StarSeries i-League S8 & Blast Pro Series Copenhagen: the EVPs
We sifted through the numbers and figures of the recent StarSeries and BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen tournaments to present our EVP (Exceptionally Valuable Players) picks of the two Big Events.
The last Big Event of October, StarSeries i-League S8 saw Evil Geniuses secure the title and the lion's share of a $500,000 prize pool after taking down fnatic in the grand final of the grueling tournament, which took place in Belek, with Ethan "Ethan" Arnold claiming his first-ever MVP medal after the title decider.
BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen was Nikola "NiKo" Kovač's time to shine as the Bosnian talent produced some vintage performances to help FaZe win the title over Ninjas in Pyjamas after the team had cruised through the round-robin stage.
The EVP list for the StarSeries event is made up of two players from each of the three best-performing teams plus one player who put up some outstanding numbers despite his team not going beyond top eight. FaZe dominate the EVP picks for BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, while Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere and Liquid provide one player apiece.
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order) of the two tournaments are the following:
Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov
Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato
Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin
Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
Henrique "HEN1" Teles
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut
StarSeries i-League Season 8
CeRq was neck and neck with Ethan in the race for the MVP award, ultimately settling for second place on account of the North American's impressive consistency and high peaks. Still, that does not take away from what the Bulgarian achieved in Belek, where he recorded a 1.21 rating, his second-highest at a Big Event.
The Evil Geniuses AWPer ended 14 of the 19 maps that he played with above-average ratings, six of those with 1.30+ ratings. He was named the Player of the Map (PoTM) on five occasions, one more than Ethan, and led his team in terms of KDD (+82), Impact (1.27) and opening kills (0.15 per round).
The Bulgarian chalked up 11 clutches (second best), four more than any of his teammates, and was joint-second best for AWP kills per round (0.41), while his 65.7% success in opening duels ranked him fifth overall.
The Brazilian youngster was the main driving force behind FURIA's impressive third-placed finish in Turkey with a 1.28 rating, a career-best in terms of Big Events. He played out of his skin to keep his team alive in the tournament, topping the scoreboard on five of the eight series that he played in Belek.
In more ways than one, KSCERATO was unrivaled in the tournament. No player had more 1.30+ rated maps than the Brazilian (nine), who ranked first for KDD (+124), T side rating (1.41), KAST (78.0%), deaths per round (0.54) and damage difference per round (+21.9). He also featured in the top five in eight other stats categories, most notably rating, ADR (83.8), kills per round (0.79), clutches won (10) and percentage of rounds with at least one kill (51.9%).
The Swedish talent picked up his second EVP award in a row after previously impressing on home soil at DreamHack Masters Malmö as he put up a career-best 1.14 rating to help fnatic to reach the grand final of the Turkish event. After a slow start to the tournament, Brollan picked up the pace as he finished the group stage with a team-high 1.26 rating after impressing against MOUZ (1.21 rating), MIBR (1.51) and Vitality (1.40).
Evil Geniuses turned out to be a thorn in Brollan's side as he recorded three below-average ratings against the North Americans, but he still deserves such a high place on this EVP list on account of his key contribution on the four maps that fnatic won against G2 and FURIA in the semi-finals.
Brollan, who was joint-top for 1.30+ rated maps (nine), was named the Player of the Map on five occasions (two more than anyone else on fnatic), and boasted a 1.20 Impact rating, with his closest teammate being flusha at 1.05.
The ESL One New York MVP did not put up the kind of numbers that have made him one of the most spectacular talents to watch this year, but he still acquitted himself well in Belek as Evil Geniuses' third-best player with a 1.17 rating.
Brehze went through peaks and throughs during the group stage, which helps to explain why he averaged just a 1.10 rating. But he made up for that with some spectacular displays in the playoffs, in which he was EG's top performer (1.30 rating), ending the tournament in style as he led the team to a 2-0 victory over fnatic with some impressive numbers: 1.73 rating, 116 ADR and +24 KDD.
The North American player had the third-highest KAST of the tournament at 74.8% and put up six 1.30+ rated maps, just two fewer than Ethan.
Solid showings by HEN1 at DreamHack Masters Malmö and in the ESL Pro League group stage had whetted the appetite of FURIA's passionate fanbase, and the sniper delivered once again at StarSeries, where he erased all doubts about his place in the team as he established himself as a valuable sidekick for KSCERATO.
HEN1 had the most above-average rated maps of his team, 14, though he only broke the 1.30 mark on four occasions. He was a rock in FURIA's defense with an average 1.28 rating (.13 higher than any of his teammates), while he struggled on the T side with a 1.02 rating, the second-lowest on the team. He improved as the tournament went on, going from a 1.11 rating in the group stage to a 1.20 rating in the playoffs, in which he played a key role in the 2-0 victory over Renegades (1.59 rating, +27 KDD).
The Brazilian AWPer had the same number of Player of the Map mentions as KSCERATO (four) and featured in the leaderboards in five stats categories, most notably KDD (+65), deaths per round (0.54), KAST (74.7%) and AWP kills per round (0.36).
