Number 19 on our list of top 20 players of 2015 is another star AWPer, Aleksi "allu" Jalli, whose stability and success rate in opening kills during his time in NiP earned him a place among the world's elite group of players.
Aleksi "allu" Jalli started his professional career in 2010-2011 at the age of 17 back in Counter-Strike 1.6 when he first represented Finnish munkka alongside Miikka "dRiim" Toroi. He had short attempts with Playzone and Online Kingdom during the last two years of the game's life, but it was WinFakt—featuring Tomi "lurppis" Kovanen—who became his last stable team in the previous version.
After switching over to CS:GO his new WinFakt team became Curse in late 2012, which was the Finn's first team to have found international success with a second place at THOR Open 2012. He later on moved on to ENCE eSports before finding his way to his first non-Finnish lineup, mousesports, where he stayed during the latter half of 2014.
While he didn't find much success with the international roster, he made a name for himself there, as he was the team's best player by far, and established himself as the best from Finland at the time.
At the beginning of 2015 allu came back to Joona "natu" Leppänen in 3DMAX, and started the year on a high note at ASUS ROG Winter 2015, as he nearly single-handedly sent Titan to the elimination match of group B with a monstrous 31-17 score on a narrow de_mirage (1.59 rating, full POV). He also recorded three of his personal highs at the same tournament, most first kills per round (0.16), most round win shares in team (28%), and most first kills (tied at 8).
The Finn then helped 3DMAX qualify for ESL One Katowice 2015 at the first ever major offline qualifier, before getting picked up by NiP mere weeks before that particular major.
Interestingly enough, his LAN debut with the Swedes was quite rocky despite the end result: up until the grand final he finished six of the seven maps with a sub-0.9 rating, with the exception of map one of the TSM quarter-final. In the grand final itself the tides turned: on the one hand he was NiP's best player rating-wise, but on the other it wasn't enough to push his team over the top in the series worthy of 85 rounds.
allu was NiP's best player in the Katowice grand final
ESL One Katowice set off a streak of three runner-up finishes for the Swedish-Finnish roster, as NiP kept meeting EnVyUs time after time at the next two tournaments, Gfinity Spring Masters 1 and SLTV StarSeries XII Finals. Both allu and his team struggled to put a dent in EnVyUs' armor at the time despite marching through Virtus.pro, TSM and Titan on their way to three consecutive grand finals, as they lost nine out of ten maps in their four encounters with Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer's squad.
While the Gfinity event in London was his worst statistically, a good performance on the AWPer's part in Ukraine—in matches other than against EnVyUs, where pretty much everyone from the team struggled—made up for it, and rewarded him with another piece of silverware.
At allu's fourth LAN event wearing NiP's jersey, CCS Kick-off Season Finals in Bucharest, he played a pivotal part in finally overcoming the Frenchmen in a crazy series, which included a quadruple-overtime de_dust2 and two double-digit maps.
The first signs of NiP's decline came at Gfinity Spring Masters 2, where the team finished outside of the top three for the first time that year, mostly due to an unexpected tie with Vox Eminor and a loss in a rare Na`Vi rendezvous. Coincidentally, it was also one of the four events where allu had a sub-1.0 rating overall, although he was his average self in the two encounters mentioned above.
One of his best events came right afterwards, where a trend of his highs not correlating with NiP's run started. DreamHack Open Summer was where the sniper contributed in most rounds (68.4%), as well as round wins (92.3%), and had a great showing in two of NiP's three losses at the tournament: against Na`Vi in the group stage on de_cbble, and on de_train in their semi-final against fnatic.
After yet another second place added to an already silver-filled trophy cabinet from Gfinity Summer Masters 1, NiP went into a downward spiral in terms of results, with allu keeping his rating higher than ever in spite of that.
ESWC 2015 was NiP's first of three shared fifth placings in a row, but at the same time it was the Finn's best-rated event by far (1.29). Apart from that, his level of performance on map one against FlipSid3 in the quarter-finals earned him four personal map highs: Highest rating (2.29), most kills per round (1.41), most AWP kills per round (0.88) and most rounds with multi-kills (47.1%).
