Player stock shift: August
August came to a close with North hoisting the trophy at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, so it's time for us to look back at the previous month's players and find out whose stock has changed.
Although the off-season took up a large chunk of August, three notable tournaments took place over the course of the month, including two smaller-sized events, IEM Shanghai and ZOTAC Cup Masters, as well as a large-scale competition, DreamHack Masters Stockholm.
Every single player of the stock shift for August was in action in Stockholm, which came to its surprising end this Sunday, but some of them made a significant portion of their case at the ZOTAC Cup Masters in Hong Kong.
Here are all the previous stock shift editions:
Without further ado, here are the 17 players featured in last month's Player stock shift:
Matthew "WARDELL" Yu
Marcelo "coldzera" David
Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo
Fredrik "REZ" Sterner
Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg
Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen
Philip "aizy" Aistrup
Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså
Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
There were plenty of other players who over or underperformed last month, most notably Miikka "suNny" Kemppi and Tarik "tarik" Celik in the rising category, as well as the likes of Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand as potential falling players, but we're not entirely certain we can consider that a trend, so they've joined the watchlist for the following tournaments.
WARDELL might just be the biggest surprise of August, as he was at the forefront of Ghost's successes at ZOTAC Cup Masters and DreamHack Masters Stockholm. The up-and-coming Canadian AWPer was one of the best players in Hong Kong with a 1.38 rating, and he led Ghost to their win over OpTic and continued to put up great numbers in their semi-final loss to Kinguin.
Many were curious to see whether WARDELL would be able to keep up against top-tier opposition, as he had faltered at his first Big Event, ESL One Belo Horizonte, but he didn't let us down this time. The 20-year-old spearheaded Ghost's campaign in Stockholm, helping them take maps off NiP and Natus Vincere.
The stock of the No. 1 and No. 6 players of 2017, coldzera and FalleN, had dropped back in April, when it was clear that neither was able to hold up to the standards they had set last year. coldzera has been putting up promising numbers in the past few months, with the exception of ELEAGUE Premier, and in August he looked at ZOTAC and DreamHack Masters very much like the coldzera we know.
FalleN had been struggling for form for months, but now that he grabbed his first MVP since BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen - albeit at a smaller event like ZOTAC - and maintained a steady level at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, we're confident that we can bump him back up as well.
Much like NiP as a whole, REZ and f0rest have been looking up and down throughout 2018, especially the former, who has been on our watchlist for falling stock in the past couple of months. Both players have turned it around with EVP-worthy performances at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, which was REZ's second-best Big Event after IEM Oakland 2017, where he was the MVP, and f0rest's best this year at the very least.
It should come as no surprise that the strock of three of North's players is rising after the Danes' stunning run to the title at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, during which they beat three top-five teams: Astralis (twice), Natus Vincere, and mousesports.
MSL, aizy, and valde were all in close contention for the MVP award at the end of the tournament. The medal ended up going to the in-game leader, who had been the target of much criticism throughout his career for his performances, so it's hard not to be overwhelmingly impressed with his level in Stockholm less than a month after he had taken up AWPing following Daniel "mertz" Mertz's exit from the team.
But even though much of the focus was on the in-game leader, the resurgence of aizy can't go unnoticed, as DreamHack Masters Stockholm marks one of the 22-year-old's career-best tournaments following a period of struggles. Meanwhile, we feel that valde is also on the rise after he grabbed an uncontested MVP award at DreamHack Open Valencia and a strong EVP mention after Stockholm, capping off a run of good form with a couple of awards.
Xyp9x had been featured in July's stock shift as a falling player after he had dropped to a 0.99 rating over the course of ESL One Cologne and ELEAGUE Premier. At DreamHack Masters Stockholm, the king of clutches was back in form as one of the candidates for the MVP award before the grand final took place.
Gambit have overall not looked up to par with top-tier competition, exiting the last three big tournaments in last place, and none of the players have looked in good shape. However, mou in particular has looked quite significantly poorer than usual, as he has dropped from a 1.16 rating in June to 0.95 over the course of the last two months.
OpTic's poor run in August sees three players fall significantly below their standards, especially cajunb, who had been one of the rising players in May, and JUGi, who played his worst event this year at ZOTAC Cup Masters and didn't make up for it at DreamHack Masters Stockholm. gade had been a riser last month after an impressive performance at the Minor, but now he drops back down after the two underwhelming events.
To better explain why oskar is featured in the falling players this month, we prepared a graph of his rating development over the last 12 months. The Czech AWPer set a high standard for himself when mousesports were at their best from late 2017 to early 2018, but he hasn't been able to hold up to that and has been gradually falling over the last few months.
Meanwhile, Snax has looked anything but impressive since his arrival in mousesports, posting below-average ratings at his first three events with the team: ESL One Cologne, ELEAGUE Premier, and DreamHack Masters Stockholm.
Similarly to oskar, the Norwegian has not kept up his level from the end of 2017/beginning of 2018 as his form has gradually decreased. Even though he has largely been posting good numbers over the last few months, he has been far away from the player he was in earlier this year, which puts him in a similar category to the likes of coldzera in April and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson in June.
flamie's level has also gradually dropped ever since ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, but it is largely DreamHack Masters Stockholm that convinced us that his stock is dropping, with his 0.98 rating at the Swedish tournaments ranking among his lowest in the past couple of years.