One for the future: CeRq
Fiery 17-year-old AWPer Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov could become the superstar Bulgaria needs for his country to finally enjoy international success.
Bulgaria has always had a volatile scene, with constant shuffles and roster changes. Because of this, it has not been able to produce noteworthy results in recent times, especially since the start of 2017. The fact that the biggest squad — featuring the likes of Emiliyan "spyleadeR" Dimitrov, Kamen "bubble" Kostadinov, Viktor "v1c7oR" Dyankov and Simeon "dream3r" Ganev — has constantly changed organizations, from Gplay to Orbit to E-frag and now Imperial (and even spent a considerable amount of time without an organization under the name MK) has not helped their case.
The squad disbanded at the end of 2016 but came together again in 2017 with the exclusion of Nikolay "nkl" Krastev. Although they finished 3rd-4th at the StarLadder StarSeries XIII Finals in June of 2015 and won the ESEA Season 22 Global Challenge, in 2016, they haven't been consistent enough to move up in the ranking. One of the country's most valuable players, dream3r, has not been able to provide much assistance as he was VAC banned in 2014 and has had an on-and-off presence since then, being able to play in some tournaments and unable to do so in others.
However, the Bulgarians' hopes remain very much alive thanks to the potential of a young talent. Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov, who started playing Counter-Strike 1.6 when his cousin introduced him to the game, played CS:GO casually until Teodor "SPELLAN" Nikolov formed WinFiction and invited him to join the team. "That's when the grind started", said CeRq, who attended his first LAN in May of 2016, in Sofia.
WinFiction lost 2-0 to Bpro, but CeRq posted a 1.12 Rating in his first-ever LAN match against Bpro, a remarkable achievement for the then 16-year-old. "After I stopped playing for Bpro, I met CeRq in a FACEIT game and I soon started playing with him." said SPELLAN, who gave CeRq a chance in his newly formed team, called Winfiction."I saw his big potential from the very beginning and decided to invite him to the team as everyone needs an AWPer like him in a team."
In contrast with his decent start, CeRq was like a ghost at ESWC Bulgaria 2016, where he averaged a 0.85 rating in a best-of-three series against HEADSHOTBG, which WinFiction lost 2-0. CeRq bounced back in the following months, helping his team to finish second at Game Evolution and to win the ESL South East Europe Championship Season 4 Finals. In the grand final of the ESL event, CeRq put on a 37:13 score, a 108.4 ADR and a 1.95 Rating under the banner of their new organization, Outlaws. In these two tournaments, CeRq averaged a 1.31 Rating across ten maps.
In February, Outlaws attended the $15,000 Assembly Winter 2017, which took place in Helsinki, Finland. The Bulgarians finished in second place, but CeRq's displays throughout the event were mediocre. In the best-of-three grand final against dizLown, CeRq had a 56.3 ADR and a 0.93 rating; his performance wasn't bright enough to carry his team to win the championship.
Recently, Outlaws faced Kinguin in the quarter-finals at GeForce Cup 2017, and this time around CeRq showed up, even though his team lost the match. Over the course of two maps, he had a 53:38 score, a 97.3 ADR and a 1.41 Rating. He showed the Poles his true potential and single-handedly prevented the game from being a complete blowout. Overall, CeRq's LAN performances have fluctuated, but he has acquitted himself quite well for a player who is just starting his career.
SPELLAN thinks that playing with CeRq is marvellous because he's intelligent and already knows what to do in most situations. "He is the best Bulgarian AWPer and he is progressing swiftly day by day", says SPELLAN, "I can see him in the Top 20 players of the world list in the future. He has the potential to play against and beat the top tier teams."
However, in order to fulfil his potential, CeRq still has a long way to go. He can perform against mid-tier teams just fine, but the story is different when it comes to the top tier as he hasn't got much experience at this level. Outlaws rarely get to face top opposition, so it is hard to judge how CeRq performs against big-name teams. He will have to make the most of these rare chances in the future to get noticed and gain a reputation.
So what makes him stand out in the mid-tier competition? The young Bulgarian's distinctive feature is his seemingly effortless use of the AWP, like a painter with his brush. If moving with AWP is a form of art, CeRq might one day become one of the best artists in the world. The lack of elite AWPers leaves the field open for CeRq to rise and become a superstar. You don't have to take my word for it, though, as our video editor Anton "Molen" Koev has put together a highlight reel to showcase CeRq's talent:
If CeRq continues his development and properly uses the rare chances he gets against top teams, he can one day become the superstar Bulgaria needs. For now, he has to keep progressing. He has the will to keep going, dedicating at least one hour only to his AWP every day. In the future, if everything works out, he plans to go international and represent Bulgaria the same way Nikola "NiKo" Kovač represents Bosnia - a possibility that he does not rule out. "There is no reason not to play in an international team in the future," he admits.