We now enter the third continent, and this time you can vote for your favourite North American player of the Decade! Who is your pick?
Over the years, North America has proved to be home to a number of talented players and teams, and we have now compiled a shortlist containing the five names we believe deserve to be in the running for this award. You can find them below.
Name: Danny Montaner
Teams: United 5, compLexity, Evil Geniuses
Status: Active (Evil Geniuses)
Achievements: 2nd place CPL World Tour: Spain 2005, 1st place ESWC 2005, 2nd place WEG Masters 2006, 1st place GameGune Mexico 2009, 3rd place Arbalet Cup Europe
When you think of a classy sniper who has been at the top for many years, the name of Danny "fRoD" Montaner immediately pops out. He joined compLexity in August 2004 from United 5 and helped put Jason Lake's project on the map, finishing behind mousesports at CPL Barcelona and winning the ESWC tournament. After 2006, when coL placed second at WEG Masters, Montaner, along with his team-mates, moved to Counter-Strike: Source. Following the demise of the CGS, Montaner returned to 1.6, and he is one of the few players that seem to have made up for lost time. Now with Evil Geniuses, he has helped the team win their first international event and their prospects for 2010 look very good.
Name: Michael So
Teams: SiNi, Gamers-X, WEW, GamerCo, NoA, Team 3D, compLexity, Pandemic
Status: Active (Pandemic)
Achievements: 7th place CPL Summer 2002, 5th place CPL Winter 2002, 6th place ESWC 2003, 2nd place CPL Winter 2003, 1st place EverLAN, 2nd place OsloLAN, 1st place CPL Winter 2004, 1st place WEG I, 3rd place CPL Summer 2005, 4th place ESWC 2006, 2nd place WSVG 2006 Finals
Michael "method" So had his first noteworthy appearance in 2001 with SiNi, with whom he placed 13-16 at CPL Winter. In 2002, he established himself as one of America's top players, following his team's seventh-place finish at CPL Summer. In that tournament, So pulled off one of the most remarkable performances of his career, when he almost single-handedly dominated German's then-best team, mTw, powering Gamers-X to a second-half comeback after they had lost the first half 10-2. After some of GX's players decided to go their separate ways, he linked up with DoP but ended up attending CPL Winter with WEW after playing in a qualifier with them. Once again Dallas proved to be a successful terrain for So as WEW finished in fifth place, but the team disbanded right after and So returned to GX, whom he would help to a sixth place at the 2003 ESWC and a 9-12 place finish at CPL Summer. After this, he received an offer to join NoA, being the only American in this inter-continental project. With the Norwegian-based team, So finished at the top in many international events, winning tournaments like the CPL and WEG, but in early 2005, following some disappointing results, he was released from the team. After linking up with GamerCo for CPL Summer 2005, where the team placed third, So joined Team 3D, winning the WCG later in the year. With 3D, however, he would not be very successful in 2006, with a fourth place at ESWC and a runners-up finish at the WSVG Finals the team's only successes that year. So joined the rest of the team in their CGS adventure, and when the competition came to an end, he embarked on a new project with JaX Money Crew, who would later become compLexity. But after a string of poor results, coL decided to release the team, leaving So without a home. He is currently part of Pandemic, who are hoping to reach the playoffs of the upcoming ESEA season.
Name: Griffin Benger
Teams: 1stwave, zEx, TSG, NoA, EG, Team 3D
Achievements: 6th place CPL Winter 2002, 2nd place ESWC 2003, 2nd place CPL Winter 2003, 1st place EverLAN, 2nd place OsloLAN, 1st place CPL Winter 2004, 1st place WEG I, 2nd place CPL Summer 2005, 4th place ESWC 2006, 2nd place WSVG 2006 Finals
In the early stages of his career, Griffin "shaGuar" Benger was part of 1stwave, with whom he managed to beat X3 in CAL, but after the team's disappointing showings at CPL Summer 2002, he opted to join zEx. There, he was very successful, finishing in sixth place at CPL Winter, defeating eoLithic in the process, and second at ESWC 2003, behind team9. However, the team fell apart after a discreet appearance at CPL Summer, which prompted Benger to play for TSG in CAL, leaving the team for NoA prior to the league's finals. Success came in many shapes and sizes during his time with NoA, winning CPL Winter in 2004 and WEG early in 2005, but his time with the team came to an end in the middle of that year, when he and Michael "method" So were both shown the exit door due to the squad's wish to become more local. After this, Benger stepped in for Evil Geniuses at CPL Summer, finishing in second place in the tournament, in what was a temporary move as he had agreed to sign for Team 3D. He also linked up with EG at WCG, where the Canadians clinched the bronze. Benger still attended CPL Winter with 3D, but a 9-12 placing ended the year for the team in disappointment. 2006 was not a great year for Team 3D either, whose only achievements were a fourth-place finish at ESWC and a runners-up finish at the WSVG finals. Benger would attend WCG with EG once again, this time crashing out early in the brackets following a defeat to Ninjas in Pyjamas. In January 2007, he was released from 3D, allegedly for not fitting into the team's plans for the year, which earned him a permanent move to EG. Benger would later be drafted to CGS franchise Chicago Chimera, having been forced to sit out of the regular season after being denied entry into the United States. He was not picked in the draft for the second season and has not been heard from ever since.
