Nicolai "device" Reedtz missed out on a spot in last year's ranking due to not playing at many events, but in 2014 he put in just enough great performances at big tournaments to earn the 20th place in our Top 20 players of 2014 brought to you by Xtrfy. He played very well at all three of the majors as dignitas made it to the playoffs - although never further than the semis - and he was especially great at Copenhagen Games and ESWC.
Nicolai "device" Reedtz's CS roots date back to 2009 when he, as a 13-year-old, attended his first local CS:Source LAN in Denmark. Later that year he already got his first international experience at SLAP LIVE #19, but he was still too young to make a big impact.
However, the talent was always visible in his play and after plying his trade in various lesser known teams, he finally started playing for Copenhagen Wolves in 2011, soon finishing 5th-8th at Copenhagen Games.
But then later that year he decided to stop playing competitively for personal reasons, which turned out to be a common reoccurrence in his career further on. He came back in 2012 and finally teamed up with some of the best CS:S players in Denmark, forming an "all-star" squad with former CKRAS stars Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen & Bo "wantz" Vestergaard.
Yet only two months later, in July 2012, he was removed from the team after which FeTiSh said the following about him in a statement:
"Personally I feel Nicolai is wasting his potential, I haven't seen anyone as good since wantz came along and with his young age he could really make it into something big."
Foreshadowing aside, CS:GO came out the next month, but device didn't take it up until December when he joined CS 1.6 veterans formerly of Anexis – Danny "BERRY" Krüger & Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer – in a team called POPPERS and soon won ESEA Open Season 13.
He didn't stick around for too long as he was invited back to Copenhagen Wolves to join FeTiSh's new CS:GO lineup in January 2013. This was also the first time he teamed up with his now longtime teammate Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen.
But his problems once again struck and he was kicked two months later due to "not showing up for practice regularly".
After a short stint in a team called Heroic that failed to qualify for the main tournament at Copenhagen Games, device rejoined Wolves in May and finally showcased his potential in the RaidCall EMS One online cups against Europe's best.
His first appearance at an international CS:GO LAN came at DreamHack Summer, where he already looked like one of the best players at the event despite a quarter-final exit to the mighty Ninjas in Pyjamas.
He later took part in DreamHack Bucharest as well, but days after another quarter-final finish he once again stepped down and put a pause in his CS career for two more months.
The revolving door period of his career finally ended in November when he returned to CPH Wolves together with Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen, just in time to prepare for the first ever CS:GO major, DreamHack Winter, where they later finished 5th-8th. To date that was the last time device left the team, as 2014 went by much smoother and he became a core member of the squad.
In mid-February they finally found an organization to fully support them, the UK based dignitas, and had their new year debut at the first DreamHack Stockholm Invitational with three other top teams in attendance – Titan, fnatic and NiP.
It was not a pleasant outing for the Danes, as they crumbled and lost 5-16 to fnatic and then 3-16 to NiP, finishing 4th in the four team double elimination tournament. device was one of the reasons for that poor performance, as he himself didn't do the expected damage, scoring a kill in only 13 of their 40 rounds and ending up with his year-low 0.55 rating.
Nevertheless, it was no time to be alarmed since as quarter-finalists of the first major, dignitas automatically had a spot at the next one, EMS One Katowice, and there was plenty of time left to fine-tune things.
device at EMS One Katowice
In Poland they came out on top of their group without having to meet top seeded fnatic, while they disposed of then-recently crowned ESEA S15 champions iBUYPOWER and compatriots Reason with two 16-8 wins.
device didn't shine in those two group stage matches, but he showed up in the quarter-final against HellRaisers with a Man of the Match performance in the strong 2-0 victory over the Ukrainian-Russian-Kazakh team.
He had a 49:29 score in that series (1.54 rating, plus 9 assists and 2 clutches), and was especially good in the second and closer of the maps when he put up 31:15 (VOD).
With four wins in four maps dignitas looked very good heading into the semi-final, but there awaited NiP. The Danes were again defeated convincingly and lost the chance at the title 0-2 (6-16, 5-16).
The Katowice trophy was a distant dream for dignitas
Despite the underperformance in that last match, device wound up with a solid 1.10 rating for the entirety of the second major, and despite being only the 3rd best in his team by most criteria, he was an important factor in their semi-final run.
Two weeks later dignitas showed online that they have a very high upside, as they won the second season of Fragbite Masters while defeating LDLC, Katowice champions Virtus.pro, and Titan en-route to 1st place.
That turned out being good preparation for the next big event, Copenhagen Games in their home country, while heading into it dignitas held the 5th spot in our April World Ranking.
