The EVPs of BLAST Premier World Final 2022
Seven accolades are awarded after the last event of the year.
The 2022 season has closed, with Abu Dhabi's World Final the last opportunity for players to grab EVP and VP awards before the Top 20 list is concluded. Given the wealth of talent in the eight-team event, performances here were even more important for our end-of-year rankings.
Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov claimed a career-first MVP, showing both consistency and sharp peaks as G2 won their first big event since DreamHack Masters Malmo in 2017. Yet it was a true team effort, with Nikola "NiKo" Kovač performing well in groups before Justin "jks" Savage and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač stepped it up a notch in the arena. The potential of this four-man core was particularly evident here, and all four players take an MVP or EVP as a result.
HLTV.org's EVP picks for BLAST Premier World Final 2022 (in order):
Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač
Justin "jks" Savage
Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis
Nikola "NiKo" Kovač
Abdul "degster" Gasanov
A decent if not worldbeating group stage gave way to an electric performance from huNter- in playoffs. He averaged a 1.29 rating in the arena, including back-to-back 1.36 ratings against FaZe in semis. His 1.24 rating on T side was the second highest of anyone (behind Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy) and should be a sign of things to come for a player with as good a first bullet as huNter-.
His performance at the World Final made it 14/14 events this year with a 1.00+ rating, a solid achievement for a player who has undergone a few role changes to give m0NESY more space. He is usually the third cog in G2, but peaks like he had in Abu Dhabi show the potential he has.
jks has not set the world alight in G2, but he reminded everyone of his class at this event. The Australian came up with huge moments in G2's run, including a 3K Ramp hold and a 1v2 retake clutch at 14-14 in the semi-final victory against FaZe.
He fulfilled his passive supportive roles with aplomb, recording a 42% survival rate and 74.4% KAST. But it was his performances in playoffs that won him this EVP, with strong performances in map one (1.47 and then 1.59 ratings) of the semi and grand final. In a squad of stars, performances like this are not expected from jks, so when they arrive we see just how fearsome G2 can look.
Twistzz finished the year with his highest-rated event of the campaign, his 1.22 overall rating just beating out a 1.20 at IEM Dallas. It is too soon to assign this to the impact of the M4A1-S nerf, but it must have helped given the strong T-side performances we saw from headshot-specialist riflers like Twistzz and b1t in Abu Dhabi.
Before the arena matches, Twistzz was very much in contention for his first MVP of the year, but FaZe's defeat to G2 coincided with a drop in form for the Canadian. Still, a 1.05 rating in a losing effort did not de-rail his event; all of FaZe's matches at this event were against the two finalists, which is something that makes Twistzz's statistics all the more impressive.
He led the pack in Impact (1.30) and ADR (83.5), with an impressive 24.5% of deaths traded. His customary headshot percentage was in full flow too, with a 64.4% HS% on T side and 54.4% overall. It was a mature and well-rounded rifling performance, evident on his radar chart and on the eye test.
Liquid's run to the final was powered by EliGE and YEKINDAR, both of whom get EVP for their efforts. EliGE was the more consistent of the two, with 75.8% KAST (1st) and five green ratings in playoffs. He played well in nearly all of Liquid's map victories, his struggles coming in lost maps in won series against Natus Vincere and Outsiders, as well as a fairly poor performance against FaZe.
Aside from that, however, he was back to his best. He pips YEKINDAR in the EVP list thanks to a stronger performance in the final, where he was the highest-rated Liquid player by 22 points (1.09 to 0.87) but the two were very close.
YEKINDAR added another strong performance en route to the final, but a 0.73 rating in the grand final will sting for a while. Before then, he had spearheaded Liquid's run to the final in his usual manner, the Americans living and dying by his sword.
His rating in map victories ran like this: 0.82, 1.58, 1.54, 1.20, 1.45, 1.47, 1.43. When Liquid looked good, it was nearly always YEKINDAR leading the way. His playstyle will always be a double-edged sword: A 1.50 rating from him usually wins you the map, but if he is not on song you are left 4v5 and without your best player in more than 20% of rounds. It is high-risk and high-reward, and we saw both sides of that coin this event.
His 20.7 kills per 30 rounds is nothing special, but when we account for him spending just 67.1 seconds alive per round that means a kill every 97 seconds which puts him 3rd, just behind Twistzz and Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke. His peaks were instrumental in getting Liquid to the final, but his troughs do mean he ends up fairly low on the EVP list.
NiKo underwent the reverse of the process jks and huNter- did, his strong studio form giving way to solid but rarely groundbreaking performances in the arena. Still, he was rarely a liability for G2, putting up a respectable 1.10 rating in the arena.
Like most of this list, his T-side form improved with the M4A1-S nerf, and NiKo was clearly confident of using the AK to turn 50-50 gunfights into 5v4 advantages. He recorded 0.16 opening kills per round on T side (1st) without going into bombsites first all too often.
He is an opener in the purest sense, often a lone wolf but always prowling for duels. It is fairly rare for riflers to excel in both Impact rating and KAST, but NiKo managed it here; he was consistently offering something each round, while still recording high opening kill attempts and multi-kills. He was not G2's best player in playoffs, but thanks to the power trio of m0NESY, huNter-, and jks, he did not need to be.
The final EVP is degster, whose high floor and consistency helped OG to upset the odds and make the semi-finals of another BLAST event. He only had two real stand-out maps, on Anubis against Heroic and Mirage against Vitality, but his lowest map rating was 0.97, leaving his average at an impressive 1.19.
That, combined with a low sample size, means that he finished only 25% of his maps above a 1.15 rating, the same percentage as Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen and lower than Josh "oSee" Ohm. Yet he was still the highest-rated CT player of the event, with a 1.34 rating and a ridiculous 0.24 opening kills per round.
That means that degster alone was responsible for OG starting off 24% of their CT rounds, including full ecos, in a 5v4 advantage as by far the largest contributor to their whopping 68% opening kill ratio on the CT side. Even more impressively, he was only killed in an opening duel in 3% of rounds, leaving him with a mind-boggling 90% success rate. In a meta where CTs will have to work harder for rounds, having an AWPer as impactful as degster was crucial to OG's run and deserving of a low-tier EVP.
The closest players to this list were Robin "ropz" Kool and Shahar "flameZ" Shushan, both losing semi-finalists who had shown strong form beforehand. ropz in particular was close despite his 0.90 rating in the semi-final, but he predominately played second fiddle to Twistzz, harvesting rating in stomps and matches where he was not the crucial win-factor for FaZe. His 0.55 kills per lost round is second only to Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, a stat which probably boosted his numbers somewhat too. It was a strong VP performance, but not quite enough for an EVP.
flameZ impressed too, with a 1.22 rating and EVP form in the group stage despite his tough entry fragger role. With degster's form dropping off on T side, it was often on flameZ to make the difference, a task he rose to for the most part. He is another rifler who should benefit from the M4A1-S nerf, his technical ability obvious on an eye test.