With Heroic winning an arena event, even if it was the Pinnacle Cup, it’s time we start putting some respect on Casper “cadiaN” Møller’s name.
The outspoken IGL and AWPer of the Danish team, cadiaN’s journey to the top of his nation’s CSGO rankings has been a long and arduous one, and it deserves more recognition than the abundance of fans in his home country will give it.
Once languishing in the depths of the NA region, cadiaN’s rise has been slow and steady and seen him captain to a host of stars from Hunter “SicK” Mims to Martin “stavn” Lund.
As his compatriot Finn “karrigan” Andersen gets his praises for his more attractive redemption arc, I want to shine the light cadiaN’s way.
Why? Because I like him. And you should too.
A Danish Rogue
Once the home of European outcasts such as the man himself and now handsome analyst Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez, Rogue decided to switch to an NA team in mid-July 2017.
CadiaN wasn’t a part of this initial NA roster, although his inclusion came just months later as Matthew “Wardell” Yu ended his stay at the team after only a week, rejoining Ghost Gaming.
At the time, this may not have seemed too prosperous for the cadiaN. Denmark’s original hated player, cadiaN’s options were limited in his home country. Karrigan and Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander were settled into their tenures on FaZe and Astralis, and Denmark’s next best at the time in North were helmed by Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen.
They weren’t a bad option. Reinvention in NA is something even karrigan had to do at one stage in his career, so it seems fitting that the region was also the start of cadiaN’s.
Rogue was an ambitious organization and soon acquired SicK, a player who arguably never got a real crack at NA CSGO. Not long after came Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland, with the Aussie rounding the team that would help Rogue and cadiaN to their best achievement as a roster.
As the FACEIT Major 2018 rolled around, Rogue were one of the steady risers in the NA region. Ghost was arguably better, but their IGL Joshua “steel” Nissan being banned from valve-sponsored events for match-fixing would be their scourge at the Americas Minor Closed Qualifier.
Rogue finished in third, behind a Complexity team that would go on to make Quarter Finals at the event and an NRG team already considered one of the best in the region.
They were fortunate to dodge NRG at the Americas Minor, finishing second as eUnited knocked out their counterparts.
CadiaN had done it. He’d built a team with a young star, a washed-up Aussie, and an even more washed-up American in Spencer “hiko” Martin, and he had taken them to a Major. Now all that was left was not to embarrass themselves at the real thing.
Spoiler alert: they didn’t. Rogue didn’t progress from the Challengers stage, it would’ve been a tough ask with the rest of the field, but they did win a game: their opener against Space Soldiers.
Their treat for winning? Astralis. The best team in the world, the team that was about to win the first of their threepeat at that event. Losing 16-13 on Inferno was an impressive result, especially against the team who were at the time redefining utility usage forever, on CSGO’s most utility-heavy map.
They followed this up with a 16-4 loss to Team Spirit, which isn’t what you want to see. But hey, CIS teams at Majors or what?
Rogue’s elimination game was their most interesting of all. By this time, cadiaN’s resurgence as an IGL was being noted. His ability as an AWPer was starting to look like plugging two holes on a North squad that had faltered since their Major Semi-Final appearance a year earlier at PGL Krakow 2017.
They were eventual losers, but they had no business pushing an established European roster featuring the likes of Valdemar “valde” Bjorn Vangså and Markus “kjaerbye” Kjaerbye to a 23-25 scoreline.
CadiaN second-fragged, going 35-26, a man with a point to prove. And North took note.
When North Leads South
North’s win against Rogue didn’t count for much, as Vega Squadron subsequently knocked them out. Who, for the sake of… context, featured my favorite named player: Anton “tonyblack” Kolesnikov.
Less than a month after being one of the few teams to conquer Astralis with their surprise win at Dreamhack Masters Stockholm 2018, North failed to reach the Legends stage of the Major, which was unacceptable.
MSL, MVP and hero of Stockholm who had stepped up and shut down the best AWPer in the world, was ousted and removed from the team he had led so amicably since its inception.
