When do Counter-Strike players peak?

Age comes for us all, even the very best players. So we thought it was time to see if there is a pattern...

CS:GO, you might have noticed, is not a traditional sport. It does not require elite aerobic performance or huge levels of physical strength. Yet, physical factors like reaction time still align with the psychological demands of maintaining motivation to ensure that performance, eventually, starts to decrease – even for esports players.

A 2014 study found scientific basis for this, discovering that the average casual StarCraft player's "cognitive-motor function" begins decreasing at the age of 24. But is this true for professional Counter-Strike players? Nick "⁠nitr0⁠" Cannella recently told Dust2.us that he "honestly [doesn't] think age matters anymore […] I don't see any signs of [Richard "⁠shox⁠" Papillon] going down downhill. I think you just play until you feel like you can't play anymore basically, and age is just a number."

So what do the stats say? Is nitr0 right in believing that age really is just a number? Or is there a defined 'sweet spot' for professional players?

Many of the graphics in this article were inspired by The Athletic's Tom Worville

The KPR vs Age of all 79 HLTV Top 20 players. 'Age' = age at end of the calendar year. Only years with 25 maps vs Top 20 in a calendar year are considered.

First, a bit on methodology: Most of this article uses the careers of HLTV Top 20 players, who are generally teams' star players. This was done for two reasons: to reduce the sample size to make data collection feasible, and because measuring the impact of the star players who tend to make the Top 20 list is far easier than the intangible-heavy support and in-game-leader roles. KPR is preferred to Rating 1.0 to offer an undiluted measure of fragging power, while the Top 20 filter is crucial for excluding years like Tomáš "⁠oskar⁠" Šťastný's 0.76 KPR in 2021 for Sinners (he drops to 0.69 vs Top 20). It does mean we cannot use the data for the best players of 2012-14 (and most of 2015), but that is a necessary sacrifice to avoid results in tier two skewing the data.

Taking every HLTV Top 20 player in CS:GO history's KPR vs Top 20 teams from 2015 onwards then, there is a clear trend downwards with age. At the top of the leaderboard, with an average of 0.74 KPR, are the 20-year-olds. The worst performing age with a sample size of more than 8 is the oldest, 29, coming in at 0.65 KPR.

This is in line with what we might expect, though players peaking at 20 is a bit earlier than you might have thought. In terms of sample size (i.e. the number of players who recorded 25+ maps vs Top 20 opposition at each age), we see a more satisfying rise and fall, almost like a Bell curve, with it peaking at 24: The exact age the StarCraft II study implied our cognitive motor-function starts to decrease.

Using this we can establish a (very general) period of peak performance between the ages of 20 and 24 and look at some famous examples:

The careers of Christopher "⁠GeT_RiGhT⁠" Alesund, Kenny "⁠kennyS⁠" Schrub, Olof "⁠olofmeister⁠" Kajbjer, and Marcelo "⁠coldzera⁠" David seem to fit with this idea of a 'sweet spot' in your early 20s. kennyS turned 25 in 2020, and it was also the first year he dipped below a 0.72 KPR. For olofmeister, it was the year of his 26th birthday that he fell from a 0.73 KPR to 0.66. coldzera's peak lasted one year longer, falling to 0.67 in the year he turned 27.

There are exceptions: Players like Nemanja "⁠huNter-⁠" Kovač, Rafael "⁠saffee⁠" Costa, and Valdemar "⁠valde⁠" Bjørn Vangså arrive in tier one well into their 20s, while Markus "⁠Kjaerbye⁠" Kjærbye had already been Dignitas' star player for a year, got his big move to Astralis, and then won a Major MVP before his 19th birthday. Patrik "⁠f0rest⁠" Lindberg defied age longer than most, maintaining his status as one of the world's best for more than a decade and never recording a 'poor' KPR.

Abay "⁠HObbit⁠" Khasenov seemed to be fading into obscurity after winning a major with Gambit but has returned to form as the experienced member of a new era for the organisation. Aleksandr "⁠s1mple⁠" Kostyliev has never dropped below a 0.8 and doesn't look like he will any time soon.

But, ultimately, these players are just that: Exceptions. f0rest is the only player to record more than a 0.70 KPR against Top 20 opposition in his 30s in our sample. No player has made the Top 20 list after hitting the age of 29; the only two to do so at 28 were f0rest and Filip "⁠NEO⁠" Kubski, two of the greatest players of all time.

Of course, this does not mean that players suddenly lose all ability on their 25th birthday. More often than not it's a slow decline — but it is a steady one. And given that Nicolai "⁠device⁠" Reedtz is 26, Nikola "⁠NiKo⁠" Kovač 25, and s1mple 24 this brings into question how long our superstars can maintain their superhuman level. device's 2021 – aged 26 – was his worst to date and the evidence for the majority of players suggests it is a decline that is hard to reverse.

device's 2013 and 2014 have been excluded because we cannot use the Top 20 filter. On LAN, he posted a 0.77 and a 0.76 KPR in those years.

