ELEAGUE Major: the EVPs
With ELEAGUE Major Boston in the rearview mirror, it is time to look at the numbers and reveal which players did enough to justify EVP selections.
The first Big Event of the year came to an end last Sunday, with Cloud9 defeating FaZe in a three-map thriller to give North America its very first Major crown in CS:GO. You can read more about our takeaways of the Boston Major in the "Winners and Losers" article written by our reporter Zvonimir "Professeur" Burazin shortly after the event.
As we revealed right after the grand final, Tarik "tarik" Celik was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the event after inspiring Cloud9 to win the final with team-leading performances in their map wins. His performance against FaZe helped push his average rating to 1.22 - the highest in his team.
Now, it is time to look at the Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs), players who stood out from the pack, either by performing consistently on a high level or by putting in great displays in big matches that led to team success.
tarik's teammates have all received EVP mentions, which goes to show that Cloud9's success story in Atlanta/Boston truly came down to a strong collective performance as the players stood out at different points of the tournament. The North American quartet are joined by the top three performers of FaZe and by two players who did not make the final - one from Natus Vincere and one from fnatic.
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács was one of the most impactful players at the Major and a solid contender for the MVP award right until the end. Averaging a 1.24 Rating, the Slovakian put in 1+ ratings in all games he played except the very last one, in which his low ADR (67.2) helps to explain his 0.96 Rating despite having a +1 KDD.
The former Na`Vi AWPer was the top performer in the New Legends Stage, in which he boasted a 1.53 rating after MVP-worthy displays against Vega Squadron (1.99, +17 KDD) and SK (1.49, +12 KDD). When it came to the playoffs, his rating dropped to 1.14 - FaZe’s third highest, behind Nikola "NiKo" Kovač (1.21) and Håvard "rain" Nygaard (1.15).
Despite failing to break his Major duck, GuardiaN still has plenty of reasons to be happy about how he fared in the tournament: he was by far the best AWPer (0.52 kills per round with the 'Big Green'), the best clutcher (eight 1vsX situations won, with a 100% success rate in four 1v1s and four 1v2s) and one of the five highest-rated player. He also led the charts in terms of KDD (+61).
Just like GuardiaN, Timothy "autimatic" Ta made a very compelling case to be in contention for the MVP crown. Curiously, the 21-year-old got off to a slow start as he had a 0.76 rating in his team’s opening defeat to G2, but he acquitted himself really well in the rest of the tournament, which he finished with a 1.20 rating - a much-needed boost after being in the red at IEM Oakland and at the ECS Season 4 Finals.
autimatic was Cloud9’s second-best performer in both the New Legends Stage (1.19) and in the playoffs (1.20). He did not earn a single PotM (Player of the Map) nod, but his consistency (1.16 Impact and 74.8% KAST), especially on the Terrorist side, on which he averaged a 1.23 rating (his closest teammate being William "RUSH" Wierzba at 1.11), was key to Cloud9’s success.
The North American player was the joint-highest fragger of the tournament (258 kills), along with teammate tarik, and was in the top five when it came to KDD (+53) and total headshots (112).
NiKo looked on course to have a memorable tournament, but his performances surprisingly dropped off in the title decider, in which he was ranked fourth in the team after sub-par displays on Mirage and Overpass.
Still, the Bosnian’s showings up until the grand final were more than enough to warrant an EVP mention. He had a 1.45 rating in FaZe’s wins - higher than those of his teammates - and, despite looking well off the pace against Cloud9, he was still the team’s highest-rated player in the playoffs at 1.21, which speaks volumes about how dominant he was against mousesports (1.52 Rating, +24 KDD and 107 ADR) and Natus Vincere (1.50 Rating, +20 KDD and 99 ADR).
NiKo led the tournament in total headshots (128) and broke into the top five in six other categories, including Rating (1.24), clutches won (seven), and KDD (+50). He also had three PotM mentions, just as many as GuardiaN, and had the team’s highest average damage dealt at 85.6.
Similarly to autimatic, Jake "Stewie2K" Yip took some time to get into the swing of things, putting in below-par displays against G2 (0.86) and Space Soldiers (0.67), but he made up for that in the next three games, bringing down the curtain on the New Legends Stage with a respectable 1.17 rating.
Stewie2K's presence was particularly felt on the CT side, on which he averaged a 1.27 rating, the second-highest of the team, while as a Terrorist, he struggled to make his mark, posting a 0.99 rating, by far the team's lowest. Besides having Cloud9’s highest Impact Rating (1.19), he was the team’s best-rated player in the games they won (1.30) and had just as many maps with 1.15+ ratings as tarik and autimatic (nine).
