Top 20 players of 2014: kioShiMa (19)
Number 19 on our Top 20 players of 2014 ranking by Xtrfy is current LDLC member Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey who also played for Clan-Mystik and Epsilon earlier in the year. He ended up with 8 podium finishes in 11 LAN tournaments, while putting in his best performances at the last two majors - ESL One Cologne and DreamHack Winter.
Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey comes from a CS 1.6 background in which he first appeared on the international radar at ESWC 2011. He was 17 at the time and his team of unknown players, 3DMAX, found themselves representing France against the world's best teams at one of the last big tournaments in the old game.
They didn't do well at all there, losing convincingly against the big names of SK, Moscow Five, DTS, but also to Israel's representatives eSrael. The French youngster had a few good rounds against the big names which hinted at his talent, but overall he didn't show anything memorable at his first international outing.
After that he slowly started climbing the ladder of the French team hierarchy. In early 2012 he played with relatively known players Fabien "atLaNtis" Deguiraud and Michel "mshz" Nguyen in e2g, and later ended up joining two of his country's legends - WCG champions Michael "HaRts" Zanatta and Jeremy "ioRek" Vuillermet - in Bizounours.
He attended his second big event with that squad in July, GameGune, but they failed to make a notable impact and ended up in 9th-12th place. Soon after that CS:GO came out and the team was nowhere to be seen anymore.
kioShiMa started his CS:GO path in some lesser known teams, In Your Head and iGamerz, and then finally in May 2013 was invited by HaRts to reform their squad under the Clan-Mystik banner, also involving Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian as a new addition.
They later added Dan "apEX" Madesclaire as well, but didn't make any waves internationally for a while, only winning local events in France. Then came ESWC at the very start of November and Clan-Mystik shocked the world by winning the whole thing ahead of VeryGames while kioShiMa put in an MVP performance together with KQLY.
They were unable to repeat that success at the first major, DreamHack Winter, where they dropped out in the group stage, but they did reach the grand final of the first Fragbite Masters season and lost to NiP to finish the year.
However, only weeks later a new LDLC team was formed, stealing apEX and KQLY in the process and leaving Clan-Mystik in shambles. kioShiMa even considered retirement at that point but they quickly added the two free agents Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Robin "GMX" Stahmer to complete the team.
Their first big test was the online qualifier for EMS One Katowice a few weeks later. Led by kennyS's strong play and seconded by kioShiMa, Clan-Mystik eventually made it past Danes 3DMAX in a three-map thriller to secure a slot at the Polish event.
At the game's second major, however, they didn't fare any better than at the first, exiting in the group stage with two losses against North Americans compLexity and a win over Natus Vincere.
EMS One Katowice was a forgettable tournament for kioShiMa
kioShiMa made little impact, only standing out as the top fragger of the group decider against coL in a 12-16 loss as he tried to spark their second half comeback (26:20). He finished the tournament as the second best rated in the team, but with a below average 0.97 rating as a result of his unconvincing play in the first two matches.
After Katowice Clan-Mystik found themselves on the tenth spot in our April world ranking, but instead of going to the next big event Copenhagen Games, they attended a local French one Gamers Assembly, and in absence of Titan and LDLC expectedly took first place.
Soon after that new changes followed, although again not on Clan-Mystik's terms. As the third best French team, they didn't have much choice in the matter when Titan decided to poach kennyS, but they did end up with Richard "shox" Papillon in exchange.
Their final move before the next big event, DreamHack Summer – which they were invited to, was leaving the Clan-Mystik organization and joining Epsilon.
Epsilon at DreamHack Summer
The new team's first result surpassed the expectations by a mile, as they made it all the way to the semi-final. However, their road wasn't the hardest – after finishing second in the group to NiP, Epsilon got Lemondogs in the quarter-final, who made it there without having to meet their group's favorite Na`Vi.
kioShiMa finally found some of his ESWC 2013 form and became the star of the team, playing great in both group stage wins over Publiclir and Berzerk, and then putting in a Man of the Match performance against Lemondogs in the quarter-final (47:31, 1.39 rating, a kill in 75% rounds won – 1st map POV).
In the semis the opponent they initially fortunately avoided was waiting, Natus Vincere, and the Frenchmen couldn't do much against the Ukrainians, losing 10-16 and 8-16.