On the other hand, despite his beastly form on map one, he dropped down to arguably his worst map this year in the exact same series, interestingly enough, as he recorded a mere 0.44 rating in a 28-round de_overpass decider.
allu's POV from map one, de_inferno, against FlipSid3 in the ESWC quarter-finals
After travelling back across the pond the trend continued as NiP collected another unsatisfying 5th-6th place at FACEIT Stage 2 Finals at DreamHack Valencia, while allu topped the charts. That time he even bested Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund in one of the rare occasions where the Finn was the best rated player within his team at an event.
That fact held true for the second major of the year, ESL One Cologne 2015. A big part of his statistics there was a 27-7 score on de_inferno against Renegades in the group stage (full POV), which pushed NiP into playoffs. He also had a great showing on map one, de_train, in the quarter-final battle opposing Virtus.pro. There he was the best player on the server, but—once again—NiP ended up losing that map and the series in the end to finish 5th-8th, despite his efforts. One of his actions in the quarter-final earned quite the reaction from Auguste "Semmler" Massonat, Jason "moses" O'Toole and Anders Blume, which we managed to capture on camera.
When he came back to his pre-ESWC form for ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational and Gfinity Champion of Champions, the whole team returned to being a solid contender among the top five teams.
The Finn stood on several podiums in 2015, but never reached the highest step
By that time DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca was around the corner, and NiP used up a month to prepare for the third and last major of the year. After being placed in the group of death, allu looked somewhat shaky, as did most of the team with the exception of Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg.
After a couple of so-so maps, against Titan and Liquid, allu was back to his old stable self, and helped NiP advance to play-offs in the decider against Titan and in the surprising beating of TSM in the quarter-finals. He even scored a 1.10 rating in a 3-16 loss on de_train in the semi-final, mostly thanks to winning the three rounds almost single-handedly, but the entire team wasn't nearly up to par with Na`Vi's force, which saw them exit the competition in 3rd-4th place.
FACEIT Stage 3 Finals was another instance of the Finn being the best rated player of NiP in spite of the end result. After sending EnVyUs down to the lower bracket to get smashed in Luminosity's first pages of the ill-fated Cinderella story, NiP fell to fnatic in a convincing manner to earn a few pages in the same book themselves. allu definitely deserved a page or two there, as he was the only one from NiP to score a rating above 1.00, and a 1.17 one at that, in their last best-of-three at the last stage of FACEIT's 2015 race.
Not only was Fragbite Masters Season 5 Finals his last LAN tournament in 2015, it was his last with NiP, as we learned only days after the tournament. It was also his best and most stable performance at a LAN event overall, as he only had a single sub-1.00 rating out of eight maps, six of which were against the best team of the last month, fnatic, and recorded an average of 1.15; the highest within NiP, shared with GeT_RiGhT. In terms of results and individual form, he ended the year on a high note, despite not winning a single title throughout 2015.
Why is he the 19th best player of 2015?
allu made it into this year's top 20 for the first time by the skin of his teeth. One of the main reasons why he stood out from the crowd is his success rate in opening kills, especially on the side of Counter-Terrorists.
During 2015 he netted a +135 K-D difference in first kills (3rd highest overall), a big share of which was on the Counter-Terrorist side. There he had the best success rate in the world (69.7%).
Something that also proves his effectiveness on the CT side is his ratio of round wins after opening kill versus round losses after opening death (2.62, 2nd highest), as per the table below. All of the above combined makes him the most effective player at opening rounds on the CT side in the world.
One of the biggest reasons why he isn't higher on the list is the fact that his best events individually rarely met with a good result from the team, namely at ESWC, DreamHack Open Summer, ESL One Cologne and FACEIT Stage 2 Finals.
While there's nothing to point to that would explain such a correlation, it's hard to ignore one exists: whenever he was at his highest, the team underperformed. At a number of occasions, namely at ESL One Katowice—barring the grand final—, Gfinity Spring Masters 1, and Gfinity Summer Masters 1, he had a performance quite significantly below his average, but NiP finished in second place in each of them.
What didn't have any effect on the ranking, but is noteworthy, is the lower effect he has had on the Terrorist side; while he scored an average of 0.80 kills per round on the CT side, his T side lags behind at only 0.60, which is the biggest difference out of anyone in the top 20 list.
What is your opinion on allu's level of play in 2015? Where would you have rated him? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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.