Dennis "dennis" Edman earned a spot in the HLTV.org top 20 ranking for the first time in his career after a fairly successful 2016 with fnatic. With the help of dennis, the Swedes won three tournaments back-to-back early in the year, continuing their 2015 form, and were a strong contender throughout the first half of 2016. The team wasn't the same after the summer break and the Swedish shuffle, but dennis remained in good form individually, slowly shaping up to be the team's best player.
Dennis "dennis" Edman' first noted Counter-Strike matches date back to 2008, when the then 18-year-old competed in Swedish tournaments with players such as Jon "hyvlarn" Edelsvärd and Hugo "huggan" Lopez. Slowly climbing the ranks, dennis' most successful CS 1.6 period came in 2011 when he stood-in for SK Gaming (featuring Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg and Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund). The team competed at Intel Extreme Masters V and Copenhagen Games 2011, finishing 4th and 2nd respectively. Shortly after his stint in SK, dennis retreated from the competitive scene, concluding his 1.6 career.
It took almost two years and a new version of Counter-Strike to get dennis back into the higher tiers of competition once more. In CS:GO, the Swede rose to prominence in 2013 after joining LGB eSports, a team that included his current teammates Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson and later on, Simon "twist" Eliasson. The aim-heavy squad was steadily improved, moving up from a 5-8th finish at DreamHack Winter 2013 to a 3-4th finish at EMS One Katowice 2014.
Sadly, just as the team earned its place amongst the world's best and the talk about the Swedes getting support from an organization was getting louder, dennis decided to move away from CS once again and pursue a full-time job opportunity. The news that he was departing from the team came on June 2nd 2014, leaving the squad without an important player and the awaited organizational support as well.
When asked about the decision to leave, dennis was short:
"Of course I regret [the decision to leave competitive CS], but I just had to do it because CS:GO wasn't as big at that time."
Throughout the LGB period, dennis was the nominal in-game leader, but the style of play the team employed was a loose and individualistic one - allowing the stars of the team to play off feeling and putting little strain on Edman. As a result, dennis was one of the standout performers for the team in an era in which most in-game leaders struggled to have an impact individually.
dennis spent the rest of 2014 playing in mixes and standing in for various teams before fully retreating from CS:GO at the start of 2015. His absence was shorter this time, as an offer to join Kinguin tempted him back into competition in July of 2015. Edman joined the international team replacing the team's in-game leader at the time, Alexander "SKYTTEN" Carlsson, but didn't end up taking over his role.
"What made me come back was a bit of everything. I spoke to Olof about the growth of the game, I saw that the prize money was increasing so I just wanted to give it another chance."
Edman instead focused on his own game and a had a good run of form with the international roster, but the change didn't do much in terms of Kinguin's overall level - the shift of IGL duties to Håvard "rain" Nygaard hampered the Norwegian's performance, reducing the impact of dennis' addition.
The team's biggest achievement came in November when, under the G2 banner, they managed a 3-4th finish at the DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca Major and came close to beating the eventual winners EnVyUs in the semi-final. dennis had a solid showing at the event in Romania, picking up a 1.06 rating over 10 maps.
The fact that he was not willing to call the shots raised many doubts when dennis was picked up by fnatic shortly after the Major, as he was replacing Markus "pronax" Wallsten - a legendary in-game leader. The doubters were shortly proved wrong, as that fnatic roster put Robin "flusha" Rönnquist in charge and went on to win all three tournaments they attended before the end of the year: FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 Finals, Fragbite Masters Season 5 and ESL ESEA Pro League Season II Finals.
After a fairly long on-and-off career in Counter-Strike, dennis finally found himself in an elite team moving into 2016.
"The only thing that led me to where I am today is dedication. I play a lot and I watch all the games. I play to win."
"I’ve always known that I have what it takes [to play at the highest level] because throughout all of my career I’ve felt good when I played against the best."
dennis' fnatic came into 2016 as the clear cut #1 team in the world and continued their flawless record at SL i-League StarSeries XIV Finals in Minsk by taking down G2, Luminosity (now SK), and Natus Vincere in the playoffs. dennis ended the event with a 1.07 rating, lagging slightly behind KRIMZ, and a lot behind olofmeister - who was the obvious star of the team at the time. dennis also picked up two Player of the Match awards and had an 1.14 Impact, above average KPR and below average DPR - making him one of the EVP's of the tournament.