Still, it would be foolish to assume that device has entered a decline, or to predict when his superstar companions might begin theirs. device could very well bounce back from his caveat-filled 2021 to be the next f0rest, competing at the very top in star roles well into his 30s. Ultimately, though, not everyone can; motivation is finite, as is skill. For the vast majority of players, it seems difficult to maintain star power into their late 20s.

Something I have failed to mention so far is what happens when this decline begins. GeT_RiGhT and f0rest went into soft retirement with Dignitas once they could not justify their star roles in NIP, but this is not the only route. The transition from star to support is another route, followed to great effect by olofmeister who won seven trophies in FaZe from a more supportive role and nitr0's own teammate shox. coldzera, Dan "⁠apEX⁠" Madesclaire, and Robin "⁠flusha⁠" Rönnquist have all gone down the other obvious path, towards in-game-leadership. Richard "⁠Xizt⁠" Landström is now Heroic's coach.

A decline in fragging power does not necessitate a decline in impact, even for those players who are used to being at the top of the scoreboard. What it does indicate, though, is that as players age, for whatever reason, most players cannot maintain the high standards of their mid-20s and are forced to find impact outside of pure fragging. This process of star players transitioning to different roles is crucial for a healthy scene, as veterans pass their expertise along generational lines. Looking at today's Top 20 teams, including the less frag-heavy parts of a team, we see the effect of this:

In-game-leaders, as we'd expect, average out older than our Top 20 player 'sweet spot', with Marco "⁠Snappi⁠" Pfeiffer and Finn "⁠karrigan⁠" Andersen as good as ever despite being in their 30s. 20-year-old Vladislav "⁠nafany⁠" Gorshkov bucks the trend, but across the whole group age is less of a factor in a role where fragging is secondary to experience. Today's riflers and AWPers reflect the same trend observed in the star players of years gone by: A cluster around their early-to-mid 20s.

When it comes to team composition, this has some interesting ramifications. Natus Vincere's team composition sits perfectly in the 'sweet spot' of 20 to 24-year-olds, as do Outsiders. Heroic's riflers are all in the 'sweet spot' with in-game-leader Casper "⁠cadiaN⁠" Møller outside it, which might be an even better way to build the 'ideal' team.

Naturally, this is not an exhaustive analysis; age does not equal experience, after all. Heroic and Players' COVID-induced LAN inexperience suggests that their star players are at the beginning of their peaks rather than the middle that this chart suggests. Players like huNter- and NiKo, on an eye test, seem slap-bang in the middle of their peak years. The best team in the world, FaZe, combines the LAN and stage experience of Håvard "⁠rain⁠" Nygaard and karrigan with a trio of stars in their early 20s, which is arguably an even better style of composition than Heroic, who seem to suffer under pressure and on stage.

Another thing to consider is that players younger than 20 generally perform just as well if not better as their elders across a year — though we might see different results if we apply a 'playoffs' filter. That caveat, and the small sample size (see the first chart), is the reason for the 'peak age' to start at 20, given that most teenagers do need to wait until their 20s before getting their big break on a Top 30 team or cracking into the HLTV Top 20 list.

But, for the likes of Valeriy "⁠b1t⁠" Vakhovskiy, Ilya "⁠m0NESY⁠" Osipov, and Shahar "⁠flameZ⁠" Shushan who are already star players in the professional circuit, it is not a given that they will keep improving as they age. Other players who burst into tier one in their teens generally haven't: Jesper "⁠JW⁠" Wecksell's 2014 was his best statistical year by KPR, as was Kjaerbye's 2016. 'Peaks' are inherently unique; we are only trying to establish a general framework for the majority of players.

That does not mean, however, that we should be happy with an imperfect model. A possible solution is to look at how long a player has been 'active' in tier one CS, rather than age. It's fair to expect that a player's motivation — and hence performance — is going to dip after five years of high-level competition, whether they're 22 or 29 when they reach that mark.

Each dot represents how long a Top 20 player's career lasts, going from debutants b1t to veterans shox and Peter "⁠dupreeh⁠" Rasmussen. A year is considered "active" when a player records 25 maps against Top 20 opposition (or 50 LAN maps in 2013 and 2014).

As we can see, our Top 20 players start retiring after a minimum of five years in tier one competition (the orange dot on three years is Jere "⁠sergej⁠" Salo, who has dropped out of tier one but is not really retired). However, just as many players continue their careers beyond the five-year mark as those who retire and are good enough to stay in tier one. For players like shox, dupreeh, and apEX, 2022 will be their 10th year of tier one 'activity' in CS:GO; they are past their 'peak' in terms of fragging but remain motivated — and, more importantly, good — enough to keep a slot in a tier-one team.

