European Player of the Decade
We now enter the fourth and last continent, and it is the European one! Who do you think that excelled the most during the last decade?
As you can imagine, it was extremely hard for us at HLTV.org to compile a shortlist with just five players, given the enormous pool of talent Europe has had. Still, we have come up with these five names, which you can find below.
|Name: Ola Moum|
Teams: Meredia, GoL, eoL, SK, NoA, mibr, 4Kings, united5, mouz, MYM, cbteam
Achievements: 1st place GameSphere, 2nd place CPL Summer 2002, 1st place CPL Oslo, 2nd place CPL Winter 2002, 3rd place ESWC 2003, 1st place CPL Summer 2003, 1st place CPL Winter 2003, 1st place CPL Winter 2004, 1st place WEG I, 3rd place WEG II, 2nd place CPL Winter 2006, 4th place WCG 2008
Love him or hate him, the truth is that Ola "ElemenT" Moum was without a doubt one of the most influential, but also controversial, players of the last decade. A lot can be said about him, his temperament, or the fact he switched teams more often than some change underwear, but his contribution to the tactical game that Counter-Strike has become is undeniable. His earliest antics date back to 2002, when his team, Meredia, composed of relatively unknown players, secured winning honours at GameSphere while defeating Massive Attack and GameOnline, both of whom had performed really well at CPL Winter the year before. He joined GoL in the middle of 2002, with whom he placed second at CPL Summer, but ended up leaving the team shortly after that result to form his own project, eoLithic. After winning CPL Oslo, he would be pushed out of eoL by Hallvar "Knoxville" Dehli due to the latter's wish to have Jørgen "XeqtR" Johannessen, who did not see eye to eye with Moum, on the team. Now without a home, Moum returned to GoL, picking up a runners-up finish at CPL Winter 2002, but his second spell there ended with this tournament as he once again quit for eoL. Moum helped eoL win the Swedish qualifier, but he shockingly departed for SK right after the tournament. With SK, he achieved even more success, winning CPL Summer and Winter and helping them win CPL Europe in Copenhagen, an event he had to miss due to school commitments, but in mid-2004 he was the subject of the first player transfer in CS when he signed for NoA. After some dry first months, NoA welcomed "XeqtR" aboard and the two Norwegian stars put their differences aside, helping the team win CPL Winter 2004 and the first edition of the World eSports Games. However, all was not well with Moum, who sided with Made in Brazil due to his wish to "try something new". With mibr, he only managed a 5-6 place finish at CPL Barcelona as he decided to prolong with vacation in LA instead of flying to to Rio de Janeiro to bootcamp with the team, which led to his release. Just days later, he sided with 4Kings, helping the British-based team finish third at WEG season 2. He would be released from 4K later that year after moving to California, which made practice impossible for the team, joining united5 as a stand-in for CPL. The year of 2006 started with a bang for Moum, who was announced as mousesports' last player, but he was not too successful in Germany, with his main achievement a fifth place at WSVG's Intel Summer Championship. He would be released in August, allegedly beacuse of the language barrier, joining all-Norwegian side Meet Your Makers, whom he would guide to a second place at CPL Winter. But after deciding against attending WCG in 2007 due to undisclosed reasons, MYM showed him the door, leaving one of the game's greatest minds without a team for almost a year, until he decided to create a new roster for WCG 2008. In Cologne, Moum powered cbteam to a fourth place, a remarkable result for a mix team, and that was the last tournament where he was seen as cbteam met an early fate.
