Top 20 players of 2013: flusha (13)
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist flew under the radar for most of the year, but ended up winning the most clutches on average and was one of the most consistent players. Eventually his great play was a big contribution to fnatic's triumph at the biggest event of the year, DreamHack Winter, so he earned himself the 13th spot on our Top 20 of 2013 by eSportsventure.com.
Basic info and history
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist's story began back as an 18-year-old in 2011, when he was just another Swedish player trying get to the next level in CS 1.6. Internationally unrecognized during that time, he attended DreamHack's BYOC qualifiers and made it through to DreamHack Winter 2011 with a team called hatersg0nnahate, which also contained current LGB eSports member Alexander "SKYTTEN" Carlsson.
But they never made it through the group stage and their names were soon forgotten. Him and Carlsson would try again the next summer, this time joined by Jesper "jw" Wecksell and Andreas "schneider" Lindberg, but Aleksey "LeX" Kolesnikov's Virtus.pro would this time stop their Spelfronten squad at the last step of the BYOC qualifier.
Switching to CS:GO, however, brought some early fame to Rönnquist, who together with his teammates Lindberg and Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg became the first to ever defeat NiP, albeit online. Their SY_b team won 16-14 against the world's undisputed number one and went on to win the first THOR Open qualifier, although immediately earning themselves the reputation of being "onliners".
They were soon picked up by Western Wolves and Rönnquist would attend another DreamHack BYOC qualifier, this time Winter 2012, but now Markus "pronax" Wallsten's Absolute Legends would deny him at the last step.
THOR Open in Stockholm followed a few weeks later, and they got their revenge on Absolute Legends, but Lemondogs and Danes from Anexis stopped them from going through the group stage.
That was the end of that lineup, especially after Lindberg left to join Wallsten in AL and Western Wolves disbanded the squad, so Rönnquist would begin 2013 without a team.
In the meantime, Jesper "jw" Wecksell's WRTT squad would also garner some online fame and get picked up by Epsilon, and they would at the end of January pick up Rönnquist who would be their in-game leader.
Two weeks later Andreas "schneider" Lindberg joined to reunite the old trio and form what would become the core lineup of this team. They immediately put the internet on fire by winning the first RaidCall EMS One Spring cup over Richard "shox" Papillon's Imaginary and Germans n!faculty, a success which was almost repeated one week later in cup #2, although that time NiP stomped them in the final.
flusha's 4k with 1vs2 against NiP in the final of RC EMS One Spring Cup #2
At the beginning of March the trio surprisingly decided to kick Tonoy "Lox" Prince and Jerry "xelos" Råberg from the roster, only to find out that they have been disqualified from RaidCall EMS One Spring a week later when Råberg was convicted of cheating against the Germans of n!faculty in the final of cup #1. That brought the team's reputation further down and put a veil of suspicion over their heads, with the community accusing the whole team of cheating.
"I can't say much about the ban of xelos, I didn't see anything suspicious. I think we could have gotten our breakthrough a lot earlier, already in 2012 but some teams played with the interp bug at some tournaments giving them a big advantage. I don't want to point any fingers though." – about the xelos ban and if they could have had their breakthrough earlier had that not happened
Epsilon then picked up Rönnquist's former WW teammate Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg, as well as former Lemondogs member André "berg" Kjellberg, who would take over as the in-game leader just ahead of Copenhagen Games.
The team's LAN debut went better than expected, starting by giving fnatic a hell of a fight in the opening match (14-16, 16-12, 13-16), and then defeating Natus Vincere (16-13, 12-16, 16-13).
They moved on from their group as 2nd, meeting Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen's Western Wolves in the upper quarter-final but losing despite taking the first map (16-10, 6-16, 16-8).
It wasn't the end of their story though, as they got through two rounds of the lower bracket, which included taking the scalp of Poles from ESC Gaming after a 16-14 win. Finally VeryGames eliminated them in 9th-12th place, but the team had already turned some heads and began the process of clearing their name.
"I think already at Copenhagen Games we showed that we could perform on LAN by beating a lot of good teams.
And I think spectators and analysts in general that don't really have a clue about what is going on in the game should not call out teams and players as onliners. There's a lot going on in a match that no one sees or hears, the information given by your teammates alone will make you do what seems like crazy dodgy s***, while the player is just doing the logical thing." - about when the 'onliners' label was shaken off and if people were too quick to place it on them in the first place
Rönnquist himself was one of the revelations of the tournament. He was the team's top fragger and one of their best players in every single match (rating above 1.00 in 12 of 14 maps). Furthermore, he won no less than 12 clutch rounds, which would later turn out to be his main trait, along with consistency.
flusha at Copenhagen Games
"I don't really use aim as a way to kill people, I just try to kill them as easy and smart as possible. I don't try to make "highlight" kills and if I get 1 or 2 kills I don't usually try to get one or two more, I just play to win the round as safe as possible.
