The story of acoR: From MOUZ disaster to GamerLegion resurgence

PGL & Helena Kristiansson/ESL Gaming via ESPAT

Frederik ‘acoR’ Gyldstrand is back at the top of the CS:GO scene after a barren spell with MOUZ. He leads the charge for a young and vibrant GamerLegion team that wants to impress at the IEM Rio Major.

acoR is a name that many CS:GO fans had seemingly forgotten about.

Almost a year away from the spotlight — a lifetime in esports — will do that to a player. They become yesterday’s news.

But as he landed in Malta for the European RMR — the qualifying event for the IEM Rio Major — he reminded everyone of the player he used to be. He averaged a 1.21 HLTV rating as GamerLegion, a team ranked just 60th in the world at that time, qualified for the Brazilian event after beating Aurora, G2 Esports, and B8 in the Swiss stage.

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Perhaps more impressive than those victories was the way GamerLegion played in the two matches they didn’t win. They took reigning Major champions FaZe and CIS giants Spirit to their absolute limit before succumbing in overtime, wasting 11 game points across those two best-of-one games — a sign of the team’s immaturity and lack of experience on the big stages.

GamerLegion are one of the great feel-good stories heading into the IEM Rio Major, their team assembled (at least officially, for what it’s worth) just two weeks before the RMR. It’s an interesting group of players that have one thing in common: A burning desire to prove themselves. Especially acoR, who is determined to show that his ill-fated MOUZ spell was not an accurate representation of his stock.

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“It feels really, really good to be back,” he tells Dexerto.

The Danish AWPer is feeling on cloud nine, even if he doesn’t tend to let his emotions take over on the server or in interviews. In addition to marking his return to a top-tier event, IEM Rio will also give acoR the chance to have his name added to the list of Counter-Strike legends with autographs in the game. (PGL Major Stockholm, the first Major he qualified for, only had signature stickers for the players who reached the playoffs.)

“Every player wants their own sticker in the game,” he says. “That’s what a lot of players play for, winning a Major or getting their sticker in the game so they have something to remember them by when they’re done.”

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The lack of a signature sticker in his first Major outing was just one of many things that didn’t go his way during his time on MOUZ.

A forgetful period

When acoR signed with MOUZ in January 2021, there was a great deal of hype surrounding the move. He had established himself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming AWPers during his time with MAD Lions, with whom he had won the inaugural edition of the $1 million Flashpoint league.

MOUZ seemed like a natural fit for acoR to prove his mettle and continue to move up the CS:GO ladder, but he couldn’t replicate his MAD Lions form and was inevitably dropped to the bench in favor of academy player Ádám ‘torzsi’ Torzsás just short of a year after his arrival.

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All of a sudden, a career on the fast track had ground to a halt.

“I went into this break trying to figure out what I could do to improve,” he says. “I thought, ‘What is the best thing that I can do to help myself in the future on a new team?’”

During his time away from the spotlight, acoR did a lot of soul-searching to try to find an explanation for his disappointing performances for MOUZ. This is a team that has historically acted as a gatekeeper or a measuring stick to anyone who attempts to break into the senior echelons of the game. Did his struggles mean that he was just not cut out for tier-one Counter-Strike?

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Stephanie Lieske/ESL
acoR’s time on MOUZ was largely frustrating and came to an end after less than a year

Looking back, acoR says that “a mixture of things” explains what went wrong with MOUZ during his spell on the team, where he took up the AWP from Chris ‘⁠chrisJ⁠’ de Jong. He joined MOUZ during a time of transition as veteran in-game leader Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen was on his way out to rejoin FaZe. His replacement, Christopher ‘dexter’ Nong, took some time to adapt to the European style and also quickly became a target of criticism for not being able to put in the sort of numbers he used to on Australian teams in their international outings.

There was also a clear lack of cohesion among the players, who at times looked like they were playing for themselves and not for a common goal. acoR acknowledges that he, too, was guilty of this. He regrets not taking a more active role in the team.

“I wish I had taken more initiative and more control of my game,” he says. “The system was pretty open for me, but I was more laidback and didn’t help out a lot. Whatever dexter was calling, I would just do it and not really think about it.

