ECS S6 Finals & EPL S8 Finals: the EVPs
We went through the numbers of the recent offline finals of the two biggest Counter-Strike leagues, the ESL Pro League and ECS, to present you our Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVP) picks of these two events.
The ECS Season 6 Finals and the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals had the same outcome as Astralis reigned supreme at both tournaments to add two more trophies to their cabinet and collect two $250,000 cheques.
The Danish side lifted the trophy in Arlington with a hard-fought victory over MIBR after two very close maps. In Odense, Astralis rode a wave of hometown support to beat Liquid in a grand final that began with Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's side losing their map pick. In beating the North American side, Astralis made history as they won the first season of the $1 million Intel Grand Slam prize.
Nicolai "device" Reedtz was the standout player at both events with 1.19 and 1.26 ratings in Arlington and Odense, respectively, taking his MVP medal tally to seven this year.
Now, it is time to look at the Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs), players who stood out from the pack, either by performing consistently on a high level or by putting in great displays in big matches that led to team success
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order) of the two tournaments are the following:
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander
Marcelo "coldzera" David
Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo
Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen
Emil "Magisk" Reif
Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså
Fredrik "REZ" Sterner
ECS Season 6 Finals
After their triumph at IEM Chicago, Astralis continued their tournament-winning form at the ECS Season 6 Finals, with device leading the way as the MVP of the event. gla1ve follows suit at the top of the EVP list after having another great tournament in Arlington despite somewhat of an up-and-down group stage.
There, he got off on the right foot in the Danes' convincing win over Cloud9 but faltered in their close affair versus MIBR, which saw the Brazilian side prevail and grab first place in the group. The Danes then survived another tight battle with mousesports, where gla1ve helped the squad keep their Nuke streak alive with a 1.31 rating in the 16-13 victory.
The in-game leader made his case in the playoffs, as he was among the MVP candidates after putting in a 1.30 rating in the semi-final series versus NiP as well as a 1.19 rating, the highest in Astralis, in the team's revenge win against MIBR in the final. That put him right next to device in terms of rating in wins (1.28) and in the playoffs (1.24).
coldzera clinched his fourth Big Event EVP of 2018 in Arlington with consistent performances in MIBR's run to second place combined with some high peaks along the way. He led the way in the opening win against mousesports and contributed well in the victory over Astralis in the group stage.
In the playoffs, he recorded the highest rating of the tournament on Train against North (2.25) and continued to record good numbers in the narrow grand final rematch versus their Danish rivals, especially during the double-overtime affair on Overpass.
FalleN played one of his best tournaments of the year at ECS Season 6 Finals, with zero poor maps to his name out of a total of nine, which included five against Astralis across two series. The AWPer played a huge factor in MIBR's win against the Danes the first time around, leading the team in both map wins versus the No.1 team in the world.
After putting in a solid semi-final performance versus North, the veteran added another great map against Astralis in the grand final, a 1.55 rating on Inferno, although it was in a losing effort as MIBR lost the map 14-16 and the series 0-2, in the end.
Overall, FalleN had the highest impact rating within his team (1.28), which in large part came down to his ability to open up rounds, with 0.18 opening kills per round and a 70.8% success in opening duels.
Much like the rest of the team, dupreeh had a couple of great maps throughout the group stage. Outside of the opening whitewash of Cloud9, for him, it was the double-overtime loss to MIBR on Train and a good showing in the group's decider against mousesports.
The playoffs stage saw dupreeh lead Astralis in their Nuke win over NiP and help the squad tip the scales in their favor in the keenly-contested grand final against MIBR, in which the 25-year-old averaged a 1.14 rating.
Unlike three of his teammates, device, gla1ve, and Xyp9x, dupreeh stood out on the T side, where he was Astralis's highest rated player with a 1.16 rating, and had the team's third-highest in wins (1.20).
Magisk on the other hand, got off to a fantastic start in Astralis's first three maps. He then faltered on the third map against MIBR as well as on Nuke against mousesports, which brought him down in the big picture.
However, he still contributed well to his team's title-winning campaign, with two more standout performances against NiP and a stable level in the final, which helped him finish the tournament with the highest KAST (73%) as well as the second-highest ADR (79.2) within Astralis.
The last remaining member of the winning team also received an EVP mention at ECS Season 6 Finals, as very little separated him from his three teammates featured on the list. He had one standout map against every opponent Astralis played at the tournament and a few more valuable performances throughout the competition.
As is the case at seemingly every tournament Astralis attend, Xyp9x stood out in clutches, of which he had six, including a 1v3 on Nuke against mousesports, which helped the team climb back from a 6-12 deficit and keep their streak alive on the map. Otherwise, he died the least out of anyone at the tournament with only 0.58 deaths per round.
The first player on the list who did not make it to the grand final is valde, who led North's campaign to the semi-finals as by far their best player after keeping up the numbers with some of the best players of the event, such as a 0.75 KPR, 1.15 rating, and 73.1% KAST.
The Dane's only below-average maps came from North's loss to NiP in the group stage. Other than that, he was pivotal in the team's wins over Liquid and NRG — against whom he peaked with a massive 1.72 rating in a 16-14 win on Nuke —, while also keeping up a stable level in the semi-final loss to MIBR.
