StarSeries i-League Season 6: the EVPs
With StarSeries i-League Season 6 in the rearview mirror, we went through the numbers and picked our nine Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs) of the Ukrainian tournament.
Despite not being classified as a Big Event, StarSeries Season 6 was still interesting enough for us to analyse which players stood out apart from Jere "sergej" Salo, who was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) by HLTV.org and betway after inspiring ENCE to win the title over Vega Squadron.
The losing finalist is the most represented team on this roster, with three players, followed by ENCE and NRG, with two apiece. Finally, both BIG - the only quarter-finalist represented - and OpTic provide just one player to the list, which looks as follows:
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order):
Aleksi "allu" Jalli
Ethan "nahtE" Arnold
Jani "Aerial" Jussila
Anton "tonyblack" Kolesnikov
Dmitriy "jR" Chervak
Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov
Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke
Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz
Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
Aleksi "allu" Jalli has been able to maintain a high level of consistency all year, and at StarSeries he posted his seventh consecutive above-average tournament rating to help ENCE to their biggest achievement yet.
The 26-year-old had only the third-highest rating on ENCE, 1.20, but he led the team in KDD (+78) and was second in rating in map wins that led to victories (1.27 to sergej's 1.32). He also had the team's second-highest playoff rating (1.21), in part thanks to his spectacular semi-final performance against OpTic (1.64 rating, +34 KDD and 94.7 ADR).
Just like sergej and Jani "Aerial" Jussila, allu did not have a single map with a rating below 0.85, and while he had three Player of the Map (PotM) picks fewer than those two teammates of his, he made up for that by playing a key role in seven other maps.
The former NiP AWPer was the hardest player to kill in Kiev (0.51 deaths per round) and was ranked among the best in terms of AWP kills per round (0.39) and opening duel success (68%) - two factors that help to explain his contribution to ENCE's title-winning campaign.
Kiev seems to bring the best out of Ethan "Ethan" Arnold, who gets his second EVP nod of the year at StarSeries events, this time with a tournament and career high 1.34 rating, which, however, was not enough to keep NRG from losing to Vega Squadron in the semi-finals.
The North American talent had a joint high four PoTM picks and played a very important role for his team in three more maps. And while he was only NRG's second-best performer in the Swiss stage (1.36 rating), he was light years ahead of everyone else on the team in the playoffs, in which he averaged a tournament-high 1.32 rating, with his closest teammate being Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte at 1.08.
Ethan finished all eight maps that he played with ratings higher than 1.15, which is an incredible achievement in itself. Besides leading in rating, he topped the kills per round (0.88) and damage difference per round (21.2) charts, and had the second-highest ADR (93.4) and Impact rating (1.50).
Aerial played an important role in ENCE's first-place finish with the second-highest KAST (77.3%), a team-leading 1.32 Impact rating and 12 out of 13 maps with above-average ratings, making him the most consistent player on the Finnish side.
The 25-year-old was only ENCE's third-best player in the Swiss stage (1.19 rating), but he impressed in the playoffs, in which he had the highest rating out of the ten finalists (1.24). His 1.38 CT rating was almost 17% higher than the team's average, but on the Terrorist side he was eclipsed by sergej and allu, who did most of the work.
Anton "tonyblack" Kolesnikov had a lower rating than Dmitriy "jR" Chervak and Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov, but still finishes ahead of his Vega Squadron teammates on account of his key role in the team's two map wins in the final, especially on Mirage, where he put in a 1.30 rating. The former Na`Vi player was also decisive in the semi-final series against NRG, which he finished with a 1.24 rating after carrying the team on Overpass (1.28 rating) and Inferno (1.35).
The 25-year-old Russian had eight good maps in Kiev, including three PoTM nods, and he raised eyebrows with a high number of clutches won, 10, four more than any other player.
Vega Squadron's in-game leader and AWPer follows as his team's second-best player in their campaign to a runners-up finish. jR was Vega's best player up until the grand final, in fact, as he powered the Ukrainian-Russian team throughout groups with a team-best 1.28 rating and continued to play well in the first two stages of playoffs.
In the end, jR could not repeat some of those performances in the close grand final. There, he finished all five maps below a 1.00 rating, so he dropped out of the MVP race, but that doesn't take away from his considerable contribution to Vega Squadron's best result yet.
chopper also made the list under somewhat flipped circumstances compared to the AWPer. While jR shined in the groups, the 21-year-old had up-and-down performances, but he stepped up in the fifth round against HellRaisers and particularly in the quarter-final versus Fragsters, in which he averaged a 1.55 rating across the two-map series.
That ended up being chopper's peak performance across the whole event, but he continued to contribute well to Vega's success against NRG and kept a stable level in the grand final, though in a losing battle.
OpTic's first deep run in four tournaments saw Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke turn up in great form, as he led the Danes to a semi-finals finish at StarSeries i-League Season 6 with some standout play. Before the team got eliminated in the last-four stage, the 21-year-old was among the tournament's best-rated players as he finished all six maps with 1.15+ ratings.
Although he dropped off in the last series - as did everyone else from OpTic - versus the eventual winners of the event, k0nfig still finished the tournament as the third-best damage dealer (91 ADR) and fifth-best fragger (0.79 KPR), while being one of the most impactful players of the tournament with a 1.37 impact rating (fourth highest).
Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz is the only player on this list who exited the tournament in the quarter-finals. The German star stood out massively as BIG's best player at StarSeries by quite some margin, as despite starting off the tournament with two sub-1.00 rated maps, he completed the tournament with the second-highest rating at 1.28.
He helped BIG turn around the 0-2 start in the Swiss format with outstanding performances against TYLOO and mousesports in rounds four and five, and, although it was in a losing effort, he continued with great play in the quarter-final against ENCE, averaging a 1.28 rating across the three-map series, the highest out of everyone in the server.
Outside of his rating, tabseN appeared in several other leaderboards, including damage per round (90.2, fourth), kills per round (0.83, third), and opening kills per round (0.17, tied third), the last of which helped him rack up a staggering 1.51 impact rating, the highest out anyone at the tournament.
Brehze picks up his second EVP mention in a row, after ESL One New York, mainly thanks to his play in the Swiss stage, in which he registered the third best rating overall (1.39) after impressing against Fragsters (1.89) and Vega Squadron (1.31).
He began the playoffs with a 30-bomb against North on Train, but his level dropped markedly after that, ending two maps with below-average ratings and two others barely in the green. Despite his disappointing display in the losses against Vega Squadron, Brehze still put in some solid numbers: 81.6 ADR, 1.21 Impact and 1.33 Terrorist rating (second best of all players).