They improved on that result at their next event, DreamHack Valencia, where they finished in second place. Despite the event featuring only a handful of top teams including themselves, Epsilon managed to beat fellow-semifinalists from DH Summer, HellRaisers for a spot in the final.
LDLC were too strong for them at the last step even though Epsilon took the first map, so kioShiMa remained on his one career title from the previous year.
Made it to his first final of 2014 at DH Valencia
He wasn't the team's star this time though as it was all about shox who spearheaded every win for the team and absolutetly dominated throughout the tournament.
Unlike at DH Summer kioShiMa was more of a support player now, having the most assists in the team but with below average rating of 0.97, only third in the team. He still contributed in a lot of rounds though, 67% - second most in Epsilon, so it wasn't really a poor performance by any means.
Only days after the grand final loss to LDLC, Epsilon deemed they need to bolster their roster with an AWPer in order to compete with the best. Therefore, they removed their latest addition mistou and added Joey "fxy0" Schlosser.
In our July world ranking Epsilon hung onto the 10th spot from the Clan-Mystik days, and headed into the next event Gfinity 3 expecting to make some noise with the strengthened roster.
And they did just that in the very first match by defeating NiP 16-14. However, that wasn't enough to make it to the playoffs as they then only got one more win over Infused and added three losses. Due to non-standard rules used at the tournament they ended up behind NiP based on overall round difference, so it was time to go back home early.
kioShiMa had a similar performance to the one at DH Valencia, although with his year-low 0.90 rating and only fourth in the team, but still contributing in second most rounds (69%).
Focus was on a high level for ESL One Cologne
Meanwhile before Gfinity 3, Epsilon made it through the online qualifiers for ESL One Cologne, once again by defeating Jacob "Pimp" Winneche's and Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's squad at the last step, CPH Wolves. Then after another couple of weeks of practice with the new roster, they headed to Germany for the next $250,000 event.
Placed in a group with NiP, HellRaisers and Wolf, Epsilon were given solid chances to go through as they had beaten each of the two big names at their previous events. But this time they didn't just beat them, they destroyed both HellRaisers (16-1) and NiP (16-6) to advance to playoffs with a statement.
kioShiMa's full POV against NiP at ESL One Cologne
He continued playing great in the first map of the quarter-final against dignitas, but the team was outplayed by a margin (9-16, 8-16) so they ended their campaign in 5th-8th place.
Nevertheless kioShiMa proved himself as a player to be reckoned with and ended up with the 2nd highest rating of the entire tournament – a major no less – of 1.33.
He wasn't only the top fragger, but also the top assister in Epsilon, and his contribution to their playoff run is best described by the following stat: Epsilon only won 1 round when he didn't contribute in some way. That means he contributed with a kill, assist or by surviving in 98% of his team's round wins (48 out of 49).
But despite their best showing yet, this was the last tournament for this Epsilon lineup. The big French shuffle was looming ahead as the changes were once again instigated by Titan. The end result saw LDLC signing a new team which this time kioShiMa was invited to be a part of along with shox, so the duo said goodbye to their Epsilon teammates.
The new team looked solid online right away despite some shaky losses to none other than Epsilon, and by the time they got to their LAN debut at DreamHack Stockholm they were ready to make a splash.
New LDLC roster was formed in September
kioShiMa set a good tone in the first match, top fragging against Titan with 27:19 in a 16-12 win (VOD). They then destroyed NiP 16-3 to top the group and made it past surprising semi-finalists 3DMAX without too many problems.
But in the final, Titan were back for another round and in a very often paused and delayed match, LDLC lost 4-16, 15-19 to finish 2nd.
kioShiMa never shined much after the opener and ended up with a 0.99 rating, but was still the team's most consistent contributor (67% of rounds).
The next time out, in mid-October at SLTV StarSeries XI Finals, the team fared much better and won their first title – and kioShiMa's first of the year – by defeating Na`Vi twice and getting revenge against Titan.
Our protagonist kioShiMa made a lot more direct impact this time, ending up as the highest rated player of the tournament (1.20).
Since all of LDLC members stepped up at some point and excelled it's hard to pick a clear MVP of the tournament, but kioShiMa made a pretty good case for it with a great performance against Titan in the upper final (45:18, 1.69 rating, 2nd map POV) and with the highest rating in his team for the grand final (1.09).
