Number 3 on our top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com goes to Nicolai 'device' Reedtz who is returning to the list for his second year in a row. Reedtz's development as a player in 2015 has been a testament to his carefully crafted maturation of personal skill.
Nicolai "device" Reedtz, like many other professional players, can trace his offline experience to early adolescence as the Danish player attended his first local LAN in 2009.
As Denmark was one of the primary nexuses of CS:Source in Europe, device was able to shape his talent in a crucible of mentorship and support from more veteran players, and he attracted notice early on from the likes of Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen and Bo "wantz" Vestergaard.
device picked up CS:GO a few months after its release and his first outing was interestingly alongside the CS 1.6 old school with former Anexis players such as Danny "BERRY" Krüger and Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer involved in a team that was called POPPERS.
device at CPH Games 2013
However, that venture did not last and device was soon invited to once again join Copenhagen Wolves (he played for the organisation in CS:Source) which is where device would for the first time play alongside Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, his now long time accomplice.
The rest of 2013 passed with occasional strong performances from device, such as at DreamHack Summer, but an early theme in the player's career in those days was his motivational issues, which saw device often quit the game for weeks or months at a time following internal disagreements in the various Danish lineups in which he was involved.
An iteration of Copenhagen Wolves that included device managed to finish 5-8th at DreamHack Winter 2013, CS:GO's first major, and this placing was followed by the team (who were then called über G33KZ after leaving CPH Wolves) adding René "cajunb" Borg to their ranks and being signed by dignitas in February 2014.
It was under the dignitas banner that device began to settle in to the core of a team and his performances in 2014, which included bringing dignitas to the semifinals of two majors (EMS One Katowice and ESL One Cologne) and the playoffs of another (DreamHack Winter), earned him 20th place on our best players list of 2014.
As 2015 kicked off, it should be mentioned that although device had solved his overall motivational issues from 2013, another recurring issue would continue to dog him in 2014 and slightly beyond, which was the player's tendency to underperform at big events or when a dominant performance was required of him; breaking this curse would be the major accomplishment of device's 2015 as we will soon see.
device's first event of 2015 was the MLG X-Games in Aspen. It should be mentioned that the team had only the month before removed longtime in-game-leader FeTiSh who, with the benefit of retrospect, it can be said had been a large part of the team's consistency problems the year before. The Danes instead brought on board 1.6 veteran Finn "karrigan" Andersen and guaranteed themselves a stable lineup for 2015.
The event itself was a promising omen for the Danes' 2015, as dignitas finished third place with a strong win in the third place decider match over fnatic where device himself pulled a 50-31 score.
However, it has to be mentioned that in the actual semifinal against LDLC, device had a terrible showing that continued his 2014 trend of underperforming in those big matches that mattered. All-in-all, device finished the event as the fourth best rated player in Aspen, with a 1.14 rating (first within his team) and a +34 kdd.
TSM had time to rest and plan for ESL One Katowice, the first major of 2014. Following an upset 14-16 loss to Cloud9 in their opener, TSM took down 3DMAX and Cloud9 in a revenge match and then finally lost to NiP 1-2 in the quarter-finals. device was middling in the NiP game, finishing 46-49 in the series, but overall came through with a 1.07 rating and +9 kdd (second best on his team).
It was clear that TSM still had a ways to go in terms of synergy and collective development and the team's next event was the StarSeries XII Finals where they finished in third place, beating Virtus.pro and Titan but losing to Na`Vi and ultimately NiP in the consolidation final. device finished first in his team in rating (1.08 and a +26 kdd) and also interestingly had the highest amount of total kills (234) and total assists (54) at the event.
device's team were not yet ready to dominate in Katowice
Next up for TSM was Copenhagen Games, an event which had already lost some its glory from past years but which still offered up plenty of middle tier competition and featured a big bad wolf in the form of Virtus.pro awaiting the Danish hometown favourites in the grand final. Despite a closely fought loss to the Poles in the grand final (where device was best on his team with a 1.12 and 43-38 finish), the whole event was overall something of a farm for device as he ended up with a 1.32 and +119 kdd.
