Top 20 players of 2015: shox (13)
Richard 'shox' Papillon is no stranger to best player lists, coming in at number 13 in this year’s top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com, thanks to his versatile high level play and solid numbers on the big stages.
After placing 3rd in 2013, a year in which Richard "shox" Papillon had at times been considered the best player in the world, and 8th in 2014, shox ranks five places lower than the year before for the second time in a row.
shox’s roots go back to CS 1.5, with him moving on to every new version after its release, leading him to Counter Strike: Global Offensive through CS:Source, even including a short stint in 1.6 after he was already making his way in CS:S.
shox made his breakthrough in 2008, and had already been signed to VeryGames for the first time by 2009, a team he would later see much success with in both CS:S and CS:GO. By the time he signed for VG, shox was already being considered one of the best in the world.
After leaving VG in late 2009, shox played for LDLC.com and 3DMAX, where he hooked up with current Titan teammate Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom. That wouldn’t last long, however, as shox would be on his way back to the top signing for VG once again. Alas, after internal problems, shox was removed from the lineup again in late 2011.
With CS:GO’s arrival, ScreaM and shox—who had teamed up once again in Tt Dragons—, would make the jump together under Imaginary Gaming, a team they managed to take to LAN for the SLTV StarSeries IV finals, where they came in 3rd behind ESC and Virtus.pro.
At the start of 2013, however, it was ScreaM’s turn to head to VG, leaving shox to fend for himself playing in different mix teams, including TCM-Gaming for which he qualified to StarSeries VI playing with now Na`Vi superstar GuardiaN. Halfway through the year, though, it would be his time to return home and take the spot in VG that had just been left vacant by Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
It was during late 2013, after VeryGames managed to dethrone NiP and shox put in solid performance after solid performance, that he had started to be considered the best player in the world.
shox after slaying the Ninjas at RaidCall EMS One Fall 2013
At the top both individually and as a team, shox and the newly renamed Titan, would have a rough beginning to 2014, ending up in shox switching places with kennyS and taking a spot in Clan-Mystik, the team that would eventually go on to represent Epsilon.
Epsilon was a limited team, and it came as no surprise that shox would take part in the French shuffle that ended up with a new iteration of LDLC.com, a team in which he and Epsilon teammate Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey joined up with ex-Titan teammates Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux and Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt under the leadership of Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer and would go on to win a major at Dreamhack Winter 2014.
Cue 2015. After their last success under the LDLC.com banner with a 1st place finish at the MLG X Games event in Aspen, Colorado, in which shox had been the 2nd best player on the team with a 1.15 (+41) rating, and the best player in the final, North American organization EnVyUs signed the team ahead of what promised to be an eventful year.
Their first tournament as nV wasn’t their most successful, as the team fell in semifinals to fnatic at the Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge, with shox showing a modest 1.03 (+2) rating.
Major time rolled around, and shox was ready. While the team would end up falling 2-0 to NiP in a catastrophic semifinal, shox showed he was hungry by posting a 1.13 (+20) rating—the highest in the team—in Katowice.
shox at Gfinity Spring Masters 1, where he put in another solid performance
shox went on to string three very solid tournaments at Gfinity 2015 Spring Masters 1 (1.20, +45), SLTV Starseries XII Finals (1.08, +16), and ESL Pro League Winter 2014/15 Finals (1.07, +11), the two first ones which his team ended up winning in their new jersey.
CCS Kick-off Season Finals and DreamHack Tours 2015 were the other side of the coin, though, and shox would struggle to find good form and ended up with ratings of 0.79 (-33) and 0.90 (-12), the lowest ratings on the team in both occasions with the team placing 4th and 2nd respectively.
His old form started to come back and shox’s next three events got incrementally better, ending up in a prodigious Gfinity 2015 Summer Masters 1. The first was Gfinity 2015 Spring Masters 2, in which he was 3rd in the team with a 1.02 (+10) rating although the team as a whole ended up no farther than in 5th-6th place.
Next up were the SLTV StarSeries VIII Finals, in which shox posted the first of two best-in-team performances (1.16, +40) leading nV to a second place, followed by an MVP performance at Gfinity Summer Masters—his best event of the year—thanks to a whopping 1.24 (+71) across 12 maps which lead his team to victory.
ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals was another event in which shox trembled a bit and was unable to maintain a high consistency, as he ended up with a 0.91 (-10) rating in his team’s 5th-6th place finish.
shox sitting very close to Titan at ESWC
Titan played the ESL One Cologne qualifier and made it through to the big event, the first with the newly acquired duo, shox and SmithZz. shox did it again, he posted the highest rating on his team at a major (1.04, +1), but was the only one to have a score above 1 (Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez was second with 0.93), which resulted in the team floundering in only two maps.
shox still did well despite the circumstances in Slovenia
Gaming Paradise rolled around, a tournament not really worth mentioning, but shox did manage a 1.25 rating, the 3rd highest in the tournament, and a positive 54 kill-death difference.
ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational 2015 was another one of shox’s low points of the year, with a year-low 0.78 rating and a negative 19 kdd, and definitely be categorized as a poor event. It would be shox’s worst, in fact, but the countdown to the next major was already running, and therefore it was time for our hero to show up again.
nV watch shox on the big screen in Cluj-Napoca
After going through major qualifiers again, Titan found themselves through, and were headed to Cluj-Napoca this time. While Cédric "RpK" Guipouy was able to post a decent 1.07 rating, it wasn’t enough help for shox’s—once again—team high rating at a major of 1.12 (+6), and the team fell out in the group stage.
Titan’s last event of the year, CEVO Professional Season 8 Finals, came around and the team ended in a modest 3rd-4th place, with shox ending the year on a fairly even note, 1.01 (0).
shox in Columbus, Ohio for CEVO S8 Finals
Why is he the 13th best player of 2015?
shox was the 9th highest rated player of the year, with a 1.09. However, he also had some consistency issues, with CCS and ESL ESEA Dubai being two particularly bad tournaments out of a total of four in the red.
Having the highest rating on his team at every major was certainly also a huge booster for shox. However, he didn’t leave a huge mark at many of the biggest tournaments he participated in, even if he did play well in most of them. Instead, his best performances came at less prestigious events like Gfinity Summer Masters, SLTV StarSeries XIII Finals and ESWC.
Another big statistic for shox is the fact that when he gets a kill, his teams win 71% of the rounds, putting him 3rd in the world in this category.
One of the keys to shox, and something that has made him a truly top performer for so many years in a row is his versatility. Ranking 13th in opening kills (435) and as the 8th player with the most clutch rounds won (61) he is also above average in kills per round with pistols and rifles and is barely below average with the AWP, which on top of being the 14th player with most headshots per round (0.36) means he can open rounds, close rounds, play with all weapons, and puts bullets where he wants them—quite often in his rivals’ domes.
What did you think of shox's 2015? Would you have ranked him differently? 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.