From Adria with love - the remarkable rise of Maden

Pavle "Maden" Bošković has been a driving force behind GODSENT's climb into the top 20, leading us to dig into the Montenegrin star's early career and find out about his breakout from obscurity.

Since adding Maden to their squad, GODSENT have been on a consistent upward trajectory. The European squad rose from 36th in the world in September 2019 to their peak rank of 16th within six months, winning a LAN and securing three top-four placings along the way. The Montenegrin talent has averaged a team-high 1.11 rating, 1.22 Impact and 0.74 Kills per Round, dispelling doubts about his effectiveness at the highest level.

Just a year ago, Maden was playing for a top-200 team, and it is fair to say that he was a no-namer on the international stage. Today, he is a key player in a top-20 squad that participated in ESL Pro League S11 Europe and will take part in the ESL One: Road to Rio event next. How?

kRYSYTAL described Maden as the "perfect fit" for the team

Maden registered his first HLTV appearance in August 2016, representing Montenegro in The World Championships European Qualifier after getting acquainted with Miloš "Gigi" Racković and Nikola "Lobanjica" Mijomanović, veteran players from his country. The latter recalls being frustrated with Maden's focus on solo plays, though he says that the youngster already "felt the game even with so little experience."

Maden began making a name for himself as a skilled player in the region but didn't particularly stand out from a number of similar youngsters who were grinding their way in PUG platforms and regional online competitions. Mario "Mariuchii" Grdović, who shared a team with Maden for a short period, admitted that there were more promising players around: "I would be lying if I said we all saw the potential. The truth is he was your typical talented youngster, even somewhat of a hothead at the time, which would sometimes affect his performance".

Lobanjica adds that while Maden didn't display toxic behavior, he would sometimes "tilt" if things went wrong. Mentality has always been an issue for players and teams from the Adria region, and the 30-year-old says that the older players are the ones to blame for it. "That kind of behavior is something he saw from me and Gigi," he says. "As a young player, you see us doing it and then, of course, you do that to the next guy you play with". This created negative habits which Maden later had to overcome in order to reach the next level. "I was tilting a lot when I was younger," Maden admits. "I said to myself that if I wanted to make something out of CS, I had to start thinking positively and work on fixing my attitude."

Looking at it from the outside, between 2016 and the second half of 2018 there was nothing special about Maden's path. He jumped around from team to team every few months, like most players at the level he was at do, playing with different regional mixtures. With the competitive scenes in Montenegro and in the surrounding countries still struggling behind other minor regions, he was only able to attend a couple of local LANs per year, and despite his good individual showings, he didn't lift a single trophy.

Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač's Valiance dominated the region during that time and started making serious international strides in 2018, but even when they reached their plateau and looked for replacements (which ended up being Aleksa "Impulse" Stankić and Aleksandar "jayzaR" Zarkovic), Maden wasn't someone on their radar.

Read more: Valiance - A second chance for Serbian CS

The lack of success or big opportunities didn't dissuade Maden. Instead, his love for the game fueled him through the ups and downs. He quit university shortly after enrolling — "It was a really hard decision, my family wanted me to finish it before everything else" — and patiently worked on his craft, trying to learn from every teammate he had. "I never thought of quitting the game, I was playing every day just to get better," he says. "I played a lot of PUGs, watched demos, watched live games and spent a lot of time improving on every aspect of the game". Quietly, Maden was building the foundations for what was to come.

He finally found some stability playing under Mladen "juricM" Jurić in UltiCoin, which the Montenegrin notes as his "first real team", before joining Akopalipsa (BLUEJAYS) —initially led by Petar "HOLMES" Dimitrijević before Nemanja "sarenii" Šarenac took over the reins.

Even at the start of Akopalipsa, Maden wasn't the clear-cut star of the squad as Miloš "dEE" Marčeta and Dimitrije "DiMKE" Veljković were perhaps the bigger names in the lineup – a sentiment supported by sarenii. "At the start, Maden was a young, talented player like everyone else in the team, but I would say he was learning a bit faster than any of us and that made the difference," he says. Eventually, that started reflecting on Maden's stats as well, as he averaged a 1.12 rating over the first half of the year, significantly higher than that of his teammates.

