ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals: the EVPs
With ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals coming to a close last weekend, we reflect on the $750,000 tournament's best players to present our seven Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs).
The Dallas tournament saw one of the heavy favorites, Astralis, crowned champions, as they once again turned up in fantastic form and dominated the competition up until the grand final, in which Liquid gave the Danes a run for their money.
Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen was named ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals' MVP as Astralis' best player at the tournament, earning such an award for the first time in his long and successful career, but there are more awards left to give; to the EVPs.
Below you can find the list of our EVPs of ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals:
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order)
Nicolai "device" Reedtz
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander
Nikola "NiKo" Kovač
Denis "electroNic" Sharipov
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Emil "Magisk" Reif
Keith "NAF" Markovic
Just like Astralis as a whole, device continues to impress with yet another fantastic showing in Dallas, which earned him his fourth EVP in a row, dating back to IEM Katowice, when the Danes came into the forefront once again.
device was one of the best fraggers of the tournament with a 0.83 KPR while also being one of the hardest to kill (0.57 DPR, second fewest), and he ranked top-five in many other categories, including overall rating (1.33, second highest), impact rating (1.43, first), and ADR (86.3, fifth most).
Much of his impact came from opening duels, at which he was one of the best as well, with 0.16 opening kills per round and a 65.2% success rate. The 22-year-old was also the best-rated player on the CT side (1.55 rating), and the second-best in playoffs (1.38 rating), as he improved from a 1.26 group stage rating.
As mentioned above, Astralis' in-game leader was a heavy candidate for the MVP award at the end of the tournament, in large part thanks to a brilliant showing in the playoffs, where he averaged a 1.36 rating after a flawless semi-final performance versus FaZe (1.76 rating) and solid play in the grand final.
He was the fourth highest-rated player (1.26 overall rating) and dealt a lot of damage (87.4, fourth most). Otherwise — similarly to the rest of the team —, he was a hard player to kill with 0.59 deaths per round (fourth fewest) and scored plenty of assists (0.16 per round).
NiKo picks up his fifth EVP mention this year as the best non-Astralis player of ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals and by far FaZe's top performer last week in Dallas, Texas, where the team finished 3rd-4th after suffering a stunning defeat at the hands of their Danish rivals.
Purely in the numbers, the Bosnian surpassed even the Danes as the highest-rated player of the event (1.35 rating) and the best fragger (0.85 KPR), while also dealing the most damage out of everyone (91.2 ADR).
He also went toe-to-toe with the likes of dupreeh and device in the opening duels department, scoring 0.17 opening kills per round with a 66.1% success rate, which helped him put in the second-highest impact rating (1.40). With a staggering 1.58 rating in his team's five wins, there's no question that NiKo was the driving force in FaZe's campaign at the tournament.
This is the third EVP award for electroNic in 2018 after he earned such mentions in his stint with Russia at WESG World Finals and in Natus Vincere's runners-up campaign at DreamHack Masters Marseille.
This time, the Russian outperformed his teammate Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev in Na`Vi's run to the semi-finals in Dallas as the fourth highest-rated player (1.26) and the fifth-best fragger (0.81 KPR) of the $750,000 event. electroNic was particularly impactful in the match for first place in the group against FaZe, where he averaged a 1.47 rating in the close affair.
The 19-year-old stood out on the Terrorist side with a 1.41 rating on the offense, the highest at the tournament, and was one of the most consistent players with all eight maps above a 1.00 rating. Other than that, he often opened up the rounds for his team with 0.14 opening kills per round, although he died first just as much in his attempts.
The 20-year-old was Liquid's top performer in the group stage (1.17) and their joint-best player in the playoffs (1.08), along with NAF. He led the way for the team in the opening match, against Grayhound (1.95) rating, and also in the crucial semi-final match against Natus Vincere, in which his 1.54 rating on Inferno helped the North Americans to win the second map, confirming his status as an impactful player after raising eyebrows in the quarter-finals (1.23 rating).
Boasting 244 kills, EliGE was the top fragger of the tournament, and he also stood out in terms of assists (49), total headshots (112) and rating in map wins that led to victories (1.30).
Magisk is the final Astralis player to make the cut in our list of standout players from the Pro League Finals, where he averaged a 1.22 rating, earning his third consecutive EVP mention at a big event, after DreamHack Masters Marseille and IEM Sydney.
He began the event with a 1.91 rating, which helps to explain why he ended the group stage with a 1.30 rating, the second-highest in Astralis. In the playoffs, his rating dropped to 1.15, the fourth-best in the team, in part thanks to his 1.06 rating in the grand final against Liquid, in which he failed to impress on the two closest maps of the series, Nuke (0.92 rating) and Mirage (0.76).
Despite some shortcomings, the former North and OpTic talent was still the hardest player to kill in Dallas (0.55 deaths per round), and had the fourth-best KDD of the tournament (+53) and the highest percentage of deaths traded (24.7%) in Astralis. And while normally it is Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth getting praise for his clutching ability, Magisk won the most 1vsX situations in Astralis', five.
Rounding out the list is NAF, who earns his third EVP distinction since joining Liquid after helping the North American team to a runner-up finish in Dallas, where he averaged a 1.10 rating – his second-worst while with Nick "nitr0" Cannella's side.
Astralis were NAF's nemesis in the tournament as five of his six below-average ratings came precisely against the Danish team, only standing out in the Mirage game (1.34 rating, 95.8 ADR), in which he powered Liquid to a second-half comeback.
The Canadian player had a team-high 85.6 ADR and 0.18 assists, ending the tournament with the highest number of assists of all players (63) in part thanks to the number of maps that Liquid played. He was also one of the team's best clutchers along with Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken and Epitacio "TACO" de Melo, with three 1vsX situations won.
With an average 1.26 rating in map wins that led to victories, NAF was one of the driving forces behind Liquid's final appearance, with his great individual performance against MOUZ on Mirage (1.41 rating, 101.5 ADR and +15 KDD) having been key to the team's victory over the European side in the quarter-finals.