Dan "apEX" Madesclaire makes our top 20 ranking for the second year in a row. As number 18 on the list, Madesclaire boasts a strong T side and is a big impact player when on point, although he missed out on ranking higher due to his volatile play, which occurs not only between events, but even map-to-map.
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire has been playing with a lot of the players at the top of French CS for years, including playing in a CS:Source lineup for 3DMAX as an 18 year old with Richard "shox" Papillon, Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, and current teammate Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer which managed to finish 3rd at Copenhagen Games in 2011.
After a bumpy stint in VeryGames, CS:GO came out and apEX joined Happy and player turned analyst Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez under the eXtensive banner, a team that would go on to become LDLC and eventually also include Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
Clan-Mystik now vanished, apEX got reunited with Maniac and Happy in LDLC, but this time joined by the infamous Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian—a player who would go on to crush apEX’s dream of playing the Dreamhack Winter 2014 major with their next team, Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans’s Titan. Despite this setback, however, apEX still managed to make last year’s top 20 ranking in 15th place.
This year started off well for apEX with two solid performances at ASUS ROG and at the Inferno Online Pantamera challenge, where he posted ratings of 1.17 (+15) and 1.15 (+18) respectively despite losing the finals—2-0 in both cases—to NiP and fnatic.
ESL One Katowice, the first major of the year, ended up being apEX’s first dip in a bipolar year with Titan out of the tournament after a measly two maps. apEX shared the team’s lowest rating (0.64) with IGL Ex6TenZ, the latter even ending up with two more frags.
Titan, a bumpy ride for apEX
After the blunder that was Katowice, apEX got serene at SLTV’s StarSeries XXII finals, forgetting his old nonsense and achieving a 1.12 (+16) rating. Quite a fea,considering Titan ended up fourth out of six teams losing a majority of the maps played.
The next three events apEX attended were ESL Pro League Winter 2014-15 finals, ESEA Invite Season 18 Global Finals, and Dreamhack Open Tours. This period of the year was relatively quiet, with the ESEA LAN being his best event of the three (1.03, +2) and DH Tours being the worst (0.90, -7) and the shortest with only three maps being played and marking nother early exit at an event where apEX’s performance was not up to snuff.
apEX’s last good tournament with Titan was Gfinity Spring Masters 2, one of the rare tournaments in which the whole team played fairly well despite falling 2-1 to eventual champions fnatic in the semifinal, an event apEX finished with a rating of 1.09 (+28), the third best on the team.
The beginning of the end for apEX’s time in Titan came during Dreamhack Open Summer 2015 (0.97, -16), the first of three tournaments in the red that got incrementally worse with Gfinity Summer Masters 1 (0.92, -18) and ESWC (0.80, -13), where the team failed once again to survive through the group stage.
While Titan were struggling, things at the EnVyUs camp weren’t particularly smooth either, and after they lost 2-0 to Cloud9 at ESWC amidst internal disputes, apEX was about to get a new beginning.
On a top team now and relieved of certain stress, apEX touted a 1.09 (+19) rating in 9 maps at IEM Gamescom, the second best in the team, which helped nV win their first international event with the new lineup in preparation for their first major, ESL One Cologne.
ESL One Cologne rolled around two weeks later, and apEX basically mirrored his performance with a 1.09 (+18) rating, except this time it was as the team’s top performer. While EnVyUs couldn’t take the trophy home, apEX showed he could and would show up at the majors.
apEX went hard in Cologne
With two good events under his belt, apEX hit a slump at ESL ESEA Dubai and Dreamhack Open London, being the worst rated player on his team in both tournaments. While ESL ESEA Dubai was a disappointment as a whole, nV still managed to win DH London despite apEX’s below average play and a particularly disastrous grand final performance in which he ended up with an incredibly low rating of 0.52 (-25).
Just like at IEM Gamescom, apEX found his form again one tournament before the next major in his team’s victory at the Gfinity Champion of Champions, his best performance of the year. His rating of 1.07 (+16) was worthy of the team’s MVP, a title he battled Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt for.
Dreamhack Open Cluj-Napoca was apEX’s time to solidify his status as a player that shows up at big events, and he certainly did, ending in him and kennyS winning their first major. While not the highest rated player on the team or having many mind blowing moments, apEX still had a 1.11 (+20) rating and fulfilled his duties well. The importance of apEX’s multi-kills in this event was paramount, considering 42 out of the 47 (89%) rounds he got 2 or more kills in were eventually won by hi team.
The same way ESL ESEA Dubai had not gone so well after the ESL One Cologne major, the post-major depression after DH Cluj-Napoca settled in and apEX put in his worst showing of the year since he joined nV at the FACEIT League 2015 Stage 3 finals with a 0.82 (-12) rating, the 4th lowest on the team and his only showing under 0.85 with EnVyUs all year.
The last event of this rollercoaster of a year for apEX was ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals. apEX played one last solid tournament in Burbank (1.07, +9) to close out the year despite nV falling out in the semifinals.
Why is he the 18th best player of 2015?
apEX made the list for two reasons, mainly, and the first one is the influence he had on his teams. When apEX didn’t show up, his teams struggled, as seen in the group stage exits his teams had in ESL One Katowice, DH Tours, ESWC, ESL ESEA Dubai, and Faceit Season 3. Meanwhile, at events like ASUS ROG, Pantamera, IEM Gamescom, and more importantly the last two majors in which apEX had strong showings, his teams went far.
Added to the fact that he is the most aggressive opening fragger in the game (involved in 32.3% of first duels on T side), this makes for an explosive combination that has highly swayed—for good and bad—how his teams have fared, particularly during his time in Titan where he couldn’t share the load the way he could in the talent-packed roster that is EnVyUs.
This ties into the second biggest factor that put apEX in this ranking, and that is the importance he has had in both of his major runs with EnVyUs, culminating in his first major victory in Romania.
Leading the team to a final in Cologne was no small feat as an opening fragger, particularly one as aggressive as himself. The same can be said of DH Cluj-Napoca, an event in which while he did not necessarily have the best statistics, we saw how fundamentally important his rounds with two kills or more were to his team. Add in the fact that he has an above average multi-kill round percentage (19%), and apEX can be lethal.
apEX at DH Cluj-Napoca
Several things have impeded him being higher up on the list, however, with the most obvious one being a clear lack of consistency from tournament to tournament, between matches in a tournament, and between maps in matches.
One thing that has been consistent and detrimental to his placing in our ranking is the fact that apEX has the third lowest rating out of all of this year’s top 20 players in big matches, with a 0.99 rating in semifinals and finals, and an even worse 0.96 average from all eight of the finals he played in.
His importance to the team differed greatly between his time in Titan during the first half of the year and his time in EnVyUs during the second half.
apEX was the 2nd most important player in Titan, a team struggling greatly to win rounds in which he didn't get at least one kill (they only managed to do it 32.8% of the time), while in EnVyUs he contributed more consistently and was more efficient in getting the opening kills.
What is your opinion on apEX'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.