After personal issues saw him benched in 2016, Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný returned to the active lineup of mousesports at the beginning of 2017 and had a great year with European squad. High impact and exceptional fragging earned the Czech AWPer the 16th spot in our top 20 Players of 2017 powered by EGB.com.
Even though his rise to prominence in CS:GO coincided with the kickoff of FACEIT's PUG system FPL, Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný is no newcomer to the Counter-Strike scene. The Czech's first international LAN appearance was in 2008, when he starred for nEophyte at the highly competitive ESWC Masters of Paris, at the age of 17.
The Czech team didn't make a big splash at the event and was eliminated in groups after losses to the likes of Fatih "gob b" Dayik's mousesports and Pentagram, featuring Filip "NEO" Kubski and Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas, which is actually how most of oskar's international CS 1.6 LANs went. With the Counter-Strike scene being way different at the time than it is nowadays, oskar was limited to playing one international LAN per year and stuck in the Czech-Slovak scene, in which the talent pool was very small.
"It was definitely harder in 1.6 than it is now, now there are more chances for talented players to catch on and get out into the world. I didn't have much of a choice, I couldn't speak English, no one taught me that at school, so I couldn't do anything but learn by myself by any means available."
"When I did get a chance to play among European players in some invite mIRC channel it was too late, because at that time CS:GO was already starting, but yes, I even ditched school to play 1.6 gathers with f0rest and GeT_RiGhT, it was fun and I don't regret anything. I do not think the Czech Republic had the talent to compete in the world. Even though I wasted my best CS years in my country, I'm still hoping for better years."
oskar hopped on to CS:GO pretty early, playing at the AMD Sapphire CS:GO Invitational in Prague in December of 2012. His team, myDGB.net, finished third to NiP and VeryGames, earning $4,000—a sizeable prize at the time—for their efforts. The team's result was largely down to the performances of oskar and his Slovakian teammate Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, who finished the tournament with 1.12 and 1.13 ratings, respectively.
The majority of the myDGB.net squad made the switch to 3DMAX at the start of 2013, but the team didn't have the same level of success at their next two LANs, Mad Catz Vienna and Copenhagen Games 2013, events that were also a lot worse for oskar individually. Before the end of the year, oskar would play out another underwhelming international LAN, the Prague Challenge, where his team FU.sk finished without a win from four maps.
"I tried out CS:GO with the guys at the beginning, when the game came out, but I despised it, I probably didn't want to get over the fact that 1.6 was ending and I was afraid of a new beginning, because CS:GO didn't fit me very well. I still remember a LAN, I was working in a factory and someone invited me to a tournament. I didn't have a PC for it, I barely played the game, but I went there to meet new people and try my luck. I didn't take it seriously at all, I maybe even drank Czech beer whilst playing, but I still enjoyed the LAN. Then I packed my things and went to my town, from where I watched CS:GO tournaments at work or at home, picturing I could be there and play as well. My biggest motivation was NEO and TaZ, I had met them personally in 2008 and they were still at the top."
After Prague Challenge, oskar would disappear from the scene for almost two years, with his only appearances in the period coming from representing the Czech Republic in national competitions. The Czech player finally made a comeback in 2015, and with a combination of international mixes, streaming and domestic support, oskar was drawn back into CS:GO.
"It took me a long time to persuade myself, but I bought a new PC and started streaming for 20 people who remembered me from the 1.6 days. The most loyal gave me the energy and motivation for the future. Then I got into the circle of dumas, robiin and others, I don't exactly remember how, but we played some qualifier. I was streaming it and I did pretty well, that was maybe the first time I attracted 100 or more viewers, which gave me the motivation to go for my goals."
"Then came the offer from nEophyte, I don't remember this part that much, to be honest, but I know I was still working and we had just played EnVyUs and gave them a run for their money. I then went to work my night shift with a horrible feeling, I wanted to stay at home to watch the match and play CS. Then Fraternitas came along, and on this team I was the only one getting paid so that I could quit my job and focus fully on CS:GO. For that I thank kubrahead (Tomáš "kubrahead" Kubrický, Fraternitas co-owner), who gave me that opportunity, because without him I probably wouldn't be one of the best in CS:GO, but only one of the best in our factory."
Fraternitas, where he played alongside Martin "STYKO" Styk and Patrik "Zero" Žúdel, was no world-beater team, but their online performances were noted and earned them spots in the inaugural month of FACEIT's Pro League. The Czech-Slovak players jumped on the opportunity to play amongst the European CS elite, with oskar raising a lot of eyebrows in the second month of the competition, when he took first place.