I know that to get a lot of fans fast you need to make highlights and do insane shots, rather than getting 1 or 2 kills a round and doing a lot of damage and letting my teammates do the rest. But I don't really care as long as we win matches and tournaments." - about his rise to become a great clutcher and the fans' perception of him
The next week Epsilon went on to win local Swedish events NLAN and Svecup Norrköping, proving that they are the number two team in Sweden at that moment.
Curiously enough, their online performance would drop, as they failed to qualify for RaidCall EMS One Summer by not even collecting enough points in the four cups. But they did manage to get 3rd place in Fnatic FragOut League Season 2 and qualify for their next big test, DreamHack Summer.
However, just a little over a week before the big event, the team removed their new in-game leader Kjellberg due to his lack of motivation. To replace him they called up Norwegian player Martin "cENTRYZ" Brandal to help out, while Rönnquist returned to the role of IGL.
With lowered expectations due to the lineup change, the team went on to surprise everyone even more. After a bad start and a loss to North Americans Curse in the first match, Epsilon bounced back and beat 3DMAX and Curse in their second attempt to make it to the playoffs.
Before they continued in that tournament, they ended up in the final of Swedish Championship and took a map off of NiP (16-11, 10-16, 6-16), so their appetites grew.
In the playoffs the next day, they would meet Western Wolves, who previously knocked them down at the same stage in Copenhagen, only this time the young Swedes came out on top (16-12, 16-11) and suddenly they were in the semi-final.
LDLC.com was next, and after an extremely tough match, Epsilon came back on the second map to clinch it on overtime and went on to win the series (10-16, 19-15, 16-9), scheduling another meeting with NiP at the DreamArena Extreme.
This time they weren't able to put up much of a fight, losing 5-16, 2-16, but new stars were born that weekend, and it would turn out being just the beginning.
Epsilon with the 2nd place cheque at DreamHack Summer
Although he was the in-game leader now, Rönnquist was still the second best fragger in the team, while his contribution was the biggest in the LDLC.com semi-final series. During that match he put up a 37:18 score (1.67 rating) in their comeback overtime win on the second map, in what was certainly one of his best performances of the year.
"[I knew this lineup could go far] as soon as we got schneider, since me, him and jw had played a lot of 1.6 together, going to DreamHack BYOC and other events. Me and schneider had played with Devilwalk earlier in CS:GO, and jw had played with him in 1.6 so we 4 pretty much knew each other pretty well.
We always knew that the 3 of us could do it (me, jw, schneider) and just adding Devilwalk to it, we felt pretty good about ourselves." - about when it started feeling like a 'special' team, one that could go far
In the aftermath of DreamHack Summer, the quartet was still on the lookout for a fifth player who would become their in-game leader, and the choice fell on Andreas "MODDII" Fridh who had left fnatic for this new position.
Funnily enough, Fridh would become a member of fnatic again a month later when Patrik "cArn" Sättermon picked up his new and homeless squad, as they had previously left Epsilon near the end of July.
"Being in fnatic gives you a lot of boost in motivation, and showing that you are one of the top teams and you should always be ending up at the top of the tournaments." – on what joining fnatic meant to him
Things started well in the new organization, as fnatic defeated Astana Dragons during the CIS team's debut in Mad Catz Cologne quarter-final, and wound up qualifying for the LAN final in Germany after beating Western Wolves as well.
They lost heavily to VeryGames in their own LAN debut though, and later to Astana Dragons in Kiev at a TECHLABS stop, but the real test only came in the middle of September when they attended DreamHack Bucharest.
And before that event, Rönnquist returned to the role of in-game leader in order to allow Fridh to focus on fragging.
They actually managed to top their group ahead of eventual champions NiP, defeating their compatriots 19-17 in one of the more controversial matches of the year. Even though the bracket opened up for them thanks to that win, with all of NiP, VeryGames and Astana Dragons on the other side, they fell to Lemondogs at the first step (12-16, 17-19), finishing 5th-8th.
flusha celebrating the win over NiP
Next up was SLTV StarSeries VII Finals, but despite putting up a solid fight against Astana (16-9, 10-16, 16-14) and later NiP (11-16, 12-16), they ended up finishing last out of four teams.
Rönnquist himself was in a great run of form during those two events, having a rating above 1.00 on every map at both of them, but he would not continue at RaidCall EMS One Fall Finals after relinquishing the IGL role to Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg.
They began the Cologne event by giving VeryGames a great fight, only to lose on overtime 19-21, but then they would end up losing to Copenhagen Wolves in the group's second place decider, leaving them with 5th-6th place finish.
"EMS finals I would say would be the biggest disappointment for me personally. I didn't play that well even though we only played 3 maps, I think we should have won over CPH wolves if we had played any other map than mirage. Then there's a lot of online matches, but I can't say much about that.. I'm just not that good online anymore." - whether he had any big disappointments during the year
Rönnquist was back in form at ESWC where the team upset Astana Dragons on stage 16-12 to top their group, but VeryGames edged them once again in the quarter-final, despite the Swedes' victory on map one (16-10, 2-16, 14-16).