The Danish star then actually missed out on his team's next event of the ESL Pro League Winter 2014/2015 finals due to a serious fever which forced TSM to use a stand-in in the form of Casper "cadiaN" Møller and the team finished 3-4th place at the event.
Although said somewhat facetiously, perhaps it was this time away from his teammates that gave device some perspective on just how crucial he was to the unit's success as a whole, as the next event was both the year's first MVP for device and the team's first gold medal in 2015.
The CCS Kick-off Season finals kicked off a new era for TSM, as the Danish team won the event over fnatic in a dominant 3-1 fashion (although device did underperform here with a bottom of the team finis). device finished the event with a 1.11 and +27 kdd and was particularly effective against fnatic in the opening game and against NiP; he was rather hard to kill (led the event with 0.61 deaths per round) and finished third overall in rating.
HLTV.org spoke with device at the event where the player talked of breaking the curses that had trailed him for so long. There was no time to rest for the trophy-hungry team as their next event, the FACEIT Stage 1 Finals in London, brought in another gold medal and another solid performance for device.
Lifting the trophy at CCS Kick-off with a MVP performance
TSM were able to take down Na`Vi (twice), fnatic, and NiP in the grand final (where device again did subpar at 47-60) to win the event, only losing to Virtus.pro along the way. The event is a little strange in that TSM had only the fifth best rating as a team and yet managed to win, although device did finish with second most kills (262), third most assists (55), and tied with teammate karrigan for clutches won (8) at the event. Overall he was 1.02 and +12 kdd, second best in the team.
Next up for the team were the Fragbite Masters Season 4 finals and yet another trophy for TSM, which in those days heralded the era of TSM as being a legitimate threat for the world's best team.
At Fragbite, TSM again beat Na`Vi and then fnatic quite convincingly in the grand final, the latter victory leading to a nickname for the Danes as "fnatic's Kryptonite." device returned to being first ranked in his team here, finishing 1.15 and +50 kdd and securing his second MVP performance of the year.
After spring rains come summer droughts it is said, and the next event of the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals was a $250,000 tournament where finishing 7-8th was definitely a disappointing run for the Danes, although an early upset to the Brazilians meant that TSM had to face fnatic early on in the elimination match and lost with a narrow 14-16 on de_overpass. device was certainly instrumental in this slump, finishing only 4th in his team with 0.90 and -4 kdd (his first in-the-red of the year).
The next event on the sunny summer shores of Valencia, Spain was the FACEIT League Stage 2 Finals and it was the place of TSM enacting revenge for EEPL Season 1 and also picking up their fourth first place of the year. The Danes managed to beat NiP, fnatic, Na`Vi, and finally a red-hot Cloud9 in the grand finals at this event, in a way defeating a number of teams who had been a thorn in their side at various events earlier in the year.
device picked up another MVP performance (1.23 and +42 kdd), although technically he only was third best in his team. He managed to be the MVP because he was the best player in the grand final at this event and the best player against fnatic, the hardest opposition on paper, and thus takes away the distinction.
device came into his own by FACEIT S2
TSM perhaps decided to "max and relax" a little too successfully after such a dominant performance as they came into the relatively under-stacked Acer Predator Masters Season 1 finals as clear favourites and bombed out in 7-8th place below the likes of SK, PENTA, and countrymen dignitas. Such a puzzling finish can only be chalked up to a laissez-faire approach to preparing for the event as karrigan and his team apparently had minimal practice. device finished third in the team, 0.96 and +2 kdd (his second red of the year).
There was still one more event to go before the next major of ESL One Cologne, and it was the Intel Extreme Masters stop at Gamescom in Cologne and ushered in CS:GO's return to the IEM brand.
In one of their games against CLG at this event, device set the 2015 record for the most kills anyone had on their T-side in a match at 29 kills and the VOD can be found below.