The 26-year-old earned his first EVP of the year after playing an important role in fnatic's runner-up finish with a 1.12 rating - his highest for the Swedish team since IEM Katowice 2018, where he had been named the MVP. His presence was key as the Swedes came through the group stage as he put up a 1.22 rating, topping the scoreboard against Imperial and being the second-best performer against MIBR and Vitality.
flusha did not hit the same peaks in the playoffs, but he still averaged a respectable 1.03 rating thanks to solid displays against G2 (1.14 rating) and Evil Geniuses (1.19). He ended the tournament with the highest ADR (79.8) and KAST (73.4%) of the team, and with six 1.30+ rated maps.
The other players on this list were all part of teams who finished on the podium in Belek. ZywOo, on the other hand, saw his team crash out of the tournament in the first lower bracket round but he still made the cut, which goes to show just how impressive he was despite Vitality's shortcomings.
The 18-year-old had six 1.30+ rated maps, just as many as, for example, CeRq or flusha, despite playing eight maps fewer than the Bulgarian and ten fewer than the Swede. He boasted the highest rating in both the group stage (1.33) and in the playoffs (1.39) and was second only to s1mple in terms of Impact (1.37).
ZywOo was featured in six stats leaderboards, four of which at the top: rating (1.34), ADR (94.6), kills per round (0.85) and percentage of rounds with at least one kill (54.1%). Just another great individual tournament from the Frenchman, who already has four EVP mentions in addition to three Big Event MVP medals this year.
BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen
coldzera's atrocious debut with FaZe at ESL One New York seems all but forgotten now, as the Brazilian took no time to return back to form with two consecutive events rated above 1.20 at ESL Pro League and at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen.
In Denmark, the former MIBR member complemented NiKo's MVP-earning level on the quest after his first big title since late 2017 with a couple of stellar performances on the way to a dominant 3-0 start to the group stage and another great map on the title-winning Dust2, averaging a 1.22 rating at the tournament.
In the end, a somewhat sub-par opening map of the grand final meant coldzera wouldn't catch up to his Bosnian teammate, but he still outdid NiKo on the Terrorist side, where he was among the best players of the $250,000 event with a 1.27 rating, while putting up impressive numbers in nearly every other category.
s1mple adds one more to a long list of awards after once again spearheading Natus Vincere's efforts in Copenhagen, where the team ended up missing on a grand final appearance by just one point due to a couple of ties in the round-robin.
For his standards, the Ukrainian got off to a slow start at BLAST in the narrow win against Liquid and the sole loss to FaZe, but on day two s1mple reached incredible peaks, with three 30-bomb performances earning him back-to-back-to-back Player of the Map awards and helping him finish the tournament with some very s1mple-like statistics: 1.38 rating (#1), 102.9 ADR (#1), 1.00 KPR (#1), and 75.2% KAST (#2), among others.
Turning up with his best showing since May's DreamHack Masters Dallas and earning his first EVP mention since the Texas tournament, rain follows as another key player in FaZe's journey to their first title with the new lineup.
Discounting a no-show in a meaningless loss to Liquid at the end of the round-robin group stage, at which point the grand finalists had already been decided, the Norwegian played well every step of the way, with 1.15+ ratings in all but one of their six map wins and particularly a top-of-the-board performance on the second map of the grand final against Ninjas in Pyjamas (1.49 rating).
rain stood out in a few ways as a highly-aggressive player who spent most of his time on the server on the front line, being able to find impact in that position with 0.14 opening kills per round (but also 0.18 opening deaths per round) and put up an exceptional number of assists (0.20 per round, second most).
The only other player apart from s1mple to earn a place on this list without having appeared in the title decider is EliGE, who put in a fantastic effort over the course of the round-robin stage despite the team's disappointing campaign overall.
The North American side won only two matches in five, against Cloud9 and FaZe — the latter at a point when the result couldn't make a difference anymore —, losing the other three in double-digit results while EliGE did his best to keep his team in contention, with 1.44 and 1.64 ratings in the 14-16 and 11-16 losses to Natus Vincere and Ninjas in Pyjamas, respectively.
The 22-year-old ended up rivaling s1mple's other-worldly numbers at the event with an astonishing tournament-high 1.61 T side rating, while also tying the Ukrainian for the highest overall rating (1.38) and following closely behind in ADR (101.3), which resulted in a lot of kills (0.86 per round, second most) as well as the most assists out of everyone (0.23 per round), and KAST (75.0%).
In only the second Big Event of his career, one of the newest FaZe members, broky, claimed his first award thanks to a consistent showing at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, where he kept up the pace with his much more experienced teammates and at times outperformed them.
Although he took a back seat in the team's dominant start (still putting up 1.00+ ratings in all three opening wins), he made himself known in their closest win of the group stage up against Cloud9, breaking the 30-kill mark in the 16-14 triumph to push his team over the edge and lock down the first seed in the group, before adding another solid map in the grand final.
What he lacked in overall impact and match-defining peaks he made up for with the aforementioned consistency, with his 74.6% KAST ranking him fourth overall, and his ability to survive, with a low 0.58 deaths per round, being unmatched.
f0rest rounds out the list of EVPs as the only player from the second finalist, Ninjas in Pyjamas, to earn an award at the Danish event, standing out from a rather unimpressive-looking set of teammates, an effect stemming from a somewhat tumultuous run from the Swedes.
The oldest player at the tournament played a pivotal part in the three group stage wins that pushed Ninjas in Pyjamas to the grand final, putting up 1.15+ ratings in all of them, and topped it off with a PotM-level effort in an overtime loss to FaZe on Nuke, although a sub-par form in the other losses brought his average down to just 1.07.