Player stock shift: September
September came to an end with MOUZ securing the title at the last tournament of the month, ESL One New York, and so it's time for the Player stock shift, which features six rising and seven falling players.
The FACEIT Major headlined last month, with its three stages spanning nearly three weeks of competition in London. That left little space for other big events, but we still saw two of those take place, with some of the best teams in the world split between BLAST Pro Series Istanbul and ESL One New York at the end of September.
Every single one of the players featured this month played at least one of the first two stages of the Major, and most of them were also in attendance in New York or in Istanbul, which gave us a good sample size to look at when it comes to player performances over the course of September.
The previous editions of the stock shift can be found below:
Here are the players featured for September:
Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
Nick "nitr0" Cannella
Owen "smooya" Butterfield
Miikka "suNny" Kemppi
Rustem "mou" Telepov
Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz
Twistzz had been on our watch list since July, when Liquid had an underwhelming tournament at ESL One Cologne before stepping up at ELEAGUE Premier. In Atlanta, the Canadian player was among the event's best contenders and earned an EVP mention as the team finished second to Astralis.
The 18-year-old performed very well at the FACEIT Major as Liquid's second-highest rated player in their campaign to the semi-finals, though Keith "NAF" Markovic barely beat him to the EVP award in the end. What has cemented the "magician's" place here was his fantastic play at ESL One New York, where the youngster received his first MVP medal despite his efforts (1.34 rating over the series) being insufficient for his team to beat MOUZ in the final.
His teammate nitr0 has also been looking up since ELEAGUE Premier, as the in-game leader and AWPer seems to be overcoming his inconsistencies tournament-to-tournament with four above-average events in a row. ESL One New York, in particular, was the American's best event since the start of the year at the very least, earning him his first Big Event EVP of 2018.
In his first months with BIG, smooya had shown potential with some great maps across his first two big events, ESL One Belo Horizonte and particularly at ESL One Cologne, where he helped his team go on one of the most surprising runs in CS:GO history.
In September, however, the British AWPer looked like a star at his home tournament, the FACEIT Major. He was solid during the New Challengers stage with above-average ratings on all six maps BIG played, and he stepped it up further in the New Legends stage, in which he was the highest rated player after posting 1.50+ ratings in all three of their wins in the Swiss format, against FaZe, TYLOO, and HellRaisers.
suNny had been featured in the Player stock shift in July after posting some inconsistent numbers throughout ESL One Cologne and ELEAGUE Premier, but we have kept an eye on him since DreamHack Masters Stockholm, where he looked more like his old self, to see whether the trend would continue.
Despite MOUZ' early exit at the FACEIT Major, where they went 0-3 in the New Legends stage, the Finn kept his head held high with a 1.13 rating over the three losses. He went on to show up in close to his old form at ESL One New York, leading MOUZ to their first title with Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski, which has convinced us that suNny's fall was only temporary.
mou is a returning player of the stock shift, as well, with his stock having fallen last month following a stretch of underwhelming tournaments in July and August while Gambit struggled for good results.
This month, the 26-year-old turned things around with an impressive level in the FACEIT Major New Challengers stage, in which he did his best to keep Gambit afloat, as well as at ESL One New York, helping his team exceed all expectations with a semi-final finish and two wins against Natus Vincere in the group stage.
The odds were stacked against the North American squad, but, with great help from the Canadian, they proved everyone wrong with a 3-1 record in the New Challengers stage, where Complexity only lost to Astralis, and a 3-0 sweep in the New Legends stage.
While suNny is back on the rise, the opposite is the case for his teammate ropz, whose form has gradually worsened over the course of the last few months, culminating with one of his career-lows at the FACEIT Major.
Of course, that was only two bad maps in his case, but he still didn't look his best at ESL One New York a couple of weeks later either, as he had ups and downs throughout the tournament, which is something even the Estonian admitted on social media.
After September, during which Virtus.pro placed last in the FACEIT Major New Challengers stage and fifth at BLAST Pro Series after just one win from eight maps across the two tournaments, snatchie falls after posting his two lowest-rated showings in 2018.
Space Soldiers had a rather disappointing month after placing last in the New Challengers stage of the Major, where they had to play with their coach, Canpolat "hardstyle" Yıldıran, instead of Engin "ngiN" Kor. They then played at their first international event at home, BLAST Pro Series Istanbul, and finished fourth, grabbing wins against NIP and Virtus.pro in front of their crowd.
With the first factor in mind, it's hard to blame any of their players for underperformances, but paz's and Calyx's run of poor form goes further back that, as they have looked out of shape for the last few months, which has caused their stock to fall.
niko's temporary stint with North was somewhat bittersweet, as the squad took everyone by surprise by winning DreamHack Masters Stockholm, but they also failed to make it past the New Challengers stage of the Major after losing to HellRaisers, Spirit, and Vega Squadron.
The move didn't quite fit the 20-year-old, who recorded two career-lows in terms of rating in his time with North, who didn't opt to bring him in on a permanent basis, with the player instead linking up with OpTic.
fnatic hit a big low after the off-season, placing last at DreamHack Masters Stockholm in August before losing their Legends status at the FACEIT Major, where they went out in the fifth round of the New Legends stage to HellRaisers. Internal issues have caused the team to part ways with Robin "flusha" Rönnquist, who has since joined up with Cloud9, and, more recently, William "draken" Sundin. Before dispensing with the AWPer's services, the team attended ESL One New York with Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, exiting the tournament in last place.
Although it's clear their issues go past individual players, it's difficult not to look at some of the players' poor form. draken, flusha, and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson had all been featured as falling players in May and June (with the AWPer still part of NIP at the time), and now JW and Xizt join them after a few underwhelming months, individually.