The Leaders of Counter-Strike: ANGE1
The Counter-Strike scene is currently suffering from a shortage of leaders. Many teams now are at the point where they seek to convert their existing players whomst have never led before to in-game leader status. A trend that, for the most part, has not been very successful.
This series will look at the dwindling numbers of existing leaders in Counter-Strike, analyze their skill sets, their individual unique style, and what they bring to the game’s professional scene.
This first piece will analyze the veteran leader of HellRaisers Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow.
He is commonly touted by the community as destined for Natus Vincere due to his loose, aggressive style, as well as his ability to find kills in comparison to other leaders. These qualities are often cited as the reasons as to why ANGE1 should be on a tier 1 team. The question is, are those reasons accurate? What exactly are the perks that ANGE1 brings to the table as an in-game leader?
What makes ANGE1 unique amongst most leaders is that he is commonly assigned the label of a "fragging" in-game leader. His average HLTV rating of 1.07 across all LAN events from the beginning of 2017 to now is what some might regard as modest at first glance. However, what this number does not show about ANGE1’s game is that he is the team’s designated entry-fragger alongside Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz. He is the third highest rated player in CS:GO for opening dual attempts, with an impressive success rate of 49.3 percent (Dan “apEX” Madesclaire’s success rate is 49.6 percent for comparison).
On the Counter-Terrorist side, ANGE1 can endlessly be found playing aggressively; trying to get a pick to put his team in a strong position to win the round. His numbers may be modest, but the impact he has on games is phenomenal.
When put side-by-side with other leaders, ANGE1 is one of the most capable of finding significant impact on the server regardless of his focusing on team success, on a tactical level, around the map.
Style Of Play
ANGE1’s style has certainly evolved from his early days of CS:GO, showing his ability to adapt as a leader. The original HellRaisers lineup, containing the likes of current Gambit Esports members Mikhail "Dosia" Stolyarov and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev, played a system almost solely based on the individual skill of its players.
With the addition of Ivan "Johnta" Shevcov to the HellRaisers lineup as coach, ANGE1 has evolved his style and added more structure to his calling. Yet, ANGE1's trademarks as an team leader still remain. His teams can always be seen aggressively pursuing map control on their Counter-Terrorist sides, constantly challenging the opposition. This method of play is highly effective against the teams they face whose firepower may be slightly weaker than that of a team like the HellRaisers.
On the Terrorist side, the CIS-European squad will often adapt based on the moves their opponents are making around the map. The teams that are inferior in terms of firepower will often be overrun in relentless, forcive plays being deployed until the enemy finds a counter. However, against more skilled opposition, ANGE1 tends to alter his tactics by playing in a much slower system. Utilizing his star players in slow movement around the map to try and find a pick to create an opening into rounds is one of this most effective techniques of this style. From that point, they would make their decision on what point of the map they want to hit.
Occasionally, you may hear people use the term “gatekeepers of tier 2” to describe HellRaisers. This is primarily in part due to ANGE1’s style of leading his team. By utilizing his team’s young frag potential and strategic, disciplined play, he allows his side to take control of matches against other tier 2 teams completely.
When facing tier 1 opposition however, ANGE1’s system has a heavy reliance on all individuals within his team putting up numbers. If ANGE1 and co. are not entirely on point with their individual game, then things can begin to look lost against better teams more comfortable to a higher level of play.
Nevertheless, The CIS leader’s roster has made some notable achievements at higher tier events. When all members, playing under ANGE1’s system, perform individually well, they have found success by making deep runs in events such as: StarSeries Season 3, the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, and winning the first season of Bets.net Masters. Whilst achieving wins against top teams such as: North, the FaZe Clan, Fnatic, Team Liquid and Astralis, HellRaisers have slowly proven themselves as more than just a tier 2 cornerstone.
Another key aspect that people will notice when looking at ANGE1's career is the amount of talent he has helped bring up to the very top of the scene from seemingly nothing.
Notable examples being this of Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný, Egor "flamie" Vasilyev, widely considered best player in the world Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, and now he is currently developing the likes of Özgür "woxic" Eker and Issa "ISSAA" Murad.
These talents often have joined ANGE1's team with small reputations but had transformed under his leadership in to fully fledged star players. Most would regard oskar, s1mple, and flamie as some of the best players in the world right now, and now ANGE1 is transforming woxic and ISSAA from "FPL stars" to genuine superstars on the competitive level. Whilst they obviously have not yet reached the heights of the previously mentioned players, they are most certainly well on their way to reaching that status.
In ANGE1's career, it has been necessary to be able to accomplish this as well, as the HR roster has been cut apart numerous times and ANGE1 has always found obscure talents to build a team around and turn into a well oiled machine in order to keep his team a relative force in the scene.
With all that being said, what is the future of ANGE1's career? Unfortunately, At 28 years old, he is very likely approaching the tail end of his career.
With the recent success of Na’Vi , will they ever risk their stability and give ANGE1 a chance? The potential of ANGE1 being reunited with the likes of s1mple and flamie alongside the team’s youngest talent of Denis "electronic" Sharipov would make Na’Vi a frightening force. ANGE1's style of leadership can see the abilities of that trio maximized and most teams would be decimated by the team’s raw firepower alone.
Or, potentially, the Gambit roster may be in need of a revival. A team that has been lacking in leadership since the departure of Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko is in need of it now more than ever. As of late, they have been failing to make the most of their star-studded lineup. With the likes of the aforementioned AdreN as well as Abay "Hobbit" Khassenov and Rustem "mou" Telepov, ANGE1 may be what is needed to breathe new life in to this struggling roster and bring out the best of their talented squad. AdreN has struggled to replicate his form which saw him named MVP at the Krakow Major mid-2017 since assuming the in-game leader role temporarily. A dedicated in-game leader added to this squad could see the revival of AdreN’s form and return him to the position of one of the best players in the world. The CIS captain’s pedigree of working with and developing young talents could see the likes of Nikolay “mir” Bityukov and Hobbit reach whole new levels in their careers. The inconsistency of mou has often been a problem for Gambit, but as ANGE1 has shown throughout his career, he is capable of developing and improving some of the best AWPers throughout his time in the scene.
Or, if these ideas fails to materialize, what can ANGE1 accomplish with HellRaisers? The rapid rise of woxic and “ISSAA” has given ANGE1's team consistent firepower alongside the experienced Vladyslav “bondik” Nechyporchuk and the underrated supporting element of Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz. Can ANGE1 lead this band of misfits to something more? There is certainly the potential if all pieces were to click. In my opinion, he still has plenty to offer the Counter-Strike scene over the next few years, and will certainly be raising hell until his time on a professional level comes to an end.