Top 20 players of 2014: f0rest (7)
Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg is #7 on our Top 20 players of 2014 ranking presented by Xtrfy. Throughout the year he was always one of the main reasons for NiP's success and he had MVP-worthy performances at DreamHack Summer and DreamHack Winter.
Now practically a 10-year veteran at the very top level of Counter-Strike, Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg made his name in CS 1.6 back at WEG Season 2 in 2005. He has been one of the world's best players every year since, including 2013 - the first full year of CS:GO - when he was named 2nd on our Top 20 players ranking.
We described some of his history on that occasion, as well as his performance at Copenhagen Games 2013 which still stands as the best individual tournament effort in CS:GO history.
While his Ninjas in Pyjamas dominated the first half of 2013, they were brought down to earth in the second half by VeryGames, and at the very end by fnatic who snatched the DreamHack Winter trophy right in front of their noses.
Going into 2014 NiP weren't considered the number one team in the world, and that notion was only strengthened when they came second to Titan in their first event of the year, DH Stockholm.
f0rest was also no longer considered the second best player in the world as Richard "shox" Papillon was dominating in the French team, and that also didn't change after DreamHack Stockholm even though the Swede played well.
f0rest was the second best fragger in the team at that event, he contributed in the most rounds for NiP (71.4%) and had actually put up a good fight against Titan, but none of that was enough for them to win.
The Ninjas then went into the first $250,000 event of the year, EMS One Katowice, looking for redemption and a way back to the very top.
They looked impressive at the start, making light work of 3DMAX and LDLC clashes in the group stage. They lost the first map against compLexity in the quarter-final, but then moved past them as well.
But then the team crumbled in the final against Virtus.pro and the Ninjas saw another big title slip away.
Virtus.pro were too strong for NiP in the Katowice final
f0rest ended up with a 1.16 rating, second in the team, and was one of the most important factors on their road to another major final. He was particularly good in the entry killing department, having a 31:16 score in first duels (0.15 per round with a 66% success rate).
But even the 2nd place finish in Katowice was enough to propel NiP back to the #1 spot in our April world ranking as their main rivals Titan fell in the group stage.
The Ninjas justified this placing at their next event, Copenhagen Games, where they snatched their first title of 2014 and got revenge against the Poles in the grand final.
f0rest was looking like an MVP candidate as they went through the playoffs, with great performances against ENCE, Reason and dignitas. He went into the final as NiP's top rated player, but he then inexplicably disappeared in the big match and scored a kill in only 28 of 79 rounds.
Nevertheless, the team still managed to mount a comeback after a first map loss, while he fell to being the third highest rated in the team at the end of the tournament (1.15).
f0rest's 1vs4 clutch against dignitas at Cph Games
At their next event, SLTV StarSeries IX Finals, NiP were unable to get another title as Natus Vincere showed up in better form.
It also didn't help that f0rest was very ineffective against the Ukrainians, both in the upper semi-final and in the grand final, and he ended up with a below average rating for the first time in his CS:GO career (0.95).
It wasn't all that bad though, as he did manage to contribute a lot in their battle through the lower bracket against Virtus.pro and Titan, including a Man of the Match performance against the French rivals on map two (27:14, 1.55 rating, POV).
On the next occasion the Swedes once again made it to the big stage match at DreamHack Summer, although not before jumping over some tough obstacles in the playoffs in form of three-map series against Titan and HellRaisers.
Showed great form at DH Summer
However, it was the quarter-final against Titan where he shined the brightest, playing at the top of his game and putting up Man of the Match performances in both map wins – Nuke (32:18, 1.72 rating, 5 entry kills, POV) and Dust2 (25:18, 1.39 rating, 6 entry kills, POV). He ended up getting a kill in 78% of NiP's round wins in that series, clearly being the main reason they bested their longtime rivals.
He then had a solid series against HellRaisers, without as much direct impact, except on the third map where he ended up topping the scoreboard with 26:17 (1.29 rating, POV).
And finally this time he provided the needed contribution in the grand final against Na`Vi as well, especially with the performance on the second map Train that went into overtime (34:24, 1.40 rating, 6:0 entry score, VOD).
After three tournaments in which he helped NiP get to the final and then disappeared, he finally provided the complete package at DreamHack Summer and earned himself the MVP claim for the second year in a row.
f0rest MVP of DreamHack Summer 2014
After five finals in as many tournaments, NiP eventually had to stumble and that happened at ESEA Season 16 Finals where they lost to both compLexity and Virtus.pro and ended up 5th-6th out of eight teams.
It wasn't due to f0rest's performance though, as he played well in every series and ended up with the team's highest 1.15 rating.
Despite that poor placing, Ninjas in Pyjamas still claimed the number one spot in our July world ranking.
However, as the next event, Gfinity 3, rolled around at the start of August, NiP failed to break into the top four for the second time in a row. They displayed very shaky results from the start, barely making out of the group stage only to be easily disposed of by their previously regular customers dignitas in the quarter-final.
f0rest recorded a below average rating for the second time in his career (0.97), although it wasn't due to any notable underperformances. He did fail to make an impact as NiP lost to Epsilon and iBUYPOWER in the group stage, but otherwise he did well and even put up the most resistance against the Danes in the playoffs, so the average rating was just about the right representation of his contribution.
