IEM Katowice Major: the EVPs
With the first Major of 2019 now in the rearview mirror, we can now present our Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs) of the $1 million tournament.
IEM Katowice came to a close on Sunday with Astralis defeating ENCE 2-0 in a one-sided series to become the third team in Counter-Strike history to win back-to-back Major titles, also matching fnatic's record of three Major crowns.
Emil "Magisk" Reif was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the competition over teammate Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth due to a better playoff rating - the deciding factor in what was a very close race until the very end between the Danish pair.
Xyp9x is one of three Astralis members to make the cut in this eight-man EVP line-up. Semi-finalists MIBR and Natus Vincere both provide two players, while runner-up ENCE are represented by just one player.
Just like in previous Majors, only the New Legends and the New Champions stages were considered for the picks, which you can find below:
Xyp9x played a crucial role in Astralis’ title-winning campaign and was neck and neck with Magisk in the MVP race until the very end. He ended the tournament with an impressive 1.29 rating, his second-best at a Big Event, only surpassed by the 1.44 rating that he had posted at the ECS Season 2 Finals.
The “clutch master”, who had six 1vsX situations won (only one fewer than the tournament leader, Aleksi "allu" Jalli), enjoyed a dream start in Katowice with a 2.05 rating against Complexity, which contributed heavily to his 1.25 rating in the New Legends Stage. He switched into an even higher gear in the playoffs with a 1.33 rating after putting in four 1.40+ ratings, but his lacklustre display in the Overpass game against MIBR (0.85 rating) ended up costing him the MVP medal.
The 23-year-old Dane was rated first for damage difference per round (+25.8), deaths per round (0.49) and percentage of support rounds (26.8%), and was in the top five in four other categories, rating (1.29), KDD (+73), KAST (79.2%) and clutches won.
Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev was once again a vital cog in Natus Vincere’s machine, multiple times keeping his team in games when things got tough. Even with Egor "flamie" Vasilyev delivering his usual quota of fine Major displays, the Ukrainian prodigy was still Na`Vi’s top performer in the tournament with a 1.29 rating – the joint-second best at the event.
He ended the New Legends stage as the third-best overall performer (1.31 rating) after posting 1.30+ ratings on four of the six maps that he played, all of which leading to victories. He was shockingly quiet in the quarter-final series against FaZe (0.97 rating, the lowest in the team) but returned to his best in the semi-final match against ENCE (1.47 rating, +34KDD). In the end, however, it amounted to nothing as the Finnish side ran out 16-14 winners on the decider map despite a 30-bomb from the Ukrainian.
s1mple had more 1.30+ rated maps than any other player at the tournament (six) and was Na`Vi’s top performer on both the offensive (1.25) and defensive (1.34) sides. He was in the top five in ten stats categories, leading three of them: KDD (+76), percentage of rounds with at least one kill (54.4%) and AWP kills per round (0.45).
Nicolai "device" Reedtz was among the strongest candidates for the MVP award heading into the playoffs after keeping a consistent level throughout the last-16 stage, leading Astralis in the 2-1 victory over Renegades (1.41 rating) after having already delivered at a high level in the 16-0 thrashing of Cloud9 with a 1.98 rating.
When it came to the playoffs, the Danish AWPer remained a solid contributor with an average 1.26 rating, yet he was still some way off Magisk and Xyp9x, the team’s two main MVP candidates. But what hurt his case the most was his unimpressive performance in the semi-final clash against MIBR (1.04 rating and -1KDD).
In Katowice, device displayed many of the qualities that had earned him the No.2 spot in our top 20 ranking of 2018: he had the highest tournament rating (1.32), Impact (1.40) and success in opening duels (70.2%), while he was also unrivalled when it came to CT side rating (1.46). He featured in the top five in eight other stats categories, most notably kills per round (0.82), opening kills per round (0.15) and percentage of rounds with at least one kill (51.7%).
Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen is the third Astralis player to make the EVP list despite his slow start to the tournament. He went into the playoffs with the joint-lowest rating in the team, 1.17, after having two below-average rated maps, even struggling in his team’s demolition job of Cloud9 (0.92 rating).
He then stepped things up in the playoffs with a 1.31 rating, the third best in the team, having one 1.30+ rated map in each of the three series that the Danes played in the playoffs, against NiP, MIBR and ENCE.
Even though he did not play at the same level as Magisk or the teammates listed above, dupreeh still posted some interesting numbers: he was Astralis’ best Terrorist player (1.23 rating) and boasted a 1.30 Impact rating, the fourth highest overall.
After showing flashes of his best form at the final event of 2018, BLAST Pro Series Lisbon, Marcelo "coldzera" David started the new year with a bang as he recorded a 1.26 rating in Katowice – his best at a Major since Krakow.
The two-time CS:GO Player of the Year was a huge driving force behind MIBR's run throughout the New Legends Stage. He was second only to device for rating in this stage (1.38) and was the team’s top performer in all matches, even in the 3-16 thrashing at the hands of Cloud9 (0.93 rating).
In the playoff matches, against Renegades and Astralis, coldzera still held his own as he averaged a 1.13 rating, but he was a long way off Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, who boasted an impressive 1.30 rating in the knockout stages.
coldzera was joint-top with Özgür "woxic" Eker for Terrorist rating (1.34) and had the highest kills per round ratio (0.84). He also dealt the third-most damage per round (90.2) and had the second-highest percentage of rounds with at least one frag (54.2%).
flamie showed once again his tendency to deliver great performances at the first Major of a calendar year as he averaged a 1.20 rating in Natus Vincere’s semi-final run – his highest tournament rating at a Big Event since ELEAGUE Major Boston.
The Russian player replaced fellow countryman Denis "electronic" Sharipov as Na`Vi’s second carry in Katowice, and at times even outshined s1mple. He led the charge in the crunch game against Vitality and had one good map in the series against Liquid and AVANGAR to end the New Challengers stage with a 1.23 rating.
Unsurprisingly, flamie was rated first in his team for ADR (83.5), while he was also the only Na`Vi player to feature in the stats leaderboards in terms of total assists (50) and total headshots (109).
MIBR needed a vintage fer to have a shot at a deep run in Katowice, and that is exactly what they got. After a year in which more often than not he had a peripheral role in the team, averaging a 1.07 rating at Big Events, the 27-year-old reminded the world just how scary he can be when in form as he put in a 1.20 rating – his best since ESL One Cologne 2018.
fer had a slow start to the tournament, finishing two of his first three games in the red and recording a -13KDD. But once the tournament hit the best-of-three stages we saw a completely different fer, starting with the series against NiP, in which he was the team’s joint-best performer with a 1.43 rating.
He proceeded to send MIBR through to the semi-finals with a team-leading performance against Renegades (1.52 rating and 100 ADR) and also acquitted himself well in the 0-2 loss to Astralis, topping the scoreboard for his side with a 1.11 rating.
fer finished behind coldzera in the list of EVPs for the tournament on account of his rough start, but it is important to highlight that he was by far MIBR’s best player in the playoffs (1.30 rating against his teammate’s 1.13). He also ranked first in the team for entry kill rating (1.20) and entry kill KDD (+11).
Sami "xseveN" Laasanen was without a doubt one of the biggest surprises of the Major when it came to individual performances and is the sole ENCE player to make an appearance on this list, which is an extremely rare occurrence for a finalist. This reflects not only the team’s false start in Katowice but also that their deep run was down to collective strength rather than individual brilliance.
The 24-year-old appears in five stats leaderboards on account of the high number of maps that ENCE played, 16, five more than any other team. Still, it is undeniable that he was the team’s top performer, boasting the highest rating (1.06), ADR (78.7), Impact rating (1.07) and number of maps with 1.15+ ratings (eight, two more than any of his teammates).