Jarosław "pasha" Jarząbkowski's superb play at the biggest events, including an MVP performance at the first major, granted him the 3rd place on our Top 20 players of 2014 ranking presented by Xtrfy. At one one point during 2014 he was perhaps even the best player in the world, and he remained the most influential player for Virtus.pro throughout the year.
Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski began playing CS in 2002 as 14-year-old but he didn't start getting recognition until 2009. Back then he played with Adam "RULON" Wiśniewski in a squad that was picked up by PGS, and they were considered the second best team in Poland after the original Golden Five.
PGS attended DreamHack Winter at the end of 2009 and even made it to the playoffs, but they lost to future champions MYM. pashaBiceps then went on to stand-in for the G5 squad at WEM 2009, replacing Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas.
Shortly after that he became a permanent member of the AGAiN squad, taking the place of Łukasz "LUq" Wnek at the start of 2010.
The first year in the squad didn't go so well, but in 2011 he had fully adapted and became an important member of the team that went on to win several trophies, including WCG. For his contribution that year he ended in the 18th place of our Top 20 of 2011.
When the switch to CS:GO came, the Polish squad didn't adapt as well as others and they struggled for a large part of 2013. Nevertheless, pashaBiceps was their star player and he played well enough to once again find himself on our Top 20 ranking, that time in the 19th place.
The first major of 2014, EMS One Katowice, was already announced before the year began, and pashaBiceps expressed his main desire for the upcoming year in a short interview with us for the Top 20 article:
"My dream is to qualify for Katowice and to play in the grand final on the big stage with cheering from our Polish fans." - pashaBiceps at the start of 2014
The 25-year-old Pole then did everything he could to fulfill that dream, starting the preparations for the tournament months ahead.
When EMS One Katowice rolled around, pashaBiceps started firing on all cylinders right from the beginning with a Man of the Match performance in an overtime win against HellRaisers (31:24, 1.29 rating, 6 entry kills, VOD).
He continued playing great in every single match, the win over Titan to top the group, then LDLC in the quarter-final and LGB in the semis. There against the Swedes they finally dropped a map, although at no fault of pashaBiceps's who put up 37:25 (POV).
Finally he had come to the big stage and fulfilled his dream, getting to play in front of thousands of Polish fans as Virtus.pro faced NiP.
pashaBiceps didn't waver before the challenge, but he instead put on a superb performance in the biggest match of his career – 47:25 score, 9 entry kills (1.49 rating, VOD). Even though he wasn't the highest rated or the top fragger of the final, he was the one making the most impact in the rounds they won, scoring 41 of his 47 kills in the 32 round wins. Furthermore, he had a kill or assist in 26 of those rounds.
pasha played flawlessly in Katowice and fulfilled his dream
He ended the tournament with the highest rating of all players (1.38) and was clearly the MVP of the year's first major, even more so when we consider that he was involved with a kill or assist in 79.1% of Virtus.pro's round wins throughout the tournament.
But with such a big difference in his play compared to before, it was expected that pashaBiceps won't be able to keep the level up in their next events.
However, he played just as well at Copenhagen Games, once again spearheading Virtus.pro's way to the final with great performances against the same opponents, LGB and LDLC.
He played great against NiP as well, but Virtus didn't manage to close it out after taking the first map, so they ended in 2nd place.
With 0.89 kills per round, he was for the second time in a row the best fragger of a tournament, which meant he should start being considered as one of the best players in the game along with the established greats.
At Copenhagen Games he ended up with a 1.31 rating, a close second to NiP's Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, while he once again contributed in an incredible 80.6% of Virtus' round wins with a kill or assist. He also had a stunning 0.20 entry kills per round overall, his year-high.
Amazing form during the first big tournaments of 2014
He had yet another great individual performance at SLTV StarSeries IX Finals, where he scored 0.85 kills per round, despite the team only recording two losses to Titan and NiP and ending up in 4th place.
