Top 20 players of 2015: Skadoodle (20)
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham breaks into our top 20 ranking for the first time in his career thanks to his consistency—one of the best in the world—when facing the best teams at big events, and to being a crucial part of Cloud9’s success during the summer, aweing many with his world class AWPing.
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham started his career playing A.V.A. (Alliance of Valiant Arms), a game in which he became world champion by winning ieSF 2010 in Daegu, South Korea, as well as earning two national championships in 2010-2011.
While Skadoodle had played CS 1.6 and CS:Source at a young age for fun, it was in 2012 when he switched over to CS:GO and got picked up by Curse, attending Dreamhack Winter that same year and kick starting his career. He played in Curse with Todd "anger" Williams, and would later be joined by Eric "adreN" Hoag and Keven "AZK" Lariviere, as well as by Sam "DaZeD" Marine. This team went on to become the first of several lineups of the ill-fated iBUYPOWER.
During his time in iBUYPOWER, Skadoodle became a big part of the team’s success, shining at tournaments like ESEA Seasons 15 and 16 finals and FACEIT League Season 2 finals, but also of the team’s struggles, never being able to make it past the group stages at the four major events they attended
Skadoodle’s year started out with a lot of uncertainty, as all of four his teammates were caught in a match fixing scandal and received, on January 26th, indefinite bans by Valve from all of their sponsored events. These bans were also honored in most other competitions, like ESEA and CEVO, forcing the disbandment of the team and leaving Skadoodle out in the dark.
Not long before the bans were handed out Spencer "Hiko" Martin had left Cloud9 due to internal disputes and was looking for a new home, flirting with iBP before the bans came into effect. Eventually, Hiko and Skadoodle teamed up and tried to create a new North American super-team, but time passed and nothing materialized.
Skadoodle and Hiko stood-in for different teams—most notably taking eLevate to a second place finish at CEVO Season 6 finals—as both players had decided to put their new team project on hold. During this lull, however, the dream of a new team died as Skadoodle signed by Cloud9 on April 29th, in what team manager Tres "Stunna" Saranthus called a "revitalization" process.
Skadoodle’s debut in C9 was rocky, with two back-to-back 7th-8th position finishes at Gfinity Spring Masters 2 and Gfinity Summer Masters. Excluding the Dreamhack Open Cluj-Napoca major, Gfinity Spring Masters 2 (his first tournament), was his worst, and the only one in which he scored a rating of less than 1.00 (0.94).
After the spring showers came the summer, and Cloud9 rode a wave starting in Cologne at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 finals where they played—and lost—their first of three finals. This run saw Skadoodle possibly be able to become an equal to the Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács's and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub’s of the game, putting in solid performances and great numbers.
Skadoodle’s rating in Cologne was the highest of his team and the tournament with 1.15. More impressively, though, was the fact that he was the highest impact sniper with 128 AWP kills, only 10 kills short of doubling the 69 JW got as the second player with the most AWP frags.
The second tournament of the trifecta was ESWC in Montreal, Canada. This time, it wasn't Skadoodle carrying, but his 1.15 rating was still the second best in the team, and crucial for the team’s success.
Arguably Skadoodle's best performance of the year occurred at ESWC as C9 faced EnVyUs in the semi final. Skadoodle posted a monster 28-12 (1.83) helping secure the first of two maps on their way to the final.
Skadoodle's POV vs. EnVyUs in the first map of the semi-final at ESWC
The third time was not a charm for Cloud9, and even though they were able to get revenge on fnatic in the semi final, they ended up losing to TSM in the grand final. Individually it was another great tournament for Skadoodle, who posted an impressive team-leading 1.29 rating.
One of Skadoodle's best maps of the year was played in Valencia when Cloud9 faced Kinguin on de_dust2, his personal tally showing 25-7 and a 2.13 rating (POV video), further cementing his status as one of the heavy hitters with the glass cannon.
