The EVPs of IEM Dallas
Here are the eight players whose performances at IEM Dallas earned them Exceptionally Valuable Player awards.
With Cloud9 hoisting the trophy and Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov named the HLTV x BitSkins.com Most Valuable Player of IEM Dallas on Sunday, it's time for us to look back at other players who stood out from the crowd last week and to hand out some more awards to those who couldn't quite reach the highest accolade but still deserve their flowers for their exceptional play in Texas.
There were a total of eight of these players who came away with EVP nods thanks to great consistency, high peaks, or both, and here they are in order of importance along with several honorable mentions at the end:
HLTV.org's EVP picks for IEM Dallas (in order):
Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov
Yuri "yuurih" Santos
Nikola "NiKo" Kovač
Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut
Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov
Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz
Paweł "dycha" Dycha
The radar charts are back to help visualize why players stood out and in what way statistically, but with a slight tweak — we're now plotting players' raw stats rather than their percentiles. The scale is still the same, with the center of the chart representing the minimum value and the outer rim the maximum.
To ensure a big enough sample size for a fair minimum and maximum value (as well as the percentiles on each player's graphic) we're only including players with more than 90 rounds played, which excludes Encore, Complexity, and Movistar Riders. We've also added the numbers themselves to the chart to make the plot more intuitive. Other than that, though, they function in entirely the same way: The more blue on the chart, the better the player performed in Dallas in our chosen metrics.
Second only to his teammate and Most Valuable Player of the tournament Ax1Le, sh1ro finishes at the top of the list after just narrowly missing out on the highest accolade in the end. The Cloud9 AWPer was nearly as ever-present as his star rifler throughout the tournament, recording just two out of 16 maps below a 1.00 rating (one being a 0.99, boo-hoo), delivering a solid level from start to finish and peaking at the best times.
The 20-year-old put up his best performances when Cloud9 had their backs against the wall in the group stage, with a 1.53 rating against NIP, as well as in the best-of-five title decider against ENCE, where sh1ro was by far the best player on the server with another 1.50-rated display.
As always, consistency was the name of the game when it came to sh1ro, as he topped the charts in KAST with 78.4%. He typically reaches a percentage as high as this thanks to the S portion of the acronym (Survival), and that was the case again this time as he was the hardest player to kill out of everyone, but he was also one of the very best fraggers of the tournament, recording 0.80 KPR and a kill in more than 55% of rounds.
FURIA had a rock to rely on in their run to the semi-finals at IEM Dallas in yuurih. The 22-year-old played a massive role in the Brazilian team making it as far as they did in the States, putting on highlight performances in the two key series they won along the way as the only team to beat eventual champions Cloud9 and picking up another big scalp in the form of G2.
yuurih put on a show on both occasions as the most important player of the series against the Russian team, helping FURIA lock in their spot in the playoffs, and against NiKo and company in the quarter-finals with a 1.43 rating in the overtime victory on Vertigo and a 1.98 on the deciding Mirage. Although not quite as impressive in the losses to BIG in the decider for the group win and in the semi-final affair with ENCE, yuurih still ended the event as one of the very best overall with numbers such as 88.3 ADR (#3), 0.77 KPR (#4), and 1.23 impact rating (#6).
NiKo earned a top-three EVP mention in Dallas after spearheading G2's campaign at the tournament, where they made it to the quarter-finals before falling to FURIA in the first round of the playoffs. The Bosnian superstar got off to the tournament somewhat slowly for his standards, putting up only one highlight map against Movistar Riders in the team's first three matches, but he eventually came into his own in the last two series G2 played, against Vitality and the aforementioned Brazilians.
Facing off against Dan "apEX" Madesclaire's team in a playoffs-deciding series, NiKo was a deciding factor, in particular in the closer affair of the two on Inferno, and versus FURIA he was a shining light in a difficult loss that saw G2 drop a 14-7 lead on Vertigo.
Overall, 10/11 maps with a 1.00+ rating goes to show NiKo tends to deliver even when he's yet to peak, but a more obvious place to look would be the Bosnian's overall impact (1.39, #1) and his jaw-dropping CT side stats — a 1.53 rating on the defensive side went unmatched by anyone with a decent sample size, and so did his opening kill stats as CT (0.23 opening kills per round, 72% success rate, 1.65 rating).
