CS Top 20 From a Nobody: #10-#6
10) Vincent ‘Brehze’ Cayonte (Evil Geniuses)
LAN: 1.15 (179) [#12]
Big Events: 1.13 (133) [#12] Majors: 1.21 (10) [#5]
Big Event Victories: 2 MVPs: 1
ECS Season 7 Finals - 1.33 [#3]
IEM Sydney - 1.29 [#2]
ESL One New York - 1.29 [#1]*
For three-quarters of the year, Brehze was fighting for a higher spot on the list. A rough patch to close the year out knocked him down in the ranks, but he still comfortably sits inside the top ten. His ability as a rifler is comparable to only a couple of world-class players, which is why he earned All-CS Second Team merits as well.
Brehze has superstar written all over him. He has the mechanical talent that will make your jaw drop and the intangibles to match. He rarely makes mistakes that negatively impact his team, while offering massive amounts of positive impact with the rifle. He finished the year ranked top five in four different offensively impactful categories: total frags, 1+ frag rounds%, total headshots, and headshots per round. Brehze is the No. 1 source of firepower for a team that moves into the new year ranked No. 5 and is a legitimate contender.
Brehze has earned his title as one of the world’s most talented riflers, and his team is in a great place right now as they prepare to enter the new year. They are ranked No. 5 and have proved themselves to be able to compete with any team internationally. At only 21 years old, Brehze has all of the time, talent and tools available to enter the upper echelon of Counter-Strike players.
9) Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač (FaZe)
LAN: 1.16 (134) [#10]
Big Events: 1.14 (102) [#10]
Majors: 1.08 (13) [#16]
Big Event Victories: 2
BLAST Pro Series Miami - 1.44 [#1]*
BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen - 1.33 [#3]*
StarSeries i-League Season 7 - 1.24 [#4]
A stressful year for FaZe still resulted in two BLAST event victories off the back of insane individual performances by the in-game leading superstar. By NiKo’s standards though, this is still a down year. His freakish potential is still obviously there, but the lineup shuffles combined with learning to become a pro-level in-game leader led to NiKo having some unusually bad form at tournaments.
NiKo shouldered the in-game leading duties for the majority of the year, and it did take a toll on his numbers. Still, NiKo was able to perform at a 1.16 form over the entirety of the year, which was the tenth best this year. Even when filtered down to the best teams in the world, his average form remains the same. Even in a down year, his team won two big events and he took home two MVP trophies. A year most players dream of having.
2020 could be NiKo's year. FaZe has their lineup, he is the undisputed leader of FaZe, and no more unanswered questions are surrounding the team in any way. After the break, it is going to be about Counter-Strike and that is it. Refining himself as an in-game leader will lead to more trophies, which means he can get back to top three merits.
8) Robin ‘ropz’ Kool (mousesports)
LAN: 1.19 (142) [#6]
Big Events: 1.17 (73) [#6]
Majors: .98 (7)
Big Event Victories: 1
ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals - 1.24 [#4]*
DreamHack Master Malmö - 1.22 [#7]
IEM Sydney - 1.19 [#9]
After flirting with stardom last year, there is no doubt that ropz is one of the best riflers in the game today. He has an incredibly refined skill set and he has immeasurable potential to become even better. His natural progression combined with the guidance of karrigan has done wonders for the Estonian talent in 2019. Their second year together should be even better.
Ropz has been playing like a star all year, but it was the second half of the year that things took off. After his first (and only) negative event at the Berlin Major, he did not have a single event below a 1.12 rating and he played at a 1.20 rating or better for five of those eight events. For 2019, ropz finishes the top five in five various categories including deaths per round, KAST% and 1+ frag round%. Without a doubt, he is one of the most impactful and efficient pure riflers in the world.
Like his other two teammates on the list, their potentials are impossible to gauge. Ropz could very well end up in the top five next year with how rapidly he is progressing. He is at the forefront of the stat-sheet whenever mousesports attend an event. Mousesports is a volcano waiting to erupt, and when they do in 2020, ropz’s stock will skyrocket.
7) Keith ‘NAF’ Markovic (Liquid)
LAN: 1.17 (168) [#8]
Big Events: 1.15 (139) [#8]
Majors: 1.05 (15) [#25]
Big Event Victories: 6
BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles - 1.40 [#1]*
IEM Chicago - 1.28 [#2]
ECS Season 8 Finals - 1.28 [#1]
2019 was a great year for NAF. Although it was just business as usual, another year at nearly the same level proves his consistent ability as the most talented hybrid player in North America. He fits like a glove within the Liquid lineup because of his ability to impact a round in so many ways.
NAF can truly take over a round with any weapon at his disposal. He is one of the most mechanically strong riflers but also has the confidence to pick up an AWP and take over that way. Beyond assists and assists per round, NAF’s name will not appear on the top of the leaderboards, but that is not a slight against him. His abilities are just so wide-spread that he is not isolated to any one role or weapon. His 1.17 form on the year ranks him No. 8, but at his peaks, NAF is the best player in North America.
NAF has proven himself to be a top ten player in the world no matter what. However, seeing him pick up the AWP, even more, would be a benefit for him and his team. He fragged with the AWP 18% in 2019. An increase in usage would greatly benefit an already amazing team and player.
6) Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov (Natus Vincere)
LAN: 1.20 (134) [#5]
Big Events: 1.22 (99) [#4]
Majors: 1.21 (21) [#4]
Big Event Victories: 1
ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals - 1.42 [#1]
StarSeries i-League Season 7 - 1.33 [#2]
StarLadder Major Berlin - 1.31 [#1]
Electronic is the only player in the top ten to not have an MVP award this year, but that is not because he did not deserve one. He was an absolute monster through all of the disappointing team performances. As mentioned in his All-CS First Team write-up, “The only thing that can stop this guy is his supporting cast.”
Despite the team struggles, electronic placed No. 5 amongst his peers in LAN rating this year with an astounding 1.20. His unrivaled aggression against literally anyone and everyone makes him an incredible player to spectate. He is constantly aggressive and is often rewarded for it, which is why he has been one of the best CIS talents in the world for a couple of years. He is an incredible No. 2 for Na’Vi, and if they figure their lineup woes in 2020 his numbers will be even higher.
Electronic is going to perform at a top-level no matter how the team plays, that is without question. But if the organization cannot field a strong lineup around the two stars they will experience a repeat in 2020, with great individual performances but no trophies.
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All statistics used are from the HLTV database.
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An asterisk (*) denotes an MVP award.
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