“It was more of a team problem, in my opinion, even though I didn’t play even close to what I can do.”

acoR did have his moments during the first half of the year, but things took a dark turn after the player break. As the AWPer, he was the one expected to pull the team out of its slough, so when he struggled to perform, the community turned against him. There were insults, even death threats made against family members. The sheer amount of toxicity he had to endure eventually became unbearable.

“The problem for me was that I knew I played really badly and I didn’t hit any shots at all, and at the same time I couldn’t open social media without being bombarded with messages and flames everywhere. I couldn’t even open HLTV to watch a CS:GO match without seeing my name in five places in the forums.

“Normally, I’m not a guy that gets affected by it, but in the end there was so much of it that I couldn’t ignore. Even if I tried, I couldn’t. In the end, it became too much.”

Finding his groove again

acoR says that the difference between playing for MOUZ and GamerLegion has been night and day. “I have a lot more trust from my team,” he says, adding that he has rediscovered himself in the game after being shrouded in self-doubt for so long.

“I have a lot more initiative and a lot more confidence because I feel I’m in a good period,” he explains. “This helps me read the game more easily.

“Confidence in general is something that is really underrated. You just don’t care. It could be NiKo on the other side of the wall, you’re just going to go and peek because you have so much confidence.”

Helena Kristiansson/ESL Gaming via ESPAT
GamerLegion IGL siuhy praised acoR’s impact inside and outside of the game

But his contribution to GamerLegion goes beyond his fragging output. The team’s skipper, Kamil ‘siuhy’ Szkaradek, says that acoR’s professionalism and impact outside of the game have also played a significant role in their rapid ascent.

“He is always putting in hours when needed,” siuhy tells Dexerto. “Working with him has been a pleasure from the start, and he’s one of the key factors behind our success so far.”

GamerLegion’s team are currently bootcamping in Berlin ahead of the Major, where they will face South American side 9z in the opening round of the Challengers Stage.

His team may be one of the least experienced in attendance (with just two Major appearances between the whole squad) but acoR remains optimistic. According to him, one of the reasons for the RMR success was that opponents had no material on his team, no way to anti-strat.

“We have a lot of new stuff that we can take to the Major and surprise people with,” he says matter-of-factly.

The IEM Rio Major will be the first opportunity to see this GamerLegion lineup lock horns with the world’s best in front of a crowd — an invaluable learning experience for the team’s young players. Just like at the RMR, they will come into this event completely free of pressure to succeed. And given the tournament’s upset-friendly format, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think GamerLegion can take a big scalp or two and move on to the Legends Stage.

At the same time, the Rio Major could be one of the last chances to see this lineup, such is the way of the CS:GO scene, where rising teams often become victims of their own success and are unable to hold on to their prized assets. acoR and Mihai ‘iM’ Ivan have been GamerLegion’s standout players, and siuhy has earned himself a reputation as an in-game leader on the rise — a priceless commodity in today’s CS:GO market.

acoR says that he is happy at GamerLegion, but he doesn’t close the door on a move to a bigger team. Before he joined GamerLegion, there was a brief interest from Complexity. The North American team ended up not qualifying for the Major.

“I don’t want to leave GamerLegion, but if a really good team shows up I’ll probably take the offer,” he says. “I really want to win a Major at some point. It’s one of my goals. Individually, I feel I have the level to compete against the best players in the world.”

Helena Kristiansson/ESL Gaming via ESPAT
Ahead of the Major, acoR feels ready to compete against the best in the world

acoR’s time on MOUZ was nothing but a pit stop he’d rather put behind him, though it helped him to mature and to become stronger and more impervious to pressure. A year later, he is back at a Major, bursting with confidence and happiness, ready to do what he couldn’t in Stockholm.

And this time, he’s finally got his own signature sticker to show for it.

“I got so much hate in the past that I just want to show everyone that my time on MOUZ was not close to what I am,” he says. “I want to come back and have a really good time. Win tournaments and go back to the top 20, top 10. I want to win against good teams.”