Akopalipsa started grinding online cups and open qualifiers in 2019, and without any organizational backing or direct help from the more experienced players in the region, such as the iNation core, climbed from the 181st spot in the world to 84th within a few months, making it the first time that two Adria-based squads had ever been in the top 100 in the rankings.

Akopalipsa with the ~$2,200 first place cheque from the CSadria Championship S3 (Photo by CSadria)

One year ago, Maden was in Split, Croatia, putting in a tournament-high 1.37 rating to help Akopalipsa to win the $4,500 CSadria Championship Season 3. To understand how he earned his breakthrough just five months later you have to realise how a bit of luck can turn things one's way.

"It's actually a little stupid how we decided to pick him up", Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend, the in-game leader of GODSENT explains. "We were playing a lot against him in open qualifiers and he just always destroyed us. More than once he had 30 or even 40 kills in close matches". So when the team parted ways with Thomas "Thomas" Utting and signed with SMASH in September, they decided to give Maden a chance.

Here is someone who had no international team experience, suddenly playing in a multi-cultural lineup alongside veterans. kRYSTAL had reached two Major playoffs, Mikail "Maikelele" Bill had competed for NiP and been one round away from winning the DreamHack Winter 2014 Major, Jesse "zehN" Linjala had enjoyed a memorable Major run with PENTA, and Martin "STYKO" Styk had only recently been a part of a top-five mousesports side. Despite the massive experience gap between him and his teammates, Maden had no problems slotting in and continuing his upward trajectory, playing as if he had never left the comfortable atmosphere of a Serbian lineup.

"He handled it pretty well in my opinion," kRYSTAL says. "He has strong opinions and voices them a lot; however, he is never doing it in a disrespectful way". The German in-game leader adds that the team had to make some adaptations early on as they tried to figure out how to use Maden in the most efficient way. "Sometimes he was too aggressive, so we tried to make him more of a trade fragger at certain points within a game. Apart from that, there wasn't much of an issue - he was the perfect fit for our team".

Maden held his own on LAN and against the biggest teams

Maden had the joint-highest rating in the team as they won their first online competition together, LOOT.BET Season 4, and he did even better at his debut LAN for the squad, putting up a tournament-high 1.28 rating in the title-winning run at the WePlay! Forge of Masters Season 2 Finals, in November. At the start of 2020, GODSENT managed a semi-final run at the ICE Challenge event, where their demise was losing two BO3s to the eventual runners-up, Natus Vincere. Maden once again led the charge for his team as he averaged a 1.20 rating, raising eyebrows in the Dust2 victory against Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov's side with a 1.84 rating.

Maden mentioned the WePlay! victory as his proudest moment yet: "I felt great after it. I couldn't believe that I was going to win my first international tournament and be the best-rated player". Securing a Europe Minor spot over OG comes in as a close second, he adds.

When asked how Maden had become so good, so fast, kRYSTAL retorts: "I wouldn't say he became good, he just is good", noting that the 21-year-old has never seemed nervous in the server and constantly brings ideas outside of the game. For his part, Maden thinks he still needs more experience to continue his development as a player. "I think I am not even close to my peak form yet, I think I can be much better than I am right now", he says confidently. "I don't have personal goals. Of course, I would like to get into the top 20 HLTV players this year, but I don't think about it as much, I'm just working on myself, [making sure] that we as a team do well". His mind is set on playing as many tier-one tournaments and qualifying for the ESL One Rio Major with GODSENT.

When looking at a player's breakout, we often like to search for key moments, point out mentors, or highlight tournament wins that have "unlocked" a new level in a player, kickstarting his career. But Maden didn't really have any of that, which proves what, deep down, we all knew all along - it all comes down to hard work.

A player from Montenegro, a country with no achievements in Counter-Strike, has made it to the top-level through sheer dedication and drive. He went all-in, sacrificed everything, never gave up, and after countless failures got one lucky break - which he has taken advantage of. Will Maden become the next superstar? Most likely not. But the Montenegrin surely has room to grow and, if he continues on the right path, a bright future lies ahead.