Name: Ronald Kim
Teams: [rs], syn, X3, Team3D, compLexity
Achievements: 5th place Babbage's CPL event, 1st place Speakeasy's CPL event, 2nd place CPL Winter 2001, 1st place CPL Winter 2002, 3rd place CPL Summer 2003, 2nd place WCG 2003, 4th place ESWC 2006, 2nd place WSVG 2006 Finals
Ronald "Rambo" Kim was certainly one of the most, if not the most, consistent American player of the last decade. After playing in his early days with riot squad, Kim attended Babbage's CPL event in 2000 with syn, placing fifth. Shortly after that, he was part of X3, who would dominate the North American scene for quite some time. After winning Speakeasy's CPL event and CPL Winter, both in 2001, Kim helped create Team 3D, where he would stay for almost five years. At 3D, Kim's greatest achievement came during CPL Winter 2002, where they picked up the gold in a very close final against GameOnline, being named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He would add two WCG gold medals, in 2004 and 2005, to the 2003 silver medal, though this last one was the only one that came in Counter-Strike: 1.6. After a long time with 3D, Kim opted to leave for arch-rivals compLexity shortly before both teams' move to the CGS in 2007. Together with his team-mates, he would return to 1.6 in mid-2008, but was left out of the roster which signed for Evil Geniuses later in the year, leaving one of the most prized American players of all time a free agent.
Name: Justin Summy
Teams: zEx, TSG, united 5, compLexity
Achievements: 6th place CPL Winter 2002, 2nd place ESWC 2003, 4th place ESWC 2004, 2nd place CPL World Tour: Spain 2005, 1st place ESWC 2005, 2nd place WEG Masters 2006
Justin "sunman" Summy enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in 2002, when his team, zEx, managed to place sixth at CPL Winter. Summy played an influential role in such placing, with his AWP moves, which included a two-wall no-scope shot on eoL's Damien, making him a popular figure among the fans. Prior to the tournament, zEx had already proved a strong figure at CPL Summer, but it would not be until the December event that they would be regarded as a top team. After winning the ESWC qualifier, zEx impressed in France as they finished in second place, beating highly-favoured Schroet Kommando in the process. However, after a disappointing CPL Summer, the team broke up and Summy joined Team Stomping Grounds, with whom he would win a CAL trophy. With TSG, he attended the ESWC in 2004, and once again he went back home with a smile on his face as the team bagged a fourth-place finish. In August 2004, TSG merged with united5 but such move brought little success to Summy as he quit the team in early 2005 for compLexity following a mediocre campaign at CPL Winter. With coL, he was very successful, and in his first year with the team he finished second at CPL Barcelona and picked up the gold at the ESWC. However, he was removed from the line-up later in the year, only to return to the squad three months later. He helped coL finish second at WEG Masters 2006, but the axe would again fall on him in January 2007. After his time in the CGS, Summy went back to 1.6 ways with the new JaX Money Crew team, re-joining compLexity after Jason Lake and Alex "Jax" Conroy decided to work together in the project. Summy's third stint with coL came to an end in Many, when the organisation decided to release the team following a string of frustrating results. Although he was at times considered the weakest link at coL, specially since he joined for the second time, Summy's contribution to his teams' successes make his presence on this roster indispensable.
Who do you think was the best North American player of the decade? You can vote for your favourite player using the form below (you need to be logged in).