Top 20 players of 2021: Introduction
It's that time of the year! The Top 20 players of 2021 ranking powered by GG.BET is quickly approaching, this year with slight changes in the announcement schedule.
After a 2020 that left a sour taste in the mouth for many, over the last year we slowly returned to somewhat of a normalcy, witnessing plenty of LAN events from July on and even getting the chance to see teams play in front of large arena crowds at the PGL Major Stockholm and BLAST Premier Fall Final.
With 2021 done and dusted and the professional scene now enjoying a well-deserved winter break after a busy end to the season, HLTV.org is ready to look back at the past 12 months and crunch the numbers to find out who were the standout players of the year.
The popular Top 20 players ranking returns to help us recognize the players' efforts that helped pave the way to their teams' successes during the year. In 2021, we're changing the schedule a little (more details on why later), as we're kicking off the countdown on January 3 this time, with a player set to be announced every day at 20:00 up to the final trio, who will be revealed on January 22.
Other than that, you can look forward to the same kind of in-depth articles you know from previous iterations of the Top 20, delving into the players' performances and asking the stars themselves about how their year has been in their point of view. Making a return will also be the "Bold Prediction by GG.BET" segment, in which the players pick out a name from young up-and-comers who they think could burst onto the tier-one scene in the near future.
Top 20 players of 2021:
1. Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev
2. Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut
3. Nikola "NiKo Kovač
4. Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov
5. Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov
6. Abay "HObbit" Khasenov
7. Denis "electroNic" Sharipov
8. Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis
9. Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy
10. Dzhami "Jame" Ali
11. Nicolai "device" Reedtz
12. Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač
13. Benjamin "blameF" Bremer
14. Keith "NAF" Markovic
15. Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato
16. Martin "stavn" Lund
17. Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
18. Robin "ropz" Kool
19. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
20. Helvijs "broky" Saukants
For those of you who like to try their hand at guessing the players in the ranking or just wonder about how it is made, here are a few crucial points to keep in mind:
1. Statistics: The ranking is heavily based on the numbers, but looking at year-long ratings alone won't tell you everything. Context is important, such as at which events players stood out and whether they performed when the stakes were highest in big playoff matches.
2. Awards: If you followed the ranking in previous years, you'll know MVPs and EVPs can make a difference. Not all accolades are born equal, however, as a big EVP (from a Major, for example) could mean more than MVP medals from smaller events.
3. Sample size: This is a ranking of the best of the best. To make it into the top 20, players have to show their worth against the best teams on a regular basis. If they haven't played at the top for long enough, the sample size is too small to judge.
4. Consistency: One of the factors in judging the players' year is their consistency, both from match to match and tournament to tournament. Although high enough peaks can make up for a lack of stability, occasional disappearances — especially in key moments and at the biggest tournaments — are likely to bring them down a notch.
5. Recency bias: While it is natural for fans to remember more from recent times, we look at an entire year's worth of performances when determining the ranking.
The lists from the previous years, dating all the way back to Counter-Strike 1.6 in 2010 (with the exception of the transitional year between 1.6 and CS:GO in 2012) can be found below:
Top 20 players of 2020 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2019 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2018 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2017 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2016 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2015 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2014 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2013 (CS:GO)
Top 20 players of 2011 (CS 1.6)
Top 20 players of 2010 (CS 1.6)