Russia Kirill 'Boombl4' Mikhailov
Kirill 'Boombl4' Mikhailov
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
703
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Montenegro Pavle 'Maden' Bošković
Pavle 'Maden' Bošković
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
344
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.13
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.14
Maps played:
1073
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Montenegro Nikola 'Lobanjica' Mijomanović
Nikola 'Lobanjica' Mijomanović
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
51
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.14
Croatia Mario 'Mariuchii' Grdović
Mario 'Mariuchii' Grdović
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.84
Maps played:
73
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.15
Serbia Petar 'HOLMES' Dimitrijević
Petar 'HOLMES' Dimitrijević
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
290
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Serbia Dimitrije 'DiMKE' Veljković
Dimitrije 'DiMKE' Veljković
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
379
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Sweden Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1067
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
United Kingdom Thomas 'Thomas' Utting
Thomas 'Thomas' Utting
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
527
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.17
Serbia Aleksa 'Impulse' Stankić
Aleksa 'Impulse' Stankić
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
467
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.12
Serbia Miloš 'dEE' Marčeta
Miloš 'dEE' Marčeta
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
252
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.10
Finland Jesse 'zehN' Linjala
Jesse 'zehN' Linjala
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
844
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.15
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nemanja 'sarenii' Šarenac
Nemanja 'sarenii' Šarenac
Age:
21
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.89
Maps played:
127
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.14
Sweden Aleksandar 'jayzaR' Zarkovic
Aleksandar 'jayzaR' Zarkovic
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
430
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Montenegro Miloš 'Gigi' Racković
Miloš 'Gigi' Racković
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
19
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Germany Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1561
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Slovakia Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1201
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Serbia Mladen 'juricM' Jurić
Mladen 'juricM' Jurić
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
198
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.13
#1
 | 
Croatia feelsbadmane 
Good luck to u Maden!
2020-04-23 15:01
#56
OK | 
Peru TheJuan 
OK better
2020-04-23 15:42
Loba > maden
2020-04-23 15:44
#123
 | 
Austria shaak! 
nah
2020-04-23 20:52
pro from croatia when
2020-04-23 16:33
#144
 | 
Philippines trixiwnl 
agadmator
2020-04-24 23:25
Maden sent from god
2020-04-23 15:01
ok
2020-04-23 15:01
ok
2020-04-23 15:01
#5
device | 
Netherlands Revkless 
nice.
2020-04-23 15:01
#6
woxic | 
Turkey DairOun 
ok
2020-04-23 15:01
Loba bestest mens :) second is maden
2020-04-23 15:01
+1
2020-04-23 22:24
remind me when loba starts playing in a real team
2020-04-24 18:17
never
2020-04-24 19:06
yep, never will
2020-04-24 19:35
#8
Smix | 
Europe Lv1_Crook 
nice
2020-04-23 15:01
HLTV PROMOTING BALKAN PLAYERS LUL