One other aspect in which Stewie2K stood out was entry fragging: he had 42 opening kills, finishing second to rain's 44. However, it is worth mentioning that the North American youngster also had 42 opening deaths, which puts him behind teammate Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham, who had a +15 opening frag difference.
Skadoodle was one of three Cloud9 players who performed better in the playoffs than in the New Legends Stage. In both stages, he was the team's third-best player, going from an average 1.12 rating in the Swiss stage to an average 1.17 rating in the knockout rounds, and finishing 11 of the 13 maps he played with 1+ ratings.
The 24-year-old was one of the hardest players to kill (0.57 deaths per round, joint-lowest with GuardiaN) and, as, mentioned before, had the second-highest number of opening kills of his team (41) but led in terms of opening kill difference (+15, second only to GuardiaN's 17). And while he had 132 kills with the AWP, the second highest overall, he was only ranked fifth in terms of AWP KPR (0.40), together with Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
To help his case, the North American AWPer had two PotM picks in the playoffs, won three 1vsX situations and was Cloud9's top-rated player in the grand final against FaZe, although his highest map rating in the series (1.42, on Mirage) did not lead to a victory.
Before the final, one of the frontrunners in the MVP race was Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, who had posted above-average ratings on every map he had played. However, he was unable to keep the same level in the title decider, in which his 0.98 rating saw his playoff rating drop to 1.13 - significantly lower than his group stage's 1.41.
The Swedish player showed remarkable consistency throughout the event without ever overshadowing GuardiaN or NiKo - his 83.2 ADR and 75.0% KAST were FaZe's second highest, his 1.20 Impact only their fourth highest. He was ranked first in terms of deaths traded (23.9%) but only third in terms of rating in map wins (1.33), while he did not make the top five in any of the main leaderboards, which helps to explain why he does not show up higher on the list.
RUSH is the fifth Cloud9 player to deserve a special mention, and he makes the cut primarily due to his performances up until the semi-finals, having been the only player from his team to not take his number of maps with 1+ ratings to double digits.
The 23-year-old was by far Cloud9's top performer in the New Legends Stage, with a 1.25 rating, and he also put in a strong display in the quarter-final clash against G2 (1.48 Rating, +17 KDD and 93.4 ADR). But in the final two rounds of the tournament, he had above-average ratings on only half of the maps that he played, which brought his playoff rating down to 1.10 - the team's lowest.
Still, he was an important cog in the Cloud9 machine, boasting the highest percentage of support rounds overall (25.2%) and a team-high five 1vsX situations won, 0.18 assists per round and a 76.1% KAST. His 25.1% traded deaths ranked him second in the team, along with Stewie2K.
Egor "flamie" Vasilyev started the year the same way he had begun 2017: with a bang at a Major. After averaging a tournament-high 1.36 rating in Na`Vi's quarter-final run at ELEAGUE Major 2017, he went even further this time around, putting up a sensational 1.38 rating, the highest overall.
The Russian player had 1.30+ ratings on five of the eight maps he played, but the one performance that really made him the talk of the town was his dominant showing on Mirage against Quantum Bellator Fire: 2.99 rating, 180 ADR, +31 KDD and 95% KAST, breaking the record for the most kills and highest KPR and ADR in regulation at a Major.
Besides topping the rating charts, flamie led in ADR (99.1), KPR (0.94), Impact (1.56) and rating in map wins (1.83). He also had three 1vsX clutches won, a 74% KAST and a +11 opening kill difference. It would have been a campaign run for the ages had his level not dropped considerably in the semi-final match against FaZe, in which he averaged a 0.82 rating. With his impact somewhat limited to the early stages of the tournament, flamie has to settle for one of the bottom places on the list.
Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson is the only player who could not even reach the semi-finals that still deserves a special mention, after averaging a 1.29 rating, the second highest of the tournament. His performances against Virtus.pro (2.07), Astralis (1.48) and Gambit (2.47) saw him end the New Legends Stage with the third-highest rating, 1.50, and two PotM nods, but SK proved to be too much for his team to handle in the quarter-finals.
The 23-year-old was on fire in the Overpass game against the Brazilians (1.35 rating) in what was an otherwise disappointing series from him (1.07 Rating, the second highest of the team). His playoff form was the main reason that he does not appear higher on the list, despite putting up some impressive numbers in the tournament: 90.4 ADR, 1.36 Impact and 1.47 Terrorist Rating (the highest overall).