These veterans, though, represent a minute sample size. As notable as these exceptions are, we should not assume it is the norm; every career is unique, each year taking a different toll on each player. Because of this, we must be careful when talking about 'motivation' in simplistic terms. As Elliott Griffiths has pointed out, a decrease in performance is just as likely to cause a loss of motivation as the inverse. It's all a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario, making it hard to argue years of activity are any better than age as a metric.

Returning to age, we can now look at age including teams' in-game-leaders and role players. When taking only the best rosters, those who have won a major, the mean age of the lineup is 23.11, and the median 22.79. Just 12.5% of major winners had passed their 26th birthday when they raised the trophy, with a whopping 75% aged between 20 and 24. Age may be a crude yardstick but we can clearly see the trend towards the early 20s in the best teams of all time, even when accounting for experienced in-game-leaders in the mean.

Gambit are the only team to win a Major while their average age was above 25

Counter-Strike is still a very young game, at least compared to traditional sports. The introduction of better player welfare and more efficient practice schedules very well might reduce burnout and extend the average player's career by a few years. apEX recently told 1PV that in his prime it was "impossible not to have 100 hours in the past two weeks," a workload that is surely unsustainable in a decade-long career.

Ultimately, though, quality of life improvements only delay the inevitable. We may not know when, but we won't have peak s1mple, Mathieu "⁠ZywOo⁠" Herbaut, and NiKo forever. Age may just be a number, but it is a number that gives us a reasonable benchmark of when players decline. Whether it is caused by indirect factors like motivation, or direct ones like a reduction in reaction time, it is too much of a coincidence that all the best players in CS:GO cluster are in their mid-20s, and have done so since the game's inception.

There will always be late bloomers and young upstarts, but that does not mean that age is irrelevant. In fact, it only makes the exceptions more impressive; f0rest staying at the top for so long is rightly celebrated, but even he eventually had to take a step back. The same fate will come for the stars of 2022 no matter how professional their regime or pristine their work ethic, but one thing's for sure: It'll be a while yet.

Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1410
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.62
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
1427
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.67
Denmark Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1223
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1359
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1930
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.68
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1989
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
Denmark Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1519
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.66
Finland Jere 'sergej' Salo
Jere 'sergej' Salo
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
776
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
Kazakhstan Abay 'HObbit' Khasenov
Abay 'HObbit' Khasenov
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1142
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.65
Brazil Rafael 'saffee' Costa
Rafael 'saffee' Costa
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.22
Maps played:
358
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.61
Russia Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov
Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
843
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.69
Denmark Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Age:
32
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
1526
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1945
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.70
Denmark Casper 'cadiaN' Møller
Casper 'cadiaN' Møller
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1433
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.63
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1590
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.67
Sweden Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Age:
34
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
2076
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.65
Russia Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov
Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov
Age:
17
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.20
Maps played:
215
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
Czech Republic Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Age:
31
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1458
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.64
Poland Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Age:
35
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
2004
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.68
Denmark Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1895
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
Sweden Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1745
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.64
Denmark Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1793
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.62
Ukraine Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy
Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy
Age:
19
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
411
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.63
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
32
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.91
Maps played:
1966
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.69
Sweden Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1868
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.65
France Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut
Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.27
Maps played:
962
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.62
Israel Shahar 'flameZ' Shushan
Shahar 'flameZ' Shushan
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
358
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.67
Sweden Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1560
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.65
Norway Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1563
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.69
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
24
Rating 1.0:
1.25
Maps played:
1523
KPR:
0.86
DPR:
0.64
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1852
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.63
They peak wide
2022-04-16 22:51
11 replies
JKS can always peak me wide ;)
2022-04-16 22:52
4 replies
#10
 | 
Bangladesh ImpacT_
down bad
2022-04-16 22:56
3 replies
#144
 | 
Spain x676
There are studies that shows that every 7 years we need a change in life and get bored. Also close to 30 you got other things in your head like building a family or you simply want to make sure that you will jump into something less competitive for the next 30 years so thats why players loses focus. So its probably not a cognitive thing, but a social thing. Players who are 30 can perform the same as 20 but they dont have the same excitement for the game after a decade being pros. tommonte.com/the-7-year-cycles-of-life/ Thats also why we have late bloomers I would say.
2022-04-17 10:15
2 replies
+1 nice article friend!
2022-04-18 06:18
Nice article bro, and thanks for the interst on the subject!
2022-04-26 04:37
God roeJ will peak at 35 yo
2022-04-16 23:04
1 reply
+1
2022-04-24 02:10
peruvians are the best wide-peakers
2022-04-16 23:38
1 reply
+1
2022-04-17 06:14
kkkkkkkkkkkkk
2022-04-16 23:48
#73
 | 
Yugoslavia Acceb
Aleksandr "⁠s1mple⁠" Kostyliev has never dropped below a 0.8 and doesn't look like he will any time soon Go back to posting on reddit hltv
2022-04-17 00:25
#3
sk0R | 
Mongolia TengisG
ok
2022-04-16 22:53
1 reply
It's motivation + luck + rng + skill
2022-04-17 08:40
#4
 | 
Canada firtlast