Always coming so close but still losing the big games made fnatic go for another lineup change, removing Fridh and bringing in a new in-game leader, Markus "pronax" Wallsten from n!faculty.
The busy fall schedule next took Rönnquist & co. to China for the MSI Beat it Grand Finals, with only SK Gaming and VeryGames as other notable attendees. Fnatic defeated their Swedish rivals in the group stage to secure a final encounter with the French-Belgian squad, but once again they showed a good account of themselves, and yet lost to VG (12-16, 10-16).
fnatic's first podium finish with the new squad
There wasn't much time between that and their the next challenge, as only three days passed before they had to appear at the biggest event of the year, DreamHack Winter.
The first playday went great for fnatic, notching up victories over Natus Vincere and freshly crowned ESWC champions Clan-Mystik to once again top their group. They then defeated Recursive in the quarter-final (16-9, 13-16, 16-10) and went on to secure a place in the semis of this extremely prestigious tournament.
After a day off, they tackled compLexity, who had previously defeated VeryGames in the group stage and knocked out Astana Dragons, but the North Americans were no match for the Swedes who came out on top 16-7, 16-7 and secured their seats at the stage of DreamArena Extreme for the third time in a row.
And there they would, just as the previous two times, meet Ninjas in Pyjamas, who had defeated VeryGames in the semi-final, which led to many people already proclaiming them champions. But fnatic had different plans, and with Rönnquist's memorable last round of the first map, when he turned around a 2-on-3 situation to snatch a 16-14 win, they gained some extra confidence.
The Ninjas still relentlessly fought back and clinched map two 16-6, seemingly crushing fnatic's spirits, but right out of nowhere the youngsters pulled out a 16-2 win on the last map to become champions of DreamHack Winter and claim the biggest ever first place prize of $100,000 for their efforts.
fnatic's winning moment at DreamHack Winter
"My best memory was Dreamhack Winter, I don't think we could have gotten a better group or bracket than we got. I just think everything lined up for us, getting Recursive in the quarters, compLexity in the semis and then NiP in the final.
Everything would have been 10x harder if we had played US, and then Astana, and then VeryGames, I think we would have had a lot more problems getting to the finals and even winning the tournament. But we played really good so I think we could have done it anyways."
Although overshadowed by some of his teammates Rönnquist had another great event, putting up 0.80 kills per round for the event's 4th best 1.19 rating. He particularly shined in the semi-final series versus compLexity, ending up as the team's top rated player (41:30, 1.32 rating), but he also had his moments in every other match-up.
"I think cArn's faith in us was justified, he saw what we could do without leadership, just see what happened as soon as we got pronax as a IGL, first 2 tournaments we got 2nd and 1st.
I played pretty well at DreamHack, some maps better than others, I can't say I was at the top of my game but I played pretty well.
I was pretty happy about how I started every bracket match's first map, showing my team how we are much better than these guys." - about cArn's faith in them back in August, and his performance at DreamHack Winter
flusha's 1vs3 clutch in the DHW final
As DreamHack Winter champions, everyone will be looking to knock down this young team in 2014, but Rönnquist says they have never been more motivated.
"I want to see us perform more consistently both online and offline, getting al ot more top placements at tournaments. I feel like this is the most motivated lineup we have ever had and I think we will train a lot harder than we have ever done before going into 2014, I hope we will show it as well."
Why is he the 13th best player of 2013?
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist went from not having a team at the start of the year, to seeing his Epsilon become disputed online heroes and eventually to sitting at the top of the world at the end of the year after winning the biggest event in CS history.
And even though he wasn't the main star of his team, he was always at the center of things, playing well at almost every tournament, especially during their biggest success.
He also ended up having the most clutch rounds won per map out of all players in 2013 (0.6), and was the third most consistent player, having a rating above 1.00 in 71% of his maps at big LAN events.
But even with all that, and having the 7th best rating overall of 1.14 and the best rating in his team, he wasn't the primary star of fnatic and Epsilon during their biggest achievements at both DreamHack events, which is why he didn't get higher than 13th place.
In his bold prediction about a future star of 2014, Rönnquist opted for his DreamHack Summer teammate who stood in and helped the team reach 2nd place.
Martin "cENTRYZ" Brandal
"I both think and hope cENTRYZ will be a star at the end of 2014. If he could just find a team that he could play with for a while, and I really hope it's a Nordic team as international teams tend to fail ;). I really want him to succeed in CS:GO as he is a good player and a really good friend of mine."
Did you expect Robin "flusha" Rönnquist on this list at all? And what do you think about the 13th place he ended up in, does it correctly reflect his contribution in fnatic and Epsilon?
Stay tuned to HLTV.org for twelve more players on our Top 20 of 2013 ranking by eSportsventure.com.