Number eight on top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com is fnatic's Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, who makes the cut for the third year in a row. The Swedish talent did not reach the same level of 2015, when he was the best player in the world, but his tremendous impact, especially during the first quarter of the year, still sees him finish among the best in the game.
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer has enjoyed a quick growth into stardom in the last two and a half years, but he is anything but a newcomer in the scene. In 2009, he was seen plying his trade for Swedish 1.6 team Aquintra, who put up a decent showing against a more experienced H2k Gaming side at the Swedish World Cyber Games qualifier. At the time, he was already playing with other up-and-coming players, like Richard "Xizt" Landström and Markus "pronax" Wallsten, who would make their big breakthroughs at international level before him, though.
In 2010, olofmeister earned a move to RAGE-Gaming, a team that was already making waves in the scene, but it was a short-lived spell, so he is mostly remembered for playing as a stand-in or on mix teams like a2g or duttdutt during the final years of 1.6.
Shortly after CS:GO was released, olofmeister linked up with H2k Gaming, but the team ended up disbanding just weeks later without attending any event. After two brief spells with Absolute Legends and ESG!, he finally found success when he joined the likes of Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson, Dennis "dennis" Edman and Mikail "Maikelele" Bill on LGB eSports, who would quickly become one of the most exciting young teams in Europe.
olofmeister playing for LGB eSports, his first big team
In September of 2013, LGB took down Na`Vi, who at the time were still adjusting to CS:GO, at TECHLABS Cup Minsk, but their biggest achievement of that year would come at the DreamHack Winter Major, where they once again beat the Eastern European team and also Clan-Mystik to secure a spot in the playoffs, where they would take a map off of Ninjas in Pyjamas in a thrilling Swedish derby.
But the best was yet to come: with Simon "twist" Eliasson and Isak "cype" Rydman on the roster, LGB made the semi-finals at the next Major, EMS Katowice 2014, even taking a map off of Virtus.pro, who would go on to win the title. LGB's players were now among the hottest in the scene, and it was no surprise to see olofmeister and KRIMZ make the move to fnatic, who had parted ways with Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg and Andreas "znajder" Lindberg as they looked to become Major contenders again after a quarter-final exit in Katowice.
A runners-up finish at ESL One Cologne was testament to the potential of fnatic's new lineup, which would win a series of events in the next months (StarSeries X, FACEIT S2, ESWC, Fragbite Masters 3, ESEA S17). A shock 14-16 defeat against HellRaisers at the DreamHack Winter Major put the team up against LDLC in the quarter-finals, with the Swedes eventually forfeiting the match three maps into the series due to the "boostmeister" drama on Overpass. Still, fnatic had to be happy with their results over the previous six months, and olofmeister with his 12th place in our ranking for that year.
2015 was the year that saw fnatic enter the history books as one of the most dominant teams ever to grace the game. The Swedish giants won a whopping ten international titles, including two Major crowns, becoming the first team to take back-to-back wins at Valve-sponsored events, a feat that would be repeated by the Brazilians of Luminosity/SK in 2016.
2015 was a dream year for fnatic and olofmeister
olofmeister's central role for the best team of the year saw him land the number one spot in our player ranking for 2015 - which rewarded not only his consistency (positive rating in 66.3% of all maps) and versatility, but also his tremendous impact across all events, even the ones fnatic did not win.
"I think there are a few reasons why I was the best of 2015. One of them is the experience I had got playing big tournaments and what I had learned from all the teammates that I had had. But the main reason was the confidence that I had, which I guess came with experience. I was just running on autopilot."
Fnatic kicked off the new year by travelling to Minsk for the SL i-League StarSeries XIV Finals. A 0-2 defeat against EnVyUs forced the team to settle for the second spot in their group, but they made up for that with an impressive playoff run that saw them beat G2, Luminosity and Na`Vi en route to the title. olofmeister had the highest number of kills in the tournament, the best rating of his team, 1.16, four POTM awards and an 86.0 ADR, earning his first MVP honour of the year.
Weeks later, Fnatic flew to Spain for the Barcelona CS:GO Invitational, which featured an odd system that saw teams lose one of their three lives for every defeat. After losing their first match, once again against EnVyUs, the Swedish team went on a great run and won eight matches straight to finish at the top of the standings and secure their second title of the year. olofmeister once again led fnatic in terms of Rating (1.15) and also boasted 20+ frags in six of his team's nine matches, getting his hands on an EVP award.
"At the start of the year, motivation was still very high. I love this game and I always will. I do not think anything had changed motivation-wise, I wanted to win everything I was playing and still do. That is just who I am."
olofmeister gave his best showing of the year at IEM Katowice, where he powered fnatic to win the title with a 1.24 rating - 11% higher than the team's average. He had some memorable showings - putting in 37 frags against mousesports or coming through the game against Virtus.pro on Train with a 2.12 rating -, had a total of six POTM awards, had a year-high event ADR of 88.5 and led the tournament charts in terms of total kills (300) by almost 40 frags. It was thus with little surprise that the 24-year-old scooped his second MVP award of the year.
IEM Katowice was olofmeister's best event of 2016
The sky seemed to be the limit for fnatic, but then they surprisingly gave a disappointing account of themselves at MLG Columbus, losing to Liquid in the group stage and then to Astralis in the quarter-finals. It was olofmeister's first event of the year in the red, with an event rating of 0.95 - fnatic's worst, 9% lower than the team's average -, a year-low 70.6 ADR and a 0.68 KPR. The numbers were telling: there was something wrong with olofmeister, as fnatic would confirm just weeks later.