usually they do so to clear angles and gain ground, ct or t side, more often than not accompanied by flashbang utility
2022-04-16 22:53
5 replies
+1
2022-04-16 22:54
#57
 | 
Denmark TheZpike
Indeed
2022-04-16 23:42
+1
2022-04-17 00:30
+1
2022-04-17 00:53
#161
 | 
Finland Hassu
+1 very wise
2022-04-17 15:35
My wife peaked 10 years ago
2022-04-16 22:54
2 replies
look carefully for all these years she ages like wine
2022-04-17 06:17
Heard dat
2022-04-17 12:17
18 years ish
2022-04-16 22:54
Tomorrow
2022-04-16 22:55
GOAT always on top
2022-04-16 22:55
1 reply
+1
2022-04-17 08:06
The Gambit example was the most impactful to make me believe the same.
2022-04-16 22:56
someones never, blamef for example, he baits so hard so never peek
2022-04-16 22:57
9 replies
Bruh
2022-04-16 22:59
+1000
2022-04-16 23:23
+1 blameF pro cs until 2070
2022-04-17 00:04
Lmao
2022-04-17 00:21
+1 kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
2022-04-17 00:53
ahah n1
2022-04-17 04:25
KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
2022-04-17 05:18
#147
 | 
Indonesia baK1ikan
kekw
2022-04-17 10:29
#194
 | 
Brazil GsV
KKKKKKKK
2022-04-27 22:02
around corners
2022-04-16 22:58
light a candle to sergejs career, once the most promising player [*]
2022-04-16 22:59
12 replies
for sure, this thread just made me sad about seeing kjaerbye and sergej both fall off at such a young age
2022-04-16 23:05
11 replies
Their careers just remain as a lesson to every player starting their career. Talent doesn't matter if you don't put in the hours and rather spend your time partying Unless you are fnx ofcource
2022-04-16 23:17
10 replies
fnx fell off too homie
2022-04-16 23:22
9 replies
Bro he is 32 lol. He was a beast, retired, came back, won 2 majors at 26. One of the most impressive careers in cs
2022-04-16 23:25
8 replies
still not 4 majors like gla1ve
2022-04-16 23:27
7 replies
Glaive major winrate?
2022-04-16 23:50
2 replies
High
2022-04-17 05:11
1 reply
Still not 100% like fnx
2022-04-17 12:29
Indeed, because fnx has 6 majors.
2022-04-17 07:50
3 replies
No he doesnt in csgo haha delusional spotted
2022-04-17 08:20
2 replies
You got baited m8
2022-04-17 09:32
1 reply
Im sure he meant cs 1.6 wins
2022-04-17 10:11
xantarespeak?
2022-04-16 23:00
6 replies
Tier 3-4 = irrelevant
2022-04-17 06:53
5 replies
XANTARESpeak to major 🙂 ChoKopeak to retirement 🙂
2022-04-21 13:57
4 replies
Choko no.3 botares irrelevant
2022-04-24 13:18
3 replies
your reply was as fast as ChoKo's peek 🙂
2022-04-24 13:52
2 replies
Bcz everyone don't have free time like you jobless
2022-04-26 12:06
1 reply
ChoKoPEEK kekW 🙂
2022-04-26 12:16
sergej KEKW
2022-04-16 23:01
5 replies
#24
 | 
Finland AliSabid
the dude was really good back in ence b4 aleksib got benched
2022-04-16 23:04
1 reply
I'm 100% sure that he could get back to the top if he just got his motivation back
2022-04-16 23:18
??? he was insanely good
2022-04-16 23:53
2 replies
oh yeah #13 in top 20 apparently means insanely good. like how do you describe 12th-1st places then? and also I was referring to his line at the outliers graph
2022-04-17 01:08
1 reply
#97
 | 
Brazil Arf___
he wasnt good for the whole year, but was enough for doing trouble
2022-04-17 02:53
#18
 | 
Brazil !nStinct
tldr
2022-04-16 23:02
Interesting! These are #facts
2022-04-16 23:02
2015/2016
2022-04-16 23:03
#21
 | 
Finland AliSabid
goat s1mple
2022-04-16 23:03
So forest is the goat?
2022-04-16 23:03
1 reply
#86
 | 
Sweden Gopher666
Always will be
2022-04-17 01:16
#23
 | 
United States bendie
at age 40 karrigan will have won his 8th major to prove this article wrong
2022-04-16 23:04
nice article.
2022-04-16 23:04
what's the deal with Entropiq players age in the "Top 15 Team Ages Profile"? Maybe I'm reading it all wrong but it doesn't seem right to me.
2022-04-16 23:06
1 reply
Nice catch! Their data was OG's for some reason, I've updated the graphic now ty :)
2022-04-16 23:29
#29
 | 
Russia Soawii
great article
2022-04-16 23:07
basically confirming with hltv data what everyone knows: players peak at 20-24yo then fall off
2022-04-16 23:09
When they're ukranian and their name starts with "s1"
2022-04-16 23:11
Looks like f0rest and fer can play forever.
2022-04-16 23:11
1 reply
in tier 3 yes
2022-04-16 23:22
#33
 | 
Sweden gNeJS
I like that they explore this subject. However i also feel that after 25 other things in life than CS slowly make you have other priorities. Girlfriend, house, kids etc (or just the stress of not having it). A father like f0rest cant grind fpl and AM_Botz all day and all night. I do understand that its hard to count soft values like this in when making a study. But i do believe thats a large part of the reason why we see older players decline.
2022-04-16 23:15
8 replies
#92
 | 
Europe Khanan
Yes the issue with CS is that right now it needs too many hours. Just look at sports players of other sports or real sports, they don’t do this, they have a healthier life.
2022-04-17 02:27
7 replies
#93
 | 
Sweden gNeJS
Yeah i agree 100%
2022-04-17 02:31
true but i think a big part of that is that athletic stuff has more sharply diminishing returns, like after 4-5 hrs of training, further training isn’t doing much good as i understand it. whereas gaming not so much. i agree w u but idk how it could be accomplished cuz there’ll always be guys out there willing to nolife, looking to take ur spot if u let up on the gas
2022-04-21 05:25
5 replies
#176
 | 
Europe Khanan
I don’t need 8 hours or even more a day to be sharp. 30 minutes and I’m warmed up. I’m a long time gamer and I’m 100% sure that they practice way too much, a lot of them have unbalanced lifestyles. Either that, or I’m wrong and the game really needs that huge amount of practice, but that’s a even worse scenario then, so it would mean that this just sucks the life out of you and abuses you too much.
2022-04-21 06:00
4 replies
