The Danish player has propelled into potential stardom after an impressive finish towards the end of the Black Ops 4 season.
Before the latter end of the Black Ops 4 season, if you had mentioned the name “CleanX” to nearly anyone in the Call of Duty esports community, you’d have assumed that someone would be asking you for a tissue. Move forwards to 2020, the name CleanX now means something much more.
As the sole Danish representative in the 2020 Call of Duty League, Tobias “CleanX” Juul Jønsson was propelled into the limelight after finishing in the top 12 at the 2019 Call of Duty world championship.
“Call of Duty has always been a huge part of my childhood”. The Toronto Ultra substitute revealed. “Growing up, I started playing around 2006-7 (Call of Duty 2), just playing the campaign mode with my brother. As newer CoD games came out, I started playing public matches online and I competed against brother and my cousins in offline matches. Eventually, my parents purchased a console for me. The first time I played a tournament, I fell in love with the competitive aspect of Call of Duty. Trying your hardest to win a game, and the feeling of winning is fuelled my passion to play on a competitive level.”
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After beginning to impress during online competitions and third-party leagues, CleanX made his tournament debut at CWL Las Vegas, the opening tournament of the Black Ops 4 season. Things didn’t quite go as planned for the upcoming star as he and his team placed top 112. “It was a really disappointing result for me, and at the time, I wanted to quit after the event. As an amateur player, one bad event can severely tarnish your reputation and, at the time, everyone thought I was just an online player. No one wants to take a chance on an online player”.
During his time as an amateur, the Dane achieved success in the ESPU Winter Championship, his first tournament victory after a disappointing performance in Las Vegas. This was the catalyst for further success in CWL 2K tournaments and the UK national qualifier for CWL London. Under the Legion Nation banner, he and his team placed in the top 12 at the Copper Box arena, a solid performance and an indication that his online performance could be transitioned into a tournament environment.
“The amateur scene helped me grow and progress as a player”. He said. “It helped to strengthen my mentality, especially when there were so many doubters and people who are telling you what you can and can’t accomplish. The chance to prove some people wrong at the last two events seemed like karmic justice, but it made me realize I need to stop caring about what others think. Now that I have got the chance to play CoD full-time as a professional, I have the chance to improve in a lot of aspects, in terms of both mentality and gameplay”.
After placing well in London, the top players in Call of Duty were beginning to notice the rising star on his way up through the ranks. CleanX delved deeper into the pressures of making it to the big time: “In my case, I had a lot of extra pressure on my shoulders. With only a poor T112 placement to my name, nobody would ever respect or give me props for doing well in online 1K’s or 2K’s. Most of the time, the pressure didn’t come from pros, but the people in the amateur scene. Many players doubted me, and thought I was an online player and that I would never be able to replicate my gameplay at events”.
Danish organisation Team Singularity was the place that CleanX called home for the majority of the Black Ops 4 season. He returned to the team in June 2019, a month before the CWL Amateur Finals in Miami. The team went on to finish in the top six at the final event of the amateur circuit along with booking their place at the season-ending world championship. “The team chemistry was my favourite thing about the team. Bidz, Detain, Insight and Keza had been teaming for years and have always been good friends, which made it so much easier for a quiet foreign guy like me to fit in on the team. All of us could have fun, we could talk freely about anything, and everyone on the team knew their roles and what they were supposed to do at every moment of every game. It made it very easy for me to jump into the team and adjust, because all 4 of them had that kind of established chemistry with each other, and it made it easier for me to find my role on the team”.
Fresh off a solid performance at the Amateur finals, the team fell into pool E alongside Luminosity Gaming, UYU and Vanity. Many had tipped Singularity to make it out of the pool in second, with the North Americans of Luminosity topping the group but the young and relatively inexperienced team managed to secure the top spot in the group, winning all three games, only conceding two maps along the way. “The team didn’t have high expectations heading into Champs. Before the event and at Miami, we struggled a lot with S&D. Other than that, we were just happy that we made it to Champs. I expected us to get at least top 24 at Champs, but had high hopes on getting 2nd in our group. We definitely didn’t expect to be topping our group with only 2 map losses!”.
The run of Singularity did not stop there. CleanX had quickly showcased his prowess with the Saug sub-machine gun and his aggressive style of play was the talk of the event. Singularity had drawn Sicario Gaming in the first round of the winner’s bracket but were defeated three games to one and dropped into the loser’s bracket where the team would face North American juggernauts Team Envy, an iconic team that transcends the history of Call of Duty esports.
Pressure was high. The loser of the game would be eliminated from the tournament and with many tipping Envy to take the win, the stakes were high. Singularity carried on their run of form from pool play, managing to dispatch the boys in blue with a 3-1 victory. “The win against Envy was very special”. CleanX stated. “It was our first win in bracket play, and I have always been a big supporter of Team Envy, both in CoD and CS, so beating them was a pretty surreal feeling. The win felt like validation for myself and the team, that I’m good enough to be where I am at right now in CoD. Even today, I’m fighting to validate my spot in the pro scene, to players and fans, and fighting to show everyone that I deserve to be where I am at right now”.
Making A Living
It’s no secret that making a living as a Call of Duty esports player is extremely difficult. CleanX has managed to make competitive Call of Duty a living in a very short space of time, something that is uncommon and something that often takes several years to achieve. “After Champs and after we made it out of pool play” was the moment that this young Danish superstar realised he could make his dream a reality. “I realized that we were better than a lot of other pro teams, with players who had been pros for the whole year”, he answered. “At that moment, I knew we had the stuff, and I knew we all had a chance to make this our livelihood and play CoD in the years to come”.
After making such a statement on the biggest stage in Call of Duty esports, CleanX was in a prime position to join one of 12 franchises and have the chance to compete in the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League (CDL). “A few franchises showed interest in the offseason”. CleanX revealed. “MarkyB (strategic coach at Toronto Ultra) reached out to me, and the rest is history”. Now a part of the Toronto CDL franchise alongside nine other players, CleanX has skyrocketed to Call of Duty stardom in such a short period of time. “It obviously feels good, but it also adds pressure, which I don’t mind. It just means that I have to keep proving myself in Modern Warfare and show the world that I’m not just a one hit wonder”. 2020 is set to be a massive year for CleanX. Looking to prove that he is not just a flash in the pan, the Modern Warfare is a chance to relieve some of the pressure that has been placed upon his young shoulders. “My expectations for the 2020 season are high”, he stated. “It’s the first season of franchising and every team wants to go out and win the inaugural trophy – to go down in history as the first to do it. I want to use this opportunity to continue to improve my gameplay, mentality, and mindset. There are great players in the game, and the talent pool is deeper than it has ever been. My goals are to stay humble, continue to improve my game, and earn a starting position.