TSM were unable to win the event as a newly formed EnVyUs lineup trounced them in the final three maps (there was technically no grand final but rather separate best-of-ones due to a strange format), although the Danes did finish second and device led his team with a 1.27 rating and +62 kdd.
Despite not showing up at APM Season 1 and failing to succeed over nV at IEM Gamescom, TSM were still billed as potential Major winners at ESL One Cologne. The rise of EnVyUs as a new powerhouse unfortunately checked the Danes in the semifinals, but it should be said that device performed best of his team in this match and it was rather dupreeh becoming quite absent that stood out.
TSM failed to win the Major, but took home another semifinals Major finish under their belt, whereas device stood out as best in his team with a 1.25 rating and +41 kdd. He was third best rated at the entire event behind two of fnatic's members, finished first in least deaths-per-round (0.53) and second in clutches won (5). HLTV.org interviewed device where he spoke of his previous and perhaps still occasionally occurring tendency to choke under pressure.
At ESL ESEA Dubai, an event where many teams underperformed, TSM came to attain gold and almost managed to do so if they had not been stopped by a suddenly resurgent Virtus.pro in the grand final. device was best in his team with a 1.13 and +37 kdd and he led the boards in total kills (212), 1+ kill rounds (56.8%), and total opening kills (40).
TSM would have to content themselves with another second place at their next event, DreamHack Open London, as they once again came up against an inspired EnVyUs and lost in the grand final. device continued to play well however, this time finishing second best in his team with a 1.13 and +23 kdd.
TSM then proved they excelled in Bucharest as the team returned for another PGL event with their Season 1 finals and picked up another event win, their fifth of the year. device had an undeniable MVP performance (his fourth and last of the year) with a 1.28 rating and +46 kdd.
He topped the event in rating and in KD-differential, as well as leading the event in kill+assists per round (0.93), kills per round (0.86), deaths per round (0.59), survived, kill or assists % (71.8%), success in opening duels (69.4%), and also had the second highest AWP kills per round (0.26) and tied for opening kills per round (0.15).
The time around the PGL Season 1 finals was when TSM was most dominant
At the event itself, TSM tore down fnatic once and Virtus.pro twice without losing a single map, and this aura of giddy confidence can be seen in our interview with device and dupreeh where the two talked in anticipation of destroying the Polish team.
After such clear panache, TSM unfortunately set themselves up for one of their biggest disappointments of the year which was failing to win the last major of 2015, DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca.
After an easily managed group stage, TSM came up against a NiP team which had become the laughing stock of the CS:GO world in a way and were defeated 0-2 in the quarter-finals. All five of TSM virtually disappeared in this game as the Swedes Adam "friberg" Friberg and Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund had their virtual way with TSM and sent them out of the tournament in 5-8th place. device finished in the red, fourth on his team, with a 0.98 and -2 kdd.
IEM San Jose was next up and TSM went into the event with flair, taking down Cloud9 and G2 although both series saw the Danish team give up maps. The team would have to settle for second place however as they had to contend with the newfound rise of another powerhouse in late 2015 in Na`Vi, who dispatched them 0-2 in the grand finals.
TSM continued to place well in late 2015, although tensions lurked under the surface
device was back to being the first ranked performer in his team, this time snagging a 1.13 rating and +21 kdd. He also led the event in total kills (152) and was second in total opening kills (32) and opening kills per round (0.16).
Three more events awaited in 2015, the first being the FACEIT Stage 3 Finals at DreamHack Winter where TSM finished a respectable 3-4th place after only losing narrowly to Luminosity in the semifinals and the latter team were themselves on a bit of a miracle run. device was somewhat muted at this $250,000 event, but still finished second in his team at 1.03 and +2 kdd.
It was then revealed afterward (although whispers of the team being bought out had been floating around awhile before that due to manager controversy in Cluj-Napoca) that TSM would no longer sponsor the team as a conflict of interest between both sides' long term visions led to a gulf that could not be bridged.
