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Number two in our Top 20 Ranking of 2015 powered by EGB.com goes to Natus Vincere's Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács. No other player had such a tremendous impact in a team over the year, and the big numbers he put it on a regular basis helped the CIS team to win some international events and finish second at the final major.
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács is one of the rare cases of players who have competed at the top in all three iterations of Counter-Strike. He took his first steps in the franchise in 1.6 before making the switch to CS:Source, in which he really made the grade. 2009 was a particularly successful year for Kovács and his then team, Reason Gaming, who won all three iSeries events on top of DreamHack Winter and UKeSA Premiership Season 1.
When CS:GO was released, Kovács continued to play alongside Slovakian and Czech players in a team called ex-BEASTS, who would win the first big event in the region, MCR 2012, over nEophyte. But it was under the wings of myDGB that Kovács would show himself to the international CS:GO community for the first time as the team finished third to Ninjas in Pyjamas at the AMD Sapphire CS:GO Invitational, in Prague, with VeryGames coming in second place.
After internal problems swept through the team, Kovács had a brief spell in TCM-Gaming, but despite some promising results the roster fell apart when Richard "shox" Papillon signed for VeryGames to replace Kenny "kennyS" Schrub. For the Slovakian talent, motivation had hit an all-time low, making him consider retirement. One month later, he would join Virtus.pro's Russian/Ukrainian mixture, but his tenure there was extremely short-lived as the organisation would soon cut ties with the players.
Months went by, and at one point Kovács flirted with the idea of creating the first big international roster, together with players like Martin "STYKO" Styk, Ricardo "fox" Pacheco and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire. But it was in Na`Vi that the Slovakian found his home, right before the end of 2013. Despite all the problems throughout the year, he still managed to secure the tenth spot in our Top 20 Ranking, mostly because of his contribution to the success of his teams.
In 2014, Kovács proved that he is indeed one of the finest AWPers in the game, but he seemed unable to perform to the best of his abilities at big events, which landed him just the 11th spot of that year's Top 20 Ranking. 2015 would truly be Kovács's year, but first he would require some weight to be taken off his shoulders by a soon-to-come recruit…
For Na`Vi, 2015's LAN journey kicked off with nothing less than a major, ESL One Katowice. After finishing second of their group with a 7-16 defeat by fnatic sandwiched by convincing victories over FlipSid3 Tactics and Vox Eminor, Na`Vi were thrown out of the tournament by EnVyUs in a three-map game, with Kovács putting in 29 frags on Dust2 when his teammates were underperforming to take the game to a third map. Despite Na`Vi’s disappointing 5th-8th finish, which fell shy of their semi-final run at the previous major, Kovács was still the second-best performer of his team on a 1.19 rating - the fifth-highest of the entire event - and had the highest AWP kills per round (0.55) ratio.
Upon returning from Katowice, Na`Vi underwent a roster change, with Sergey "starix" Ischuk stepping down from the active lineup and Egor "flamie" Vasilyev being recruited. The then 17-year-old was widely regarded as one of the finest talents in Eastern Europe, but the new Na`Vi team would show at the StarSeries XII Finals that they needed some time to gel. After raising eyebrows with a 2-1 victory over TSM, the CIS side fell short against EnVyUs and Titan and had to settle for a 5th-6th place. Kovács had no positives to take from the event as he scored a 0.93 rating (-8 Kill/Death) difference - with this being one of the few times where he had a sub-1.0 tournament rating.
But Kovács redeemed himself weeks later during Na`Vi's title run at the ESL Pro League Winter Finals. In Cologne, the team showed incredible composure and went all the way after losing their first match in the tournament against dignitas. The Slovakian did not have the best rating of his team - he finished tied-second with Denis "seized" Kostin at 1.13, behind Vasilyev's 1.16 - but he was still the MVP of the event as he contributed in most round wins, dominated in several other categories - including KD difference, AWP kills per round and entry kills - and had a better performance in the final than the 18-year-old.
Next up were the FACEIT League Stage 1 Finals, where Na`Vi were sent packing in the group stage with two defeats - both against TSM - and a comfortable victory over eLevate. Kovács was one of the two Na`Vi players to finish the event on a positive rating (1.17) - the other one being Kostin - but his numbers, just like those of his Russian teammate, were clearly inflated by the match against eLevate.
