Who are the PGL Major MVP frontrunners?
We're down to the last four teams in Antwerp, so we thought it was time to take a look at the best players of the event so far
To do so, we're going to be using Statsbomb style radar charts, to visualise at a flash how good each player is in each department. Here's an explanation for those unfamiliar:
How the radar chart works
The chart uses percentiles to rank every player in the sample (everyone who has played at PGL Major Antwerp Legends stage) in order, generating a 'percentile' for each metric. So the best player in a certain metric is given a value of 1, the worst 0, and the median 0.5.
These percentiles are then plotted on the radar — the closer the line is to the edge of the chart, the better the player is at that metric. The closer a player's radar is to a full octagon, the more complete their performance is.
With that out the way, let's get started. We've narrowed our sample down to each team — since strictly speaking, the only fair comparison is one against a teammate who played the same opposition and has the same sample size —so it's only right to start with the tournament favourites...
We're used to talking about a different trio when it comes to FaZe. But their trident has grown a fourth prong this event in the form of Håvard "rain" Nygaard. Boasting a ridiculous 0.24 OpKPR on CT-side and a similarly impressive (percentile wise) 0.14 OpKPR on T-side rain is back to his best.
It's not just at the start of rounds the Norwegian is impressing, either. He posts at least one kill in 48.5% of rounds, just one factor of many contributing to his overall 1.15 Rating 2.0 — an impressive figure for someone who's involved in an opening duel in 30% of rounds.
As for Robin "ropz" Kool and Helvijs "broky" Saukants, our last two HLTV x BitSkins MVPs, their performances have been strong though neither have hit the heights of those last two events. For broky, his radar chart is the least octagon-like of our ten contenders thanks to his intentional aversion to opening duels.
This is an AWPer who spends 69.2 seconds each round alive for a reason. He is not playing for stats, he is playing for the clutches (71% LAN career win rate in 1on1s), trades (0.31PR this event) and multi-kills (17.6%) that make him so deadly, on CT-side in particular.
Another player with phenomenal clutch ability is ropz. There's nobody you'd rather want on your team in a 2v5 than this duo. ropz has had a few bad maps by his standards this event (he's only had a 1+ Rating in 55.6% of his 9 maps) suggesting he is not quite at the level of consistency a player like Nikola "NiKo" Kovač hit (85.5% maps with 1+ Rating on LAN) in 2021just yet.
But he has still managed a 1.15 Rating, and his 27 kills in map three against Ninjas in Pyjamas make it easy to forgive him for a few bad maps. Before the event he was arguably the favourite for the MVP (according to my Twitter poll anyway) and he might be hitting form just in time.
Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, despite poor T-sided form and just 0.92 Impact rating so far, is also not out of the running given how much CS there is left to play.
Speaking of tridents growing a fourth prong, Natus Vincere's 16-8 thrashing of Heroic on the final map will have sent fear right into the hearts of pre-tournament favourites FaZe. Most terrifying is the performance of Denis "electroNic" Sharipov, whose 1.79 Rating in that series was a sharp reminder of his quality in the first year he's ever dropped below a 1.00 Rating 1.0 for the year.
Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy was the best player of the group stage, his 1.43 Rating 15 points higher than the next two players, Lotan "Spinx" Giladi and Paweł "dycha" Dycha. You might point to the small sample size of 132 rounds but b1t is the reason that the sample size was so small. He has a 1.97 Rating 2.0 in pistol rounds and a 1.39 Rating on CT side. If the Major ended with these very same stats, he would be right up there.
Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy is very much the fourth prong but has also been impressive, particularly on T-side and (as always) in clutches — he has won a 1vX clutch 0.71 times every 30 rounds, making him close to good for one a game.
Last but certainly not least, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, who only had 35 hours in the two weeks during the RMR (for obvious reasons) according to Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis but remains the best player in the world. b1t's prowess in groups and electroNic's against Heroic means we've not seen the scoreboard-topping form we're used to from s1mple but big stage matches are his bread and butter; you'd be a fool to bet against him.
On to the underdogs now, starting with Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer's ENCE. We're running out of superlatives to describe Spinx so we'll use numbers instead: 0.87 kills per round (1st), 1.49 Impact rating (1st), 1.33 Rating 2.0 (1st). He's got a multi-kill in 25.7% of rounds. He's got 0.13 opening kills per round on T-side —only 0.01 less than rain — and he's a lurker.
dycha, too, has been sensational in Antwerp, his radar chart being remarkably similar to Spinx's, though his performance drops off slightly on T-side to just the top 10-20% of all players at the Major (how dare he!) compared to his teammate. The similarity in percentiles also doesn't tell the full story: dycha has the third highest KPR so far (0.79) but Spinx (1st) has 0.87 — that's a full 2.4 kills on average higher over 30 rounds, but the radar chart has them neck and neck.
Having been a steady 1.10 Rating type of player on LAN, dycha's jump to 1.24 in Antwerp has been remarkable and puts him in the running for an MVP for the first time. This might be due to a) the small sample size and b) the relative ease of ENCE's opponents but you can only beat what's in front of you — ENCE and dycha are a legitimate threat to Natus Vincere today despite their inexperience.
If ENCE were the revelation of ESL Pro League Season 15, then Spirit are this Major's equivalent. Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov's side was fading into obscurity after roster instability over the winter — they removed previous star Nikolay "mir" Bityukov and chopper, only to add chopper back to the roster before the season started — but were victorious at Malta Vibes Knockout S6 before qualifying for the Major as the youngest team.
At the Major, 20-year-old AWPer Abdul "degster" Gasanov is coming of age. His playstyle is obvious from his radar — he prioritises his life, surviving in 52% of rounds (1st), and shies away from opening duels (12.9% OpK attempts on T-side) like many modern AWPers — but so is his quality.
Even more impressively, he actually started the Major with two sub-1.00 Ratings against Heroic and FURIA in the best of ones, but has been electric in the best of threes. His ratings in the five maps since (wins over Copenhagen Flames and FURIA again) read: 1.04, 1.49, 1.58, 1.08, 1.53.
Spirit's other passive player on this list is Pavel "s1ren" Ogloblin. Most notable for his CT-sided site holds, s1ren has proven himself to be a tremendous anchor to such an extent he is the highest rated player at the event on CT-side (1.55). On T-Side, that number drops to 0.84 — probably thanks to his roles — but the talent is there.
If Spirit are to upset FaZe, though, the impact of Robert "Patsi" Isyanov will arguably be the most important factor. Having been relatively unimpressive (0.78 Rating with the top 30 filter) as Spirit's 6th man in 2021 Patsi has been a revelation in the new-look roster. Taking mir's star entry roles, Patsi's raw ability has guided him to 86.6 ADR (4th) and 1.38 Impact (2nd) so far in the Major.
His aggression is such that only 13.8% of his deaths have been traded at the event (a key reason for his lower KAST stat); he does not have a flawless or even controlled playstyle. Yet, if there is to be an upset today Patsi is the x-factor that can cause it.