The squad's time with Fraternitas came to an end in September of 2015 due to financial struggles, which prompted HellRaisers, who were rebuilding their squad after the departure of longtime members like Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov, Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev and Rustem "mou" Telepov, to snatch some of the Czech-Slovak talent. oskar and STYKO were the first to join the Ukrainian organization, Zero followed, and Richard "queztone" Strnátko was also a part of the squad for a short period of time, helping them win Copenhagen Games 2016.
Before that, however, oskar had his LAN debut for HellRaisers at the PGL Minor Championship at the start of 2016, and was the main star in his side's victory in Bucharest. Great individual showings continued throughout oskar's HellRaisers stint, with the Czech finishing with absurdly high ratings at events such as Copenhagen Games 2016 (1.38) and the DreamHack Tours 2016 Minor (1.43). oskar was also incredibly consistent, as he played 10 events during his stay with HellRaisers and finished only one of them with a below-average rating—and that was the last one, DreamHack Open Summer, when his transfer to mousesports was more or less a done deal.
There was a big stain on oskar's HellRaisers résumé: despite his great efforts, the team couldn't qualify for a Major, failing at the MLG Columbus 2016 Main Qualifier and the ESL One Cologne 2016 Main Qualifier, despite getting into great situations to do so on both occasions.
"My time in HR was beneficial in some ways, I learned a few things, I grew into a good player and gained experience from tournaments, so my memories of HR are positive—we enjoyed our time. I think our disappointments at the Major qualifiers were down to the inexperience of the whole team, we failed during the most important moments and we perhaps saw ourselves at the Major before we even played the final match that determined whether we'd be there."
oskar made a swap to mousesports in August and attended a bootcamp with the team before debuting on LAN at the end of September. The event in question was the Gfinity CS:GO Invitational, and it would end up being Czech's worst event of the year. oskar was able to play out the opener against GODSENT fairly well, but was blown out of the water in the grand final against Envy, in which he finished as the team's worst player in their 3-0 defeat.
His performance at the event, and, more importantly, the personal issues that he struggled with during the tournament in London led to him ending up on the bench of mousesports and going inactive for the rest of the year.
"The fact that I quit mousesports prematurely was my fault, I gave up and I needed to sort out my priorities. I couldn't take the pressure, I didn't feel well on the team and that affected my performance. It wasn't me, but you know how it is, what is meant to happen happens, and everything bad is good in some way. Those three months on the bench opened my eyes and I tried to be the player I wanted to be all my life. It could also have ended up in a way where mousesports would not take me back, in that case I would have probably regretted my decision for the rest of my life."
This meant that oskar missed another chance to play at a Major, as mousesports would go on to add Christian "loWel" Garcia Antoran before qualifying for and playing at the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major, in January 2017.
As mousesports went out of the Major in an underwhelming fashion, with a 1-3 record that included stomps at the hands of fnatic and Liquid, the European mixture decided to shake up the roster and give oskar a second chance. His first event with the team, DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, was where mousesports bid farewell to Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, who had already been bought out of his contract by FaZe.
In a relaxed atmosphere and playing a loose style of Counter-Strike, oskar had his first good LAN event with mousesports. The Czech was the second-best player of the team (1.19 rating) in their 5-8th finish and had a memorable game on Mirage against FaZe, where he went 33-17 to earn his side a place in the playoffs.
After that, mousesports went through another phase of roster changes, and ended up bringing Chris "chrisJ" de Jong back and adding the talented youngster Robin "ropz" Kool to the mix. The team would only debut on LAN in May at DreamHack Open Tours, three months after oskar had rejoined the team for DreamHack Masters Las Vegas. That left chrisJ, who took over as the IGL, a lot of time to think about how he wanted to utilize oskar. The Czech AWPer proved that he could be a star player on HellRaisers, but would he be able to step into NiKo's shoes and become the main contributor?
"I wouldn't say the game was built around me, everyone had their own role. Most of all I approached it differently, the systems in HellRaisers and mousesports were different and I had to adjust, which wasn't a problem. I had a good time, I just needed to stop dealing with useless things, start focusing on the game instead of having my head elsewhere, that is my biggest and most frequent enemy. [Regarding having more freedom since NiKo was gone,] I had the freedom in Vegas with NiKo as well, we were running around communicating. It was a good experience even though I was hoping our cooperation would last longer."