CadiaN was to be his replacement, and they reached playoffs in his first event at StarSeries i-League Season 6, only to be knocked out by his former NA rivals NRG.
A disappointing result followed at IEM Chicago 2018, as the team finished 9th-12th, albeit against much stronger opposition. North bested NRG before falling to Astralis and an LDLC led by Alex “ALEX” McMeekin.
ECS Season 6 Finals saw them finish 3rd/4th as they beat Liquid and NRG, although they were disappointed once again at ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals as they finished last, bombing out to old foe NRG and Sharks in their elimination game
As IEM Katowice 2019 rolled around, the first Major of 2019, cadiaN’s North had yet to show any level of consistency. This Major was to be critical for cadiaN’s future on the team. His calling had been to guide them to a better result than his predecessor had at the previous Major.
North made it to the European Minor but came third and had to attend the Major Play-In for their spot at the Challengers stage. With the field at the play in themselves, ViCi, Winstrike, and the karrigan-led Envy, North seemed sure to qualify.
Instead, despite a 2-0 victory over his compatriot’s Envy, North fell twice to the Asian powerhouse of ViCi, and cadiaN himself failed to impress in either game.
It wasn’t a surprise then when cadiaN was subsequently removed from the North roster. He had been brought in to steady the ship and improve on the results of his predecessor. He had done neither. Meanwhile, North’s greatest rival Astralis would match Fnatic’s record for having three Majors.
It’s fair to say at this point that this may not have all been cadiaN’s fault. North never seemed settled in the IGL department after MSL’s departure, with Valdemar “valde” Bjorn Vangså and Nicklas “gade” Gade both struggling in the role before the organization’s closure.
Where it may have seemed at the time like the AWPer had failed to make the step up to Tier 1, what came afterward proved that cadiaN was still deserving of a chance. North had never been the opportunity we all thought it was.
And that was definitely for the best, too, as just under half a year later, we saw cadiaN make the move that has redefined him as one of the best IGLs in the World.
When cadiaN joined Heroic in the back end of 2019, it was solely to be as the team AWPer, with Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer still holding the mantle of IGL.
CadiaN has never been an incredible AWPer himself, but with Snappi arguably a better IGL with better placings at that time, it was only the AWP of Daniel “mertz” Mertz that he would need to be replacing at that time.
They won Dreamhack Open Atlanta 2019 comfortably, not dropping a map in the group stage as they quickly dispatched Triumph and Illuminar Gaming. The Semi-Finals were a similar story, too, with the last Polish Virtus Pro team falling to Heroic.
The final saw them play Sprout – another 2-0 win – on Train and Inferno. Often regarded as the ‘AWPer’s paradise’ Train saw cadiaN go 26-9, a dominating performance where his opposite number Florian “syrsoN” Rische couldn’t get anywhere near him.
CadiaN finished the series 51-16 with a 1.73 HLTV rating, one of the best games he had ever played. If he had failed previously as a Tier 1 IGL, he was starting to prove himself as at least a Tier 2 AWPer.
But, fate would have its way, and as Heroic’s climb back up, the rankings began to stagnate, a move to FunPlusPhoenix failed to materialize, and Snappi would find himself benched, cadiaN would find himself in the IGL hot seat once more.
What followed was highly unexpected.
As COVID-19 descended onto the globe and the CSGO world was pushed into an era of online tournaments, cadiaN was rounding out his lineup with the additions of Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen and René “TeSeS” Madsen.
Heroic was now a mixture of youth and experience, with niko and cadiaN providing a host of experience for the young stars like TeSeS and Martin “stavn” Lund to draw from.
And in unprecedented success, they did precisely this, winning ESL One Cologne Europe 2021 and beating Vitality 3-0 in the final. CadiaN wasn’t required to put in the same fragging heroics he had needed to in the Dreamhack Open win, but he had proved himself even more with this win.
Now without a doubt, he was a tier 1 IGL.