At that moment there was no more in-form player in the world, but with two months before their next event, he wasn't able to keep the shape up.
They exited DreamHack Summer in the quarter-final following a loss to Na`Vi, and pashaBiceps ended up with a 0.94 rating and 0.65 kills per round.
But he was back in business at ESEA Season 16 Finals, where his great performances pushed Virtus.pro over NiP and Natus Vincere in the lower bracket.
pasha's POV from map 3 against NiP at ESEA S16 Finals
Even though he ended the ESEA S16 Finals as third in the team by rating (1.06), he was their best fragger (0.77 KPR) and he was the main reason they made it back to a podium place with the performances against NiP and Na`Vi. And once again he was the one making by far the most direct impact in the rounds Virtus.pro won.
After a summer break throughout July, Virtus.pro went to Gfinity 3 at the start of August and won their second title of the year.
It wasn't an easy road, as they seemed shaky from the start and had lost first maps against both London Conspiracy and dignitas in the playoffs.
And then they made a similar but more impressive comeback against dignitas, while he also played well as he did after in the final against Titan, although not being the star of those matches.
In the end he had a 1.15 rating, second to Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski, although he was again the one who contributed most often with a kill or assist in their round wins (78.3%) and the team's best fragger overall (0.82 KPR).
Virtus.pro after winning Gfinity 3
Virtus.pro were already second in the world according to our July world ranking, and the Gfinity 3 triumph only strengthened their position ahead of the upcoming major, ESL One Cologne.
But despite coming in as one of the favorites, they were stopped in the quarter-final by LDLC. pashaBiceps once again played great at a major, and was even the one who put up the best fight against the French in the playoffs, although he again ended up second to Snax with a 1.11 rating.
pasha's highlight in ESL One Cologne quarter-final vs. LDLC
The Poles decided to skip the next event, DreamHack Stockholm, so their next trip was to the Game Show League Finals at the start of October. However, pashaBiceps was unable to attend as he and his wife were expecting a baby at that time.
After welcoming the new member to the family, he went back to business and attended FACEIT Season 2 Finals at the end of the month.
But the team didn't fare much better with him, following up the third place finish from Game Show Finals with another 3rd-4th finish here, although only thanks to winning one map against Cloud9 in the group stage.
pashaBiceps was the hero of that map win against the North Americans (25:14, 1.77 rating, 5:0 entry score), but he didn't do so well in the clash with fnatic where he scored only 0.55 kills per round.
Nevertheless, he again ended up as the team's top fragger (0.73 kills per round), although he had a below average rating of 0.96 due to the high amount of deaths (0.81 per round).
It was a similar story at their next event, ESWC, where the Poles reached the semi-final, ran into the fnatic wall and lost. They did end up winning the third place decided against Natus Vincere though.
pashaBiceps was again one of the main reasons they made it to the podium, even though the Swedes continued being an Achilles heel for him.
Before putting in the poor performance against fnatic, he played very well in the group stage, and was the top rated player of the dignitas quarter-final. Against the Danes he put in a Man of the Match display on the first map (27:14, 1.80 rating, POV), and ended up as the top rated player of the series (68:52, 1.33 rating).
Ace vs. dignitas at ESWC
He wasn't as impactful against Na`Vi in the third place decider, but he still had an efficient performance – contributing with a kill or assist the most often – which saw him end up with a 1.14 tournament rating, second in the team.
Although this time he wasn't Virtus.pro's top fragger, he was again the one making the most impact in the rounds they won overall, scoring a kill or assist in 72% of them.
The low point of Virtus.pro's year was Fragbite Masters 3 Finals, which they had to attend without Snax and with Jacek "MINISE" Jeziak as a stand-in. Despite starting off with a first map win against LDLC, the Poles were stomped on the next two maps, as well as in the next series against fnatic.
pashaBiceps had his worst performance of the year there, like most of his teammates, ending up with a 0.74 rating.