I agree, but to be fair. Most games are made so they suck the life out of you. Thats how they make money, bring in players and most importantly keep players. They make more money if players and even pro players spend all their hours into them, Which also promotes long hours to newer players, meaning more playtime, meaning more money.
2022-04-21 09:39
3 replies
#179
 | 
Europe Khanan
Everything which makes csgo extremely time intensive was invented by players, csgo isn’t like one of those games you talk about, same reason why it’s a classic. I’m talking about complicated grenade throws and tactics.
2022-04-21 09:43
2 replies
I know CS is a very bad example. But you cant disagree with the fact every game is made, for players to dump as much time in that they have. No dev wants people to play their game for only an hour a day.
2022-04-21 09:52
1 reply
#181
 | 
Europe Khanan
That’s nothing special, you could say that about any game in life. And csgo isn’t a example at all, you’re talking about MMORPGs or pay to win games, those have nothing to do with csgo.
2022-04-21 10:17
ok
2022-04-16 23:16
#37
 | 
Aruba defoliant
Pretty bad analysis imho, many factors not taken into consideration. Overall, poor article.
2022-04-16 23:19
8 replies
like what factors ???????????????????????
2022-04-16 23:22
6 replies
The competitive scene has grown a lot meaning there weren't as many competitors in 2012/13 when f0rest was 25 as there are 25 year olds today. Why should we expect the same amount of great players in their 30s then? The competitive scene has legit grown 10 fold or even more over the last decade.
2022-04-16 23:38
#70
 | 
Aruba defoliant
for instance what #52 said. Also i could add about 10 more but too lazy to do it. Think of some for yourself.
2022-04-17 00:18
4 replies
#131
 | 
Sweden axelious
Haha I think your analysis of the analysis is the bad analysis. Didn't even state a reason or motivation
2022-04-17 08:23
3 replies
„im not gonna explain myself, i’m just gonna say that i could if i wanted to…… but i don’t want to“ classic
2022-04-17 11:15
2 replies
#150
 | 
Sweden axelious
Yea, besserwisser deluxe
2022-04-17 11:32
+1
2022-04-21 09:40
agreed, also the sample sizes are soo small, you cant make any conclusions from this data
2022-04-17 10:21
WOW, just a great article, congrats.
2022-04-16 23:20
my head hurt after seeing this shit , but peak age is 22 i guess?
2022-04-16 23:22
1 reply
#137
 | 
Mongolia OMgL
24
2022-04-17 08:54
#44
 | 
Brazil hugoooo
Great article. It's important to keep in mind that the older the player, the more likely he will be the IGL (therefore he will probably have a worse KPR because of his role). With this in mind, do the 1st image of the article includes all the players on only non-IGL's? Because I believe the difference will be huge.
2022-04-16 23:25
5 replies
That's sort of the whole point. The reason players turn to IGL duties (and support) is because they cannot frag enough to be a star player anymore.
2022-04-16 23:39
4 replies
#56
 | 
Brazil hugoooo
I disagree. A person become the IGL because he has more experience (age), it makes no sense to have a 19yo leader, you can't lead shit if you have not played several years to have enough experience to know what to call and when to call.
2022-04-16 23:41
3 replies
#99
 | 
United Kingdom novaseer
nafany
2022-04-17 03:35
2 replies
#103
 | 
Brazil hugoooo
Literally the definition of 'exception'... there are more probably
2022-04-17 04:05
nafany has hobbit, one of the veteran player rn in t1 and a seasoned coach too. And he's struggling more on LAN rn.
2022-04-17 04:28
#46
 | 
Portugal ImCooL
Motivation is what matters the most. Players that play professionally for 10+ years probably get tired of griding which means they train less which means they play worse. Simple as that.
2022-04-16 23:26
28 Year Old Talent Roej will prove everyone wrong when he wins major :)
2022-04-16 23:31
#50
i am | 
Europe Zinn0
Sergej did some duty and Olof got an injury
2022-04-16 23:32
People become wiser with age, they become pacifists.
2022-04-16 23:35
Cs is sadly a too new sport/to little rewarding professionally in terms of money, security, community, social developement in order to keep older pros motivated. The sport is really in its infancy in terms of professionality. Fotball/soccer pros peak at 32. Formula 1 pros stay pros longer than cs pros and thst sport requires extreme reaction-time. If cs grows in all aspects of professionality to the point of other sports where you can live a good life during and after a career, we will see older players in the top. Motivation as a grown-up requires this where other factors in life comes into play. Quality over quantity is already trickeling into pro cs practice. 200 hours of dm is just not needed. As an established pro you need to focus on analisys, plays, demos a big part of the time. Dry-runs of taccs etc. We have no real sample-size comparable to another sport yet where security, personal and social developement are paramount for staying in the game yet. Good article from what data is at this time. But the sport is not at a point yet where players can stay motivated to commit safely while staying challenged on all fronts in life.
2022-04-16 23:41
5 replies
Reaction-time is not everything in cs. Knowing what will happen at a point in time is way more important most of the time. That being said, even though reaction-time does slow down on average in the general population, it is possible to keep reactions high with practice and good physical condition where oxygen fow to the brain is optimal.
2022-04-16 23:48
#132
 | 
Sweden axelious
Bruh, football players peak at 26-27. They decline heavily after 32, but peak years are like 24-28.
2022-04-17 08:25
#134
 | 
Ireland reyno0o
