Aizy is a great talent, a founding member of the original FaZe CS:GO lineup, and was hard to let go of," said FaZe in a news release.

"However, we saw an opportunity to fully complete our roster and to let Aizy move on with his career in familiar settings in Denmark. All aspects were considered in this decision, including our team’s current composition & recent success, and availability of possible replacements. North has been a pleasure to work with and we wish both Aizy, as well as North the best of luck going forward."

While with FaZe, aizy helped the team place 3rd-4th at ELEAGUE Season 2, 5th-6th at the ECS Season 2 Finals and 5th-8th at the ELEAGUE Major. Prior to his time with FaZe he played for G2 Esports and Team Dignitas.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Tiwtter.

RUBINO on stepping down from North's starting roster: It's clear 'that I have not been on my 100% for a long time'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of NORTH

Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel spoke out about his decision to leave North's starting lineup, explaining how he had lost his motivation to compete in a Twitlonger Wednesday.

RUBINO was replaced on North's starting lineup by FaZe's Philip "aizy" Aistrup on Feb. 8.

"It was of course really nice to actually start to be a contender, getting to quarters, semis and win a really big event, but i always felt something was missing... And it was my will and motivation, to get even better, fix my mistakes and so on, the constant traveling, constant practice when you got home was not as easy as it was before, and i didn't feel motivated enough to do it as much as my teammates," he wrote.

RELATED: North's MSL: 'RUBINO told us at the major that he didn't wanted to play anymore and needed a break'

In the Twitlonger, RUBINO talked about how he's been concerned with his level of play for a long time, taking an extended break during the team's offseason in the summer. North's IGL Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen recounted in an interview with theScore esports how RUBINO approached the team at the ELEAGUE Major explaining how he needed a break.

"Its clearly that i have not been on my 100% for a long time, i took a break after our break in summer, basically because everything just went black and i couldn't focus, i was really sad all the time and couldn't think positive, about my play, about everything (i have always been really hard on myself)," he wrote.

On aizy, RUBINO said he's very pleased with the ex-FaZe player taking his spot and he hopes the team will do even better with him around.

"Im glad they got aizy, clearly a more skilled player than me, danish and been playing under msl's leadership before, I'm confident they will be even better now, and hopefully it will happen," RUBINO said. "I did this because i felt it was the fair thing to do for my team, instead of holding us to not improve, i wanted my team to improve, and i think they got the last tool they needed to be even a better contender."

He also expressed frustration with community criticisms of his decision, saying that if he truly wanted to remain on the team he would have.

"Im actually getting annoyed that people always mean i did the wrong thing since i went from a really good contract with good salary and blabla, so money is everything and you should forget your family and everyone you love?" RUBINO wrote. "Thats not in my head at least! And as i said i didn't feel like having motivation and will to be on the team."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

North's MSL: 'RUBINO told us at the major that he didn't wanted to play anymore and needed a break'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of NORTH

Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen is the in-game leader for North and an important figure in Danish CS:GO. His Danish squad has made big strides in CS:GO, partnering with F.C. Copenhagen to form North, achieving Legend status at the ELEAGUE Major and now they've made a big roster move by acquiring Philip "aizy" Aistrup from FaZe Clan.

Ahead of his games at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, MSL answered questions from theScore esports talking about his recent achievements and moving forward with the North's new all-Danish lineup.

2016 was a big year for you and the team as you’ve had some breakout performances, particularly winning EPICENTER: Moscow, then the year ultimately led to your acquisition by F.C. Copenhagen and forming North. How would you sum up the year?

It has been a crazy year with many ups and downs, but mostly ups.

In the start of the year we had a new lineup, a lineup I chose and we did some amazing results that people didn't expect. Then we had a bad period from around April-June, but since then it has only gone up.

The last four months before December were truly amazing and EPICENTER is of course the highlight for me that year. Overall it has been the best year of my CS career and I believe 2017 will be even better.

You guys have also kicked off 2017 on a fairly high note by achieving Legend status at the ELEAGUE Major 2017. How satisfied are you with this result? Was the break before the ELEAGUE Major good or bad?

We are satisfied with the Legend spot especially because we came from an 0-2 to qualify for playoffs, and we don't need to qualify next time. The game against VP will always hurt I think, but next Major we will take our revenge.

The break before the Major was good, everyone had traveled so much and needed time at home. Everyone got vacation and practice in before, so I think it was good in that aspect.

You also notably bootcamped at Parken Stadium, will this be the case for future bootcamps as well? What have been the other perks being part of North?

Yes, we are bootcamping for DreamHack Las Vegas in Parken Stadium as well. It's a really cool place and a nice bootcamp room with everything we need.

Other than that, the other perks are that all communication between us and North is Danish and it makes it a lot easier for us. They are just super professional and we don't have to think about anything other than playing.

Well arrived at bootcamp, time to work hard 💪

A post shared by Mathias Lauridsen (@mslcsgo) on

In a feature, I’ve observed that the ELEAGUE Major had the most Danish players in the Top 8 of a Major ever. And after Astralis’ Major win and with so many good Danish teams/players, is 2017 the year of the Danes?

I always think there have been a lot of good Danish teams and we have always been there, but it's nice that we set that record. I believe we have three really strong teams right now in Denmark and I think we will all do a lot of damage in 2017.

You guys very recently acquired aizy from FaZe Clan. Why make this change? How have you worked him into the lineup?

RUBINO [Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel] told us at the Major that he didn't want to play anymore and needed a break. We talked together and aizy was our number one from the start. We knew it was gonna be hard to get him, but luckily North got it through together with FaZe.

I have played with aizy before and I knew how I need to play him, with that said we have a lot of really skilled player in our lineup and therefore we need to share positions. He has a lot of positions he likes and also some he doesn't.

I think we have found a great way, so that everyone is comfortable and DHM Las Vegas will be a test for our new positions and roles.

Going into DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, all eight of the Top 8 teams from the ELEAGUE Major will be in attendance as well. Is this potential “revenge” for the Major an important factor for you?

It's not about revenge, because the Major is something different, you can only take it at the Major. Every event for us is about winning, I think we have a really strong lineup and we will win, if we play up to our level.

DHM Vegas will be the first event to use the latest map pool, so Infer-new instead of Dust II. What are your thoughts on this?

I like that Inferno is back, I have always loved the map, but I'm not so sure that I like the fact that Dust II got removed. I think it should have been Cache or Cbble, because Dust II is still a good map compared to those.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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