Player stock shift: March-April
The player stock shift is back with a breakdown of the last two months' biggest movers from events such as the BLAST Pro Series stops in São Paulo and Miami, StarSeries i-League Season 7, and IEM Sydney.
Having moved to a bimonthly feature at the start of the year with the first stock shift of 2019 covering January and February, it's now time to look back at March and April and their variety of big and small tournaments to find out which players have enjoyed an increase in performance and whose level has worsened following the IEM Katowice Major.
A total of 18 players made either list this time, with ten rising and eight falling after the tournaments that transpired over the course of the last two months, of whom all but two (OpTic's duo Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen and Ismail "refrezh" Ali) played at one or more of the aforementioned Big Events.
Our new graphics below depict the difference in performance between a point in the past, when a player set a standard for himself (not necessarily limited to the period of the last stock shift), and the present. Read on as we explain how everyone got on the list in detail.
It has been a little over half a year since we last moved aizy, who was unable to keep up with his DreamHack Masters Stockholm performance and fell back down last October. The following events saw him fluctuate and drop deep into the red zone a few times, as low as a measly 0.75 rating at ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals. It wasn't until the last few events that the Dane has been showing significant improvement from late last year and early 2019, most notably with his 1.18 rating leading the team's campaign to the quarter-finals at StarSeries.
rain, on the other hand, had been on more of a consistent downwards spiral in the latter half of last year, with his level deteriorating to a point where he stopped being considered one of FaZe's stars. The Norwegian is recovering now with four solid events in a row, which includes an EVP-worthy performance which played a key part in FaZe's title run at BLAST Pro Series Miami, making his last-three-months average rating the highest since July last year.
Formerly of Syman, iDISBALANCE has only started to be recognized on the international scene this year, with his first Major cycle appearance during the latest CIS Minor putting him on the radar of Spirit, who picked him up ahead of StarSeries i-League Season 7. There, the Russian turned heads with an impressive 1.16 rating over the course of five series as one of the best AWPers and opening killers of the tournament.
His new teammate sdy has been on many pundits' lips for months now as a rising star of the CIS region, where he proved his worth with fantastic play at the last two Minor championships. Having been one of the highest-rated players of the Shanghai event, he has now backed it up internationally, as well.
JW returns to the stock shift with the fourth appearance since September and his second in a row, after fnatic's disappointing runs at IEM Katowice and WESG had seen the 24-year-old's stock fall in the January-February edition. The up-and-down trend continues, as he deserves a bump back up thanks to solid play at StarSeries and ESL Pro League and, more importantly, after claiming an EVP in the team's runner-up finish at IEM Sydney.
niko was featured as a falling player back in September, when his departure from Heroic saw him join up with North for a stint that only lasted for a couple of tournaments, during which the Dane's form suffered. Although he is still a bit inconsistent now with OpTic, the 20-year-old looks more at home with the North American organization, helping his new team to a place in the semi-finals at StarSeries i-League Season 6 and second at cs_summit 3 last year, and to survive the first group stage of Pro League last month.
mousesports' new lineup has been making waves from the get-go, with their first two showings resulting in a placement at ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals and a quarter-final finish at IEM Sydney. For the likes of karrigan and chrisJ, it is somewhat of a redemption story after they had both fallen off in the latter half of 2018, with the Danish veteran looking very much improved from the time towards the end of his tenure in FaZe and his stint with Envy, while the Dutchman has also been in significantly better form so far in 2019.
The same can be said for ropz, who had already been among the best players within the previous lineup and looks like the new roster's main star after stepping up massively in the last two months. Meanwhile, as the youngest member of mousesports and very much a newcomer to the top tier, 16-year-old frozen is starting to fulfill the potential he had been showcasing in the past couple of years now that he has the opportunity to compete at a top level, with a 1.26 rating across his first two tournaments with mouz putting him on par with ropz and Özgür "woxic" Eker.
In the January-February edition, we outlined the rise of Xyp9x at the first tournaments of 2019, where the Clutch Minister looked like a top-five player in the world at least, claiming top-of-the-list EVP accolades at both iBUYPOWER Masters and the IEM Katowice Major. He set a bar too high to reach consistently, as it turns out, with two more months' worth of play placing him back where he had been for most of 2018.
Meanwhile, gla1ve hit a personal low dating back to the start of 2018, recording below-average ratings at the BLAST Pro Series stops in São Paulo and in Miami. The in-game leader looked more like himself two weeks later in Group D of ESL Pro League, but the level of competition wasn't high enough in Leicester to save him from a placing here. However, it might help him spring back up in case he doubles up with a similar performance in Madrid and at events that will follow over the next two months.
We first recognized Aerial in the stock shift after he was the driving force behind ENCE's first international triumph at StarSeries i-League Season 6 in October alongside Jere "sergej" Salo and Aleksi "allu" Jalli. He continued to put in impressive numbers until the last couple of months, failing to deliver the same consistent peaks at events such as the Major and the latest StarSeries season.
flamie returns to the series immediately after being featured in the last edition on the back of some great play at IEM Katowice, a level which we haven't seen from him again since, with the Russian looking average at best throughout March and April.
Renegades have been going through some difficulties with visas following their impressive campaign at IEM Katowice, which has kept them from fielding the entire lineup and being able to practice effectively, and it seems to be taking a toll on some of their players. Specifically, Gratisfaction (who had to skip ESL Pro League Season 9 due to the aforementioned issues) and AZR have dipped compared to how they looked during the first stages of the Major.
Still a part of LDLC at the time, AmaNEk made it to the list of rising players in November following an upset run at IEM Chicago that saw the 25-year-old lead the French organization to the playoffs. Although his recent union with G2 has been successful for the team, who made it to ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals from a tough Group C in Leicester, it has been not that fruitful for AmaNEk on an individual level, as he averaged a team low 0.94 rating at his first two LAN events.
Similarly, refrezh looked to be on his way to great heights after impressing with Fragsters in mid-late 2018, when the team - who no longer exist - made it to the playoffs of DreamHack Open Valencia and StarSeries i-League Season 6. Since joining forces with OpTic, the 21-year-old has seen his numbers dwindle, which is why he rounds out the list.