The Swedes then flew to Barcelona for the ESL Invitational tournament that featured a "for fun", three-lives system. In different circumstances this event would have been disregarded entirely, but fnatic won the competitive tournament with an 8-1 record, losing only the opening match to EnVyUs. dennis stood out in this tournament, finishing it with a 1.15 rating, 0.76 average kills per round and 80.0 average damage per round. It was another great showing for Edman, who was the MVP of the tournament thanks to his great play in the key matches against Astralis, despite his stats being slightly lower than those of olofmeister.
"When I play the game I have a mindset that no one is better than me, I'm not afraid to take a duel versus anyone, not with any weapon. I can’t say that I'm at my highest level yet either, I feel that I keep improving all the time, learning new things everytime I play with different people in gathers etc."
fnatic's third back-to-back victory of 2016 came in Poland, at IEM Katowice. dennis did not perform as well as he had at the last two event. He had an average showing in the group stage, struggled to make an impact in playoffs against Virtus.pro and Astralis. He finally arrived in the best-of-five grand final against Luminosity where he was fnatic's second best player in the 16-3 trashing on Overpass and put up a strong fight in the 19-15 overtime win on Inferno that secured his team another title.
At this point, fnatic had six straight tournament wins, showing that the ex-LGB player was a good pickup for the team. They were moving into the first Major of the year in glorious form.
"The old fnatic lineup was so good because of how we played with each other, we didn’t hesitate when someone made a decision, we followed and helped out instantly. We listened when someone had ideas and our synergy was probably the best I’ve had in a team. We just had that little extra other teams want."
MLG Columbus ended disappointingly for the team though, as they were crushed by Astralis in the quarter-finals, finishing 5-8th. dennis ended the event with an average 1.03 rating and 0.76 kills per rounds - but it was obvious that something was off with the team's star olofmeister who had a surprisingly bad tournament. Mere days after the Major ended, it was revealed that olofmeister was struggling with an injury and would be taking time off to take care of the problem.
olofmeister's RSI marked the end of the dominant run dennis' fnatic had and the start of a period filled with uncertainty and roster shuffles. First it was Niclas "PlesseN" Plessen filling in, but that episode was short-lived as the youngster was soon replaced by John "wenton" Eriksson with whom they attended ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals. fnatic didn't impress at the tournament in London, finishing 3-4th after a loss to G2. Null element had a mediocre display at the event - finishing with a reasonably high 77.5 average damage per round considering his 0.92 K/D ratio, but a slightly below average rating overall - 0.97.
The team was back in London next month, for the ECS Season 1 LAN finals, and despite the return of olofmeister, the event ended similarly to the last one for the Swedes. After getting through the GSL group stage, fnatic once again ended up 3-4th after a defeat to G2 in the semis. There was a notable difference, however, and that was dennis' performance - fnatic's latest pickup had a bad showing with 0.63 KPR and only 64.2% KAST rounds - resulting in a 0.83 rating, his lowest for the year.
Moving on to the second Major of the year, ESL One Cologne, fnatic were put into the group of death with SK, G2 and FaZe. dennis didn't show up in the opener which they narrowly lost to FaZe, but had a stable performance throughout the rest of the tournament, once again ending with a positive, 1.06 rating, as his team placed 3-4th.
The Swedish all-arounder made up for his lackluster performances soon though. At ELEAGUE Season 1, dennis was one of the EVP's of the tournament, largely thanks to his elite level performance in the semi-final against Natus Vincere where he had a 1.56 rating for the series. dennis was very good in the grand final against Virtus.pro as well, but his team was not there to support his efforts, leaving them with a second place finish in the end. Overall, ELEAGUE was dennis' best tournament of the year as the 25-year-old registered 82.0 ADR and a 1.19 rating over the 17-map season.
"I don’t remember anything special, I guess I just played with a good mouse and good settings! (I switch mice and settings at least 3 times per day :D)"
ELEAGUE was the last event this fnatic roster would play together. In its aftermath, a the Swedish shuffle lead to Jesper "JW" Wecksell, flusha and KRIMZ leaving the team to join GODSENT while fnatic picked up twist, Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson and their earlier stand-in wenton to fill in the vacated spots.
