Quiet, confident, funny, endearing, and also known as the perfect teammate
Flowers reach full bloom in their own time. When the perfect conditions are met, when the soil is amply tilled, and when there is just enough rain and just enough sunlight, that’s when their true colours are revealed to the world. Similarly, players in the Overwatch League arrive when the perfect conditions are met. One who has grown into his own is Johannes "Shax" Nielsen with the Los Angeles Valiant.
The Danish DPS star has been chasing the Overwatch dream since 2017 where he found his first breakout appearance with Team Singularity Gorillaz. With minor tournament victories to his name, he was then scouted by Copenhagen Flames in August of 2017.
There he and the Flames performed well in monthly events but dared not to venture outside of the garden. Unfortunately, the organization would cull the budding team, releasing the roster that November. Hungry and ready to settle into a new environment, Shax found himself alongside other “orgless” teammates. Before the close of 2017, Shax and a group of good but homeless European players took the moniker to heart, and Orgless and Hungry was be born.
“He is the perfect teammate you could ask for.”
- Finnbjörn "Finnsi" Jónasson
“Shax, as a person, I would say is shy but confident in his skill,” said former Orgless and Hungry teammate Finnbjörn "Finnsi" Jónasson. The first time I played against him was on [Temple of Anubis] in ranked and he was just destroying everyone on both [Widowmaker] and Genji. So as soon as I knew we needed a DPS player in my old team, he was the first person that came to my mind.”
“[Shax] was a really good teammate,” Finnsi continued. “[He] didn't argue or tilt, and played what we needed him to play. For example, when he started out in the team he was our projectile player since we had vallutaja on Tracer but Shax still did insane on projectile even if it wasn't his main role. Then when Vallutaja left, Shax stepped up and swapped over to the hitscan role and did as amazing if not better on that role, since he was primarily a hitscan player. He is the perfect teammate you could ask for.”
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Alongside Orgless and Hungry, Shax racked up a number of major victories. In 2018 Orgless and Hungry won Open Division 2018 Season 1 against Angry Titans and followed that performance advancing as the first seed during Overwatch Contenders Trials. The team continued riding the high advancing to the playoff during Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 1 placing third in their group behind the likes of Angry Titans and British Hurricane. Unfortunately, their spring growth ended with a close 1-2 loss to CIS Hope in the playoff quarterfinals. However, these results would not go unnoticed.
Shax joined the Florida Mayhem’s academy team, Mayhem Academy, during the summer of 2018. While their first few outings together during Overwatch Contenders Season 2 and Season 3 in North America were anything but memorable, the growth this team saw in 2019 took them to impressive peaks.
Head coach for the Mayhem Academy at the time, Justin "reprize" Hand got to work with Shax first hand and shared a glowing account of the young prospect’s personality. “Shax is actually one of the funniest people I know which isn't something most people expect. He doesn't say a lot generally, but when he wants to be funny, he's hilarious. One time he tried to get some of us to pronounce some Danish words and phrases for like 30 minutes all while laughing the entire time.”
“He's a great teammate,” reprize continued. “Although he's quiet, he knows when to compliment a teammate or crack a joke or even tell someone he needs to be pocketed more. The stuff he does say in team fights is almost always crucial information, so even though he's kinda quiet, everyone tends to listen to him.”
“As a teammate, I think everyone loves Shax. He's just a great guy.”
- Mike "Packing10" Szklanny
Shax was an important part of the 2019 Mayhem Academy roster that toppled Fusion University’s dominant winning streak. The Mayhem Academy ended Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 1 with a respectable 3rd-4th place finish alongside Gladiators Legion. With nearly a year spent battling through Overwatch Contenders, Shax finally received the call he’d been waiting for.
Shax joined the Los Angeles Valiant before the beginning of Stage 3 during the 2019 season. However, he saw the majority of his playtime towards the tail end of the stage. There, Shax aided the team as they repaired their seasonal standings. The Valiant finished the stage with a 5-2 record, a stark improvement from their 0-7 start to the season. In the Stage 3 playoffs, Shax and the Valiant earned a respectable 3rd-4th place losing to the San Francisco Shock 0-4 in the semifinals. Unfortunately for Shax, the Los Angeles Valiant were dealt too many early blows and narrowly missed the final play-in slot, ending their season at 13th place.
2020 has seen Shax blossom into the true DPS carry we all know him to be. Nearly halfway through the third season of the Overwatch League, Shax has been integral in the Los Angeles Valiant’s victories, most notably over the Atlanta Reign and Paris Eternal.
Los Angeles Valiant head coach Mike "Packing10" Szklanny spoke fondly of the Danish DPS ace. “Shax as a person is an extremely quiet and reserved person. Until you build up a relationship with him he's quite quiet and keeps to himself, but the longer you get to know him the more you understand how funny and witty he is.”
Endearing in his ways, Shax found himself in awe of his own performances at times according to Packing10. “He's one of the best Tracers I've ever seen and will constantly one clip players in scrims or officials and instead of [trash] talking he says [things] like ‘Oh…wow....’ or ‘Ima be honest with you guys...I don't know how I killed that guy.’"
Packing10 also revealed where Shax has made improvements in his game since working with him. “Shax is a great teammate and has been growing as a person over the past year. Last year he took a backseat and never really said much, but this year he's held other players accountable during scrims and has become so much better of a communicator in general. His growth has really made me proud. As a teammate, I think everyone loves Shax. He's just a great guy.”
“I think early in his Overwatch League career and even early this year he was a little wary about competing and winning a starting spot, but now he's one of the fiercest competitors I know. Truly one of my favorite players I've ever worked with.”
“I don't think anything has really surprised me about Shax's skill. We scouted him thoroughly last year and my coaches and I were confident in his ability to play many different heroes,” Packing10 said. This sentiment of extreme flexibility was echoed numerous times.
“[His] flexibility really surprised me,” Finnsi said. “I knew he could play projectile a bit too but he was just so good on every projectile hero and every hitscan that it surprised me. He really reminds me of my [former] teammate Kevin "kevster" Persson in his flexibility, both can basically play almost every hero in the game. [He] is definitely a carry player in a team.” However, Shax’s hero depth could easily go farther beyond even his own role.
“Something that surprised me was how good he was on Ana when we had to sub him in for scrims one day when Mun "Lastro" Jung-won was out sick,” reprize explained. “He tried so hard and actually played really well and that impressed the hell out of me.”
From timid and hungry, to becoming a terrifying carry threat within his teams, Shax has arrived on the Overwatch League stage and is enjoying every moment in the sunlight. “Some things that guy does are simply amazing, but I think something that people don't see is his passion for the game,” Packing10 explained. “Shax loves Overwatch and wants to win at all costs. He's never been gifted anything on this team and I always challenged him to improve and compete.”