Heroic would have to wait a while before their successive tournament win, even going through roster changes as Rasmus “sjuush” Beck would come in to replace Johannes “b0RUP” Borup, and Ismail “refrezh” Al would replace niko. Still, with a 3-2 win against Gambit in ESL Pro League Season 13 Finals, Heroic claimed their second big tournament of the Online era.
Return to LAN
It’s safe to say that Heroic has struggled somewhat since returning to LAN. They have had a couple of top four appearances at big events like PGL Stockholm 2021 and IEM Katowice. Big scalps are more than impressive when you consider how young and inexperienced this lineup is.
That said, it’s hard to say that more wasn’t expected from Heroic as we returned to LAN events.
They finished top 8 at PGL Antwerp 2022, falling to eventual finalists NAVI. Dead last at IEM Winter 2021, 12th at IEM Fall 2021. Another Top 8 at the IEM Cologne 2021.
None of these performances seemed close to the Heroic of the online era, who were some of the highest rising stars of the Online Era and were now looking flat on actual stages as if the crowd’s roar had exposed them as frauds.
Despite his consistent talking on Twitter, it was hard to say that much of this was actually due to cadiaN.
An actual top AWPer he may not be, at least not in the same vein of an Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, or even a Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov or Helvijs “broky” Saukants, but he’s also not a Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.
While in some games, it’s tough to argue that not having a better awper, someone like Nicolai “device’ Reedtz or even a young star like Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi, holds Heroic back, in other games, it’s the veteran himself that pushes them through.
In those games, cadiaN hits a different level. Far more impactful and prone to an impressive clutch, he quickly begins to justify his role in the team.
We saw this cadiaN at the Pinnacle Cup, who outperformed his usual stats by a considerable margin as Heroic shut down Astralis in the final to win their first LAN event.
The Metrics We Judge By
Typically when looking at the ability of an IGL, we look at a few things: their ability to call in a midround, their ability to build a team, their fragging output, and their ability to help the growth of players around them.
If we start with the latter, then with Heroic and Rogue, it’s evident that cadiaN has a knack for building teams. Rogue was exponentially better under his leadership, and Heroic have consistently strived for improvement too.
Always a team to be around the top 30, Heroic were never consistently top 10 before cadiaN joined. With clever talent acquisition and him at the helm, they are now a consistent top 10 team and the best team in Denmark and have been for a good while. Impressive when you consider the hold Astralis once had over the entire world.
He may have kept refrezh around too long (far too long for my money), but stavn has undergone a vast improvement under his leadership. Once a promising player for Fragsters, stavn is now comfortably one of the best rifles in the world and one of the more stable secondary AWPers – even if that is a dying art.
Only time will tell to see what becomes of Jakob “jabbi” Nygaard, but if his performances on Copenhagen Flames are anything to go by, he’s already ahead of stavn at the time he joined. By the end of the year, he might even be challenging stavn as the team’s true star.
We’ve already discussed cadiaN’s fragging output and inconsistencies, although whether an upgrade is possible without putting stavn on it – which they shouldn’t do – is now quite unlikely. Heroic missed the boat with nicoodoz, device seems to have his heart set on a return home to Astralis. No one is going to give Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand another MOUZ level opportunity.
So cadiaN’s fragging will have to do. And it’s not like it’s terrible. So I think we’re all good there.
Midrounding? Honestly, I don’t think many of their losses are his fault. It takes a team to choke, and that’s what Heroic has been doing for the past year. They get into good positions and then crumble, whether down to age, inexperience, or any other factor. Your guess is as good as mine. Hopefully with the Pinnacle Cup result that will change.
That being said, if they’re in a good position, to begin with – their IGL must be doing something right to get them there. It’s not his fault if no one hits their shots once they are there.
So look, I get it – cadiaN might be very loud, and that might be slightly annoying. But this is a man with as impressive a career turnaround as anyone, a man who has built multiple teams far beyond their previous expectations, with more clear passion and love for the game than most other pros we see.
If I haven’t convinced you that you should like him for all of these reasons, then I doubt I ever will, but you’ll at least have to admit this: It’s time to start putting some respect cadiaN’s name.