After an anything but interesting group stage with several lower level teams, the Danes easily made it past fm-eSports and Norwegians of H2k in the first two playoff rounds. device ran rampant against the latter, topping the board on both maps with 27:15 and 30:15.
He didn't stop there even though next up was a quarter-final match against fnatic, as he put in another Man of the Match performance in what ended up being one of the closest contests of the year (22-20, 19-16).
His team came out on top of map 1 largely thanks to his 41:29 effort (1.33 rating, 8 entry kills) and he ended up with 64:51 for the series. Moreover, device got a kill in an incredible 78% of rounds dignitas won in that quarter-final (VOD).
Full POV video of device vs. fnatic at Cph Games (map 1)
However, they once again ran into the brick wall of NiP in the semi-final and were sent packing by the Swedes for the third LAN in a row. This time they put up much better resistance though, even taking the first map into overtime (15-19, 11-16). device was again the main reason for their good play with another amazing first map performance (34:26, 1.39 rating, 8 entry kills, VOD).
Shortly after the Danish event, dignitas won another online title, Gfinity Pro League Season 1, which however didn't have any other top teams taking part except Kenny "kennyS" Schrub's Clan-Mystik who they beat in the final.
A few weeks later their roster was once again in turmoil, as cajunb suddenly left the team due to what he later described as his own "attitude problems". To replace him they picked up 17-year-old rising star Philip "aizy" Aistrup who proved himself at Copenhagen Games with 3DMAX.
dignitas added aizy in May
The new squad looked promising in their first online display, taking a map off of NiP and once again beating fnatic to finish 2nd in Fragbite's Mikz Challenge. Soon after they added another 2nd place online in a very competitive FACEIT Spring League, where Virtus.pro bested them in the final.
Unfortunately, they didn't get to build on their great form at the next big LAN event, DreamHack Summer, as one of their players had exams and they decided not to attend.
They did however finally beat NiP online at the end of June, 2-1 in the final of the SCAN Invitational, although without device who was unable to play that day.
In July we updated our World Ranking and dignitas then held the 4th spot heading into the next big event, Gfinity 3.
Despite that, with three months having passed since their Copenhagen Games success, dignitas were a question mark heading into the UK event with almost all of the top teams attending - especially due to it being their LAN debut with the new squad member aizy.
However, the dignitas that showed up was a scary one. They dominated their group while beating both Titan and Virtus.pro with 16-7 scorelines, and then blew NiP out of the water in the quarter-final 2-0 (16-4, 16-11).
But shockingly, after getting a 1-0 lead against Virtus.pro in the semi-final, they returned to their old ways and crumbled under the pressure, losing the next two maps 2-16 and 12-16 to once again end up 3rd-4th.
Gfinity 3 was a strange event for dignitas
device was one of the big underperformers in those two maps, which started prompting theories about dignitas' semi-final troubles being caused by their star players not playing up to par. To be fair he wasn't the star player in their run up to that anyway, but he still played very well and finished the tournament with a 1.13 rating – 3rd best in the team.
But while Gfinity 3 had most of the big names on the team list, the real summer test was ESL One Cologne two weeks later.
The duo of device and dupreeh once again propelled dignitas into the semi-final, despite their early 14-16 loss to Cloud9, as they took down Titan in the group decider 16-1 and then Epsilon in the quarter-final 2-0.
But once again they just couldn't make it past the next hurdle. Even though this time on the other side was the future dominant new lineup of fnatic and they put up a solid fight (11-16, 14-16), their stars once again didn't have the needed numbers in the big match.
device at ESL One Cologne
Aside from that, device did put up above average numbers in all of the other matches that led to his team's top4 placing and wound up as the top rated dignitas player (1.14).
Going back to the online tournaments, device continued rampaging in FACEIT Season 2, which he ended up topping by rating just like he did during the Spring edition. And even though it was online, it's worth pointing out his incredible performance against HellRaisers in a triple-overtime 31-28 win when he had a 64:38 score (VOD).
And while FACEIT Season 2 spanned from beginning of September til end of October, dignitas had another LAN event to attend in that period – the second DreamHack Stockholm Invitational of the year.
With 8 teams and a group stage format this time, the Danes found themselves in a group with fnatic, CPH Wolves and 3DMAX. At the start they edged out their compatriots Wolves 16-14 and lost to fnatic on overtime 16-19, but then a cold shower followed. In the group decider they lost to Finns 3DMAX 17-19 and for the first time failed to make the playoffs in 2014.
device was not to blame for that early exit as he put up superb numbers of 0.86 kills per round and 1.26 rating, good enough for third overall at the entire event.
device's AWP 4-kill highlight at DH Stockholm
FACEIT Season 2 Finals were next in Milan, Italy and dignitas performed even worse than in Stockholm, failing to reach the playoffs for the second time in a row. They lost the first three maps 3-16, 5-16 (to fnatic) and 3-16 (to iBUYPOWER). Although they still had a chance if they beat the North Americans convincingly in the last map, it was a too tall of an order and the eventual 16-13 victory brought them no joy.
device was this time on the other spectrum of the performance scale. He played sub-par in every map and thus ended up as the worst player of the entire event with a 0.60 rating.