While those last two events were quite a bad sign for NiP, they still went into the next major – ESL One Cologne – as the favorites.
The unconvincing play continued and they lost to Epsilon in the group stage, but nevertheless the Ninjas powered through to the playoffs with a win over HR. They kept powering through with 16-14 map-three wins over Cloud9 and LDLC all the way to the final, and there they finally won their first major ever with yet another close 16-13 map-three win over fnatic.
f0rest wasn't spectacular in Cologne, but his contribution was crucial
During this heroic achievement NiP didn't rely on f0rest to produce big numbers, as he was relatively quiet throughout the tournament and he ended up with an average 1.01 rating overall.
However, he did contribute on several important occasions, such as the third map vs. Cloud9 in the quarter-final (25:23, 1.08 rating, 6 entry kills, T-side POV) and more importantly – the grand final.
He ended up with second best 1.10 rating in the series against fnatic and contributed in an incredible 83% of round wins with a kill or assist. Even though he finished the third map with a 21:21 score, he had an amazing second half CT-side that led NiP to come back from a 6-9 deficit and clinch the title (18:6, 1.95 rating).
f0rest's CT-side POV on map three of the ESL One Cologne grand final
But NiP's troubles didn't disappear after this big triumph. Instead at their next event, DreamHack Stockholm #2, they even failed to make it through the group stage.
Paired up with LDLC, Titan and ALTERNATE, the Ninjas lost to both of the refreshed French squads and for the first time in the team's history didn't make it into the playoffs.
They fell even further down at ESWC, where they were once again stopped in the group stage only this time with three losses – against HellRaisers, Titan and a last-minute tournament addition French side Platinium.
During this turbulent period f0rest was not underperforming, as actually he and his superstar colleague Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund were the only ones putting up above average numbers in the team.
f0rest's 4K with P250 at ESWC
In the meantime NiP also missed out on FACEIT Season 2 Finals and Fragbite Masters 3 Finals due to losses online, so something was obviously not working anymore.
So before the next major rolled around and for the first time in the team's history, the Ninjas made a roster move. It came in form of Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson's retirement, while to replace the longstanding member they picked Mikail "Maikelele" Bill who had been a free agent for a while.
DreamHack Winter came only a few weeks later, and the Ninjas started off great while f0rest put in one of his best performances of the year in the opening win over Planetkey (26:9, 4 assists, 7 entry kills, POV).
He wasn't that good in the next match though, as they lost to LDLC in the battle for their group's first place when he had a disappointing 15:27 performance with 10 entry deaths.
But they made it to the playoffs with a close 16-13 win over ESC, and then f0rest had one of his most amazing performances of the year.
He ended up with a 51:22 score in the quarter-final series against HellRaisers (1.76 rating), while contributing with a kill or assist in 27 of the 32 rounds NiP won. The second map performance was particularly flashy as he completely shut down the Ukrainians by posting a 30:11 score (2.18 rating).
f0rest's 2nd map POV vs. HellRaisers at DH Winter
Although he didn't repeat that in the semi-final against Virtus.pro, he still made decent impact especially on the first map which ended in double overtime – 39:31 (1.24 rating).
NiP had thus made it to their fourth major final in a row, but instead of their second triumph they saw a 15-13 advantage on the third map slip away and they ended up with their third disappointment.
f0rest was decent in the big match, with a number of important rounds for a 1.04 rating in the series. He even contributed the most in NiP's round wins, but on the other hand he had an 8:20 entry duel score, which definitely helped their opponents more than his team.
Nevertheless, his overall tournament performance was a big positive and he was even selected for the fan MVP award on our site. He ended up with team's best 1.15 rating and contributed with a kill in 72% of the rounds NiP won, clearly the team's star at the event.
Why is he the 7th best player of 2014?
Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg was one of the main reasons NiP made it to almost every final in the first half of the year and to every final of the three majors. Even though he had less impact in some other tournaments, he was always contributing in some way.
The MVP performance at DreamHack Summer was the highlight of f0rest's year, while he also played great at EMS One Katowice and DH Winter where NiP ended in 2nd place.
He was less influential during their biggest title run at ESL One Cologne, but he also made impact there especially on the last map of the tournament. Inversely, during Copenhagen Games where the Swedes won their first title, he contributed a lot to getting to the final but then disappeared in the big match.
That was somewhat of a reoccurrence for him as it happened on several occasions in grand finals, but he also had a number of good performances so he ended up with an average 1.02 rating in big matches. Though in the end there were three NiP players who performed better than him in those semi-finals and finals.
An important aspect he stood out in throughout the year was his play on the Terrorist side, where he had a 1.01 rating, ranking 3rd of all players.
In the end his MVP-worthy performances at DH Summer and DH Winter, as well as direct impact in NiP's other title and grand final runs, pushed him up to 7th place, but he couldn't go any further as he wasn't the team's star overall and he even ended up NiP's fourth ranked player in big matches.
His play on Nuke, however, was exemplary as he had a 1.21 rating over the 13 occasions he played the map ranking 4th overall.
What is your take on Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg's performance in 2014? Is the 7th place the right one for him?