Had FaZe turned up in a bit better shape overall after coming off their Major victory, they would have been on course to having a fourth different player securing the MVP this year. In the first tier-one LAN in his home region in years, Twistzz was the one to take up the mantle of the No. 1 team's best player in Dallas with a superb showing, tarnished only by a couple of slow starts in the quarter-final series against Cloud9 whereFaZe ended up falling short.
Filling perhaps the closest to a perfect octagon you'll ever see, Twistzz was above average in almost every facet of the game. He stood out in particular as one of the most efficient players with 0.77 KPR (#5) and 0.60 DPR (#5) — and in headshots, which has been his forte for years — and scored highly in nearly every other category as well, being a solid player on both sides, with plenty of impact as well as consistency.
We'd be remiss if we didn't recognize ZywOo in our list of EVPs despite Vitality not being able to reach playoffs at IEM Dallas. Still reaching the top half at the event, the French-Danish squad had their superstar delivering on all fronts in an up-and-down run, which saw them beat Astralis and MOUZ and suffer losses to FaZe and G2.
ZywOo was the key to those two wins with a massive highlight performance in the opener against Astralis and a 1.43 rating in the MOUZ series, and the Frenchman kept up a solid level in the losses, as well, in the end averaging the third-highest overall rating (1.26) — the highest on the T side (1.33) —, the most kills per round (0.84), and the third-highest impact rating (1.30).
Usually only the fourth-best player in the squad formerly known as Gambit, nafany stepped it up at IEM Dallas and outshone Abay "HObbit" Khasenov as part of Cloud9's star trio to help his team hoist their first trophy on LAN, in front of a North American crowd that quickly warmed up to the Russian lineup playing under their favorite organization.
The in-game leader wasn't quite as consistent as the two teammates who finished the event as the two best players, but he had his fair share of highlight maps, including against NIP and Liquid in the group stage and in the ENCE grand final, where he finished on a high with a 2.03-rated display on Ancient. Always aggressive, it should come as no surprise to see nafany end with a low survival rating, but he more than made up for that otherwise, in particular with his ability to open up rounds for his team on the T side.
Leading BIG to a respectable semi-finals finish at IEM Dallas, tabseN was pivotal for his team both as the shot-caller and their best individual player. The German side had their longest-standing member turn up in great shape every step of the way, with at least one key map in every series and having a stable presence.
The 27-year-old was one of the best players in the group stage, averaging a 1.20 rating on the way to first place in BIG's group, which featured victories over NIP, MIBR, and FURIA, and he added one more great map in the semi-final opener against Cloud9, helping the German squad go up 1-0 in the series before ultimately falling to the tournament champions.
The eighth and final award goes to dycha, who claims his second EVP in a row after PGL Major Antwerp. Even though the super-stand-in Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski ended IEM Dallas as ENCE's highest-rated player, his countryman was the main driving force behind the team's run to the grand final, as he averaged a 1.19 rating in the four matches they won at the event ahead of their final loss to Cloud9, before his numbers took a heavy hit in the title decider itself.
dycha's input was especially important in ENCE's close affair against G2 in the group stage, where he averaged a 1.29 rating across two 16-14 wins to get his team through to the playoffs, but he was simply a stable player through and through. That is until he disappeared in the final, which is also why the Pole couldn't make it further up the list than eighth and why, all in all, his average stats look a lot worse compared to the contribution he had to ENCE's impressive run.
Staying on the topic of the tournament runners-up ENCE and Snax specifically, the stand-in deserves a nod of approval for the way he filled in for the team's biggest star, Lotan "Spinx" Giladi. Although he couldn't be expected to match the Israeli's output, the former Virtus.pro veteran had moments where you could be fooled, such as on the final map against FaZe that put ENCE through to the semi-finals. Though not quite impactful enough to make it to the EVP list, Olek "hades" Miskiewicz and Pavle "Maden" Bošković also had their moments, rounding out a strong quartet that pushed ENCE further than anticipated.
Cloud9 had a solid and stable fourth contributor in HObbit in their title-winning quest, as well, although the Kazakhstani member didn't reach the award list due to a lack of high peaks. Robin "ropz" Kool is another player who narrowly missed out on an EVP mention, averaging a 1.12 rating in FaZe's run to the quarter-finals and putting up several key maps on the way, especially against Vitality in groups and in the close Cloud9 affair in the playoffs.
Finally, Josef "faveN" Baumann and Florian "syrsoN" Rische came close as two more key players to help BIG reach the semi-finals through solid performances in the group stage, but a drop-off in the last series against Cloud9 meant that the German team ended up falling flat against the favorites and prevented them from appearing on the list above.