The Black & Orange attended only two events with this lineup - ESL One New York and EPICENTER: Moscow. The Swedes finished both tournaments with somewhat disappointing 5-6th placings, losing to what were considered weaker opposition at the time. dennis had a slightly underwhelming showing at New York, ending with a 0.97 rating and only 67.7% KAST - his second lowest one of the year, but picked it up in Moscow, where he had high Impact (1.15), ADR (78.0) and above average rating (1.06).
"Yes, I do [have regrets about the old roster]. I think we made a mistake when we split up, we were never bad, our worst performance was when we went out in the quarter-finals I believe. Maybe we thought that we were going to be just as good or even better with other players, but the truth is that when you have “it” you should not throw it away. By saying this I don’t mean our current lineup is bad because it isn’t, we just need to work hard to find “it”."
"The most memorable [moment of 2016] was probably learning to love Korean BBQ when we were at ELEAGUE. But the best feeling is always when you win a tournament and feel that you’re the best. When you no longer have that you want to have it so badly again."
Unfortunately, the latest fnatic lineup wasn't able to attend a LAN with their full roster as dennis was forced to miss both ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals and ELEAGUE Season 2 due to personal commitments, and the team didn't qualify for ECS Season 2 Finals. However, dennis did confirm that he is currently the in-game leader of the team, returning to the role after evading it for quite some time.
Looking at dennis' year as a whole, a couple of patterns emerge. According to our stats, dennis was the player who "died for the team" the most often, and was traded quickly, making him a valuable asset to the squad.
"It was done purposely, I have no problem with dying for the team. I often try to make plays or get entries, when I do this I tell the guy behind me to follow so he can revenge if it goes wrong. I really like that you have statistics of this because some players probably feel that what they do is in vain."
Our data shows another interesting stat - dennis' LAN ratings on Cache were significantly higher than his average - 1.15 compared to his normal 1.06. Given the different meta-games being prevalent over the course of the year and his team's roster instability, his consistently high level on the map was impressive.
"Cache is a map where aim matters a lot and I try to use it as much as I can - because I know I have good aim. It’s not an easy AWP map either because of all the smokes you can use on it so it comes down to a lot of rifle duels."
Why is he the 20th best player of 2016?
dennis stood out in 2016 because of his good play in some of the biggest events: he was an EVP at his first event of the year, StarSeries XIV, with his showing in the grand final against Natus Vincere standing out. ELEAGUE Season 1 was his best event of the year - he was fnatic's best player in their second place finish, an EVP overall, and interestingly his best match came against Natus Vincere once again, this time in the semi-final. His Major performances weren't as exceptional as the aforementioned events, but he had an above average, 1.03 rating at MLG Columbus, and was a solid contributor in his team's run to a 3-4th finish at ESL One Cologne.
He stood out as a big game player in another way as well - dennis was the best grand-final player of 2016 with a 1.22 rating over four finals (nine maps), including the best single-map performance in a grand-final as well (Dust2 against Natus Vincere at StarSeries XIV).
The Swede's USP-S plays got him a few highlights in 2016, but there was consistency to back the flashy plays as well - he ended the year with 0.96 kills per round in pistol rounds, ranking #7 overall. Going hand in hand with pistols is good aim - dennis registered 0.42 headshots per round making him one of the best sharpshooters of the year, placing 3rd in the end.
Maybe dennis wasn't putting up super-star numbers, but he proved to be a great team player as 26% of his deaths were traded. His direct impact wasn't too high either, but when he did get 2+ kills in the round, 83% of them were converted into wins - 4th highest percentage for all players in 2016.
There are a few drawbacks to his year though, one of them being inconsistency from event to event - he had an above average rating at only six out of the ten events he attended. dennis also lacked in terms of world class performances at big events. When you remove ESL Barcelona out of the picture due to the size of the event, ELEAGUE Season 1 was the only big tournament where dennis really stood out, and importantly, that was the only event of the year in which he was the highest rated player in his own team.
In the end, the lack of more exceptional performances and him only being one of the best players in his team in 3 of the 10 notable events meant he couldn't be placed any higher than #20 in our list for 2016.
We asked dennis to name one player who is yet to break through, and who could in his opinion become a Top 20 candidate in 2017:
"This is a bold prediction indeed, I would say "ropz" from Estonia. He’s playing so good in FPL that if he plays like this in a team he would be Top 20 player next year."
What did you think of dennis' 2016? Where would you rank him? Let us know in the comment section below.