ELEAGUE Premier 2018: the EVPs
We went through the numbers and analyzed individual performances from ELEAGUE Premier to present our five Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs) of the tournament, which saw Astralis take home the lion's share of a $1 million prize pool.
The 2018 edition of ELEAGUE Premier came to a close on Sunday with Astralis taking down Liquid in just two hours to pick up their fourth international title since the start of the year and further solidify their place at the top of the pile ahead of the player break.
It is now time to look further and reveal the other players who stood out in Atlanta. ELEAGUE Premier produced five EVPs, all of them from the teams who reached the final. Na`Vi pair Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Denis "electronic" Sharipov were both close to making the cut but ultimately missed out as their group stage performances did not make up for a generally poor display against Liquid in the semi-finals.
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order):
Leading the list is none other than Canadian hot-shot NAF, who gets his fifth EVP nod of the year after inspiring Liquid to a runner-up finish in Atlanta with a team-leading 1.23 rating - the third highest in the tournament.
After a frustrating showing in Cologne, both individually and collectively, NAF returned to his best and averaged a 1.34 rating in the group stage - second only to device's 1.59. He was Liquid's only player in the green in the team's 0-2 group defeat to Astralis (1.21), while in the two series against MIBR he trailed Twistzz, the squad's top performer.
NAF led the charge in the semi-final series against Natus Vincere (1.34 rating), but, just like the rest of the team, he fell off the grid in the title decider, which brought his playoff rating down to 1.07.
The Canadian ended the tournament in the top five in nine stats categories besides rating, including Impact (1.21), ADR (83.0), KAST (75.7%) and deaths per round (0.60). All in all, just another great individual tournament from the Liquid superstar, which, sadly for him, did not translate into collective success.
2018 continues to be a fantastic year for gla1ve, who is now on an eight-tournament streak with 1+ ratings. The Astralis skipper, who has averaged an impressive 1.16 rating on LAN since the start of the year, was once again in the running for the MVP award in Atlanta, but he had to settle for an EVP mention - his fourth of 2018, after DreamHack Masters Marseille, the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals and the ECS Season 5 Finals.
gla1ve had a slow start in Atlanta, with two underwhelming maps against Cloud9 and Liquid, but he stepped up in the playoffs. He was the main instigator of Astralis' 2-0 win over mousesports, with a +23 KDD and a 1.45 rating, and he also held his own in the title decider despite struggling a bit on Nuke, the more contested of the two maps of the series. Overall, he put in a 1.27 rating in the knockout stages - only bettered by device's 1.29.
He also impressed at ELEAGUE with his clutching ability, winning six 1vsX situations - more than any other player. His big role in Astralis' campaign can also be seen in his 81.5 ADR and 1.22 Impact, which helped to establish him as the team's second biggest contributor in the tournament.
Twistzz comes in as the second biggest contributor to Liquid's final appearance in Atlanta with an impressive 1.21 rating, but he was not nearly as consistent as NAF. Both players had the same number of maps with ratings higher than 1.30, five, but the 18-year-old had two more games in the red than his teammate and compatriot. His inconsistency is best explained by a 1.43 rating in Liquid's wins against NAF's 1.38.
The young Canadian was a nuisance to MIBR in the two series against the Brazilians as he put in a +53 KDD and averaged a 1.56 rating and 93.2 damage. But apart from that he struggled to make his mark, only truly standing out in the semi-final victory on Overpass against Na`Vi with a 1.58 rating.
Twistzz's high peaks against MIBR pushed his group stage to 1.33 rating; in the playoffs, his level dropped markedly, to the point that he was only Liquid's third-best player, behind NAF and Nick "nitr0" Cannella. But despite his inconsistency, the young Canadian still ended the tournament with a 1.21 rating - a personal best in 2018 - and was in the top five in 11 stats categories, leading in headshots per round (0.49) and headshot percentage (62%).
dupreeh makes his third appearance on an EVP list (after IEM Sydney and ESL One Cologne) thanks to his remarkable consistency in Atlanta, where he averaged a 1.16 rating. He was never a carrier for Astralis, only twice putting in a rating higher than 1.15, but he was a solid contributor throughout the tournament, finishing all maps with +1 ratings - something that not even MVP device managed to do.
The 25-year-old, who peaked on the second map of the group match against Liquid, where he put in a 1.82 rating, had the second-worst Impact of his team (1.08), but made up for that with tournament-high percentage of traded deaths (30.1%), assists per round (0.21) and KAST (77.4%), while he also had the second-highest percentage of support rounds (25%).
Rounding out the list is another Astralis player, Magisk, who earns his fifth EVP distinction since joining the team. His 1.15 event rating in Atlanta was his worst since IEM Katowice, but he still makes the cut thanks to his consistency, with seven out of eight maps above a 1.00 rating and four above a 1.15 rating, and to his performance in the title decider against Liquid, in which he was Astralis' second-best player (1.38 rating).
The 20-year-old's performance in the final helped to push his playoff rating to 1.23 - the third-highest in Astralis. Despite producing a +29 KDD, he was only ranked in the top five in terms of deaths per round (0.59), in a tournament where he was overshadowed by three of his teammates.