CSGO has always had the privilege of the best player of the year always being on the best team of the year.
2014 is a bit less obvious where the best team was more debatable - but GTR still was consistently top 2 or 3 all year so fair enough.
For the first time ever, the best player of the year is not, and has never been, on the best team. I think people are conflating MVPs and victories with what the award it about, individual skill/hard carry potential/sheer impact on the scoreboard/ winning games for your team consistently. It just so happened that the players that were #1
were also on the #1
team, meaning that they would win the tournament and since they were the best on the team, they won the MVP. Simple. But now, in 2018, we have seen a player on the level that we have arguably never seen before in CS history. Never before has a player been so fantastic for so long and at such level of consistency whilst never being on the best team in the world in CSGO. The only other comparison for CSGO would be late 2014 to early 2015 kennyS where he was insane and not on the best team. His peak was a similar level to s1mple but for not as long. Fantastic player, but not a candidate for GOAT.
Now to back up my argument, here are some statistics:
-1.33 rating average on LAN in 2018
These are some god tier stats. Peak rating - 1.52 at DH Marseilles. Lowest rating - 1.19 at ELEAGUE PREMIER
and EPL s7 finals. Forget coldzera and his never dropping below a 1.0 rating, s1mple has never dropped below 1.19 rating OVER THE ENTIRE YEAR. 1.19 (remember NiKo's average rating is 1.21 and device is 1.24) NiKo's average is only 0.02 higher than s1mple's lowest and only 0.05 for device. Imagine being that far ahead of the other top 3 players. Just insane. Not to mention the times he went +100 or more during events. +141 at starseries s4; +103 at DH Marseilles; +161 at starseries s5; +142 at ESL One Cologne. NiKo only has one +100 at ESL One Belo Horizonte (+100) and device has never gone +100 in 2018.
-5 MVP awards
Second only to device in this category (with 7 MVPs) but I think it speaks volumes about the difference between these two players when you see that s1mple only won 3 of those tournaments whereas device won all 7. You will never see device winning MVP awards when he loses in the finals (although, to be fair, Astralis rarely lose). s1mple's performances at star series ileague season 4 and DH Marseilles were two of the greatest carry performances of all time against the absolute top of the field in CS. Remember how stacked those tournaments were (11/16 of top 16 in the world for star series according to hltv and 12/16 for DH Marseilles). Not to mention his ESL One Cologne MVP at the biggest and best non major tournament and most stacked tournament of the year.
-Rating in close games
In a recent tweet by lurppis he stated his issue with the HLTV ranking is that rating is highly influenced by round difference, meaning that since Astralis have been so dominant and have been winning with a large round difference It means that the consistently best player on Astralis (device) will have a higher rating than other players in worse teams regardless of skill difference between those two players.
There is a fantastic reddit thread in which it discusses the rating of players in close games (where the losing team wins at least 10 rounds.
The statistics here are mind boggling for s1mple. I think it is best summarised in the thread: "This really shows how consistently amazing s1mple's year has been, he keeps his exact rating in close games [1.35] that he had in all games [1.33]. The rating gap between him and niko (2) [0.16] is larger than the gap between niko and xyp9x (20) [0.14]. Absolutely nuts."
Remember, he also plays with the AWP. Now who would you say have been the best AWPers of 2018?
GuardiaN? device? oskar? s1mple?
Many people, such as myself, would argue for s1mple. Now imagine being the best AWPer in the world without even being a main AWPer. Imagine having an even better rifle. We used to say that GuardiaN's and kennyS' rifles were good "for an AWPer." For s1mple they are just good. Actually no, they are godlike. Best in the world by far. Imagine being better at rifling than AWPing, yet still having a better awp than anyone else. Absolutely insane.
Because of this play style, he is a very versatile player. Need a quick AWP pick down mid on inferno? s1mple's your man. Need a 2 man entry into bathrooms on overpass? s1mple can deal with that. He can always take over a game, you don't need to pump all the resources into him for an AWP that he needs - like a kennyS. That's the flaw of your best player being an AWPer.
Now what about the counter arguments for device?
Okay, so device has won more tournaments this year. 10 compared to 3.
device was more MVP awards. 7 compared to 5.
These are stats where you can say device is better than s1mple.
These two arguments can simply be explained by saying that device is on a better team than s1mple. Undoubtedly. device doesn't have a bot IGL, he has gla1ve, one of the best fragging in game leaders of all time. device doesn't have a player in Edward dragging the team down, he has Xyp9x, the "worst" player on Astralis but still the best clutch player of the year clearly and one of the best of all time and still #13
on 2018 ranking.
Since device is the best player on Astralis, it means that he will tend to be statistically the best on his team and therefore win the MVP award. Therefore we can say that device's MVP awards are mainly a team award, or at least, only available to him because of his team. And that's the crux of the debate. But we need to remember. This is a top 20 players list, not a top 20 teams list. Team achievements are not individual player achievements. Yes, you need to be on a good enough team in order to make it to the big LAN events to play against the best teams in the world but that's it. And are you really going to argue that s1mple is not on a team that plays at the big tournaments?
What I finally want to say is that I think that s1mple will be the NEO of CSGO. He has been playing since 2014 and is only 21 yet he has still been #4
2016 and #8
2017 on hltv rankings, and now #1
. He has easily been a top 5 player for 3 years now and hes never been on the best team in the world. He still has a whole career ahead of him. If CIS ever has the best team in the world, expect this guy to be there going fucking nuts on everyone else. Don't be surprised to see him pop up at the top of the rankings for years to come, just as NEO did in the second half of 1.6.