IEM Sydney & BLAST Pro Series Madrid: the EVPs
Two of May's biggest tournaments, IEM Sydney and BLAST Pro Series Madrid, are behind us and it's time to crunch the numbers to name the Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVPs) of the two $250,000 events.
IEM Sydney concluded at the end of May's first week, with Liquid breaking their Big Event title duck as they triumphed against fnatic in a closely-contested best-of-five grand final, with Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken named the Most Valuable Player.
Less than a week later, BLAST Pro Series Madrid took place on the other side of the globe and saw ENCE claim a surprising victory over Astralis, with Jani "Aerial" Jussila securing a career-first MVP medal as the leading man behind the Finnish side.
Now we look back at the two big events to name the other players who stood out through exceptional contribution to their teams' runs. HLTV.org's EVP picks of the two tournaments are the following:
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Jesper "JW" Wecksell
Keith "NAF" Markovic
Marcelo "coldzera" David
Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson
Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin
Ethan "Ethan" Arnold
The North American player gets his second EVP mention of the year (after BLAST Pro Series São Paulo) after impressing Down Under with a 1.23 tournament rating, his highest at a Big Event so far in 2019.
EliGE was a solid contributor in the group stage, averaging a 1.40 rating in the opening matches against BOOT-d[S] and BIG, but he saved his best performances for the latter stages of the tournament. After putting in a team-leading 1.46 rating in the semi-final match against MIBR, he also played a pivotal role in the title-decider against fnatic with 1.20+ ratings on the three maps that his team won. It is no surprise then that he had the highest rating in map wins leading to victories in the team at 1.32.
He ended the tournament with 50 entry kills, 16 more than any other Liquid player, averaging 0.16 per round, the fourth-highest overall. He was also ranked second for ADR (87.7) and first for impact rating (1.45), while his number of clutches won - just one - was by far the lowest in the team (everyone else had at least five).
JW blew everyone away in Australia with a team-leading 1.18 rating - his highest at a Big Event since ESL One Cologne 2017 -, this way earning his first EVP mention since last year's IEM Chicago tournament, where he was near the bottom of the EVP list.
This time around, the Swedish player features closer to the summit, and understandably so. He was fnatic's best player in the group stage (1.17 rating) despite his struggles in the series against Grayhound, and played a key role in the Swedish derby against NIP with a 1.21 rating. He kept it up in the semi-final clash against NRG with a sensational 1.47 rating on Inferno, and was a nuisance for Liquid over the course of the final, topping the scoreboard on three of the five maps.
JW, who was joint-best for opening kills per round (0.18), eclipsed his fnatic teammates in many stats categories. He averaged 83 damage per round and had an impact rating of 1.37 (his closest teammate being Brollan at 1.17), while he had the highest rating in his team on both the CT side (1.28) and the T side (1.07).
The Canadian was Liquid's top performer in the group stage with an average 1.43 rating, never going below the 1.25 rating mark in any of the six maps that he played, against BOOT-d[S], BIG and NIP. NAF then fell off the pace in the race for the award with a 1.08 rating in the semi-final series against MIBR - in which EliGE and Twistzz stole the show - before coming back strongly against fnatic in the final with 1.20+ ratings on all maps that Liquid won, though he still never topped the scoreboard.
NAF, who was Liquid's best player on the T side (1.23 rating) and the third-best on the CT side (1.22), was ranked first in the team for clutches (eight), KAST (77.8%) and percentage of support rounds (24.4%).
No player who reached the playoffs had a higher rating in map wins leading to victories than coldzera (1.53), which speaks volumes about the Brazilian's impact on MIBR. In Sydney, the two-time player of the year averaged a 1.30 rating, his best of 2019 so far, to make an EVP list for the second time this year, after the IEM Katowice Major.
coldzera finished seven of the nine maps that he played with above-average ratings, only going red on the two maps against NRG. In the other three series, he was always MIBR's top performer, peaking in the Nuke game against fnatic (2.08 rating, 120 ADR and 100% KAST) and in the Overpass contest against MOUZ (1.80 rating, 103 ADR).
The Brazilian player ranked first for rating, kills per round (0.87) and KAST (78.9%), and featured in the top five in five other categories, including damage per round (87.6), clutches won (8) and percentage of rounds with at least one kill (56.9%).
Continuing with great form since fnatic returned to title contention at StarSeries i-League Season 7, KRIMZ adds another accolade to his cabinet on the back of an all-around great play in his team's wins en route to the runners-up finish.
All of his six sub-1.00 rated maps come from losses; in fact, he recorded 1.15+ ratings in the vast majority of fnatic's victories over the course of the grueling tournament (in 10 out of 11), which speaks to his contribution to the successful run the Swedes had in Australia. KRIMZ had a key performance nearly every step of the way for fnatic, perhaps most notably with a 1.17 rating in the best-of-five grand final, only bested by his teammate JW.