Weeks later, Na`Vi travelled to London for Gfinity 2015 Spring Masters 2, where Kovács had one of his best tournaments of the year, putting in positive ratings in every match except during a 0-2 group defeat against fnatic. After topping their group, Na`Vi were downed 0-2 by Virtus.pro in the semifinals despite Kovács carrying his team with 65 frags (1.12 rating), including 40 in the 22-25 defeat on de_inferno. Overall, the 24-year-old posted a team-leading rating of 1.24 and he excelled in many other metrics, including AWP kills per round, opening kills and clutches won.
With the start of the summer season came Na`Vi's most successful period of the year, but the CIS team would have to wait some more time before they could get their hands on a trophy again. Na`Vi came in third place at the fragbite Masters Season 4 Finals and finished runners-up at DreamHack Open Summer 2015, with Kovács leading the team on both occasions, with ratings of 1.12 and 1.16 respectively.
Na`Vi returned to winning ways at the offline finals of StarSeries XIII, in mid-June. The team's campaign in the group stage was extremely disappointing, winning three out of five matches, but their playoff run was incredible as they eased past FlipSid3 Tactics 2-0 before beating EnVyUs 3-1 in the final. Kovács played an important role in his team's campaign, posting the second-highest rating of the tournament (1.22, +68) and staying in the green in all but three maps played in Kiev.
Kovács and his teammates were able to carry that momentum into the ESWC finals, in Montreal, as the team topped their group on a perfect 3-0 record before beating Renegades, FlipSid3 Tactics and Cloud9 in the playoffs while conceding just one map along the way. Once again, the Slovakian turned in performances in line with his pedigree as he was the top performer overall in Montreal (1.36 rating, +81), leading the charts in seven different categories.
Spain was the next destination for Na`Vi, but this time around the team were unable to extend their winning run. At the FACEIT League 2015 Stage 2 Finals, Na`Vi finished 3rd-4th, with Kovács being the second highest rated player on the squad at 1.05 (+15). Before the end of July, Na`Vi flew to Columbus, Ohio, for the CEVO Season 7 finals, and it was business as usual for the Slovakian, who posted a team-leading rating of 1.14 to help his side to clinch the silver medal.
ESL One Cologne was the next event on the calendar, and it was another low-point for Na`Vi, who repeated the top-eight finish from the previous event, and for Kovács himself. The 24-year-old was the top performer of his team at a rating of 0.97, but there were no smiles coming from the Na`Vi camp and morale was extremely low.
Na`Vi responded to rumours of unrest within the team by placing second at their following event, Gaming Paradise, where Kovács was the second-best player of his squad, with a rating of 1.12 (+33). But poor form saw Na`Vi finish last at the ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational, in Dubai, following 10-16 defeats against TSM and Titan. For Kovács in particular, this was a tournament to forget as he put up a 0.75 rating - the second worst of the team.
DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca came up next, much to the relief of Na`Vi, who were finally able to get their game together. After powering the team to the playoffs with 100 frags across five group matches, Kovács continued to impress and posted team-leading ratings of 1.25 against Luminosity and 1.84 against NiP. EnVyUs proved to be far too hot for Na`Vi to handle, but still the Slovakian continued to pick up kills left and right, finishing the match – a 0-2 defeat – with a 1.25 rating. He ended up with a 1.30 event rating, the highest of all players in attendance, and was in the top 5 in a whopping 13 stats categories – making him the second-best player of the event, only behind Schrub.
Next up were three trips to the United States, for the CEVO Season 8 finals, IEM San Jose and the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals. The former proved to be a disaster for Na`Vi, who went out after two matches despite Kovács putting up the sixth-highest rating of the tournament at 1.12 (+14). But Na`Vi made up for that with a fantastic run at the IEM event, which they won without dropping a single map. With positive ratings in every match, Kovács finished the event ranked first in Na`Vi (1.16, +31) and with the title of MVP to his name. Finally, the CIS team ended the year with another impressive campaign at the Pro League Finals, beating Luminosity twice in the group stage and then EnVyUs in the semi-finals but losing to fnatic in the grand final in a five-game thriller. Kovács was in great form up until the match against the Swedes, with his grand final performance bringing his event rating down to 1.06.
Why is he the 2nd best player of 2015?
The first thing that comes to mind when addressing Kovács's year are his fantastic AWP stats over this period. He was first in terms of total AWP kills (1686) and second in AWP Kills per round (0.42), losing only to Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham, who, however, had over 1000 AWP frags fewer than the Slovakian.
Despite not performing to the best of his abilities at ESL One Katowice and ESL One Cologne, Kovács was still the best AWPer of the majors, with an average 0.48 AWP kills per round, and had the best record in opening kills per round (0.18) at Valve-sponsored events.