The other losing semi-finalists, NiP, had their best player in REZ, who played a huge part in the Swedes' run to first place in the groups with a 1.56 rating over the course of three maps, one against NRG and two versus North. Although the squad could not compete with Astralis on two of the three maps of their semi-final, REZ was also among the main contributors to NiP's win on Train in the series.
The 20-year-old posted some of the best stats out of all players at the tournament, with the highest rating (1.25), the most damage dealt (87.8), tied-most opening kills per round (0.18), as well as the third-highest success in opening duels (64.1%), fourth-most kills per round (0.77), and fifth-fewest deaths per round (0.62).
ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals
Boosted by his MVP medal from SuperNova CS:GO Malta, NAF gave a terrific account of himself in Odense and was leading the race for the MVP award before the last two maps of the final, which saw the medal go device's way.
The Canadian player, who boasted a 1.31 rating, his second best at a Big Event in 2018 (only surpassed by his 1.32 rating from EPICENTER), was Liquid's top performer in the group stage wins against G2 (1.80) and BIG (1.71), and in the semi-final series against MIBR, in which he blew everyone away with a 1.98 rating/+33 KDD. It is thus no surprise that he ended the tournament with the highest rating in map wins that led to victories, 1.67.
NAF was joint-top for ADR (89.5) and second-best for rating, damage difference per round (19.8), clutches (8) and KDD (+71), topping the list of EVPs by quite some margin.
Astralis' support player built on his ECS Season 6 Finals performances with a 1.14 rating, the third-highest in the team, in Odense to earn yet another EVP mention - his eighth of 2018.
The 23-year-old, who boasted a tournament-high 12 clutches - four more than his closest suitor -, was the only player in Astralis with 0.85+ ratings in all 12 maps played, peaking in the team's opening match against ViCi (1.71 rating). However, what most fans remember is his performance in the grand final against Liquid as he topped the scoreboard with a 1.20 rating after finishing all four maps with above-average ratings.
The 21-year-old did not hit the same heights as NAF as he had just five maps with ratings higher than 1.30 (two fewer than the Canadian), but he remained a stable contributor in Odense, ending nine maps with 1.15+ ratings, the highest among the teams who finished in the top four. He was also the top performer in the grand final against Astralis, in which he averaged a 1.24 rating and 92.3 damage per round.
The Danish in-game leader had just two 1.30+-rated maps in Odense, the lowest in the team, but he was a solid contributor with seven 1.15+ maps, with only device (8) surpassing him.
gla1ve, who led Astralis for flash assists (21) and had the team's second-highest rating in map wins that led to victories (1.19), peaked in the crucial Mirage game against Liquid in the final as he dropped a 30-bomb to tie the series at 1-1.
The Canadian player ranked first in the team for maps with above-average ratings (11), but he recorded 1.15 ratings in only six of those, two fewer than NAF and three than EliGE. Ahead of the semi-final stage, Twistzz looked on course to have another memorable event as he was sitting on an impressive 1.22 rating, but he struggled to make his mark against MIBR and Astralis, finishing the tournament with only the third-highest rating in the team.
The 19-year-old excelled in the headshot department, ranking top for headshots per round (0.47), headshot percentage (67%) and total headshots (146), while also featuring in the KAST leaderboard (76.6%).
The Australian was Renegades' top performer in all but one of the five matches they played on Danish soil. He boasted nine maps with 1.30 ratings, surpassing s1mple (8) and MVP device (6), and was second to NAF for rating in map wins leading to victories (1.52).
The 23-year-old was by far the tournament's best T-sided player, on which he averaged a 1.48 rating, his closest suitors being NAF and s1mple, both with a 1.30 rating. He was also in the top five in 11 stats leaderboards, leading five of them, including rating, damage difference per round (+26.8), total kills (255) and deaths per round (0.55).
The Ukrainian prodigy is the only player besides jks to make the list without having reached the semi-finals. It was a disappointing run from Na`Vi, but s1mple still had positives to take as he averaged a 1.30 rating, the third-highest overall.
s1mple most famously dropped a crucial 40-bomb in the overtime game against Ghost on Train to keep his team in the match, but he put in high-level performances all tournament with the exception of the group match against mousesports, even averaging a 1.27 rating against Liquid in the quarter-finals despite his team being humbled in the series.
The 21-year-old, who was equally prolific as CT and T, averaging a 1.30 rating on both sides, was second only to jks for maps with 1.30+ ratings (7) and was joint-top with the Australian for kills per round (0.84). He was featured in six other stats leaderboards, including percentage of rounds with at least one kill (55.0%), KDD (+63) and AWP kills per round (0.40).
oskar rounds off the list after leaving Odense with quite a few high notes as he led mousesports to a semi-final appearance with a 1.17 rating, adding the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals to his list of memorable Big Events of 2018.
The Czech talent suffered from peaks and troughs in form at the tournament: he had four-below average maps, but he excelled in the remaining six games, putting in 1.30+ ratings in five of them. He raised eyebrows by carrying mousesports through to a much-needed win against Renegades in the playoffs with 1.70+ ratings on Mirage and Train after his team had lost the opening map of the series.
It is with little surprise that oskar has the biggest impact rating on mousesports (1.28) and that he boasted a 1.49 rating in map wins leading to victories. He was joint-second for AWP kills per round (0.48) and ranked third for opening kills per round (0.15).