"I started having symptoms after Katowice. At the beginning, I thought it would go away in a few days/weeks, but it never did, so I obviously got stressed and started thinking a lot about it. I do not know if I should have played at the Major or not, I do not think it would have changed anything, to be honest. It was just bad timing that it happened before the Major, it still annoys me a lot, looking back."
After two months out of action, olofmeister returned in time for fnatic's debut in ELEAGUE. He showed glimpses of his old form during the group stage, helping fnatic to top their group with nine positive ratings in 11 games.
"I do remember the ELEAGUE group stage, I played there my first official game after my injury. I had been waiting for so long to play that it was like I was playing my first tournament again. It was so much fun."
Next up were the ECS Season 1 Finals, in London, where fnatic were thumped by G2 in the semi-finals after topping their group with close wins over Cloud9 and TSM. olofmeister was ranked second in his team, with a 0.99 rating, 9% above the team's average.
By the time the next Major came around, no one really knew what to expect from fnatic, especially because of how hard their group was. A 14-16 defeat against FaZe put fnatic on the verge of elimination, but the Swedes bounced back and edged past G2 before taking revenge on FaZe to secure a playoff spot. Fnatic then got a golden ticket to the semi-finals in the form of Gambit, but their Major run stopped at 3rd-4th place as they were knocked out by Liquid. olofmeister finished third best in his team, with a 1.09 Rating and a 1.20 Impact Rating, but with just three positive match ratings (two of which came against Gambit, which attests to his inconsistency in the tournament).
olofmeister believes he will get back to his old self eventually
Fnatic then returned to Atlanta for the ELEAGUE Season 1 playoffs - their final stop before the Summer break. olofmeister put in great performances in the first two rounds as fnatic beat EnVyUs and Na`Vi, but then he was simply off the pace in the 0-2 defeat against Virtus.pro in the final (0.68 Rating, the team's lowest). Overall, he ended the season with a 1.18 Rating, the team's second best, a 74.1% KAST and four POTM awards, earning him the title of EVP.
"I think we had very high expectations for ourselves. We thought we were playing really badly, but in reality we were doing okay. Of course we could have ended our time together in a better way. I think we all learned a lot from it."
After the break and the triple swap with GODSENT, fnatic attended ESL One New York, which also ended in disappointment for them as they finished 5th-6th with two victories from five games in the Swiss group stage. With a 0.90 Rating, olofmeister was ranked fourth in his team, with his best numbers coming in the 16-3 thrashing of OpTiC on Train. At EPICENTER: Moscow, fnatic made it through their group with three straight draws in best-of-two clashes, but then they were beaten by dignitas in the Round of 6. olofmeister was the third best player of his team, with a 1.01 Rating and two POTM awards the only positives to show.
“I am going to be honest: when the changes happened, my motivation went down and I started to doubt myself even more. The fact is that I had played with the other two guys for almost two years straight and we knew everything about each other ingame.
"Lately, I feel the motivation is back and we started from zero again, so we are learning something new every day."
ELEAGUE Season 2 would be the final event of the year for fnatic, who by then had already brought KRIMZ back as a replacement for Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson. They were, however, unable to attend the competition with dennis, who cited personal issues. With head coach Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson as a substitute, fnatic finished third of their group, behind dignitas and OpTic, with olofmeister hitting a year-low Rating of 0.85 - still his team's best and 9% above their average.
Questioned about his drop from first to eighth in our ranking, olofmeister believes that his placing would have been much higher if he had not sustained that arm injury, which also hurt the team's chances at multiple events.
"Yes, I have no doubt about it. I still have issues, but I am getting used to it more and more, and I think I can get back to where I was. The biggest reason why I have not been playing as well as before is confidence. With time, it will come. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will come."
Why is he the 8th best player of 2016?
olofmeister comes in at number eight in no small part due to being the MVP of the first two big events of the year, SL i-League StarSeries XIV and IEM Katowice. He was especially impressive at the latter, which was without a doubt one of the most keenly-contested non-Major events of the year. He was the uncontested best player in the world after the first quarter of 2016, during which his performances played a key role in fnatic's success.
It is worth noting that olofmeister is one of just four players to have two or more MVP awards in 2016's medium/big events. Adding to that, he put in an impressive EVP performance in ELEAGUE Season 1.
"2017 goals? Talking is cheap, but my first priority is for my team to be number one again. I hope to be in the top 20 list again next year and to stream more."
Ranked fifth overall in terms of big matches alone (1.12 Rating), olofmeister had several multi-kill rounds (especially 3K+, at which he was the fifth best in the world) and he also excelled at getting opening kills (0.12 per round, one of the best in our top 20). His impact can also be measured from the fact that fnatic won 73.1% rounds in which he got at least one kill - the highest percentage of all players.
olofmeister could have placed even higher on our list if his numbers had not dropped in the post-Summer break. Still, not many players managed to outdo him by the end of the year, which goes to show just how dominant he was during the first months.
When asked to name a rising talent that he thinks will make our list next year, olofmeister went with Epsilon's Fredrik "REZ" Sterner - who was also picked by Astralis' Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye and GODSENT's Robin "flusha" Rönnquist.
"From what I have seen, he has a sick aim and he is from the same surburb as me, so he must be good!"