Player stock shift: October-December
The last edition of the year of the player stock shift is here as we look at the last three months of competition and its rising and falling players.
The final three months of the year hosted a large variety of tournaments, including eight Big Events, such as DreamHack Masters Malmö, StarSeries i-League Season 8 and the finals the ESL Pro League and ECS, as well as a smattering of other notable competitions, like the CS:GO Asia Championships and cs_summit 5.
We've gone through the numbers again to see who played better than expected and who underperformed in the final quarter of 2019. We found five risers and 10 players who plummeted, with staple names such as Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, and Richard "shox" Papillon under the spotlight in the last stock shift of the year.
KSCERATO has been a name on many lips since started making waves in the scene, earlier this year. We feel that this is the right time to reinforce the hype after the Brazilian star added some more impressive performances to his resumé over the last few months, putting up 1.20+ ratings at some of the biggest tournaments of the latter half of the year: ESL One Cologne, DreamHack Masters Malmö, and StarSeries i-League Season 8.
NiKo was among the falling players of September after his form had taken a hit in the third quarter of 2019, and although FaZe's new lineup still struggled for consistency, the Bosnian looked in much better shape again, most notably winning his second MVP of the year at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen.
KRIMZ also makes a reappearance from earlier in the year, after a tough period that had seen him and fnatic plummet. After the new lineup was put together in September, the bearded Swede made a recovery with a leading performance in the team's successful DreamHack Masters Malmö campaign and some standout displays at the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals.
cadiaN's fruitless period with North resulted in the AWPer's stock falling late last year as he rarely ever got out of the red zone with the lions, but after he joined Heroic and gave up the mantle of the in-game leader this October, the 24-year-old became a solid contributor, recording team-leading showings at DreamHack Open Atlanta and EPICENTER.
Liazz was in a similar position as the Dane in the middle of the year while Renegades had a hard time getting wins on the board, but his form improved significantly after the break and he was a big part of the team's journey to a top-four finish at the StarLadder Major and to their first Big-Event final at IEM Beijing, helping the team now known as 100 Thieves redeem themselves late in the year.
Evil Geniuses had a turbulent end to the year, attending a staggering eight events over the course of the last three months and falling everywhere on the spectrum when it comes to results, as they got eliminated early a few times but also went far in other cases, highlighted by a win at StarSeries i-League Season 8. Two of their players hit a rut during that period, with Brehze's incredible consistency from earlier in the year nowhere to be seen, while tarik stayed in the red in the last five events.
Similarly, Liquid went through an up-and-down period between October and December, at least considering the standards the North American team had set in the first half of the year, when they had gone on their massive winning streak. Twistzz and nitr0 were perhaps the furthest from their old level in the last quarter, during which both players had some year-long lows.
The last quarter also saw one of 2019's head-turning players, Jame, dip after an admirable nine months, with the Russian star unable to stay in top shape on a consistent basis. Meanwhile, after AdreN had spent the first half of the year alongside FaZe in his first stint with an international squad, the veteran's return to a Russian-speaking lineup only saw his form sink.
Since bringing in Miikka "suNny" Kemppi, ENCE as a whole have certainly not looked up to par with their level from earlier in the year. Although everyone from the Finnish team seems to have suffered, one of the main stars, sergej, has not been able to maintain his usual output, recording two of his worst events at BLAST Pro Series Moscow and IEM Beijing.
The last stretches of the year were not kind to some of the legends of the game. First and foremost it's GuardiaN, who returned to Natus Vincere in September after a long stint with FaZe and looked a shadow of his former self as he seemed to be in the worst shape of his career after particularly underwhelming StarSeries and EPICENTER showings.
shox follows in the same footsteps as he, too, had a tough ending to the year after leaving G2 for Vitality. Several poor series, especially in Turkey and Russia, saw the French legend's numbers suffer a big hit with the new team in spite of their title-winning campaign at EPICENTER.
As an organization, Cloud9 likely had their worst year in CS:GO after changing the lineup several times. autimatic was the only player to go through it all, and he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark resumé in the first half of the year, but after he joined forces with Damian "daps" Steele's new lineup under the blue banner his old form simply disappeared.