2020-04-23 15:01
#15
ropz | 
Czech Republic y0fl0w 
*BALKAN GUY PROMOTING BALKAN PLAYERS LUL
2020-04-23 15:02
#24
 | 
Serbia SuperShark 
Yeah because he knows the scene best?
2020-04-23 15:09
#42
ropz | 
Czech Republic y0fl0w 
yes Prof balkan cs expert, can confirm
2020-04-23 15:28
#132
kennyS | 
Montenegro Dojeee 
Balkan CS > UK CS :D
2020-04-23 23:28
good potential
2020-04-23 15:02
kkk
2020-04-23 15:02
#12
yes | 
Korea mryes) 
ok
2020-04-23 15:02
#13
OK | 
Reunion Edjon 
nice
2020-04-23 15:02
Allu better
2020-04-23 15:02
#16
 | 
Japan Fanta_machine 
Wow i wonder who could have written this article lol
2020-04-23 15:02
The person writing about a player's early days is the one who knows that scene best. Shocking, right?
2020-04-23 15:13
Destroyed with facts and logic
2020-04-23 15:12
lick his butthole too
2020-04-23 15:22
Thats fucking gay dude
2020-04-23 15:26
yeah u are fucking gay
2020-04-23 15:27
Im not the one talking about licking some dudes asshole. Youre weird man
2020-04-23 15:29
#29
2020-04-23 15:36
well what can you say about that? brutal, savage, rekt, completely annihilated
2020-04-23 17:02
truly mind-shatering to expect the balkan expert to talk about balkan cs also it´s not like the same could be done by you with our scene I´ve been given up on it to stop being garbage ; _ ;
2020-04-23 19:02
#17
 | 
Hungary Shiron212 
Let's go Balkans! <3
2020-04-23 15:03
Who?
2020-04-23 15:04
#19
 | 
New Zealand SkirmishX 
who
2020-04-23 15:04
good player, very underrated
2020-04-23 15:04
maden my guy <3
2020-04-23 15:05
<3
2020-04-23 15:08
Underrated player
2020-04-23 15:09
Gl Maden
2020-04-23 15:10
#27
 | 
Europe lerajie 
Gl Maden
2020-04-23 15:10
With love 😌
2020-04-23 15:11
#30
frozen | 
Czech Republic Cuki_ 
underrated player
2020-04-23 15:14
good read, ty
2020-04-23 15:15
#32
 | 
Switzerland x676 
When Niko, Nexa, Hunter & Maden on the same team?
2020-04-23 15:16
from our early games on esea to this, gl, i am proud of you.
2020-04-23 15:16
#45
OCEAN | 
Reunion 1iquser 
2020-04-23 15:30
kRSYTAL Fix!!!
2020-04-23 15:18
#35
 | 
Serbia bra1np 
legenda, car :)
2020-04-23 15:18
serbian beast
2020-04-23 15:22
He is from Montenegro?
2020-04-23 17:21
serb from montenegro, like niko and hunter serbs from bosnia
2020-04-23 17:27
Tako je brt moiii Svi smo mi Srbi
2020-04-23 17:51
#110
 | 
Serbia DjapeZ 
+1111111111111111
2020-04-23 19:24
is this why all the balcan countries hate serbia?
2020-04-23 19:19
#111
 | 
Serbia DjapeZ 
Its tough for them admit it.
2020-04-23 19:25
Even u r Serbian, didn’t u know?
2020-04-23 20:44
No. Nobody hates Serbia.
2020-04-23 22:23
#38
 | 
Denmark b0ROV 
bot from botsent
2020-04-23 15:23
#41
 | 
Montenegro LakaZakon 
Legend!
2020-04-23 15:27
#141
 | 
Montenegro Dalyn 
nice
2020-04-24 18:57
#44
OCEAN | 
Reunion 1iquser 
maden legenda! samo da dodje u novi sad i bio bi jos bolji!
2020-04-23 15:29
#46
 | 
Finland Smoonah 
where’s clip of him getting yelled at
2020-04-23 15:31
#47
 | 
Russia ToughGuy 
not often u see this flag
2020-04-23 15:32
Dude is a beast, had the chance to play with him in couple of pugs back in the day
2020-04-23 15:32
ez for Maden, hope he join Faze next
2020-04-23 15:33
WH OmegaLUL
2020-04-23 15:34
GODmaden
2020-04-23 15:34
#53
 | 
Latvia Revelatiombe 
maden very underrated player
2020-04-23 15:36
WHO?
2020-04-23 15:37
hope we see him, niko, hunter and nexa + some young talented player with kassad or ynk coaching them in a team
2020-04-23 15:39
god Maden
2020-04-23 15:45
good luck brother
2020-04-23 15:53
#62
 | 
Serbia Cosa_The_Serb 
GODen
2020-04-23 16:01
Fucking beast! Best of luck brotha
2020-04-23 16:02
title hahaha
2020-04-23 16:04
#65
 | 
France Malo0o 
no chance against g2 today
2020-04-23 16:05
#66
 | 
Kazakhstan team_k23 
