We caught up with Anthony “ImpressioN” Lim ahead of eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Festival 2021 to talk about what Team NKT has accomplished since its recent bootcamp, his memories of three previous eXTREMESLAND LAN competitions he attended, and his faith in the team’s future as one of Asia’s top contenders.
It has been a while since we have a talk with Anthony “ImpressioN” Lim, one of the Asian CS:GO personalities that have consistently qualified for almost all of the eXTREMESLAND tournaments held since 2016. The three appearances of ImpressioN in previous eXTREMESLAND events saw him playing under the Singaporean banner of dreamScape, but this time around, he will represent a completely different team.
While the early period of Team NKT (previously ex-NG Esports) had a rocky start, the team has now established itself as one of Asia’s highest-caliber teams, featuring some of the best players the scene ever has. And with the recent addition of Gan-Erdene “dobu” Batbold, the race to dethrone TYLOO as the most prominent team this year has begun.
ImpressioN spoke about his time playing in eXTREMESLAND tournaments from 2016 to 2018, a trip down memory lane, the decision to believe in the Team NKT project, the team’s progress so far, what they plan to accomplish this year, and much more.
CSGO2ASIA: It’s no secret that 2021 was not a big year for Asian CS, particularly in Southeast Asia. What can you say about it looking back at the year as someone from SEA who’s still participating at the highest level alongside China and Mongolia?
ImpressioN: Hey, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I think for me it was really quite disheartening to see CS crumble in SEA, a lot of things happened paired with the lack of tournaments, support, as well as the obvious issues of the pandemic, really hit the SEA region hard.
Throughout the year I was talking to so many players that felt CS:GO was not worth the effort and every time I had that conversation it just gave me a bigger desire to work even harder to show that players from SEA definitely had what it takes but just need the right work ethics, a proper direction a little bit of luck to perform. The Asian region has grown as a whole but SEA is still lagging a little bit behind and I wish to see more SEA players and teams play CS:GO competitively.
CSGO2ASIA: You have been consistently participating in the eXTREMESLAND competition since 2016-19 – could you tell us what it was like to compete in one of Asia’s biggest competitions back in the day (during LAN)?
ImpressioN: eXTREMESLAND was and still is one of my favorite LANs that was held consistently on an annual basis, being able to meet long-time friends and rivals was already a great pleasure but the real thrill came from the feeling of offline competition, pitting yourself and bringing your very best into a LAN against some of the very top teams of the region just made it such an amazing and fun experience. Really hoping for eXTREMESLAND to host a LAN soon if the situation allows.
CSGO2ASIA: You’ve come a long way since the last eXTREMESLAND, doesn’t it?
ImpressioN: Yeah considering I actually missed out on the 2019 LAN it has been four years since I last had my eXTREMESLAND LAN experience and adapting to the online era of CS:GO has been hard but I will strive to bring the SEA region some pride especially since I think I am one of the few remaining CS:GO players from Singapore.
CSGO2ASIA: Let’s continue our trip down memory lane. What was your most memorable moment playing at the previous four eXTREMESLAND competitions?
ImpressioN: I honestly have so many great moments from eXTREMESLAND that I can not single out a particular moment that was most memorable. If anything I would just say that every single eXTREMESLAND that I have played in is a moment I hold close and dear to my heart, it is great fun, great competition and a great gathering of friends always.
CSGO2ASIA: In your perspective, how significant of a role does eXTREMESLAND play in the development of Counter-Strike in Asia? And what do you want to see moving forward?
ImpressioN: I think having an annual tournament that was country-based back then was great for the CS:GO ecosystem because there were so many strong teams from the respective countries which qualifiers were open for; eXTREMESLAND encouraged local competition and when the victor represented their country they had the support of their nation which was super cool, it really developed a great atmosphere for competition in Asia.
Moving forward, however, I think every and any team should have the opportunity to play and qualify for the events so long as they are able to compete fairly on the servers that are available for play. I look forward to seeing new teams and fresh faces in either an online or offline setting, 4 quarterly events that lead to a LAN or something similar could be cool to see as well; gives teams a target and idea of what they are playing for.
CSGO2ASIA: Now, let us return to the present. After NG Esports dissolved in May 2021, you have realistically multiple options from transition to VALORANT, another role in esports, or put fate in Team NKT. And you opted for the latter. Could you elaborate on your thoughts behind the decision to remain with the team?
ImpressioN: I put faith into NKT due to the fact that I really believed in the project and our roster, I knew that I was working with great minds and that given time we would have the opportunity to prove ourselves, which we did! I looked at a lot of options, such as transitioning to another game, another role as mentioned but none of it really gave me as much joy as the chance to play CS:GO. I have put so much of my life into the game that I knew I am good enough to make it to the top so it is what I will continue doing; I have experienced enough to know the winning formula and if shared correctly with the team I am mighty confident we will be able to achieve even more. CS:GO brings a level of fun that I just think can never be found in another esports.
CSGO2ASIA: And now the lineup finally conducted its first bootcamp in Thailand. I believe this has been on the team’s mind since late 2020, isn’t it?
ImpressioN: We were trying to bootcamp since the formation of the team but there was always a new issue coming up, different country border controls, the introduction of vaccines, there was basically just a million holes and we had maybe only a single pack of cement to fill those holes up with, every time we attempted at relocating it failed miserably so yeah. We finally got it done and we are looking to do more in the future.
CSGO2ASIA: How are things going in the bootcamp so far? And from your experience, what is the advantage gained by the squad as a result of the bootcamp
ImpressioN: The bootcamp has been great, it speeds up the process of learning and understanding each other in order to play good CS. It helps by showing you in a much faster way what is great and what is not so good and if everybody keeps an open mind with a mentality to learn no matter what it is definitely a positive thing.
CSGO2ASIA: What does 2022 have in store for ImpressioN? Do you have specific things you aim to improve on, personal goals?
ImpressioN: I think personally I really want to do as much as I can for CSGO, I want to help improve the Asian and especially the SEA region, team-wise; we are aiming for the major and we want to do our very best to solidify ourselves as a top team in Asia. At the same time I will be working on my personal hobbies, I plan on doing YouTube content reviewing peripherals and if time and money allows I plan on making the purchase on my own house with my wife.
CSGO2ASIA: Is there anything you want to say to Team NKT fans at home?
ImpressioN: To all the fans, friends, and family supporting me or the team: Thank you so much for your love and we look forward to living up to your expectations, there are no harsher critics of our gameplay than ourselves; we are working day by day to become better as individuals and as a team so every push along the way from you guys has been immense encouragement for us.
We will do our utmost to be the best versions of ourselves. I want to also give special thanks to my wife and my family for their understanding, patience, and support, I would never be where I am without you guys especially in these trying times.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity