DreamHack Masters Dallas: the EVPs
On Sunday, DreamHack Masters Dallas came to a close with Liquid emerging victorious and Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski securing his first MVP medal. Now we reflect on the Texas event to present eight players with the Exceptionally Valuable Player awards (EVPs).
Liquid secured their second big-event title in a row last week in Dallas, dropping only one map en route to the grand final, where they bested their new rivals, ENCE, in a three-map thriller. EliGE came out on top of a tight race to the Most Valuable Player award, besting namely three other big candidates: Jere "sergej" Salo, Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, and Aleksi "allu" Jalli.
The aforementioned trio finished at the top of the list of the $250,000 tournament's EVPs, which also features two more finalists from Liquid's ranks, one from each of the semi-finalists, FaZe and FURIA, and Vitality's Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut as the only player from outside of the top-four finishers.
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order):
sergej has kept up an amazing run of form, earning his fourth Big-Event EVP in a row since ENCE made their big break at IEM Katowice. Having appeared on the lower end of the previous three lists, the young Finn finds himself at the very top this time after leading his team to a runners-up finish at DreamHack Masters Dallas with his highest rating at a Big Event since last year's ESL One Cologne.
Consistency was one of sergej's main strengths in The Lone Star State, as he only dipped below the 1.00 rating mark twice – in both cases by the smallest margins, 0.99 against G2 and 0.94 versus Liquid. But even more importantly, the 17-year-old pushed ENCE over the finish line in the late stages of the tournament, on both maps in the semi-finals against FaZe (a 1.34 series rating) and in their sole map win in the grand final against Liquid (1.36 rating), all of which went to 29 rounds or more.
Overall, sergej excelled in most ways, with a 1.23 average rating (fifth best) and 0.80 KPR (third best) being just two of the most prominent statistics. He was also one of the most impactful with a 1.37 impact rating (aided by 0.15 opening kills per round) and well-balanced between the sides (1.21 T-side rating versus 1.24 CT-side rating).
Twistzz followed up an MVP-worthy showing at IEM Sydney with some more impressive play in Dallas, which saw him contend for another medal and eventually lock down the second spot among the EVPs.
Although the Canadian played well every step of the way, he was somewhat unremarkable towards the start of the tournament, at least within his team as only the fourth-best player of the first two matches against Lucid Dream and North that qualified Liquid for the playoffs. However, he stepped up in the fights for further placements in the bracket stage, particularly in the group's upper final against FaZe, with his 1.31 series rating earning the North American side a direct ticket to the semis, and in the grand final, where he led the way on the opening map, Mirage, and played a key part on the deciding Inferno.
Even though EliGE surpassed him in the close MVP race in the end, Dallas goes down as one of Twistzz's best tournaments of 2019 so far, with his contribution and round-to-round consistency being best explained by a tournament-leading 77.2% KAST.
allu's 30th Big Event attendance at DreamHack Masters Dallas saw the Finn's form reach its all-time peak, with the 1.22 rating he recorded in Texas ranking first among the plethora of large-scale tournaments the 27-year-old has attended since he picked up CS:GO in 2012.
The veteran looked in amazing form at the beginning of his jubilean performance, putting up a team-leading 1.39 rating in the pre-top eight stage on the back of a couple of peaks in matches against Isurus and G2, with a 1.91-rated performance on Nuke against the latter team securing ENCE a berth in the playoffs. That level was too high to maintain, but allu still had plenty to say in the three series that followed, keeping up with his teammate sergej, especially in the close semi-final affair with FaZe and up against Liquid in the final series.
allu stood out in several ways, namely as the best AWPer of the tournament (0.42 AWP KPR), as one of the hardest to kill (0.57 DPR), as well as in finding openings for his team with 0.14 opening kills per round and a 72.6% success rate.
After a dip of form saw rain trend downwards around the brink of 2018 and 2019, the Norwegian has turned it back around over the last few months, now locking down his second EVP in the last three tournaments after BLAST Pro Series Miami.
In Dallas, FaZe enjoyed a quick journey to the playoffs as rain put in three solid performances in one-sided affairs with Windigo and NiP, but all eyes were on Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer as he outshone everyone on the team. rain started to take over when a deep run was on the line, leading FaZe in their unsuccessful attempt to secure a direct advancement to the semi-finals alongside the Swede.
rain managed to keep up great form in the playoffs to overtake his teammate with some exceptional play in overtime affairs on Dust2 against G2 and ENCE. Although the Norwegian was only once the main man behind his team's wins, a high level of consistency saw him finish well beyond the rest of FaZe, with a tournament-leading damaging power (89 ADR) helping him score 0.80 KPR and 0.19 assists per round, as well as 76% KAST.
Awarded with his second EVP of 2019, Stewie2K opens the lower half of the list as the third player featured from the winning team. Like EliGE and Twistzz, Liquid's newest player had a fair share of key performances that led to victories. He had one such map in every encounter leading up to the grand final, perhaps most notably a 1.28 rating in a double-overtime affair on Dust2 against FaZe, and he kept up an impressive level in the title decider, as well.
Some of Stewie2K's basic statistics look a bit deceptive, as his 1.12 rating places him significantly lower than most EVPs and a 0.68 KPR ranks about average at DreamHack Masters Dallas overall. However, he outdid everyone on the list in the opening kills department with 0.17 per round and had an exceptional 1.31 impact rating by extension; the second highest in Liquid.
NAF adds the third Big-Event accolade to his 2019 cabinet featuring EVPs from BLAST Pro Series Miami and IEM Sydney, after what was most importantly a very consistent showing across the board at DreamHack Masters Dallas.
Similarly to Stewie2K, some of NAF's raw numbers don't look up to par with the other players, in his case because of a lack of big peaks. The Canadian still contributed well to Liquid's title-winning run with above-average play in every step up to the second map of the grand final, with his two best maps being in close openers against FaZe and FURIA.
While EliGE got his hands on his first MVP of his career, another first comes in the form of an EVP award going the way of up-and-comer yuurih, who played his first Big Event at DreamHack Masters Dallas after getting a taste of similar competition during the first stage of IEM Katowice.
This time, the 19-year-old didn't falter. While FURIA surprised everyone with a run to the semi-finals, yuurih was the leading figure in many ways thanks to a degree of consistency normally associated with the best players in the world. The Brazilian recorded 1.15+ ratings on seven out of eight maps during the journey to semi-finals, which featured four top-ten sides in NRG, fnatic, ENCE, and Vitality, before eventually dipping on the one-sided last map of FURIA's run, against now number-one team Liquid.
Having won the MVP award at cs_summit, ZywOo continued to run rampant at DreamHack Masters Dallas only a few days later. The young Frenchman lived up to a similar level as in Los Angeles, with just one below-average map, which came in a rather one-sided quarter-final affair against the surprise of the tournament, FURIA.
Although his 1.33 rating looks untouchable when it comes to the competition in Dallas, it needs to be said that a large portion of that comes from Vitality's whitewash of Lucid Dream, in which ZywOo led the team with a 1.87 series rating while the Thai side won six rounds over the course of two maps. The 18-year-old was still a force to be reckoned with outside of the one-sided series, as his aforementioned map-to-map consistency goes to show.