StarSeries i-League Season 5: the EVPs
With StarSeries i-League Season 5 done and dusted, we take a look at the $300,000 event's best players and present our eight Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs).
As the current top-two sides, Astralis and FaZe, were missing at StarSeries, the tournament presented an opportunity for Natus Vincere to grab their first silverware this year in front of their home crowd in Kiev, Ukraine.
Powered by yet another one of Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev's massive performances, the hometown heroes did just that after beating SK, mousesports, and NRG in the playoffs, with the 20-year-old superstar claiming his third MVP medal of 2018, and with a trophy to go alongside it for the first time.
Of course, there were more players other than s1mple that deserve recognition for their displays at StarSeries. This time, the tournament produced eight EVPs, three of whom hail from the winning team and two more who shaped the success of the runners-up, NRG, as well as three of the semi-finalists:
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order)
Denis "electronic" Sharipov
Miikka "suNny" Kemppi
Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný
Daniel "mertz" Mertz
Ethan "Ethan" Arnold
Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov
Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev
Egor "flamie" Vasilyev
electronic garners his fourth EVP mention in a row after adding another impressive tournament to his tally, averaging a 1.19 rating throughout StarSeries. Although he was never considered for the MVP because of s1mple's domination, the Russian youngster had a big impact on Natus Vincere's title-winning campaign.
electronic didn't hit the same huge peaks as he had at some of the previous tournaments, earning just one Player of the Map award out of the 13 Na`Vi won, but he was a stable player throughout StarSeries with just one map below a 0.85 rating and 12 out of 19 maps above 1.15.
He especially proved his worth in the playoffs, with a 1.25 rating (1.15 in groups), to end the tournament with such numbers like the fewest deaths per round (0.60) out of all players, third-highest KAST (75.9%), as well as the second-most clutches (8), tied with s1mple.
Earning his second EVP award in 2018, after getting his first at the previous season of StarSeries during mousesports' run to the title, suNny proved himself one of the very best players in Kiev once again.
The Finn completed the $300,000 event with the third-highest rating (1.20) as well as the second-most ADR (86.3) and third-most KPR (0.80) after highly consistent play, particularly in the playoffs where he played great in both series (1.24 rating against both NiP and Natus Vincere despite losing the latter).
Continuing his recovery from an underwhelming level at April's DreamHack Masters Marseille and IEM Sydney, oskar follows his Finnish teammate with a 1.19 rating, the fifth-highest out of all players at the tournament.
Even though his lows were significantly more prominent than suNny's, the Czech was mousesports' best player in their wins with a staggering 1.46 rating (the highest out of the top-four teams, surpassing s1mple's 1.42), in large part thanks to his massive peaks in the opener against North and in the quarter-final versus NiP.
By all standards, mertz's showing at StarSeries i-League Season 5 was the Danish AWPer's breakout performance, as after warming up with EVP-worthy play at the smaller-sized DreamHack Open Tours, he receives his first EVP at a big event as well.
Exceeding Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså, who had usually been the Danes' best player, one of North's newest acquisitions was far and away their best performer in Ukraine. Aside from a very high 1.18 rating and 0.75 KPR, the AWPer was particularly good at opening duels with the fifth-highest 60.4% success and an above-average 0.13 opening kills per round.
Despite his aggression, however, he also finished the event with the fourth-fewest deaths per round (0.61) and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, 11 clutches, the most out of all players at StarSeries.
Although Ethan has been turning heads for a while, even in his days with CLG, StarSeries was his best tournament to date, as he was the main propeller behind NRG's run to the grand final with a 1.36 rating in the team's 10 map wins throughout the tournament.
Just like the whole team, the 18-year-old started slowly in their opening losses to Liquid and North, but he turned it around from day three on and put in an incredibly consistent showing all the way to the grand final, especially excelling on the Terrorist side with a 1.25 rating, and he even kept up a solid level in the one-sided grand final against Natus Vincere.
NRG's other 18-year-old, CeRq, was a close second to his aforementioned teammate at StarSeries with a 1.33 rating in NRG's wins, though a slightly lower overall rating (1.11) and KPR (0.69) compared to Ethan.
The Bulgarian got off to a slow start as well, but he was hard to stop from the third day onwards. He turned up in particularly good form in the playoff rematches against Liquid and North, before NRG met Natus Vincere in the grand final, where CeRq dropped off heavily.
Similarly to mertz, CeRq was quite useful in opening rounds for his team with 0.12 opening kills per round and a 57% success rate, while also being quite hard to kill overall with only 0.60 deaths per round (shared first).
Edward records his first EVP-worthy performance of the year after what has been his best tournament in 2018 so far and a great recovery from a poor level at ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals only two weeks ago.
The Ukrainian veteran was Natus Vincere's third-best player up until the grand final with a 1.20 rating in the team's 13 wins, with flamie barely surpassing him in the end, as well as a 0.71 KPR overall.
Unlike his teammates, flamie was better on the Terrorist side, where he was the second-best rated player of the team with a 1.17 rating, compared to a rather average 1.05 on the defense, which hindered his overall rating.
The Russian didn't stand out in any particular way other than a solid contribution overall and clutching ability, winning seven clutches throughout the tournament, although with more maps played than any other team besides NRG.