At DreamHack Open Tours, oskar earned his first EVP award with a strong 1.26 rated performance. Interestingly, it was on the offensive side where he did most of his work, averaging a year-high 1.42 Terrorist side rating, as well as a 90.3 ADR, which is extremely high for an AWPer. mousesports would only finish 3rd-4th at the event after losing to the eventual champions G2 in the semi-final, but it would set them up nicely for the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals around the corner.
oskar would log another good event in Dallas, finishing all five group stage maps with above average ratings, before having a mediocre outing against SK in the round-of-six, which the Brazilians convincingly won 2-0. Even though he finished with a high 1.11 rating and his stats were green across the board, oskar didn't stand out for his team here as much as he would throughout the year. He was "just" 10% better rated than his team's average and was only the second-best player in the squad—being slightly edged by ropz.
DreamHack Open Summer wasn't a great event for mousesports, but oskar performed well despite the team's struggles. The Czech put up great numbers in mousesports' tight win over Singularity as well as in their loss to SK, once again standing out on the T side (1.31 rating) and with a high ADR (85.1).
"Of course, to get to the Major was one of my goals. I was indescribably happy even if you can't tell by my expression. That feeling died down after a few days, though, I wanted more and so I started focusing on the Major itself."
oskar didn't lack focus at ESL One Cologne 2017, but perhaps his team did: he carried mousesports throughout the group stage of the event, but even 40 kills in the deciding game against Cloud9 weren't enough for his side to edge out the North Americans and secure the playoffs. The Czech sniper also showed great clutching in Cologne, with six 1vX's won over five maps, and had a very high impact rating of 1.40.
The PGL Krakow Major was oskar's 6th consecutive above-average rated event, but it was a below-average event in terms of his showing in 2017 The AWPer was positive in three out of the four maps they played and had a solid showing in the win over FaZe, but still wasn't quite at the level mousesports needed him to be to make a deep run in Poland—they ended up eliminated in the group stage with a 1W-3L record.
"I don't know [what to make of PGL Krakow], to be honest, it was my first Major, I was motivated and excited to play, but the tournament wasn't without its issues. I don't want to make excuses, everyone had the same conditions, but when you have those issues it can be demotivating. I definitely could have put up a much better performance, we all could, but sadly it didn't go our way and it was a big disappointment for us."
"For me, only my roommate changed. But no, our game changed, we used to play in fear, we were afraid to do something, something more, to create a situation. suNny and STYKO are creative and when they're playing well, they can create space for the others or win the round themselves. You then believe in yourself more, you know the game isn't just on you but also on the other four players."
The new roster didn't get off to a flying start, as a tough group and just a few days of practice saw mousesports eliminated from DreamHack Masters Malmö after two maps, and oskar recording his first, albeit minimally, below-average rating in 2017. However, with 0.98, oskar was still by far the best mousesports player in Malmö (37% above average) and had a whopping 1.40 impact rating.
What was soon to follow would make up for mousesports's debut-LAN flop. The team headed for ESG Tour Mykonos, by definition a medium-sized event, but still one where they had to face quite serious opposition.
oskar was on a tear throughout the event and accumulated an average rating of 1.45 over the eight maps leading up to the grand final, which included a 37-19 K-D Train game (28 AWP kills) in the semi-final decider against Virtus.pro.
The Czech slowed down just a bit in the grand final and went negative for the first time on the two maps they lost to Liquid, Inferno and Mirage. However, with the grand final tied at 2-2, oskar had a marvellous game on Nuke, destroying the North Americans with a 30-6 performance in his side's 16-4 victory.
oskar's incredible display at ESG Tour Mykonos, which he finished with a year-high 1.33 rating and 1.49 impact, as well as ten 1vX's won and +96 KDD differential, was rewarded with an MVP award, the first one of his career.
"I don't even know [what clicked for me there], we had just gotten back from DreamHack Masters Malmö, if I'm not mistaken, when I had to play with a flu. We didn't have huge expectations for Mykonos, we mostly went there to gain experience and play our own game. After two days in Mykonos, I got better and played well, the conditions were perfect and I felt great, I even kept my head in the game for the entire tournament, which probably had the biggest effect on my performance."
The year's high point was immediately followed by the year's low, as mousesports travelled to Atlanta for the ELEAGUE Premier group stage straight after Mykonos. oskar's level fell of a cliff and the same happened with suNny's and ropz's, resulting in mousesports crashing out of a fairly underwhelming group with losses to Immortals, who were playing with Raphael "cogu" Camargo, and fnatic.
"Tasting victory at such a tournament (ESG Tour Mykonos) was nice, but I don't think it had an impact on my performance, it was more about exhaustion from traveling, because we were in Malmö, Mykonos and ELEAGUE in a row. I was sick again, and that probably impacted me the most. It's hard to work when your brain isn't functioning, but I tried to give my best. Unfortunately, fame was replaced by disappointment."
