We’ve caught up Anthony “ImpressioN” Lim ahead of the eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Festival 2021 to talk about what Team NKT has achieved since their last bootcamp, his memories of three previous eXTREMESLAND LAN competitions he has competed in and his confidence in the team’s future as one of Asia’s top contenders.
It’s been a while since we’ve spoken to Anthony.”impression” Lim, one of the Asian CS:GO personalities who has consistently qualified for almost every eXTREMESLAND tournament held since 2016. During ImpressioN’s three appearances at previous eXTREMESLAND events, he played under the dreamScape Singapore banner, but this time he will represent a completely different team.
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While Team NKT (formerly Ex-NG Esports) got off to a rocky start, the team has now established itself as one of Asia’s highest caliber teams and boasts some of the best players the scene has ever seen. And with the recent addition of Gan-Erdene “dobu“Batbold, the race to dethrone TYLOO as this year’s most prominent team has begun.
ImpressionioN talked about his time playing eXTREMESLAND tournaments from 2016-2018, a journey down memory lane, the decision to believe in the Team NKT project, the team’s progress so far, what they aim to achieve this year and much more.
CSGO2ASIA: It’s no secret that 2021 wasn’t a big year for Asian CS, especially in Southeast Asia. What can you say as you look back on the year as someone from SEA who is still at the top level alongside China and Mongolia?
impression: Hey, first of all, thank you for having me. I think for me it was really quite disheartening to see CS collapse in SEA, many things happened coupled with the lack of tournaments, support as well as the obvious issues of the pandemic that hit the SEA region really hard.
Throughout the year I’ve spoken to so many gamers who felt CS:GO wasn’t worth the trouble and every time I had that conversation it made me want to work even harder to show that the players of SEA definitely had what it takes. They just need the right work ethic, direction and a bit of luck to perform. The Asian region has grown overall, but SEA is still lagging behind a bit and I would like to see more SEA players and teams playing CS:GO competitively.
CSGO2ASIA: You’ve been a regular participant in the eXTREMESLAND competition since 2016-19 – can you tell us what it was like to take part in one of Asia’s biggest competitions back then (during LAN)?
impression: eXTREMESLAND was and still is one of my favorite LANs that took place regularly every year. Meeting long-time friends and rivals was already a great joy, but the real thrill came from the sense of offline competition, the challenge of challenging yourself and doing your best on a LAN and competing against some of the region’s best teams, just made it an amazing and fun experience. I really hope that eXTREMESLAND will host a LAN soon if the situation allows.
CSGO2ASIA: You’ve come a long way since the last eXTREMESLAND, haven’t you?
impression: Yes, considering I actually missed LAN 2019, it’s been four years since I had my last eXTREMESLAND LAN experience and adjusting to the online era of CS:GO has been difficult, but I will try to make the SEA region extra proud I think I’m one of the few remaining CS:GO players from Singapore.
CSGO2ASIA: Let’s continue our journey down memory lane. What was your most memorable moment from the last four eXTREMESLAND competitions?
impression: I honestly have so many great moments from eXTREMESLAND that I can’t single out one particular moment that I remembered the most. If anything I would just say that every single eXTREMESLAND I’ve played in is a moment dear to my heart, it’s great fun, great competition and always a great meeting of friends.
CSGO2ASIA: In your opinion, what role does eXTREMESLAND play in the development of Counter-Strike in Asia? And what would you like to see in the future?
impression: I think it was great for the CS:GO ecosystem back then to have an annual tournament that was country level back then because there were so many strong teams from each country to qualify for; eXTREMESLAND encouraged local competition and when the winner represented his country he had his nation’s support which was super cool, it really created a great atmosphere for the competition in Asia.
However, going forward I think every single team should have the opportunity to participate and qualify for the events as long as they are able to compete fairly on the servers available to play. I look forward to seeing new teams and fresh faces in an online or offline environment, 4 quarterly events leading up to a LAN or similar might be cool too; gives teams a purpose and a vision of what they are playing for.
CSGO2ASIA: Now let’s return to the present. Realistically, after NG Esports disbanded in May 2021, you have multiple options to join VALORANT, take on a different role in esports, or transfer fortunes to Team NKT. And you chose the latter. Could you explain your thoughts behind the decision to stay with the team?
impression: I trusted NKT because I really believed in the project and our squad, I knew I was working with great minds and that over time we would have the opportunity to prove ourselves, which we did! I looked at many options such as switching to another game, another role as mentioned, but none of them really gave me as much joy as the chance to play CS:GO. I put so much of my life into the game that I knew I was good enough to make it to the top, so I will continue to do so. I have enough experience to know the formula for success and if I communicate it correctly to the team I am very confident that we can achieve even more. CS:GO brings a level of fun that I don’t think can be found in any other sport.
CSGO2ASIA: And now the lineup finally held their first boot camp in Thailand. I think the team has been dealing with this since late 2020, right?
impression: We’ve been trying to boot since the team was formed, but there were always new problems, different country border controls, the rollout of vaccines, there were basically only a million holes and we only had maybe a single pack of cement to fill those holes me, every time we tried to move them, they failed miserably, so yeah. We finally did it and we want to do even more in the future.
CSGO2ASIA: How is the boot camp going so far? And in your experience, what benefit does the team get from the boot camp?
impression: The bootcamp was great, it speeds up the process of mutual learning and understanding to play good CS. It helps by showing you what’s great and what’s not so good much quicker, and if everyone stays open with a mindset to learn anything, that’s definitely a positive thing.
CSGO2ASIA: What does 2022 hold for ImpressioN? Do you have specific things you want to improve, personal goals?
impression: I think personally I really want to do as much as possible for CSGO, I want to contribute to improve the Asian and especially the SEA region as a team; We’re aiming for the Major and want to do our best to establish ourselves as a top team in Asia. At the same time, I will work on my personal hobbies, I plan to create YouTube content, review peripherals, and if time and money allow, I plan to make the purchase for my own house with my wife.
CSGO2ASIA: Is there anything you would like to say to Team NKT fans at home?
impression: To all the fans, friends and family who support me or the team: Thank you for your love and we look forward to fulfilling your expectations, there are no harsher critics of our gameplay than ourselves; We work day in and day out to get better as individuals and as a team, so every nudge you gave us along the way was a tremendous encouragement to us.
We will do our utmost to be the best versions of ourselves. I would also like to express special thanks to my wife and family for their understanding, patience and support. Without you I would never be where I am, especially in these difficult times.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
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