Name: Emil Christensen
Teams: NiP, SoA, SK
Achievements: 1st place CPL Europe Holland 2001, 1st place CPL Europe London 2001, 1st place CPL Europe Berlin, 1st place CPL Winter 2001, 1st place CPL Summer 2002, 3rd place CPL Winter 2002, 1st place CPL Europe Cannes 2003, 3rd place ESWC 2003, 1st place CPL Summer 2003, 1st place CPL Europe Copenhagen 2003, 1st place WCG 2003, 1st place CPL Winter 2003, 1st place CPL Summer 2004, 1st place GameGune 2005, 2nd place CPL World Tour: UK, 1st place WSVG Dreamhack, 1st place WEF, 1st place NGL ONE
Any mention of the players who marked the first decade of Counter-Strike without Emil "HeatoN" Christensen would never be complete. The One and Only, as most like to call him, probably has the most impressive resume out there, and his feats are still sung nowadays. His success story had its first page in the year of 2001, when he joined MAFIA after NiP had disbanded, and under the sponsorship of SoA won CPL Europe in Holland. Christensen then got back with the NiP project and went on to win three more CPL events that year, including CPL Winter in a dramatic final against X3. The first half of 2002 brought no news of NiP, with the team suffering from their lack of sponsors, which ultimately led to their disbandment and Christensen joining SK.sca together with two team-mates of his, XeqtR" and "Potti". With SK, he would win CPL Summer in 2002, but the winter event brought only a third-place finish. In 2003, and after two roster changes, Christensen had the best year of his career, picking up four CPL titles and the gold at the WCG. Following the departure of "element" in mid-2004, Christensen and SK finished second at CPL Summer, behind EYEballers, but ESWC and WCG came as disappointments for them. The team would not be sent CPL Winter following disputes with SK regarding their contracts for 2005, which prompted the players to leave and reform NiP. But the new line-up struggled to make their mark, and it would not be until six months later, when NiP changed three players, that they would find their way. Still, the team failed to impress at WEG season 3, finishing outside the top 3, and crashed out early at the ESWC. As 2005 was drawing to a close, they finished CPL Winter in fourth place, another frustrating result for a team whose only notable achievement that year had been a first place at GameGune. At the beginning of 2006, "Potti" stepped aside, and new recruitment "RobbaN" helped NiP win WSVG Dreamhack, WEF and NGL ONE. After this, Christensen became inactive, returning to the team only in 2007, but success did not walk hand in hand with NiP that year, as NiP placed third at WSVG Lousiville and 5-8 at the ESWC. Christensen retired from gaming in the summer, becoming a General Manager for the CGS shortly after. He is currently working with QPAD in the development of new gaming products.
Name: Filip Kubski
Teams: SPECNAZ, SpecSter, Pentagram, MYM, WICKED, Vitriolic, AGAiN
Status: Active (AGAiN)
Achievements: 1st place Invex Euro Cyber Cup, 1st place LehnitzLan, 1st place SEC 2005, 1st place EuroCup X, 2nd place KODE5 Germany 2006, 1st place WSVG UK, 1st place WCG 2006, 3rd place CPL Winter 2006, 2nd place SEC 2007, 1st place ESWC 2007, 1st place EM I, 2nd place SEC 2008, 1st place DreamHack Summer 2008, 1st place ESWC 2008, 1st place DTS Cup, 3rd place EM III Europe Finals, 2nd place EM III Global Finals, 3rd place KODE5 2009, 2nd place GameGune 2009, 1st place WCG 2009
Filip "NEo" Kubski is without a doubt one of the most skilled players to have graced the Counter-Strike stages of the last decade. After some years in which Poland did not field any good team, the creation of Pentagram in 2004 with the junction of the country's two best teams at the time, Aristocracy and SpecSter, greatly reshaped the scene there. In that year, Pentagram showed a taste of their game, winning Invex Europ Cyber Cup in the Czech Republic and LehnitzLAN in Germany, beating more experienced teams like D-Sky and mousesports along the way. 2005 brought the team's first big win abroad as they conquered SEC, but they would have to wait until 2006 to confirm they belonged to the elite, when they won WSVG in London and the WCG event and finished third at CPL Winter. However, not everything was shiny for Pentagram that year, as Kubski left the team in July in search for some action elsewhere, having returned less than two weeks later. The following year did not bring many trophies but it did bring two world championships: the Intel Extreme Masters and the ESWC. If you add to that the second place at SEC then you see why Meet Your Makers, the richest organisation out there at the time, raided Pentagram for their team later that year. The year of 2008 saw Kubski help MYM win their second ESWC title and the Dreamhack Summer trophy, plus a second place at SEC. 2009 would be one of the Polish team's best years, as they won DTS Cup, WCG, finished second at the Extreme Masters Global Finals and GameGune and placed third at the KODE5 Global Finals. Currently without an organisation to support them, Kubski and the former Pentagram team look as strong contenders for every title in 2010.