The European team would have a month-long break from LAN events after ELEAGUE before heading out to Denver for another DreamHack Open stop. oskar's level was back to normal and he practically farmed his rating over three maps against LDLC (16-4, 16-2 and 16-4), but showed up against BIG as well, going 26-16 in his side's 16-10 loss. That upset would put mousesports on an early collision course with Cloud9 in the semi-finals, which they lost to the eventual winners of the event 2-1.
oskar earned an EVP award in Denver and added his third EVP from a DreamHack Open event in December at DreamHack Open Winter. In Jönköping, the AWPer was on point all the way to the grand finals, with the Train game against Gambit standing out (26-6 K-D, 2.57 rating). However, oskar fell apart in the grand final against Natus Vincere, recording an 0.55 average rating over the two maps played.
"I have been trying to find my form since Mykonos. I didn't want to play CS after the sound updates, so I played more PUBG and that impacted me the most. Otherwise, Na`Vi played a good tournament and deserved the win, s1mple did well and I unfortunately couldn't stop him because I wasn't even on the server. Hopefully the time for revenge will come soon."
To end the year, mousesports went to Cancun, Mexico for the ECS Season 4 Finals. The tournament started poorly for them, though, as they received a 16-4 thrashing from OpTic on Mirage, but they bounced back shortly. oskar was a important player in mousesports' victory over Luminosity and also helped his side eliminate OpTic in a BO3 rematch.
The semi-final, where his side took on Astralis, wasn't a stand-out game for the Czech, but the grand final definitely was. He started with another great Nuke game (31-22 K-D), a map where he interestingly leaves the AWPing to chrisJ, and added two more 30 bombs on Inferno and Mirage. Unfortunately for him, all of that wasn't enough for the win as FaZe posted two overtime victories, leaving oskar with just a second place and an EVP award.
oskar was left with mixed feelings after the ECS Season 4 Finals:
"Happy? Yes and no. I know we should have brought that trophy home. We couldn't close rounds and we lost rounds that are impossible to lose, but that is the power of FaZe too, there is a reason they are a top two team. Even without the trophy, I think it was an exciting final for the viewers, while we gained more experience and showed people we can fight as well and that they shouldn't count us out."
"To quit snus and get to every prestigious event, play in playoffs, win tournaments, be number one and engrave my name in people's memory."
Why is he the 16th best player of 2017?
There is no shying away from the fact that oskar performed well at the events he attended, as he was the 6th highest-rated player across big and small events with a 1.18 rating. He was also one of the best fraggers with 0.78 KPR (5th) and one of the best AWPers with a 0.41 AWP KPR (3rd).
The Czech player stood out in terms of impact as well, which can be seen in a few statistics: he recorded 0.13 opening kills per round (5th), multikills in 20.2% of the rounds he played (5th), and a clutch in 1.8% of the rounds he played (3rd).
His MVP-worthy performance at ESG Tour Mykonos was one of the highest peaks from a player this year, and even though the event wasn't a big one, it was one of the most competitive events of the year not to earn such a label.
A counter-balance to the mentioned positives is that a sizeable portion of his best showings came from tournaments that don't fall into the "big event" category. That can be seen in his average rating from small and medium-sized tournaments being 1.25—noticeably higher than his year-long LAN average of 1.18—, as well as three out of his four EVPs coming from DreamHack Open tournaments.
It must be said that oskar didn't perform poorly at big events, though. He averaged a 1.11 rating from 37 maps played, making him the 14th best-rated big event player of 2017, but he did fall off significantly in bracket play. With a 1.04 rating in the knockout rounds of big events, oskar is the lowest-rated player in that category to make the top 20 of this year, which ultimately prevented him from being ranked any higher in his first appearance in our top 20 list.
"I can't say I'm happy with my performances, there's always something to improve on. My biggest problem is the flu, probably from traveling, I have to take better care of myself. When it comes to CS, it's just in my head and I've been fighting that for quite a long time, my performance is often based on the first round of the first match, even though the OpTic match in Cancun was an exception. When I don't feel it, I'm just not playing well despite all my efforts, maybe it's a problem that I try too hard, and the more I try the worse I do. I have to get a different mindset, keep my head in the game and avoid trying too much, which maybe hurts me."
We asked oskar who he thinks will break out and earn a Top 20 spot in 2018, and he went for Natus Vincere's Denis "electronic" Sharipov, with a side mention for the youngster from his region David "frozen" Čerňanský:
"It's hard to say, normally I would have said frozen, but he still has time, so I'll say electronic because he has Zeus and s1mple, with whom he can learn and become one of the best."