It was not a good prelude to the last major of the year, DreamHack Winter, but the Poles had two weeks in between to prepare.
And it seemed that they used that time wisely, as they demolished their opponents myXMG and Na`Vi in the group stage of the $250,000 event.
pashaBiceps played very well in those two games even though he wasn't the star, and then he put in a Man of the Match performance against PENTA in the quarter-final, having a 43:21 score in the series (1.48 rating) and 29:10 on the first map (1.85 rating, POV).
But then they met the refreshed NiP lineup and lost the big match after three maps. pashaBiceps put up good resistance, playing well in both map losses and being one of the key players in the map the Poles won.
pasha always played great at the majors
Thanks to that he ended with a 1.23 rating in the third major, although trailing Snax once again. He did seem to play more carefully on this occasion compared to his usual aggressive style as he ended up having his lowest death count of the year (0.57 DPR), although his entry kill numbers didn't fall off (0.15 entry kills per round).
The last bigger evestnt of the year for Virtus.pro was ESEA Season 17 Global Finals, where they had a great chance to grab their third title. They defeated iBUYPOWER, Cloud9 and even fnatic to get to the grand final, but then couldn't resist the Swedes' second attempt and lost the last match 0-4.
pashaBiceps didn't have a great tournament overall, playing only average and ending up with a 0.93 rating, but he didn't fail to leave his mark during their first win over the Swedes. He was the Man of the Match of the first map of that upper bracket final with a 27:19 score (1.39 rating, POV), and he ended up top fragging in the series (49:41, 1.16 rating, 13 assists, 9 entry kills).
However, since he didn't perform so well in their other matches, he ended up only fourth in the team and he contributed in a below average 60.1% of rounds.
The Poles did attend another minor LAN, Acer A-Split Invitational, in late December and they came back with another title, while they also meanwhile signed a 2-year contract extension with the organization.
After the first few tournaments of the year Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski was perhaps the best player in the world and his performance at EMS One Katowice was the best individual display anyone had at a major.
Although he wasn't able to keep that level up throughout the year, he still played well enough to keep himself in high regard.
In addition to the MVP performance during the big Katowice triumph, he also performed great when the Poles won their second title at Gfinity 3, and he was by far their best player during the second place campaign at Copenhagen Games.
He also played very well at the other big tournaments he attended – the second and third major, as well as ESWC.
In fact, he was the second best rated player of the majors overall - or even first if we only consider players who attended all three – with a 1.24 rating. He also had the shared highest kill-death difference at the majors of +125 and was one of the best fraggers with 0.84 kills per round, mainly thanks to his brilliant performance in Katowice.
And if we look at only the six biggest and most competitive events of the year (the three majors, ESWC, Gfinity 3 and Copenhagen Games) pashaBiceps had a 1.22 rating in them.
However, he had a few bad performances at other events, namely DreamHack Summer, ESEA S17 Finals and Fragbite Masters 3 Finals which slightly brought him down the ranking.
One of the best fraggers in 2014
Also notably pashaBiceps was one of the best pure fraggers of the year, ranking 5th with 0.78 kills per round, and even 3rd in the list where kills with an assist aren't counted (0.61 non-assisted kills per round).
He was also one of the best entry killers with 0.14 first kills per round (ranks 5th), although he was more aggressive on the CT side (3rd with 0.18 first kills per round with 64% success rate).
In the end, barely anyone could match pashaBiceps's contribution in the biggest tournaments, while he was at one point around April even perhaps the best player in the world, so he was always destined for a very high spot on the list.
Some of his underperformances in the second half of the year made room for someone to overcome him in the ranking, but not many had such big peaks or consistency at the biggest events to do that.
Lastly, he was Virtus.pro's most influential player throughout 2014, and the most influential player among the very top teams in terms of direct impact on rounds won (at least a kill in 64.9% of Virtus.pro's round wins).
What is your take on Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski's performance in 2014? Is the 3rd place the right one for him?