Best post in this thread - very good points. Also we will need to see players playing under these professional standards from the beginning to the end of their careers. It could be 10-20 years away before we can get a clear view. f0rest started in 1.6 when things were incredibly unprofessional, so even his example is tainted.
2022-04-17 08:29
Footballers don’t peak at 32, really not sure where u have got that from lul. This is the age most start to think about retirement
2022-04-17 09:07
1 reply
+1 only Goalies peak in their late 20s mostly because of experience, the rest are usually 24-28 like #132 said. at 32 unless you are already a superstar no club will want to take a chance with you longer than a 1 year contract..
2022-04-17 09:20
Goat s1mple will never decline
2022-04-16 23:44
I will turn 25 on monday, i will become washed up, no MM team will want me anymore :(
2022-04-16 23:46
And theres shakerbye washed at 21yo lul
2022-04-16 23:49
#65
 | 
Brazil _Awper
Age is just a number, you think someone fit like Fer has less reflex than overweight young players? The thing is, it's more about losing your passion when you are starting a family, business, or something like that. Of course, guys that already made their money will not be the same anymore, I really think that if someone started their career at 25, they could easily go until 35 for example. It's more about starting your career when you are still a teenager and spending half of your life playing CS.
2022-04-17 00:03
1 reply
saffee is going to be a very interesting case study for this, he only properly started sweating CS in 2019 and he's already 27 now. but yeah - analysing *why* players fall off is a minefield, I more just wanted to prove that they *do* fall off.
2022-04-17 00:26
#67
 | 
Italy cele87
no sense article
2022-04-17 00:09
#68
 | 
Turkey yeeGeT
respecc for dis work
2022-04-17 00:10
#69
NEO | 
Poland camarpl
Very very interesting that only players to reach top20 at 28 were neo and f0rest I thought there had to be more of them
2022-04-17 00:15
2 replies
dupreeh this year
2022-04-17 00:28
1 reply
Hobbit too
2022-04-17 02:34
Been waiting for an article like this, great work!
2022-04-17 00:24
#76
 | 
Hungary szia
oldzera
2022-04-17 00:28
#78
 | 
Romania tobz83
b-b-but age is just a number, aekshuly with right dedication u can keep playing by 50 too
2022-04-17 00:31
Interesting and impressive <3
2022-04-17 00:32
Biased and shit data, waste of fucking time. Bad study done poorly. Pretty graphs though, maybe try Geography next time, they reward paiting by numbers.
2022-04-17 00:54
hobbit amazing!
2022-04-17 01:10
#85
 | 
Chile esanchez47
Interesting reading, thanks for the work! Also f0rest goat
2022-04-17 01:14
#87
 | 
South America n!kk0
f0rest goat
2022-04-17 01:19
imo peak is between 23-26 when on one hand you're young, so good reflex, fresh mind and on another hand you're already a bit experienced so you can be better part of a team, not only aimstar
2022-04-17 01:19
I always find this age-discussion funny as the only argument is kills, kpr, kd or w/e. But never in consideration to the older you get the more responsibility you get as well or at least most of us. At 20 I didn't have a stable relationship, I didn't own my own house, I barely had a functional car nor kids. The older I got (turning 30 this year) the more responsibility I've gotten. I have a fiance, car, our own house that needs maintenance, we're planning for kids and I have a stable full-time job that's CLOSE to my family. Difference here is a Pro-player in CSGO needs to travel A LOT in the job which means time away from family, so if you're around 25+ you are most likely gonna start prioritize different things in life than being the best in CS. CS Needs a lot of practice. More so than most "normal" jobs. This of course means you're gonna fall down the lists and yeah, That's OK imo.
2022-04-17 01:21
1 reply
sounds reasonable
2022-04-17 01:26
good stats. i hope it continues.
2022-04-17 01:28
#95
 | 
Europe Khanan
Because CS isn’t a very physical sport like Football, it’s more psychology than age. I play this game way better than in my teens now, and I’m way older. Statistics are nice, but understanding of mentality and psychology is nicer. You would’ve done better to ask psychologists about their opinion, in that regard this article is kinda worthless I have to say. Video games are 99% about psychology until you are very old, so over 40 maybe even more than 50. Of course people lose motivation it has however nothing to do with age, because age mainly influences the body and not the brain and that as well only after a certain age, late 20s and later. 30+ if you ask me. Priorities shift, people become interested in other things. You simply lose the hunger to be the ultra fragger, this again makes this article kinda worthless. Go to Lionel Messi or Ronaldo and tell them they had their peak at 24, it’s laughable. They had many peaks, some of them over 30. If a footballer can do it, a CSGO player can do it too. Just needs right training and motivation. If the scene is too toxic or badly managed it’s however not possible or barely possible to do this. I guess CSGO isn’t as professional as Football is, not nearly. It’s still seen as a video game, too plainly. Astralis was one of the first if not the first team, to use a psychologist by the way. Go wonder why. This sport is still in its childhood and many players are burned out by badly managed time.
2022-04-17 02:35
I think age don't matter. You either win everything u've desired by the age 25 and lose motivation or u aren't good enough, can't win and lose motivation. Unless you are gambit 2017 roster or karrigan (major inc?)
2022-04-17 02:41
#98
 | 
Brazil victorhsl
Shotout to Tom Worville, I know him from TIFO's Scattergram series (highly recommended content for football fans, btw).
2022-04-17 02:53
#100
 | 
Brazil Anarchybr
Pro players decline because they get others interests in life like marriage and children besides playing on a PC 12hs/day Not because they got old