Once the 20-year-old took off with a 1.75 rating in NRG's opening matchup against ViCi, there was no stopping him, as he topped it off with 1.34 and 1.61 ratings across series versus FaZe and MIBR, which pushed the North American side directly to the semi-finals. Although unsuccessful in the end, Brehze added another solid performance in their sole map win facing fnatic in the top-four stage on Train.
The American put in some impressive statistics at the $250,000 tournament, appearing in several leaderboards, including overall rating (1.29), damage per round (87.1), kills per round (0.84), rounds with at least one kill (58.3%), and success in opening duels (73.7%).
Having missed out on an EVP award in fnatic's run to second place at StarSeries, Brollan grabs his first of 2019 following a somewhat up-and-down showing, which saw him struggle with consistency as he put in 1.00+ ratings on 11 out of 20 maps but also had a lot of impact through key performances in fnatic's route to the second place at IEM Sydney.
That includes the Swedes' three-map series with Grayhound, which pushed fnatic to the playoffs, as well as against NIP and NRG in the first two bracket stages, where he was among the leading figures. The youngster went on to add another great map to open up the best-of-five affair versus Liquid in good shape, although he ended up fluctuating there.
Ethan grabs his second EVP in a row after keeping up a great level from StarSeries i-League Season 7, playing a key role alongside Brehze in NRG's deep run in Sydney with some especially impressive play in the group stage. There, much like his teammate, the American put in five great maps against ViCi, FaZe and MIBR as his squad went undefeated to make it all the way to the semi-finals from first place in their group.
He continued to play well in the North American side's top-four stage encounter against fnatic, with a valiant effort on Inferno and Mirage not being enough to push NRG across the finish line, in the end.
Ethan trailed his teammate with the fifth-highest rating overall at 1.26, as well as in a number of other categories, but he outdid nearly everyone in the damage department with an 88.8 ADR, second only to Karlo "USTILO" Pivac, who played just one map in Sydney.
BLAST Pro Series Madrid
Magisk continues a run of great form, earning his fourth big event award since he became the MVP at BLAST Pro Series Lisbon at the end of 2018. At the Madrid stop of the same organizer, the Dane was among the MVP candidates going into the final as one of the best players of the group stage, and he solidified his claim to a high placing on the list of EVPs with a team-leading 1.12 rating in the unsuccessful grand final series against ENCE.
Although he lacked big peaks and Player of the Match awards by extension, the 21-year-old was all about consistency in Madrid. He kept performing well both match-to-match, putting in 1.00+ ratings on all five maps during the group stage and adding another in the grand final as the highest-rated player of the second map, and round-to-round with the tied second-highest KAST at 77.4%.
Players who do not make it to grand finals at BLAST Pro Series events rarely make it onto the EVP list due to the tournament's format, but autimatic deserved a place among the exceptions thanks to some amazing performances that kept Cloud9 within contention for more than just the one victory against Giants the team ended up getting in the group stage.
The American's three Player of the Match awards prove he was more often than not the best player on the server despite being on the losing side on two of those occasions, as do his outstanding statistics when compared to the rest of the pool. autimatic was the highest-rated player of the tournament (1.33), the best fragger (0.92 KPR), dealt the most damage (94.1 ADR), and had the most rounds with at least one kill (59.1%). On top of that, he excelled in opening up rounds for his team with 0.15 opening kills per round (tied third-most) and a 66.7% success rate (joint best).
dupreeh follows his teammate with his second EVP award since March, when he received one for his efforts at the IEM Katowice Major.
Unlike Magisk, whose main forte was consistency in Madrid, the 26-year-old had his highs and lows throughout the latest BLAST edition. Astralis's run to a 3-0 record in their opening three matches, which secured the team a place in the grand final, saw dupreeh lead the team with three Player of the Match awards and get off to an auspicious start in the race for the MVP.
In the end, he fell off in the Danes' three losses to ENCE, crucially in the unsuccessful grand final series, but his immense contribution to Astralis's top-two placing was more than enough to place him in the middle of the EVP list.
Recovering from an underwhelming showing in Miami, Astralis's AWPer is the last Astralis player to get an EVP mention for an overall solid performance in Madrid, where he had six out of seven maps with a rating above 1.00 en route to the runners-up finish.
device's 1.23 rating places him at the top of Astralis, although two of his three biggest peaks came in the last two matches of the group stage, which ended up having no impact on the team's top-two placing, in the loss to ENCE and triumph over Cloud9, making his statistics a bit inflated compared to his teammates.
After earning EVPs in São Paulo and Shanghai, the young Finn rounds out the list with his third accolade in a row. sergej had four great maps over the course of the tournament, including three in the group stage, playing a huge part in ENCE qualifying for the grand final, and one in the title decider against Astralis.
Although the 17-year-old didn't particularly stand out in the fragging department or damage output, his exceptional contribution came in the form of clutches, with the most 1vX situations won out of everyone (5), and his ability to survive with the fewest deaths (0.55 DPR), which helped him put in a well-above-average 74.0% KAST.