Player stock shift: January-February
The Player stock shift returns as a bi-monthly feature, with the first edition of 2019 largely revolving around the IEM Katowice Major, which helped produce nine rising and eight falling players.
In 2018, the stock shift was a monthly feature. As you may have noticed, a lot of the time the trends shifted over a longer period of time than just one month anyway, which is why we're moving towards a bi-monthly series for 2019. That will allow us to have more data to mull over and to separate some of the players who simply had a one-off tournament from those who are trending one way or the other.
In January and February, no big events outside of the IEM Katowice Major took place and only some of the teams who played in Katowice had attended one of the smaller tournaments towards the start of the year, such as iBUYPOWER Masters, ELEAGUE Invitational, or one of the Minors. That means the dataset still isn't very large for some, particularly in the falling category. We will keep that in mind for the next time these players compete and move them back where they belong in case the trend discontinues.
Here are the 17 players whose stock rose or fell over the first two months of 2019:
Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
Ali "Jame" Djami
Andrew "Kaze" Khong
Fredrik "REZ" Sterner
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist
Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey
Egor "flamie" Vasilyev
Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács
Xyp9x had consistently appeared on the EVP lists in the second half of 2018, with his poor showing at BLAST Pro Series Lisbon almost seeing him end the year with a red arrow. Starting off 2019 with a bang, the 23-year-old averaged a team-leading 1.29 rating at iBUYPOWER Masters and, more importantly, at the Major, and was a strong contender for MVP awards at both events, which puts him in a league with the absolute best players of the first two months of the new year.
AVANGAR's AWPer was somewhat of a regular of 2018's releases of the stock shift, bouncing up and down a few times, which made it clear that inconsistency is the standard for the Russian. We have been keeping an eye on him for the past few months, during which he has looked a lot more stable both match-to-match and tournament-to-tournament, most notably leading the Kazakh squad to the win at the CIS Minor and to an impressive showing at the Major itself.
Kaze is a newcomer to the stock shift after rarely appearing on the international stage and barely raising eyebrows when he did. That changed with ViCi's showing in the Major cycle, pulling through the Minor Play-in stage to IEM Katowice, where the 24-year-old put up a few very impressive maps to help the Chinese side contend for a spot in the second stage, although to no avail.
REZ had made his way to December's list after performing below his standards at some of the last tournaments of 2018, but now he returns to his former place following some solid performances at the Major, playing a key part in NiP's run to their first Major playoffs since 2016 across the first two stages.
Cloud9's shift towards a mixed lineup saw the European portion step up their game, with flusha – who is no longer a part of the team – getting over quite a poor period dating back to his fnatic days in mid-2018 as he put up significantly better numbers after taking over leadership in the North American organization at BLAST Pro Series Lisbon and IEM Katowice. After settling in with the team at the first few tournaments, kioShiMa has been in great form, getting back to the sort of consistent level we did not see from the Frenchman throughout most of his time with Envy.
While Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Denis "electronic" Sharipov kept leading the way for Na`Vi at almost every tournament they went to in 2018, flamie's level deteriorated as the year was drawing to a close, with his only great event from the period of August to November being the FACEIT Major. Edward was in the same boat, relatively to his standards at least, hitting historical lows at IEM Chicago and BLAST Pro Series Lisbon.
Both players looked much better at IEM Katowice, with flamie earning an EVP mention in Na`Vi's run to the semi-finals in Poland to follow up on a promising showing in Portugal, while Edward contributed well throughout their journey, especially in the last few series at the Major.
GuardiaN closes out the list of rising players, also redeeming himself from a sub-par period at the end of 2018 that had seen him featured in the falling category in November. FaZe were one of the few teams to appear at all three tournaments considered for the stock shift, and the Slovakian AWPer was back in his place as the team's second-best player, even earning an MVP medal at ELEAGUE Invitational along the way.
HellRaisers had an awful showing at IEM Katowice, going 1-3 in the New Legends stage, with all of their losses being very one-sided affairs. You can see why when three of their players were the lowest-rated out of everyone in that phase of the Major, with ANGE1 dipping as low as 0.63 (his worst to date), while something similar could be said for DeadFox at 0.71 and Hobbit at 0.80, the second lowest in both players' careers.
Vega Squadron are an almost identical case, although for them it was the New Challengers Stage that went downhill and their matches were closer than HellRaisers'. They also went 1-3, with their only win coming at the expense of their local rivals Spirit. tonyblack and hutji were the two lowest-rated players of that stage, with the team's usual star, chopper, not very far off with a 0.82 rating.
Although Rickeh didn't have a very impressive showing at the Major either, with him we also look back at the start of the year and compLexity's last-place finishes at iBUYPOWER Masters and the ELEAGUE Invitational, which took place shortly after the Australian player had joined the team. It's safe to say this move isn't going too well for the North American side as the new addition averaged a 0.83 rating across the three tournaments.
JW belonged to some of the most improved players of the end of last year, featuring as a rising player in November alongside Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson and Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin following the new lineup's impressive debut at IEM Chicago. Unlike his two teammates, the 24-year-old dipped into the red at both tournaments the Swedes have attended so far in 2019, including IEM Katowice, where fnatic bombed out with a 1-3 record in the New Challengers Stage, setting a new low for the organization at the Majors.