The last celebration of the year (on a main stage)
After spring showers and a warm summer came the fall, and everything that had gone up came crashing down. Amidst this debacle, however, Skadoodle managed to keep himself in the green with the best ratings in his team throughout the rest of the year, with one major exception.
The next tournament to be played was CEVO Season 7 finals, an event many thought would be a golden chance for Cloud9 to finally be crowned champions, and on home turf, too. However, the story went differently when they fell to Virtus.pro after an already poor display in the groups. Skadoodle, however, managed to have a positive rating in every map with the exception of one.
After the disappointment in Columbus, it was time to move on to bigger things and hope CEVO had just been a hiccup. ESL One Cologne was going to be the first big test for a roster that had garnered certain attention from a modicum of success. However, after only three maps, C9 were on their way home, and Skadoodle’s team-leading rating of 1.01 (+5 kills) painted a bleak picture.
ESL ESEA Dubai was the next event on the calendar with a succulent $250,000 prize pool. This time, however, the team was out after just two maps. In his books, Skadoodle netted a +3 and a 1.07 rating.
The biggest disappointment, however, was still to come for Skadoodle, as Dreamhack Open Cluj-Napoca would become the tournament in which he would garner his lowest rating of the year, and it would become the only tournament where his rating wouldn’t be the best or second best in the team. In fact, he ended up with a rating of 0.84 (-12) over four maps, the team’s lowest.
After this losing streak, Cloud9 travelled down to Santa Ana in Southern California to play two smaller LANs (not counted toward this list), the iBUYPOWER Cup 2015 and the RGN Pro Series Championship—the latter with Braxton "swag" Pierce standing-in for the now retired ex-IGL Sean "seang@res" Gares—, of which they won both. Skadoodle scored 1.19 and 1.22 ratings, going especially hard at RGN with a stunning +76 kills.
It was time to get back to business, though. This time it went down at the Shark Tank in San Jose, just a few hours North. IEM San Jose ended up being a pie in the face, and C9 were out again after losing their first and only match to TSM. Skadoodle, again, was able to top his team with a 1.08 rating.
The last heartbreak
Why is he the 20th best player of 2015?
Skadoodle is barely scraping on to the last position of this year’s top 20 list, but he has managed to make it despite having several obstacles on the way.
Looking at the stats without context, Skadoodle should certainly be up higher, as he has rarely had a bad game (80% of maps above a 0.85 rating), of which 62% had a rating above 1.00, ranking him 7th overall.
On top of consistency is the weight he carried within his team, having an AWP kill in 39% of C9’s won rounds, and the most AWP kills per round of 2015. It is also worthwhile mentioning that out of the 60 maps Skadoodle played, 40 were played against teams from “the big 6” of 2015 (NiP, VP, TSM, Na`Vi, nV, and fnatic).
The average difficulty of the events he attended is amongst the highest of all players in the top 20, and his rating of 1.10 would even put him in the top 10. However, Skadoodle has only been to 10 events that counted toward this list, which is lower than the average and leaves him somewhat untested. Also, he only made the playoffs at 4 of those events, winning none, and therefore was not able to play against the best as often as most of the other players in this consideration.
Another reason for Skadoodle not being up higher on the list was his poor performance in Cluj-Napoca, where he had his worst tournament of the year by far, marking the sixth out of six times missing the playoffs at a major. (The only major did not attend is ESL One Katowice 2015).
In all, Skadoodle has had a great year individually, putting up numbers that in a better situation could have placed him much higher in the rankings. Skadoodle has shown he has what it takes to be a top tier AWPer, but will need to play more big tournaments to consolidate himself, and hope his teammates can go back to the form found during those three intense but short lived events during the summer.
We also made a list of Skadoodle's records in 2015, both overall in tournaments and in single maps.
What did you make of Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham's performance in 2015? Does he deserve the 20th spot in your opinion?
Stay tuned to our Top 20 players of 2015 ranking powered by EGB.com and keep track of the list over at the Introduction article.