2022-04-17 03:41
1 reply
it is a part of the problem too
2022-04-17 04:13
#101
 | 
Denmark Rubix__
a better question is when do counter strike players PEEK?
2022-04-17 03:41
That M0nesy outlier though...age 17 awper.
2022-04-17 04:00
f0rest goat
2022-04-17 04:13
Cerq, age : 22, rating 0.99 the last 3 months. :/ I thought he was like 26. Same with Brehze, 23 , rating 1.0. Man, so young to be that washed. They played 2 na events ( 2 RMR). It is crazy bad.
2022-04-17 04:37
Age does not matter if you're good
2022-04-17 04:36
age 19
2022-04-17 05:15
Goat s1mple
2022-04-17 05:37
when they think they should peek to get frags or info
2022-04-17 05:56
Loving these analysis post
2022-04-17 06:12
#116
 | 
Australia Benjipops
I don't think reaction time or cognitive processing speed is the main reason players get worse with age. The data is looked at backwards, many of the top players don't actually get 'worse' with time, they just have stronger, younger talent constantly challenging them. Young players have the ability to learn quicker as their brain develops, which means they can adapt to the current meta of game more efficiently.
2022-04-17 06:12
Lebron james 37yo still owning CR7 37yo still owning Nadal 35yo still owning Lewis Hamilton 37yo still owning Francis Ngannou 35yo still owning Hell Glover Teixeira won a UFC title at 42... and we're supposed to believe that you can't click a mouse past 30 ? Cmon...
2022-04-17 07:02
5 replies
So true. If the professional csgo-environment was on par with other bigger sports, players would keep working hard way longer. This article is just very premature.
2022-04-17 08:15
#151
 | 
Lithuania Jaguar4s
Tom Brady won the ring in NFL leading the team at 43. Just no data to support this in games, it's just bunch of things why most players becomes washed to me and that can come at any age.
2022-04-17 11:52
#159
REZ | 
Trinidad and Tobago r41
age isnt as important in real sports, because hard work pays off there. In csgo, u need faster reaction times, thats not something u can practice, u just have it when you are younger
2022-04-17 15:12
2 replies
nope
2022-04-17 17:35
1 reply
#164
REZ | 
Trinidad and Tobago r41
yes
2022-04-17 18:27
I Believe the young players we have today will be able to play really well further into their 30s
2022-04-17 07:16
#123
 | 
Hong Kong sti11fac
Bye bye zywoo it was fun while it last
2022-04-17 07:25
FML i just realized peak and peek are 2 different words...i thought they were talking about when to peek in the title
2022-04-17 07:34
f0rest goat
2022-04-17 07:36
Nitro and shox say that because they're old Obviously they are not going to admit that they're getting worse, which is actually true, their prime it's gone and it has been for years
2022-04-17 08:00
#133
 | 
Sweden axelious
Everybody saying shit article are >24
2022-04-17 08:26
They peak when they don't have to carry 4 dead weights in their team
2022-04-17 08:31
#140
 | 
Denmark nicram64
There is no peak age in csgo
2022-04-17 09:26
thx NER0cs
2022-04-17 10:01
of course device is in decline
2022-04-17 10:02
#149
 | 
Israel Aaron_btc
the sport is to young for such studies; all other sports peak at 30ish 30-34 is they say you are at your best, this cant be any different at cs. Probably there is a lot more factors to consider and this article misses them...
2022-04-17 11:18
#154
 | 
United States urm@m
whenever they want /thread closed
2022-04-17 12:44
Tldr?
2022-04-17 12:59
coldzera best player
2022-04-17 13:15
One day there will be a player who peaks at the age of 40, mark my words!!
2022-04-17 13:17
I don’t think this applies to non-pros. Depends how much you play. I would say the learning curve for CSGO is more important than aim/reaction time and it takes a lot of playtime to learn the maps, rotations, economy, what to do when the bomb is down etc etc A team of 35 year olds with 15 years of cs experience will probably beat a team of 24 year olds who’ve been playing 6 months.
2022-04-17 14:46
Nice
2022-04-17 15:21
#163
 | 
Sweden multib
Wow lots of good work to produce this article and infographics. Really interesting, thanks hltv <3
2022-04-17 18:21
nice try HLTV! Karrygan is better than ever. A true viking god!
2022-04-17 19:00
early 20s ofc
2022-04-17 19:49
#167
dav1d | 
Chile cap_
Great article! 8)
2022-04-18 05:23
brazilian fans be like: lol no bro fallen & cold can still win another major trust me bro they'll turn 40 and still be t1
2022-04-18 05:54
"I don't see any signs of [Richard "⁠shox⁠" Papillon] going down downhill" proofread your articles dudes. microsoft word could probably detect that
2022-04-18 06:11
1 reply
xaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxa
2022-04-18 16:26
wow, great statistics and great article, nice work!!
2022-04-20 07:48
im yet to peak
2022-04-20 12:25
#184
roeJ | 
Finland dvlx
current gen top players will be relevant longer because of growing success of esports compared to past
2022-04-24 07:48
2 replies
And they start learning at younger ages so the game will be more convenient to them.
2022-04-25 10:39
1 reply
Or they fall off sooner because they burn out
2022-05-05 19:00
everybody's talking about players who obviously lost it but nobody talks about how s1mple played against almost all of them and is still up there putting insane numbers.
2022-04-25 07:41
Sergej is young boomer.
2022-04-25 17:24
#190
 | 
Netherlands kibitz-
As a 24 years old myself I agree that im not as good as i used to be, i was DMG and lvl 6 faceit in 2015-2019 and now im just MG and playing casually for fun cuz its hard to get back to those ranks nowadays
2022-04-26 03:01
all hltv kids think they are Simple when they really are Sergej.
2022-05-02 13:23
Poor Sergej. Maybe he can have a comeback like Hobbit
2022-05-03 13:09
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