Although some of this turmoil may have explained TSM's earlier inability to capitalise on the team's dominance during the month of PGL Season 1 finals, it was clear that the team were also struggling to harness all sides of their potential for reasons not entirely known.
ex-TSM attended the Fragbite Masters Season 5 finals as "?" and device had his final event of the year in the red, third best on his team overall with a 0.94 and -5 kdd. ? were unable to take down fnatic and SK with the latter defeat being something of an upset for the Danes as they finished the event in last place.
One more event awaited for ? and this involved flying to California yet again for the $250,000 ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals.
device seemed especially confident by year's end
? beat both CLG and Na`Vi in the groups and thus automatically advanced to the semifinals where they would face off against longtime rivals fnatic. Unfortunately for ?, the Swedes continued to exemplify their end-of-year dominance and narrowly beat the Danes to send them out in 3-4th place.
Despite not winning a title at the end of the year, device finally showed that he could be extremely dominant at a $250,000 event as he finished first in his team with a commanding 1.36 rating and a +53 kdd. He had the highest rating at the event, led in kill+assists per round (0.92), kills per round (0.88), deaths per round (0.56), and opening kills per round (0.16).
It should also be mentioned that ahead of a new year and a touted and yet unknown new organisation (to be announced tomorrow), device has decided to change his in-game name to "devve."
Why is he the 3rd best player of 2015?
The story of device in 2015 is a bit like a Hollywood movie with a happy ending. The player exemplified maturation and development in his playstyle and overall skill and grew into being a star player who could control pacing and game outcomes singlehandedly on the server.
device did not allow either community pressure or internal misgivings to impact his past tendency in earlier years to disappear at big games and he continued to improve upon these statistical blips and strive to be an ever larger part of his team's success.
However, it would be remiss not to mention that he continued to struggle in big matches. His performance against LDLC in the MLG X-Games Aspen semifinal was particularly noteworthy and he struggled in other games such as the FACEIT Stage 1 finals (which his team won) and vanished in the Cluj-Napoca quarter-finals and in the loss to SK at the Fragbite Masters Season 5 finals. Therefore, despite a 1.08 rating in big matches overall, there was obvious room for improvement for device in certain cases.
Statistically, he was one of the most consistent players of the year as he held a rating of above 1.00 in 66% of his maps played (second best in the world at this fact) and above 1.15 in 50% (again second place). This statistic holds a lot of weight as 61% of his total maps counted were against the top six teams in the world.
On average, device was the best clutcher of 2015 in a way, despite having only the sixth most in total (64), as his clutches were among the most difficult in terms winning 1-vs.-2's and beyond.
At $250,0000 events (seven total), he shares the second highest rating with Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski and Robin "flusha" Rönnquist although he did lack making as much of an impact at the majors in a continued but diminishing tendency that hampered his team.
device's team won 69.7% of rounds when he got a kill but only 38.2% rounds when he did not, another metric which attests to his deep impact and which he probably got an inkling of when he was unable to attend the ESL Pro League Winter finals in April.
He was also highly effective in opening rounds, getting 0.11 opening kills with a 55% success rate and his team won 80.3% of rounds when he got the first kill (ranked first in the world in this regard among players with an above average number of opening kills as Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer has a higher percentage but below average opening kills).
A deeply impactful player for his team
Furthermore, he was a very successful non-dedicated AWPer with 0.16 kills per round and highest team round win percentage when he would get an AWP kill (73.7%).
And of course overall, device was one of the best fraggers (0.78 kills per round, ranked ninth total and fourth in the top-six teams) and one of the hardest to kill on a server (0.63 deaths per round, ranked seventh).
In terms of tournaments, device had four MVPs: at CCS Kick-off Finals, Fragbite Season 4 Finals, FACEIT Stage 2 Finals, and PGL Season 1 Finals. He was also one of the best players at a few other events, namely Copenhagen Games, FACEIT Stage 1 finals, IEM Gamescom, ESL ESEA Dubai, IEM San Jose, and ESL ESEA Pro League Stage 2 finals.
What did you think of device's 2015? Where would you have rated him? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
With two more players to go, 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.