EPICENTER & BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen: the EVPs
We went through the numbers of the last two Big Events before IEM Chicago, EPICENTER 2018 and BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, so it is time to reveal our EVP (Exceptionally Valuable Players) picks of these two competitions.
EPICENTER, the $295,000 competition held in Moscow, came to an end with FaZe defeating Natus Vincere 2-0 in the final to claim their first Big Event trophy since ESL One Belo Horizonte, in June, at a time when Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer still had not returned from his hiatus.
A week later, the Royal Arena, in Copenhagen, hosted the second BLAST Pro Series event of the year, where Na`Vi were crowned champions after an impressive run that saw them win four out of five round-robin stage matches before dispatching Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final after just two maps.
Nikola "NiKo" Kovač beat out Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev for the MVP award in Moscow in a keenly-contested race, but the Ukrainian prodigy got revenge in the Danish capital, where teammate Denis "electroNic" Sharipov was really the only other candidate for the accolade.
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order) of the two tournaments are the following:
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács
Keith "NAF" Markovic
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Denis "electroNic" Sharipov
Dzhami "Jame" Ali
Özgür "woxic" Eker
Such was the distance between s1mple and the remaining EVPs that the Ukrainian star almost deserved to be in a separate category. It is no surprise that the Na`Vi player considers the MVP award to be his, though he was caught by NiKo in the final stretches of the tournament – with the second map of the final ultimately tipping the scale in the Bosnian’s favour.
s1mple was the top-rated player in both the group stage (1.55) and in the playoffs (1.33), leading Na`Vi in all four matches, including the grand final against FaZe, in which he was the team’s only player to finish in the green (1.12).
The 21-year-old ended seven of the nine maps that he played with ratings higher than 1.30 and had four Player of the Map mentions, just as many as NiKo. His incredible versatility can be seen from the fact that he ranked second for CT rating (1.47), only behind FaZe’s Bosnian, and fourth for T rating (1.43), behind Liquid’s trio of Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, Epitacio "TACO" de Melo and NAF.
The Ukrainian starlet featured in the stats leaderboards in 14 different categories, leading eight of them, including rating (1.45), KDD (+93), ADR (91.4), AWP kills per round (0.50) and success in opening duels (66.7%). An incredible display by s1mple, who would go on to be named the MVP in Copenhagen.
The Slovakian AWPer earns his fourth EVP mention of the year (on top of an MVP award at IEM Sydney) after helping FaZe to win the title with a 1.18 average rating – the second highest on the team.
He endured a torrid time in FaZe’s group stage defeat to Na`Vi, but bounced back in the playoffs, in which he was the team’s second-best performer against both Ninjas in Pyjamas (1.64 rating) and Liquid (1.26).
GuardiaN led the tournament charts for total AWP Kills (130), and his six clutches won were joint-best with electroNic. He also ranked third for KDD (+55), deaths per round (0.55) and AWP Kills per pound (0.47).
The Canadian – just like the rest of Liquid – acquitted himself extremely well in the group stage, with his 1.49 rating second only to s1mple. Things soured for the North Americans in the playoffs, but NAF still held his own against FaZe, ending the 0-2 series with a 1.04 rating, the second highest of the team.
NAF, who had the third-highest Terrorist rating of the event (1.52), led the charts in terms of KAST (79.3%), percentage of support rounds (25%) and deaths per round (0.56), while also featuring in the top five in five other categories besides rating, most notably ADR (78.7) and kills per round (0.77).
The North American player earns his second EVP mention in a row (his fourth since the start of the year) after putting in an average 1.25 rating, his second-best of 2018, only surpassed by his 1.27 rating from the ECS Season 5 Finals.
EliGE’s path in Moscow was quite similar to NAF’s as both players had the same number of maps with 1+ ratings (five), 1.15+ ratings (four) and 1.30+ ratings (two). And while the Canadian was considerably better in terms of rating, the 21-year-old overshadowed his teammate in terms of ADR (83.5 vs. 78.7) and Impact rating (1.34 vs. 1.21).
EliGE was only Liquid’s fourth-best Terrorist player in Moscow, with an average 1.27 rating, but he was by far their best player on the CT side, averaging a 1.23 rating. He was also an extremely important support player (23.6% of support rounds) and boasted a team-high 65.6% success in opening duels.
Although far behind teammate s1mple, who blew the competition away in Russia, electroNic also secured an EVP mention after putting up solid numbers throughout the tournament, particularly a 1.27 rating in Na`Vi's wins in their run to second place.
The 20-year-old did not have the most impressive playoff performance, but, in the groups, he started off well with a 1.18 rating in the squad's opening series against HellRaisers and a 1.56 rating versus FaZe in Group A's winners' match, which sent Na`Vi a round ahead in the bracket, to the semi-finals.
The Russian AWPer began his EPICENTER campaign with a 1.14 rating against Ninjas in Pyjamas, the second-highest on his team. After that, he clearly stole the show as he led AVANGAR against Liquid (0.91), HellRaisers (1.32) and Natus Vincere (1.17), being the only player on the team to end the CIS derby with an above-average rating.
Jame ranked second among AWPers, both in terms of sheer number of kills (115) and average frags per round with the 'Big Green' (0.49). He was also one of the best clutchers of the tournament, boasting five 1vsX situations won.
HellRaisers recorded two losses in three series in Moscow, but woxic was at his best at all times, putting in big numbers against Na`Vi (1.22 rating), ENCE (1.33) and AVANGAR (1.32). His four maps with 1.30+ ratings ranked him third in the tournament, only behind NiKo and s1mple.
woxic, the only player who did not reach the semi-finals to make the list, featured in the stats leaderboards in 11 categories, including rating, ADR (87.8), kills per round (0.87) and percentage of rounds with at least one frag (52.7%). He was also, together with TACO, the best at opening up rounds, averaging 0.16 entry kills per round.
BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen
The Russian followed up his EPICENTER performance with an even better showing a little over a week later at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, playing a pivotal part in Na`Vi's title-winning campaign in Denmark.
As has been the case for the majority of 2018, electroNic could not quite catch up to s1mple, who was simply too amazing to let anyone take his MVP medal. However, the Russian star was just as consistent with all eight maps above a 1.00 rating, and he even improved on his group stage performance as the best player of the final against Ninjas in Pyjamas, in which he put in a 1.54 rating.
Although Ninjas in Pyjamas's run to the grand final was very much a team effort with everyone peaking at one point or another, Lekr0 has to be recognized as the Swedes' best player in Denmark, largely due to his consistency.
In the round-robin stage, the in-game leader recorded 1.00+ ratings in all three of the team's wins, as well as in the opening tie against FaZe, and he held his own against Na`Vi in the final, where he was Ninjas in Pyjamas's only player to finish above a 1.00 rating after a solid effort on both maps.
Xyp9x rounds out the short list of EVPs from Copenhagen as the only one of the three not to reach the grand final. Though in a losing effort, the Dane finished the home event as Astralis' highest-rated player largely thanks to his two high peaks in the groups, in the close opening win against MIBR on Inferno (1.59 rating) and versus FaZe on Overpass (1.76 rating).
Overall, Xyp9x appeared in several leaderboards of the $250,000 tournament, including rating (1.17, third highest), ADR (85.3, third highest), deaths per round (0.62, fifth fewest), as well as his signature clutches (four, tied first), one of which, a 1v2, decided Astralis's match against MIBR at 15-14.