The fourth place of our Top 20 players of 2015 powered by EGB.com goes to Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski, who stood behind most of Virtus.pro's success and always stepped up at the biggest stages.
Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski has been on the radar since late 2010, when he started showing up in some of Poland's top three rosters, namely Universal Soldiers, DELTA and MaxFloPlay.
He has also been part of the NationsCup team Poland since 2011, which was when he first got to play with members of the Golden Five. It wasn't until 2013 that he first showed up on the international stage, side by side with his current teammate Paweł "byali" Bieliński in GF-Gaming.
That team, who also featured Piotr "peet" Ćwikliński and Jacek "MINISE" Jeziak, went on to reach quarter-finals at Prague Challenge in mid-2013, where they lost to a Nostalgie mix boasting Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas and Filip "NEO" Kubski. He would finally get a chance to play in Poland's best lineup later on that year, as he and byali were picked up by the remaining trio of current Virtus.pro.
The early days of Snax
It took the lineup a few months before they found success at EMS One Katowice 2014, where Virtus.pro famously took down NiP in the grand final one-sidedly. Since then they were considered a force to be reckoned with in the highest ranks, and even picked up another trophy at Gfinity 3, as well as a second place at Copenhagen Games and several 3rd-4th finishes, including DreamHack Winter 2014.
Virtus.pro's start into 2015 was quite underwhelming, as was Snax's. ASUS ROG Winter proved to be a tough nut to crack despite somewhat poor competition, as Virtus.pro went out in the group stage after losses to Johannes "nex" Maget's PENTA and HellRaisers. In one of few cases, Snax ended up in fourth place in rating among Virtus.pro, and his HR showing was especially disappointing.
While as a team Virtus.pro stayed on the same track at Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge, finishing fourth (above LGB and NiP), the difference in Snax's performance was astonishing. Out of the five maps he played there he only found himself below 1.00 rating once, in a 10-16 loss to EnVyUs. Outside of that result he was an absolute monster for his team, especially in Virtus.pro's bashing of Titan (27-5, 2.39 rating in a 16-2 win). Despite the Poles' finish in Stockholm, Snax was the second-best rated player at the event, and he scored a beastly 0.95 kills per round—the most at the event and his highest in 2015.
Virtus.pro couldn't defend their title at Katowice, the first major of the year, but Snax put in a solid performance on home turf (1.16 rating). Only recording one map below 0.85 rating, the Pole was his team's second-best player, and most notably the best on a couple of close maps: de_overpass in a Keyd Stars quarter-final encounter and de_cbble in the semi-final against fnatic, both of which Virtus.pro lost 17-19.
After having to skip Gfinity Spring Masters 1 due to an illness, Snax had his worst tournament in 2015, SLTV StarSeries XII Finals, where the entire team didn't show up. Virtus.pro went on to come out on top of Copenhagen Games afterwards. While admittedly it was an event with poor competition—the only top six team there was TSM—, Snax was one of the best players of the two close series against the Danes.
Snax played very well in all of Virtus.pro's triumphs
When another event where the whole team put in a sub-1.00 rating and finished in last place (ESL Pro League Winter 2014/15 finals) passed, Snax was awarded the MVP of ESEA Invite Season 18 Global Finals. He didn't put in such a great performance in the grand final against fnatic, nobody really played exceptionally there, but he did carry the team throughout the rest of the event. He finished the event in Dallas with the highest rating (1.23), kills per round (0.84), and success in opening duels (70.0%), as shown in the leaders section.
Virtus.pro then travelled to London, United Kingdom, for FACEIT Stage 1 Finals, which wound up being a somewhat inconsistent showing from Snax overall. He was the team's best player by a fair margin in the group stage against eLevate and TSM, but he dropped off significantly in the series against NiP in semi-finals compared to the rest of the team; a rare sight for the Pole.
He was back to his usual self in time for Gfinity Spring Masters 2, where he only scored two out of 13 maps below 0.85 rating, although he had a hiccup in a Na`Vi triple-overtime thriller in the semi-finals. He still helped Virtus.pro reach another podium finish, a second place, with the best performance within the team overall (1.14 rating).
Gfinity Summer Masters 1, another event held in London, was a showcase of Virtus.pro's results correlating with Snax's form. When he was on, the team was winning, and when he was not, the team had issues. The latter was the case at Gfinity more than not, especially on the four maps Virtus.pro lost against mousesports there.
The next two events, ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 finals and FACEIT Stage 2 Finals, were both underwhelming from the team as a whole, but very different for Snax. At the former, he was barely the team's fourth best in a 3rd-4th finish—not a bad result, but the group stage was quite comfortable for Virtus.pro, who were known not to have problems against North American teams and had Luminosity (the one led by Alexander "LeX" Deily at the time) and Cloud9 in their group. At the latter, Virtus.pro finished in last place, and Snax was by far the team's best there. The Poles famously went out after a perfect de_cache from Kinguin, and naturally Snax wasn't a good player on that map. He was great on the other three though, recording an above-1.15 rating on all of them.
Snax certainly had a reason to smirk at CEVO Season 7 Finals
CEVO Professional Season 7 Finals was one of the two events where Snax didn't have to the team's best overall for Virtus.pro to win. He still turned in a solid performance there, especially in their three-map series versus Cloud9 (60-42, 1.30 rating).