With a +222 record in opening duels, Kovács had by far the biggest impact at the start of rounds, on both CT and T sides, although more so on the CT side. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that 22 per cent of Na`Vi's round wins came on the back of an opening kill by Kovács, who also boasted a 1.11 rating in round wins - the highest within top 6 teams.
And finally, the 1.59 ratio of rounds won after his opening kill to rounds lost after his opening death speaks of the effect his early aggression had on Na`Vi's success.
A key part about Kovács's placing is his consistency - he had a positive rating in 64 per cent of the maps he played and a rating higher than 1.15 in 49 per cent of the maps. He finished 15 out of 18 tournaments with a rating of 1.00 or above and 17 as one of the top performers in his team.
On top of being the MVP at the four different events (ESL Pro League Winter, SLTV XIII, ESWC and IEM San Jose) which Na`Vi won, he was among the top performers at several others, including the major in Cluj-Napoca, Gaming Paradise and DreamHack Summer. And even though the tournaments of which Kovács was the MVP were all relatively small, no player was more impactful to their team's title runs and good placings over these 12 months.
What did you think of Kovács's performances in 2015? Where would you have rated him? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
There is just one player left in our Top 20 players of 2015 ranking powered by EGB.com. You can keep track of the list over at the Introduction article.
Let's look at his statistics at 250,000$ tournaments this year. The most stacked tournaments where everyone is trying their hardest and come in with practice hours, unlike the small tournaments:
First off, in Cluj he was just amazing until the final: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=246&playerid=2757&..
Cologne: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=246&playerid=2757&.. negative rating on all maps except 1, dropping out in the quarters. Really a terrible performance.
Katowice: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=246&playerid=2757&.. here he rating farmed against Flipsid3 and Vox Eminor and had under 1.0 rating against tier 1 teams, with several horrible map performances. He went out in the quarters yet again with minimal impact.
Now let's look at the smaller but still big tournaments of the year, namely the 250k non-major ones:
In Dubai he had a 0,75 rating and went out in groups, absolutely atrocious: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=246&playerid=2757&..
At ESL Pro League Season 2 he was decent until the final against fnatic, where he choked entirely. Had he showed up they would no doubt have won the series: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=246&playerid=2757&..
Those are all the 250k tournaments he even attended this year. But less dollar is on the line, he shows up like none other. Much like device. Still a great player but he might want to to work on his nerves if he wants to be the best.
i think he is
O V E
O V E R
O V E R R
O V E R R A
O V E R R A T
O V E R R A T E
O V E R R A T E D AS FUCK
O V E R R A T E
O V E R R A T
O V E R R A
O V E R R
O V E R
O V E
Post edited 2016-01-20 00:11:31
KK, you didn't blame anyone... Idiot.
its ridiculous to say he choked at the cluj final, he was the second best on his team on train behind seized who went god mode, and was the best on cobble even though his entire team was getting stomped. he may not perform 200% in the big games like flusha, but that doesnt make him a 'choker'.
teams like flipsid3 and vox eminor are making him look good in your image, as well as him fraghunting pointlessly when his team is already losing anyway, making him the best in the team even though he would never win them the match with his play. it was exactly the same against fnatic in minsk.
When a team is losing, they are economically fucked. GuardiaN is an AWP player. If his team is crumbling and they lose economy, he will not have the same impact as when they pull their weight and the economy is good.
Your theory of nerves is ridiculous, really. GuardiaN has been playing at the top end of CS in LAN finals for 8 years at least, one of the absolute most experienced players in the CS:GO scene and has won many. He is a LAN monster.
Look at him during finals, is he seriously emotional or choking like KennyS? Or some of Astralis? No, he is always the one calm as fuck in Na'Vi, even more than Edward.
I definitely agree with you. In my opinion flusha should take 2nd place and I'd also put both KRiMZ and Happy in the top5.
Post edited 2016-01-19 22:57:32
At cluj, he still played really well in the finales, even as good as kennyS, but his teammates were nowhere to be seen (besides from seized on train)
It's hard to be the only player doing something on cobble.
I still think he deserved the mvp for cluj, but they only give mvps to the players from the team that won.
Katowice, he only did bad vs fnatic. Can't really count the 16 - 3 game when they all got completely rekt and out stratted. That's the teams fault. He can't carry all games.