Name: Jørgen Johannessen
Teams: SoA, Allstars, NiP, GoL, Nordic Division, SK.sca, eoL, team9, Adrenaline, fnatic, NoA
Achievements: 2nd place CPL Europe Cologne 2000, 2nd place CPL Europe Holland 2001, 1st place CPL Europe London 2001, 1st place CPL Europe Berlin, 3rd place CPL Winter 2001, 1st place CPL Europe Cologne 2002, 1st place CPL Summer 2002, 1st place ESWC 2003, 2nd place CPL Summer 2003, 1st place CPL Winter 2004, 1st place WEG I, 4th place CPL UK, 1st place shgOpen 2006
Like his countryman Ola "ElemenT" Moum, Jørgen "XeqtR" Johannessen was one of the greatest minds Counter-Strike produced this decade. His first success dates back to 2000, when he attended the first CPL event, in Cologne, with Danish-based team Spirit of Amiga, finishing in second place, after which he found his way with Ninjas in Pyjamas. However, the NiP team did not take long to disband and so Johannessen moved to Allstars together with "Potti", leading them to a second-place finish at CPL Holland. After this, he was one of the players who decided to get back to NiP, with whom he would win CPL Europe titles in London and Berlin, only to be removed prior to CPL Winter due to internal problems. But that did not affect Johannessen, who linked up with GoL, taking them to a third-place finish in Dallas. He would rejoin NiP for a third time after this result, but the team's lack of sponsors saw him help Nordic Division win CPL Cologne in 2002. Now without a team, Johannessen joined some of his former NiP colleagues in SK.sca, winning CPL Summer 2002, but was removed from the line-up shortly after due to the team's wish to have Swedish players only. Johannessen opted to join eoLithic, who despite featuring a star-studded roster, failed to perform at CPL Winter 2002, and ended up disbanding the following year as Moum quit for SK. Again without a team, Johannessen was rescued by team9, whom he would guide to a first-place finish at ESWC and a second place at CPL Summer. team9 changed to Adrenaline in August and announced later in 2003 they would be moving to California to practice for the upcoming CPL Winter event, but since Johannessen could not move until a few days prior to the competition, it affected the team's form and so Adrenaline finished in fourth place. In 2004, the team finished fourth at the ESWC, becoming inactive, which left Johannessen without a home, until he signed for NoA in September, a move which had an immediate effect as he helped the team win CPL Winter and WEG season 1. However, NoA struggled to make their mark following Moum's departure, which would see the rest of the players depart as well, leaving Johannessen with the hard task of rebuilding the team. He did so by choosing talented players from Sweden and Denmark, but his project met modest success, with a first place at shgOpen the only good achievement, leading up to his retirement from gaming in late 2007.
Name: Patrik Lindberg
Teams: vXo, Embrace, Begrip, fnatic
Status: Active (fnatic)
Achievements: 2nd place Optihack, 1st place WEG II, 2nd place shgOpen 2006, 2nd place ESWC 2006, 2nd place WEF, 2nd place NGL ONE I, 1st place CPL World Tour: Singapore, 3rd place WSVG Finals 2006, 1st place CPL Winter 2006, 3rd place EM I Finals, 2nd place NGL ONE II, 2nd place WSVG China, 3rd place ESWC 2007, 1st place GameGune 2007, 1st place eStars 2007, 1st place NGL ONE III, 1st place EM II LA, 1st place NGL ONE IV, 1st place SEC 2008, 2nd place KODE5 07/08 Finals, 1st place KODE5 CM Storm, 3rd place ESWC 2008, 1st place EM III Finals, 1st place KODE5 08/09, 1st place e-Stars 2009, 1st place EM IV Dubai, 2nd place WCG 2009, 1st place WEM 2009
Although Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg may somewhat be a new face in terms of international competition if you take a look at the entire decade, no one can deny the extraordinary contribution he has made to fnatic since his arrival. The first time his name made headlines was in 2005, when Embrace finished behind Skolpojkarna at Optihack, sending EYEballers home in the process. That kind of performances earned him a spot at Begrip Gaming later that year, whom he would guide to success in the second season of WEG, much to everyone's surprise. But Begrip confirmed later in the year, during CPL Winter, that their win in South Korea was no one-time thing as they placed sixth in Dallas. However, Lindberg's contract with Begrip expired at the end of 2005 and the talented player decided not to renew it, instead joining fnatic's new line-up, which featured four new players. With fnatic, Lindberg has conquered virtually every tournament there is to win, and although the team has had its share of roster changes, he has always managed to stay an integral part of it, and looks set to help it scale great heights again in 2010.
Who do you think was the best European player of the decade? You can vote for your favourite player using the form below (you need to be logged in).