Number 14 on our top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com goes to Egor 'flamie' Vasilyev who is debuting on this list. It was Vasilyev's acquisition in 2015 that finally allowed Na`Vi to pack enough firepower to begin garnering consistent high placings at events.
It is a little known fact that Egor "flamie" Vasilyev, who was then not even sixteen years old, showed up to Copenhagen Games 2013 (the one NiP won to bring their offline record to 85-0 at the time) as part of one of Alexey "OverDrive" Birukov-sponsored Nostalgie teams.
The Russian youngster, who was then completely unknown, was easily the best player on his team with a 1.0 rating, despite Nostalgie losing four straight series with 0-2 scores (or eight straight maps) to leave the event.
Perhaps his team's poor showing was a sign to flamie that he would have to yet bide his time and hone his skills, or perhaps real life obligations got in the way, but the next we hear of the Russian player is in early 2014 when he was involved in a USSR roster.
flamie and teammate Alexander "Lk-" Lemeshev were kicked to make room for Anton "kibaken" Kolesnikov and Nikolay "latro" Lee on the roster in January, but by the time the regional Voronezh Cup rolled around a few months later, flamie was back on the team again.
Another interesting thing to note is that Denis "seized" Kostin would play on this USSR roster as a stand-in during Voronezh, perhaps as a favour to ex-Na`Vi teammate kibaken, and that such a chance meeting may have proven fruitful for flamie as well in the long run.
Regardless, USSR lost in the semifinals 1-2 to the Belarussian 97club side and then managed to beat a HellRaisers mix 16-13 to win third place at the event. flamie was easily the best player on his team, with an assertive 1.24 rating, punching in far above his teammates and playing a big role in their success.
flamie also helped USSR win the SLTV ProSeries IX online cup and thus qualify for StarSeries around the same time.
As his skill kept increasing, the next time flamie would stand out would be equally impressive but also controversial.
Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's dAT team had no doubt noticed the young player’s skill and asked him to play as a stand-in during the European qualifiers for ESL One Cologne 2014, which flamie obliged and proceeded to help wreck all opposition in his way as dAT were one of the first to secure qualification with victories over mousesports and ESG!
flamie's relatively unknown status outside of the CIS region meant that he became the target of hackusations from certain players who had lost or was called an "onliner," a loaded euphemism which pretty much entails the same idea as cheating. This incident forced flamie and dAT to defend themselves and the then-17-year-old was ultimately vindicated and allowed to attend the major.
It made little difference ironically enough as a tough group draw in Cologne meant that dAT were steamrolled in the group stage by Virtus.pro and iBUYPOWER, with the Ukrainian-Russian team picking up 13 rounds total across both games. flamie scraped in a 0.99 rating, the best on his team by far again.
Not much transpired for flamie for the rest of 2014 in the way of offline events and thus we leap into 2015 where at the beginning of the year flamie and dAT teammate Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev left the squad and linked up with HellRaisers.
HellRaisers attended ASUS ROG Winter 2015 where they finished in 3-4th after losing to event winners NiP in the semifinals. flamie once again was the highest rated player on his team throughout the event, with a 1.05 rating.
The next event was the major of ESL One Katowice, which HellRaisers qualified for by virtue of their top eight finish at DreamHack Winter 2014. Once again, flamie would find himself on a CIS region team bombing out of the group stages, as HellRaisers lost a 14-16 nailbiter to CLG and then a 12-16 game to the Brazilian Keyd Stars team to leave the tournament.
Despite his statistically sound performances until then, flamie was developing a trend of underperforming at the majors, and at Katowice the 17-year-old showed only a 0.93 rating with AdreN rating higher.
However, flamie would not need to waste his days ruminating on the increasing senility of the HellRaisers lineup as he quickly left the roster following the major. With Na`Vi player Sergey "starix" Ischuk stepping down from his team the next day, it took less than a 1980's calculator to figure out what was going to transpire, and flamie was quickly announced as a stand-in for the team.
The StarSeries XII finals were right around the corner and Na`Vi's youngest addition availed himself well with a 1.07 rating, tying Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev in the former aspect. These statistics are all the more surprising considering that Na`Vi finished last (6th) at the event, after an early 2-1 win against TSM gave away to a double French baguette in the form of losing to EnVyUs and Titan.
The signing functioned as something of a good luck charm for the till-then beleaguered Na`Vi as they struggled to transition 1.6 glory into CS:GO success as the team went to Cologne for the ESL Pro League Winter 2014/2015 finals and won the event, triumphing over Titan in the grand final.
The victory was Na`Vi's first international title in over six months and flamie was right at the front of the pack statistically, rated first in his team with 1.16, making him an extremely valuable player during that tournament.
flamie had a cooling off period afterward and when the team went to London for the FACEIT Stage 1 finals, the 18-year-old pulled in at a .94 rating while his fragging teammates seized and Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács achieved 1.21 and 1.17, respectively. Na`Vi ultimately finished 5-6th place.
Gfinity Spring Masters II, likewise in London, was an improved situation as Na`Vi made the playoffs and finished 3-4th at the event. flamie achieved the kind of results here that are more consistent of his mid-year play, where GuardiaN would often take the reins and flamie would follow behind as a sort of statistics clean-up man. flamie scored a 1.15 rating.
