As we get closer and closer to the finals in Los Angeles, perhaps it’s time we look at our challengers from the European scene. Beating out a great many teams to take this title, Aarhus University has made a name for themselves in a mere three months by winning the European Division of the Azubu Collegiate Champions. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows along their way to this moment. Aarhus University faced a great array of challenges in their first season participating in the CSL. From assembling their initial team to facing off against opponents stacked with professional players, their freshman season has been packed with excitement.
A Rocky Start
Aarhus coordinator, Daniel Kornum
The first hurdle Aarhus had to overcome actually assembling the team. After being asked to cast for the European Division of the CSL, Daniel Kornum thought that perhaps he may also be able to make a team worthy of competing. However, the only issue was that he did not know a single person that played Starcraft at his university. He took his idea to Facebook, posting on local groups asking if anyone even knew of someone else who played Starcraft 2. Outlandish as that idea may seem, Daniel said “within two or three weeks we got twenty-one people.” From there, they were able to form a team worthy of playing in the CSL’s EU Division.
Now that their team had been made, the difficulty of organizing them all reared its ugly head. “From the start, it was very confusing because we didn’t know each other,” said Daniel when asked about how the team’s season began. He continued, “We had difficulties getting people on for the time [they had to play].” However, these problems eventually came to rest as they got used to the format of the CSL.
A Tough Road to Victory
The difficulties didn’t end there, though. Outside of issues nearly every freshman team has starting out, they had a vast amount of tough opponents to defeat along the way. Their first big challenger was in the semi-finals of the playoffs against Polytechnic University of Catalonia, home of Lucifron and Vortix. When asked about potentially sniping the Duran brothers, Daniel said “I couldn’t count on them playing a specific map… so we picked people who had specific strategies on each of the maps.” While they were unable to best either Lucifron or Vortix, they did manage to take the series 4-2, defeating all of their other opponents.
Finally, they had an equally tough opponent in The University of Manchester. Notably, Manchester is home to Dignitas’ Dream and a former EU Grandmaster, RobbyG. Talking about the opponent’s he’s faced so far, Daniel remarked that because his team didn’t have any professional players, it was important that they were strong throughout their entire lineup. This showed to be absolutely the case as they once again took down all of their opponents (besides Dream and RobbyG), giving the 4-2 victory over the University of Manchester.
Official swag of the Aarhus U team
The Power of Coordination
While it’s imperative to have a great force of players to charge into battle with, having a great leader is absolutely vital to a team’s success. Aarhus’ coordinator is not only that, but he’s also one of their top players. When asked what he felt about the importance of being a player as well as a coordinator, Daniel said “You need to know the people and the players to be a good coordinator.” He went on to say that “You need to know how they play. You need to know what maps they’re good on and what they’re good against.” Finally, he said that being in the trenches not only as a coordinator, but a player as well, is a great connection to have with your team. This proved to be the case as he shared in his team’s victory in the European Division.
To watch a video with Daniel and Aarhus University, click here (in Danish)
Preparing for the Invasion
Making the finals of the CSL has been a great way for team to come together. During the regular season, only the 2v2 team regularly practiced together. However, now that they’re set for a trip to the United States to play against some of the best universities in the world, Aarhus has come together and begun to work as a unit rather than a small collective. Directly after they won the European Division, the entirety of the team got together in person for the first time to introduce themselves and celebrate their victory.
After this introduction to one another, they began to practice heavily together in anticipation of the finals. The players have been able to train at Hjalte Flyger’s (the team’s only 1v1 Protoss) home, which has room for about six or seven people to play. At the time of the interview, Daniel claimed that during the last nine to ten days, they have had people playing 30-40 games a day together. He said their players have improved over the season with the coaching they have been able to both provide, and receive, from one another.
Needless to say, the team is ecstatic about their opportunity to play for the title of champions of the Collegiate Starleague. However, they aren’t taking their competition lightly. When asked about how they feel going into the finals, Daniel said “Of course we want to win, but we’re taking it one match at a time.”