Despite having only days to prepare for ESWC, dignitas strolled through the group stage with 5 wins, including 16-2 revenge against 3DMAX and a 16-14 win over iBP to top the group.
device was back in shape at this event, dominating in the group stage. But his not-exceptional-but-solid performance against Virtus.pro in the quarter-final wasn't enough as the Danes again bowed out of the tournament too early for their liking.
dignitas back with cajunb at ESWC
He ended up with his highest rating of the year, 1.30 (+55 K-D difference), which was good for 3rd best at the event behind two fnatic players. He also contributed (had at least a kill, assist or survived) in 72% of the rounds – his 2014 record – but it didn't pull the team through to another semi-final, so it doesn't trump his Cph Games performance.
Their next LAN event another week later, Fragbite Masters Season 3 Finals, featured only four teams and continued the double elimination bracket from the online stage – which saw dignitas start in the lower final against fnatic.
They didn't get any further than that, as they notched in another two map-losses against the high flying Swedes – making it 7 in a row since Cologne – thus finishing 4th.
device was disappointing in the series and he added his third sub-1.00 rating of the year at a LAN event (0.72).
The final trip of the year for them was the fourth major tournament, DreamHack Winter, as they opted not to attend ESEA S17 Finals after that despite qualifying.
Heading to Sweden after finally having some time between tournaments to practice with the new-old lineup, expectations were higher this time. To make things easier, their group saw Titan removed as Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian received his VAC-ban, so they ended up making light work of PENTA and iBUYPOWER to get the top seed heading into the playoffs.
But they just couldn't break their curse, this time faltering against Natus Vincere at the first playoff test (3-16, 13-16). device was the worst player in both maps of that series, adding to the big match misery and further strengthening the theory of their stars not showing up when most needed.
Third playoff run at the major ended earlier than the first two
He still ended up with above average performance for the event (1.03 rating) and the team still made it to the playoffs of a major, so the year was rounded up on a relatively positive note.
The new lineup's first test came around a week later, at the end of December in the MLG X-Games qualifier, and they passed with flying colors by defeating Titan, Virtus.pro and LDLC to secure a place at the first big event of 2015.
Why is he the 20th best player of 2014?
Nicolai "device" Reedtz was actually closer to not being on the list than to being higher on it, but in the end he did just enough throughout 2014 to get the 20th spot over some other big names.
As far as team achievements go, he has no LAN titles to boast with, only four semi-final runs: EMS One Katowice, Copenhagen Games, Gfinity 3 and ESL One Cologne.
His online play may have left a better overall impression than what he actually did on LAN, with several low points and the occasional underperforming in big matches, but he had high enough peaks and he contributed plenty in his team's numerous semi-final runs to deserve a place in the Top 20.
To be more precise, his rating in "big matches" (last 3 matches of a tournament) was 0.97, one of the worst among the 20 chosen ones. And that doesn't include the Na`Vi quarter-final at DH Winter or the lower bracket exits at DH Stockholm #1 and FB Masters Season 3.
His peaks were at Copenhagen Games, where he was one of the event's best players, and ESWC, where he had the third highest rating overall. He also performed well at the majors, always playing well in the group stage to push dignitas into the all-important playoffs - and on two occasions even a step further partly thanks to his great displays against HellRaisers and Epsilon.
In what was the team's best performance, at Gfinity 3, he wasn't the star but he still put on a good show especially in their first big LAN win, the 1/4 final against NiP.
Interesting to note is also that he had the second lowest T-side rating among the Top 20 (0.87), but inversely was one of the best players on the CT-side with 1.36. Considering the team ended up playing more T rounds than CT overall, it seems that's an area he needs to improve on.
device was one of the best CT side players in 2014
He was also one of the best players on de_inferno, with a 1.21 rating for the year in 14 played maps, and 9th best on de_dust2 (1.17 in 12 maps).
Finally, not many could match his direct contribution to round wins, as he scored at least one kill in 65% of them for dignitas, good for 6th among all players who played more than 5 big events. He also showed last year that he is a natural born fragger by also ranking 6th in overall rounds with 1+ kills (51%) and 9th in KPR (0.77).
What did you make of device's 2014 performance? Is he in your top 20, and at what place?