Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye: the tenth MPV Major

Alisa Barladyan
11 Apr 2022
06:41

What should you do if you achieved the main esports goal at the age of 18? What should you do if you have become the youngest MPV Major? Does motivation exist? Our main character will say no. This is the story about the Danish "golden boy" Markus Kjærbye and his quick rise and quick fall. Why did he decide to finish his career at the age of 22? How is it that the Dane took only one major with Astralis? Read all this in our material.

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Markus Kjærbye

Biography

Markus was born in 1998 in Denmark. His nickname which is the same as his name first sounded on the big Counter-Strike arena in 2014. Young cyber athlete played for Copenhagen Wolves. After a couple of months on the team, the Dane joined Dignitas. A year and a half later, he was invited to Astralis. After several tournament failures, the Danish roster decided to part ways with René "cajunb" Borg considering him the reason for several losses. The situation was scandalous, as the players and coach Danny "zonic" Sørensen put off dialogue with the cyber athlete until the last moment, long before they decided to expel him. Markus was only 17, and he was on the most promising team in his country. But Kjærbye won his first trophy in half a year at the ECS Season 2 Finals. The Atlanta Major was the third for Markus, as before he had lost twice at the group stage. There was another conflict in the organization after which Finn "karrigan" Andersen left the roster and was replaced by perhaps the strongest IGL Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander. So, Astralis represented by Kjaerbye, gla1ve, Xyp9x, dev1ce, dupreeh, went to the USA for their first victory at the major.

ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017

Markus Kjærbye

When the Danes came to the USA, they were far from being favorites. They demonstrated it in their first match, having lost 16-6 to GODSENT. The team had to rectify the situation in the matches against OpTic и G2, which was easy for them. The real challenge was during the next match when the current two-times trophy owner SK Gaming defeated Astralis in the overtime. Their opponent in the decisive match for making it to the playoff was Liquid which managed to win only in three rounds. We should note that Nicolai «dev1ce» Reedtz showed a brilliant play scoring the best rating among all participants. Our hero was in the background, his finest hour will be later.

The quarterfinals against NaVi with Oleksandr «s1mple» Kostyliev was harsh for the Danes, the outcome was decided on the first map. Dev1ce contributed to the victory the most, scoring 73 frags. This victory made experts predict the possible Astralis's triumph at the major, as it looked like a favorite to reach the finals from the first bracket. The analysts were not mistaken, as fnatic was defeated 2-0 in the semifinals, and dupreeh, dev1ce и Kjaerbye finished the match with a ranking over 1.30. Many expected the Astralis — SK Gaming finals, where there would be a revenge for the group match, but the Brazilians suddenly withdrew losing to Virtus.pro. The legendary Polish roster did not have losses, giving up the map only to FaZe Clan. The victory over SK Gaming made VP a favorite in the decisive match, but everything ended differently. The Danes lost the opponent's pick (Nuke) and then won 16-14 on the Overpass. The fate of the tournament was decided on Train. The Polish from Virtus.pro weren't lucky that night, as Markus Kjærbye had his best match. He was the only player on the team with a plus rating on every map and ended the match with a total of 1.38. In the deciding match, the Danes turned the game upside down and won 16-14. Dev1ce became the worst player on his team (rating 0.89), therefore the organizers did not dare to give him the most valuable player award. The MVP prize went to the best player in the finals, the player who demonstrated average CS during the whole tournament and took only 10th place among all the participants. One stupendous match made Kjaerbye the youngest major winner at the age of 18 and the youngest MVP. Even Valerii «b1t» Vakhovskyi in 2021 was older than Markus of that time.

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Further career

Markus Kjærbye

The young player has achieved the results that others pursue 5-10 years, and some still cannot achieve them. What would athletes hungry for historical achievements do? They would try to increase the number of titles and awards and consolidate their success. But not in this case. Markus became envious of his teammate. We noted before that dev1ce was the main player of the organization at the major, but he stumbled at a crucial moment. Kjaerbye, inspired by the MVP award, decided that he had every opportunity to become the new leader, especially when Reedtz got injured and wasn't with the team for several months. The organization won at the IEM Katowice 2017, but that was the end of its victories. The team played decently at the Kraków Major and took third place. In the semifinals, the team lost on Train to future triumphants, Gambit Esports, after the historic calls of Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko. But the Boston Major was a complete failure, followed by perhaps the nastiest transfer in the history of Danish eSports. 

The betrayal

After the failure in the USA, the team went on a vacation where Danny "zonic" came across the news about the forthcoming transfer to another team from Denmark — North. At first, Sørensen didn't pay attention to this information, but then remembered that the contracts of his players had come to an end. The team had agreed to extend the contract with Astralis, but the documents had not been signed. The coach shuddered when he remembered the dialogue with his old friend from North, who asked how Danny would feel about Markus' transfer to his team. Zonic decided to reread their group chat where he saw messages from everyone, except Kjaerbye. He wrote to Markus. After a little simple conversation, the Astralis coach pulled himself together and said: "I hope you are not the player who will be introduced to North tomorrow." The dialog was interrupted, and Kyaerbai simply ignored the message and did not pick up the phone. His manager said the player had a cold. Other players understood that their teammate had decided to "con" the organization and fellow players. Captain Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander took responsibility and wrote on Twitter that Markus would become the new player of another Danish team 2 hours before the North's press conference. A few minutes before the official announcement, Kjaerbye sent a big message to the player of Astralis explaining the reasons for the transfer and informing them of the prohibition on disclosure. The audience started to bully the athlete, and Danny "zonic" Sørensen said: "Markus had a choice: to be the best player in the good team or a good player in the best team, and he made it." Kjaerbye was certainly tired of being on the sidelines and decided his finest hour came, but he made a huge mistake.

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The end of the career

During his three years in North, Markus won at three DreamHack tournaments but hasn't become a world star. That one step forward he envisioned became two steps back. Later, Kjaerbye had a run in FaZe Clan where he got the trophy only at the IEM New York 2020, after which he was kicked out. He ended up in a tier-2 team, deleted all his FaZe teammates from his friend's list, and then made a statement. On June 30, 2021, Markus declared the end of his career due to a lack of motivation. At the same time, his former Astralis partners became the most awarded and rich players in CS:GO history. His last major in 2019 in Berlin ended with a group relegation. During his career, the Danish cyber athlete has won 6 trophies, twice made it into the HLTV top 20 (16th place in 2016, 15th in 2017), and once became a tournament MVP just at the ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017. The match against Virtus.pro in the finals was the main achievement in his career.

Kjaerbye has recently announced he is returning to the pro scene and has been seen on the FACEIT several times. We will see which team will be ready to accept the "golden boy," Danish CS with a difficult character and unfulfilled ambitions.

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