StarLadder Major: the EVPs
We finally managed to go through the numbers of the StarLadder Major to present you our list of Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVP) of the $1 million competition.
After three intense weeks, Astralis reigned supreme in Berlin with a clinical performance against AVANGAR in the final, becoming the first team to win four Majors and also the first to manage three back-to-back Major triumphs.
Nicolai "device" Reedtz was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament for his pivotal role in Astralis' title-winning campaign, beating off competition from Dzhami "Jame" Ali for the award. The Russian AWPer, who would go on to be named the MVP of BLAST Pro Series Moscow, was one of two AVANGAR players who made the EVP list, which features three players with incredible numbers but whose respective teams could not go beyond the quarter-final stage.
Only the New Legends and the New Champions stages were considered for the picks, with the New Challengers stage treated as a qualifier to keep this event in line with past Majors that had the Main Qualifier as a separate tournament.
Five players came close to making the cut but ultimately missed out, either due to not being impactful enough (the cases of Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen and Alexey "qikert" Golubev) or because their level dropped so significantly in the playoffs that they fell out of contention (Aleksi "allu" Jalli, Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad and Jay "Liazz" Tregillgas).
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order):
Dzhami "Jame" Ali
Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
Emil "Magisk" Reif
Timur "buster" Tulepov
Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
Denis "electronic" Sharipov
Justin "jks" Savage
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut
For the first time, Jame leads the EVP list thanks to what was arguably his best showing to date if we consider the stature of the tournament and how far his performances brought AVANGAR; to the grand final of a Major.
The Russian AWPer was the leading figure behind his team's success, putting in above-average ratings in each of the eight map wins that led the Kazakhstan-majority side to the title decider and earning five map awards in the process — including four PotMs —, most of which he received for his incredible playoffs performances against Vitality and Renegades.
Jame stood out in the categories you would expect a successful AWPer to appear in, with the fourth-most AWP kills per round (0.41), fifth-most opening kills per round (0.14) as well as third-highest opening duel success (66.7%), all the while being one of the hardest players to kill with only 0.58 deaths per round.
Playing a key part in Astralis' record-breaking Major triumph in Berlin, Xyp9x continues a great recovery from an underwhelming period in the spring with his second EVP mention in a row after ESL One Cologne.
Despite a somewhat slow start in the opening two rounds of the group stage, the 24-year-old was a consistent force throughout the prestigious tournament with 11 out of 13 maps rated above 1.00, recording at least one key map almost every step of the way from the fourth round of groups onwards. Xyp9x's consistency is also clear from his overall contribution (75.1% KAST, fourth most), and, as usual, he was an outstanding clutcher (8 1vX situations won, second most).
His youngest teammate Magisk follows closely behind thanks to yet another superb showing, as the 21-year-old keeps his streak of 1.15+ event ratings this year after adding exactly a 1.15 overall rating from the Major.
With just one sub-par map, a 0.54 rating in a 4-16 loss to NRG on Train in the Swiss stage, Magisk was a stable contributor, as well, peaking in the opening two rounds against DreamEaters and G2 and in the quarter-final clash with Liquid, where his excellent level on Overpass pushed the Danish powerhouse to the grand final.
Magisk didn't stand out in any particular statistic other than being Astralis' highest-rated player on the Terrorist side (1.18), but he put in well-above-average numbers all around as an exceptional fragger (0.74 KPR) and solid contributor (73.8% KAST), while also having a good amount of impact (1.12) through opening kills, clutches, and multikills.
buster earned his first-ever EVP award at the StarLadder Major as one of the main carries of the runner-up side AVANGAR, alongside Jame and qikert, recording the team's second-highest 1.11 rating over the course of the 13 maps the CIS-based squad played during the tournament.
The Kazakhstani youngster was a pivotal part of both AVANGAR's 3-1 record in the Swiss stage, in which the 19-year-old put in 1.15+ ratings on all four maps they won including two in close fashion against Renegades and Liquid, and of their playoffs triumphs against Vitality and the Australian side with five more impressive performances.
After his teammates outshone him in the qualifying stage, or now known as the New Challengers stage (still, not considered as part of the Major when it comes to the awards), the 21-year-old took up the mantle of NRG's best player again with an unwavering showing across the board.
Although only once the Player of the Map, Brehze's consistency from start to finish and an admirable (albeit losing) effort in the semi-finals versus Astralis (1.51 rating in a 0-2 series) sees him as the only recipient of the EVP award from his team.
With Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev looking far from his dynamic self, the responsibility to avoid a disastrous last-16 exit for Natus Vincere fell on the shoulders of electronic, who powered the team to the playoffs in Berlin with a 1.31 rating to earn his second EVP mention of the year - his first since StarSeries S7.
The Russian player got off to a slow start, putting in a 0.81 rating in the overtime loss to G2, but exploded after that. He had 1.30+ ratings on six of the other seven maps that Na`Vi played in the New Legends Stage, which he ended with a 1.42 rating - the third-highest overall.
electronic was rated first for rating, ADR (92.5), damage difference per round (+21.5) and Impact (1.38) while also featuring in the top five in three other leaderboards: KDD (+62), kills per round (0.84) and percentage of rounds with at least one kill (52.7%). A reminder of just how good the 21-year-old can be, even if it did not translate into team success.
The Australian did not have the best of tournaments in Berlin, where he posted just a 1.13 rating, but he made his way onto this list thanks to his tremendous impact in the playoffs, which earned Renegades their highest-ever finish at a Major.
jks was largely inconsequential in the New Legends Stage, where jkaem and Liazz stole the show, but he saved his best for the knockout stages as he led Renegades to a clean 2-0 victory over ENCE (1.50 rating, 98 ADR) and also topped the scoreboard in the semi-final defeat to AVANGAR in which he boasted a 1.24 rating - his closest teammate being Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai at 0.85.
Despite his shortcomings, jks still managed to land a place in five stats leaderboards: he was ranked first for total headshots (154), joint-third for clutches (seven) and fifth for KDD (+41).
EliGE continued his rich vein of form with a string of impressive displays in Berlin, where he earned his fifth EVP mention of the year - on top of three MVP medals - in Liquid’s disappointing quarter-final run at the Major.
The 22-year-old was Liquid’s best performer by a long stretch: he ended all the maps that he played with above-average ratings and had four 1.30+ rated maps - twice as many as any of his teammates. He excelled particularly on the CT side, where he boasted a 1.32 rating (third-highest overall), while still being the team’s second-best player on the offense with an average 1.14 rating.
Liquid fans were disappointed with the way that the team went out in Berlin but they cannot point the finger at EliGE, whose 1.23 tournament rating was on par with what he had displayed at previous Big Events this year (average 1.22 rating). He was also among the best in terms of ADR (87.9), Impact (1.36), kills per round (0.82) and opening frags per round (0.15).
ZywOo picked up his third EVP honour of the year, his second in a row, after yet another series of carry performances for Vitality, who gave a disappointing account of themselves in Berlin, leading to a roster change after the event, their first of the year.
The French AWPer went through peaks and troughs at the Major. He ended three maps in the red but made up for that with five 1.30+ rated maps - only device and electronic had more. It is the sort of impact that Vitality’s star can have and that makes facing him such a terrifying prospect.
ZywOo, who was equally as prolific on the Terrorist side (1.24 rating) as he was on the CT side (1.20), was joint top for opening kills per round (0.16) and had the second-highest success in opening duels at 67.3%.