By that time the second major of the year, ESL One Cologne, was around the corner. Similarly to ESL One Katowice, the team went out in 3rd-4th place after a loss to fnatic. Snax was good in the group stage, a monster in the NiP quarter-final, but not quite as influential against fnatic; quite the opposite, actually. Overall it was an event worth of a 1.11 rating, the second highest within Virtus.pro.
After Gaming Paradise 2015, an event many would surely rather forget, Virtus.pro took another title home, this time against top-notch competition. ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational was one of most stacked tournaments, featuring all top six teams together with Cloud9 and Titan. Apart from a hiccup in a group stage match where he seemingly wasn't needed anyway—against NiP (16-7 win for Virtus.pro)—, Snax carried the team in every match. On the two maps Virtus.pro won against fnatic in the semi-final, he was an absolute monster, and he continued providing similar results in the best-of-five grand final with TSM. Simply put, Snax was the MVP of a big event.
Despite Virtus.pro only playing a single best-of-five against EnVyUs, Snax topped the charts at Gfinity Champion of Champions as well. Thanks to three very good maps against the Frenchmen he deserved the best rating at the event (1.16), most kills per round (0.89), most 1+ kill rounds (58.2%), as well as most opening kills per round (0.16) and the second highest success in opening duels (62.5%); not bad for someone who went out after one series.
At another four-team event, PGL Season 1 Finals, he proved his worth for Virtus.pro yet again. In the group stage Liquid proved to be a tough opponent after all, and Snax was the main reason Virtus.pro survived the initial battle without losing a map. He dropped off quite significantly in the upper final versus TSM, and had two unsatisfying performances there in narrow results, but he was back in the driving seat in the consolidation final versus fnatic. In Virtus.pro's TSM re-match in the grand final, he stepped up from their first encounter and was the man of the hour for his team, but it wasn't enough to take the Danes down.
Snax played well at the third major, the team as a whole did not
Virtus.pro's next tournament, DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, wound up being their only big event placing outside of the top four (out of six they attended), but it was by no means due to Snax. He was VP's best player by far in Romania (1.29 rating). Liquid was once again close to beating the Poles in the group stage, this time on de_cbble, but Virtus.pro were able to come back from a big deficit and win in overtime—much thanks to Snax, as he paved the way with a 34-20 score (1.39 rating). He and byali were the main force in the winners' match against Titan on de_train as well. On top of that, Snax was nearly able to keep up with Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad in the quarter-finals on de_cache, scoring more kills than any other two Virtus.pro members combined. While he dropped off on de_train, the closer of the two maps against G2, the event as a whole was more than satisfactory from the Pole, as he put on another great performance at a big event.
When the team travelled across the pond once again, they defended their CEVO-P Finals title from July, with Snax providing an MVP-worthy performance. He recorded a rating of above-1.15 on seven out of ten maps there, and never dropped below 0.85. Every single match was a showcase of Snax's abilities, especially the mousesports grand final. He reached an absolutely ridiculous level on de_cbble, where he pretty much single-handedly destroyed the German-based team with a 36-9 (2.76 rating) scoreline in a 16-4 victory.
Snax's POV video from a godlike one-man show against mousesports (36-9, 2.76 rating on de_cbble)
He had to skip another tournament, IEM San Jose, due to health problems, but he recovered in time for FACEIT Stage 3 Finals, Virtus.pro's last event in 2015. His overall showing there wasn't exactly bad, as he still had three solid maps, although he wasn't the force he had been at the two previous events. His team went out in 3rd-4th place, courtesy of fnatic once again, and he was mediocre in the semi-finals.
Why is he the 4th best player of 2015?
Snax had 0.77 kills per round, which is good for 10th place overall, or 5th if we're only counting players above 100 maps (players of the top six teams plus Titan), making him one of the very best fraggers of the year.
Due to several highs in 2015, Snax earned MVP titles in three of Virtus.pro's five triumphs. That includes a highly competitive ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational, as well as ESEA Invite Season 18 Global Finals with a fnatic upset in the grand final, and lastly CEVO Professional Season 8 Finals.
He was also one of the best players at the other two events VP won in 2015, at CEVO Season 7 and at Copenhagen Games, as well as at PGL Season 1 Finals, where he was a big contributor to Virtus.pro's second place.
His impact in round wins is the third highest among players from top six teams (1.09 rating). A lot of that impact in round wins comes from his aggression and opening kills (Virtus.pro won 77.4% of rounds where he got an opening kill), at which he was very successful, especially on the CT side (67.4% success rate in opening duels as CT, 2.64 ratio of round wins after opening kills versus round losses after opening death).
Another way his impact can be seen is in the table above which shows how often he had 2 or more kills (19.9% of rounds), which was not only 10th most frequent, but also one of the most useful as his team won 82.4% of those rounds.
Snax was another player who always showed up for the majors—he ranks fourth in rating at majors with 1.17—, as well as big events overall—shared second highest at 1.13 rating from his six $250,000 events. The same could also be said for grand finals, in which he holds the third highest rating (1.11 from 22 maps in seven finals). Overall, he stepped up at the biggest events and in the biggest of matches, which played a big part in his high placing.
What did you think of Snax's level in 2015? Where would you have rated him if it were you putting the ranking together? Let us know your opinion 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.