maden good player. gl in future
2020-04-23 16:08
ofc prof wrote this lol
2020-04-23 16:11
another faceit mickey pet from balkan
2020-04-23 16:28
No one talking about Gigi profile picture?
2020-04-23 16:30
Montenegro lul. Never seen an hltv article about this country before
2020-04-23 16:49
maden very good player
2020-04-23 16:50
#74
 | 
United States AlphaMaleHere 
Madden is a horrible game
2020-04-23 16:53
it's EA, obviously it's trash
2020-04-23 17:02
#75
 | 
Europe jvesper 
never lost against this guy
2020-04-23 16:53
I never lost to anyone
2020-04-23 17:19
#77
 | 
Serbia ;mytH 
Yes.
2020-04-23 17:00
wasn't expecting this, Maden is indeed a very talented individual
2020-04-23 17:01
nice article good luck Pavel :-)
2020-04-23 17:10
Pavel lol
2020-04-23 17:18
#86
 | 
Turkey Kalameister 
Ez for Pronax
2020-04-23 17:21
Balkan scene starting to rise <3 Wish we had some good Croatian player aswell :<
2020-04-23 17:22
rip Locastic
2020-04-23 17:29
Ye and NyX i wonder what happend with those guys
2020-04-23 17:31
#90
 | 
Sweden JimmyNeutron7 
Loba toxic as always <3
2020-04-23 17:31
"Will Maden become the next superstar? Most likely not", Savage.
2020-04-23 17:44
#93
 | 
Russia NorthRussian 
-Maikelele +Loba
2020-04-23 17:46
fuck off idiot loba kick fpl
2020-04-23 19:36
From mother Russia without Love
2020-04-23 17:48
#96
 | 
Poland Niks0n3k 
gigi profile foto KEKW
2020-04-23 18:06
Montenegro racist country
2020-04-23 18:10
Maden top 4 player, right after Hunter Nexa and Niko!
2020-04-23 18:20
good read
2020-04-23 18:33
#100
 | 
Chile nachooww 
gl boi
2020-04-23 18:41
very good plyr indeed
2020-04-23 18:44
+1
2020-04-23 19:42
GL&HF Illuminati :)
2020-04-23 18:48
#106
 | 
Poland friendlySeb 
One of the most underrated players. Honestly he deserves better team than GODSENT.
2020-04-23 19:01
#112
 | 
Serbia DjapeZ 
Madenkooooo , for sure top20 in future
2020-04-23 19:25
#113
 | 
Malaysia Suno[t] 
STEEEEEEEEEVE MADEN
2020-04-23 19:29
gl.
2020-04-23 19:44
#117
 | 
Brazil _Awper 
one for the future like melulyern
2020-04-23 19:58
Really great player, was impressed with his shit for a few monthes now.
2020-04-23 20:02
#119
God | 
Russia amc20 
This article is going to curse him today
2020-04-23 20:10
#124
 | 
France Carrotaboy 
+1
2020-04-23 21:00
#121
Maden | 
Europe Koc77 
GL Madenko
2020-04-23 20:35
#125
Dosia | 
Europe topkek8 
from russia with love (bond) LUL
2020-04-23 21:07
We can now mark the decline of maden. Whenever HLTV does an article on an up and coming team they always start to do shit afterwards
2020-04-23 21:30
Adria kreygasm
2020-04-23 21:31
GOD
2020-04-23 22:22
I remember when we used to play faceit, we were like lvl 6/7, in few months that I didnt play with him, he was lvl 10 and i was stucked in lvl 4/5.. In that time he was decent player but I could not imagine that he is going this far. I wont reveal my nick but thanks for great time Maden, I hope u do even better!! :))
2020-04-23 22:43
incredible
2020-04-24 00:42
#134
 | 
Iceland Cirros_V2 
Hes amazing player. I would love to see godsent in top 10 one day
2020-04-24 00:52
congrats!
2020-04-24 02:17
#136
 | 
United States hoobit 
Ez 4 loba
2020-04-24 08:22
Good luck!
2020-04-24 10:52
#138
 | 
Bulgaria No_1One 
Wait what since when is his flag Montenegro?
2020-04-24 13:15
#140
 | 
Montenegro Dalyn 
Yeahh My Brother !
2020-04-24 18:57
#145
BIG | 
Russia mcdima 
gl gl!
2020-04-27 05:55
Why does he look like a bad bootleg of messi
2020-04-29 00:27
#149
f0rest | 
Romania 69sRs 
lmao, i thought the same
2020-05-03 18:10
maden carries bots!
2020-04-30 18:57
#148
 | 
Slovakia Lavend 
Great to see players who represent smaller countries
2020-05-01 10:14
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