The Fragbite Masters Season 4 finals once again saw flamie polling third on his team in terms of rating (1.01), with Zeus joining the team's Slovakian star ahead of flamie. Na`Vi finished in third place (out of four teams) and continued a streak of moderate finishes.
DreamHack Open Summer saw Na`Vi finish second place and flamie likewise took a second place in the team in terms of performance, this time delivering a 1.07 rating.
Oddly enough, at Na`Vi's second victory of the year in the StarSeries XIII finals, flamie finally dropped off from the consistent and dependable fragging portfolio which he had been building during his time in Na`Vi. flamie had the lowest rating in the team (0.96). With GuardiaN in full elite mode however, perhaps the player knew he could rest on his haunches during this particular event.
ESWC 2015 was an interesting event, not least because many remember flamie and seized, the two Russian players on Na`Vi, struggling to secure Canadian visas to attend the event until the last possible second.
It was also an event which Na`Vi exploded at in terms of performance, as the team generally had an easy time until their tense grand final with Cloud9. flamie himself told us in a text interview that his team "wanted to play Cloud9 in the grand final."
flamie was an indispensable part of the team here, putting up a total 1.28 rating at the event and he is also best remembered as getting a clutch triple kill in the final round of the grand final match to avoid overtime and give Na`Vi the win.
flamie would continue to be an on-and-off player throughout the summer however, as evinced by his worst performance of 2015, at the FACEIT Stage 2 finals at DreamHack Valencia. The team as a whole did manage to finish 3-4th, but flamie was conspicuously absent, bringing in a 0.84 rating, the next closest player was Edward at 0.92.
CEVO Season 7 saw a decent performance from flamie, with a 1.08 rating as Na`Vi finished in second place. ESL One Cologne, the second major of the year, would meanwhile be the last time we would see the Russian in the red, and tied for last place on the team with a 0.90 rating.
Na`Vi did manage to make top eight in Cologne but it was also around this time that rumours began to swirl of potential roster changes; others told tales of extreme rage issues or internal discord and many of these centered around in-game leader Zeus and the young flamie.
Whether this was true or not may remain a matter of conjecture forever, but what is objectively true is that from this point onward flamie rocketed off towards an extremely consistent rest of the year, always finishing above a 1.00 rating and generally improving his performance in the server.
Gaming Paradise is perhaps only worth glossing over (1.01 rating, 4th best on the team) but at ESL ESEA Dubai flamie was able to deliver a 1.08 rating in what was overall a disastrous performance by his teammates (GuardiaN had an unthinkable 0.75 rating).
The whole team got their act together afterwards and entered DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, which is a milestone for flamie in that it was his first major where he moved out of the red and achieved a 1.02 rating. Although that major itself was the GuardiaN show for Na`Vi, flamie's contributions alongside his teammates helped bring Na`Vi to the silver medal podium.
flamie's end-of-the-year ratings continued to grow with each event, and despite one more weak run at CEVO Season 8 for the team, he achieved a 1.07 rating which was the second best on the team as he and GuardiaN tried to keep the struggling team afloat at that event.
Finally, IEM San Jose and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 were where flamie came into his own in 2015. With Na`Vi winning the former and placing second in the latter event, their young Russian rifler himself picked up a 1.13 and 1.28 rating, 2nd and 1st best on the team, respectively.
EEPL Season 2 was also crucial for flamie in that he was MVP of the whole event despite finishing in second place with his team.
Why is he the 14th best player of 2015?
flamie cannot be called the Guardian Stone of Na`Vi because that team already has an aptly named player who fulfils that role and who is the main driveshaft in the team's firepower. But the young Russian is much more like a powerful piston of the team, an explosive and forceful component that is instrumental in driving the entire structure to its end goal.
Aside from that, flamie is a precocious fragger and only three out of his nineteen events this year have him getting below average kills per round which is impressive considering that his team do not always set him up for these kills. High fragging also comes in conjunction with stellar aim and flamie ranks fifth in headshots per round this year (0.39) and fourth in headshot percentage (53%).
The Russian player is also a consistent contributor in rounds, rather than being a baiter who looks for utility kills. He ranks fourth (67.3%) in rounds where he had a kill, assist, or survived.
Indisputable role in bringing Na`Vi to top three status, as in our current ranking
There are even more statistical reasons to grant him the laurels today: flamie ranks second in clutches won this year (68) and is also one of only six players to have above average kills-per-round, assists-per-round, and below average deaths-per-round, meaning that he is a player whose impact is nearly constantly felt during the game.
Finally, as mentioned, flamie was the MVP of the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals with a dominating performance and he was nearly MVP at two other events (ESWC 2015 and ESL Pro League Winter finals).
From a more subjective perspective, it could be argued that flamie's addition to the Natus Vincere roster solved the final piece of the puzzle that the team were lacking which was more firepower. As he has matured over the year and calmed a sometimes volatile temperament, flamie has brought the ideal package of a young and consistent rifler to a top five team in the world.
What did you think of flamie's 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.