Dubai - bad event from him, but also probably the only bad 1 (where he did bad compared to score and teammates)
Esl pro league, he was amazing till the finales, yes, but if you don't count the first map of the finales, he was still the best player in the finales on na'vi (or at least tied with flamie)
Post edited 2016-01-19 23:55:27
You came prepared, ayy
inb4 kennys fangays spamming kennyS>>>>>>>>>>>>Guardian
and no he doesn't
this year; olof, guardian, flusha, happy, snax, device, and krimz were all 100% better than him
Kennys ratung was so high cauz he was fighting against lower teams also his teammates expect apex which he is most inconsistent player ever all of them was low players Ex6tenz rpk maniac they re all shit for fragging and Titan was playing like 4 support and 1 carry they re setting up for Kenny every single game
So KennyS most overrated player in cs go history and he isnt top10 this year for me not even top20 but we can talk abaout that but one thing sure Happy Krimz dupreeh flamie seized all of these names overall had better year then kennyshit
They want you back
How many tournament did Guardian win this year? 1? 2?.. and those werent even close to a major.
KennyS won much more and even 1 Major.
Suck it GuardianFanBoi's you need to grow up now.
Ofc you can be in top20 without a major win.. But you cant be top1... maybe you should take your tongue out of Guardians ass before you start trying to think something out.
And tho my favorite team (NiP) didnt win anything im not even mad cuz there is other good teams out there... and its a good scene.. but Guardian did NOT diserve this place.
And in terms of AWP skills... KennyS > Guardian anyday.
KennyS "lowpoint" was when he were in Titan and in which only HE did the shooting.. Now when he's in a new team he is rising again.
Post edited 2016-01-20 22:14:19
Post edited 2016-01-19 20:28:19
Post edited 2016-01-19 20:28:23
Post edited 2016-01-19 20:28:26
put someone from top awpers in navi and he'll do same thing what guardian is doing.
flamie came in middle of 2015. tell me how many navi players are in top20 except flamie
Btw, at this point, HLTV should just release #1 player. No point in waiting till tomorrow for olof's article, is too obvious. Gz olofmeister.
inb4 coldzera top1 kek
Post edited 2016-01-19 20:33:16
may 2016 be YOUR year
gl and hf
Post edited 2016-01-20 16:27:44
The same thing happened year or 2 ago when people were saying that KennyS should be #1 because he was really playing like crazy for Titan but they were in 1 or 2 finals in a whole year. You can't be #1 without playing the hardest games with the most pressure and if you perform good in those games well then you will be #1 no doubt about that.
GuardiaN please hit me with your big AWPen:X
Im not emulating yor comment, this is my "joke" opinion.
GuardiaN had an amazing 2015!
GuardiaN > FalleN atm for sure!!
favela loves you
Post edited 2016-01-19 20:41:56
Individually, GuardiaN >>> olof, but Fnatic, as the best team of 2015 by far, deserved its top player to take the #1 spot.
So fucking deserved man!
Olof was statswise the best but he got a much better team to back him up. Guardian is a one man army and da true MVP.
Post edited 2016-01-19 21:09:04
I am so relieved that Putin Buffer Zone swine did not win!
Olof is not the best player even in fnatic (JW best)
You might be the #2 best player in the world in 2016 but you are #1 MVP like ... forever.
olof 8 months god - clearly top 1.
I don't know about the last one, I think WT only joined later on so I don't know if he ever played with GuardiaN?
EDIT: It is VUGGO who got number 1 :(
In terms of skill, he is the best player for sure, he can AWP like a god, he can handle the AK better than many t1 riflers, and he can DEAG like he is da real JUAN DEAG.
Guardian carry Na'Vi most of the times. Olof have Krimz, Flusha and the rest of your team.
But. Where the hell is COLDZERA?
This list un-respectful witout Coldzera and Nothing
Post edited 2016-01-19 22:04:13
All-in-all he is the most important player on tier1 teams, but that doesn't make him the best.
But take care of your weight dear GuardiaN.
Better luck next time, GuardiaN :)
Deserved and gz for GODIAN i believe he will win major this year and ranked top1 player in 2016
2016 will be year of NaVi and VP
THIS IS YOUR TOP5 POLSKA BACK POLSKA STRONG FUCK YOURSELF SWEDISTAN
Check this guardian movie out! :)
surely number 1 shall be HUNDEN
5Devve* or still device?(*Shit nn btw)
Post edited 2016-01-20 08:43:34
Who will be top1 guys ???
Post edited 2016-01-20 11:42:55
Also to remind i prefer olof agressive playstyle.
like u see it at the end of the game
"oh wow olof has 32 kills"
but u can never remember them.
can u remember a single olof kill ?
but try guardian...u can see the flick
i remember a guardian flick.