However, he couldn't yet find a formula for keeping up the high level performances as on the next occasion, FACEIT League Season 2 Finals, he had his worst fragging display of the year with only 0.62 kills per round.
While he did well enough in the group stage where they bested Cloud9 and Virtus.pro two times, he was definitely missed in the semi-final against iBUYPOWER which they lost and failed to reach the final of an event for the first, and to date only, time.
Nevertheless he still contributed in a team-high 68% of rounds, and also managed to get his only ace of the year at this event:
A week later it was time for the event at which he gained his reputation the year before, ESWC in his home country. After making it through the group ahead of Virtus.pro and Cloud9, and then again Titan and Natus Vincere, LDLC looked destined to win the event in front of their home fans.
However, instead they began a one-sided rivalry with fnatic who beat them on stage in the grand final 10-16, 11-16.
After a non-exceptional performance in the group stage, kioShiMa was great in the series against Titan and Natus Vincere, looking like the guy that won ESWC the year before, but then he just didn't seem to show up in the big match against fnatic.
Similar story took place at Fragbite Season 3 Finals where LDLC beat Virtus.pro to get to the final only to see fnatic again pull the rug underneath them and win the tournament from lower bracket with a 3-1 score.
The whole team played great in the two dominant map wins over the Poles, but kioShiMa then looked to be crumbling again in the final against the Swedes, putting up only 19 kills total in the first two maps.
However, he then woke up and helped LDLC win map three on overtime. He also put up great resistance on the last map with 29:17 (1.59 rating, POV), but it wasn't enough for the team to win.
With one title and three second places in the books LDLC went into the last major of the year, DreamHack Winter, as one of the favorites.
kioShiMa at DreamHack Winter
The refreshed NiP lineup with Mikail "Maikelele" Bill awaited in the group stage, but the Frenchmen managed to overcome that first big challenge 16-13 and top their group.
kioShiMa then gave his biggest contribution to LDLC to date, by putting in a Man of the Match performance in the semi-final against Natus Vincere (49:33, 1.29 rating, VOD) as the best rated in both maps, and even more so by top fragging on the third map of the grand final against NiP that they won on overtime (28:24, 6 assists, 8 entry kills, CT side POV, VOD).
kioShiMa in the decisive rounds of the 3rd map of the DH Winter grand final
While his teammate Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer was the team's MVP of the tournament, kioShiMa was certainly a close 2nd thanks to his play in the playoffs. He also continued contributing consistently, having a kill, assist or surviving in 68% of the rounds.
In December, kioShiMa also traveled to Serbia to play for the French national team, and he came back with another trophy as they defeated Poland in the final.
To close out the year, LDLC managed to qualify for MLG X-Games in Aspen, the first big event of 2015, although not without troubles. Dignitas got the best of them in the final of the first qualifier, so they had to do it from the second try when they defeated Poles ESC and snatched the second and last European spot.
Why is he the 19th best player of 2014?
Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey never put up big 30+ scores against top teams or dominated as his teams won titles, but he was one of the most consistent contributors in 2014.
Even in the Epsilon days he managed to stand out and grab some silverware in form of the 3rd-4th place at DH Summer and 2nd at DH Valencia, but the real success only came when he moved to LDLC whom with he grabbed two titles, including a major one at DH Winter, three second place finishes and another 3rd-4th place from FACEIT S2 Finals. In total that makes 8 podium finishes in 11 tournaments for the 20-year-old.
Individually he shined brightest in one of the other three occasions – Epsilon's playoff run at ESL One Cologne, where he put up superb numbers and dominated the key match against NiP in the group stage. Coupled with his great play during the DH Winter title run, and the group stage exit in Katowice, he earned a more than respectable 1.12 rating at the majors.
His best map was Overpass, on which he had the 7th highest rating of all players (1.15) and he also stood out with his favorite weapon, AK47, which he ranks 8th with in terms of kills per round (0.29).
Most importantly though while he wasn't a star fragger, he was one of the players who contributed most consistently for their teams, ranking 8th in rounds with kill, assist or survival (67.6%).
He also never had big dips in form throughout the year, whereas his peaks always resulted in good things for his team, such as the MVP-worthy performance at SLTV StarSeries XI Finals, DH Summer star play, the aforementioned Cologne dominant performance, and the great playoff displays at ESWC and DH Winter.
What is your take on Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey's 2014 performance? Is the 19th place right for him?