Top 20 players of 2022: m0NESY (7)
A rookie year characterised by superb consistency, impressive peaks, and deadly efficiency versus the very best earn Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov the seventh spot in the Top 20 players of 2022 ranking.
Top 20 players of 2022: Introduction
m0NESY first became acquainted with the Counter-Strike franchise at an incredibly tender age, initially hopping into the server and laying the foundations for his future career at just five years old. The young Russian was inspired by watching his older brother compete at local Counter-Strike 1.6 LAN events, often using his sibling's time away at competitions to log his own hours into the shooter on the household's family computer.
m0NESY maintained a keen interest in Counter-Strike as the years ticked by, usually having to wrestle control of the single PC available until the Russian was gifted a laptop in 2015 at the age of 10. m0NESY made full use of this new-found ability to play his favourite game, climbing up the ranks and eventually earning the coveted Global Elite badge — the highest rank in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's matchmaking system — that same year.
"It feels amazing [to place in the Top 20 list]. First of all, I want to thank my teammates and staff, without them would be much harder to make it happen. For me personally, it shows me that I made good progress this year.
"Second, no matter what I will work much more and more. I do enjoy playing at a tier-one level, it gives me a lot of emotions. Even after losses, I don't like to be frustrated or tilted, I want to play and play, be better. As many mistakes you make, you learn more new things."
The Russian sniper's explosive burst up the rungs of the Counter-Strike ladder continued into his adolescence. He made the switch to FACEIT's own in-house matchmaking circuit and, by the time he was 12 years of age, had once again reached the zenith of the ranking pyramid, accruing enough ELO to break into the peak level 10 threshold. These achievements didn't come without sacrifice. m0NESY confessed to playing for 10-12 hours a day and his parents used to force him to log off his computer and go for walks, convinced that CS:GO was just another video game with limited avenues to make it a viable career later down the line.
Undeterred, m0NESY spent the next three to four years steadily improving his already exceptional individual ability and continued to build a name for himself in his pick-up matches. It was in August 2019 when the Russian teenager finally appeared in HLTV's database, making an appearance in the $22,000 CIS Esports Pro Championship whilst competing under the NewBALLS banner. The online tournament featured several high-profile names, including Gambit Youngsters — the core of which make up the present-day Cloud9 roster — AVANGAR, and Vega Squadron.
The quintet successfully made their way through the group stage of the competition after sporting a comfortable 3-1 record, their single defeat being a 7-16 affair at the hands of Denis "seized" Kostin's Vega Squadron in the opening round. Things went awry at the onset of the playoffs, however, where the team around m0NESY were quickly on the receiving end of a 0-2 battering by pro100, who ended up going on a run of their own all the way to the grand finals. m0NESY had a particularly uninspiring performance in the Russian ensemble's elimination game, putting up a 0.68 rating and 26-35 K-D, the fourth-worst display on the squad's scoreboard.
Alas, this less-than-ideal performance in NewBALLS' quarter-final matchup was an unfortunate blip in an otherwise solid HLTV-covered event debut. The Russian, who was still only 14 years old at the time, ended the 16-team tournament with a 1.10 rating alongside a 1.04 impact rating — performances that weren't other-worldly but still worthy of praise given his age and relative lack of experience in official games.
m0NESY took the next step in his entry into the competitive nature of the game a month later, when he participated in the HardCup — a LAN event in Moscow, Russia, which notably featured pro100 again. Despite squeaking out wins over pro100 and Se7en in the group stage and Espada in a hard-fought three-map series in the semi-finals, m0NESY's team faltered in their title-deciding rematch against pro100 (0-2).
m0NESY didn't leave the event in bad spirits, however. He once again showcased his potential and ended the tournament with a team-leading 1.16 rating to his name, even in spite of his more modest display in the final matchup. Moreover, the event was played in a LAN environment, further putting his strong event-wide performance into context.
Amiran "aMi" Rehviashvili, NAVI Junior's coach at the time, saw potential in m0NESY and the organisation managed to secure the services of the 14-year-old for their academy roster in January 2020. He initially started off on a trial basis with the Ukrainian brand, which sought to create a well-thought-out lineup that would nurture their players into the stars of tomorrow.
m0NESY made his debut in NAVI Junior colours in the same month as his signing, and quickly took full advantage of the opportunity he had been granted. He sometimes took time off of school to focus his time into becoming a Counter-Strike professional, and his results in-game reflected this dedication. Aside from a sub-par 0.80 rating in the academy roster's debut outing with m0NESY on their books, the Russian teenager played well all year long with a 1.14 rating over 47 maps. He peaked with a 1.22 rating in the squad's 5-8th place run through the Cyber.Bet Golden League 2020, a competition where he was NAVI Junior's best performer.
"Obviously yes, I wanted to become a pro player at such a young age. I started playing CS:GO at 9 years old, but only at 11-12 I already knew I want to be a pro player. I spent all my time in the game to be the best at this age. When I joined NAVI Junior, I was absolutely shocked that they gave me this opportunity. Thanks to aMi, from him I learned a lot of things and basically what is professional CS.
"Honestly, I was doing everything step by step, I was spending all my time in CS as I said before. From that moment I started missing school lessons, wasn't going out much with my friends and this is only for my dream. I gave my life for a dream, risking everything to make it a reality. I had goals to learn how competitive CS looks like. I had a goal to be disciplined, to not be lazy to work around myself. I just had goals to become better."
m0NESY's first year as a part of the NAVI Junior project ended with a campaign through Vulkan Fight Series 2020, a battleground which hosted two top-30 teams Gambit and Nemiga, as well as other notable names including SINNERS, FORZE, and Dignitas. The Russian youngster was only present in the campaign through the group stage and averaged a middle-of-the-pack 1.06 rating in that time, but m0NESY was honing his skills, becoming consistent in-game, and continuing to build a name for himself with his ever-popular live streams.
His tournament showings throughout the year also didn't go unnoticed by the elites of the game. Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato, who placed 18th in the Top 20 players of 2020, notably gave the Russian teen the nod in his 2020 Bold Prediction, saying that "he's very good but still lacks experience."
m0NESY picked up where he left off when 2021 rolled around and continued to ply his trade for the developmental lineup. These outings gave way to mixed results for the academy roster as a whole, but stellar individual results for the Russian wunderkind. Hitting his stride, he posted exceptional numbers in the team's appearances in the three stages of WePlay Academy League — a tournament created to give lineups like NAVI Junior the chance to compete against other youth rosters. He went nuclear with a tournament-high 1.64 rating in the inaugural event despite his side failing to advance to the final stage of the tournament, while also posting 1.37 and 1.30 ratings in the two phases of the Kyiv-based LAN event's second season.
Individually, m0NESY only dipped into the red once across the 14 tournaments he participated in during 2021 and showcased potent form in the academy leagues. These impressive results injected a burst of confidence into the Russian sniper. He remarked at the WePlay LAN event in Kyiv that "I'm sure that I'm ready for tier 1... I do think that I'm ready, I just need a bit more time. I think I have a good aim and understanding of the game, not every tier 1 player has that."
It was shortly after this strong performance at the WePlay Academy League Season 2 competition in Ukraine that rumours began swirling of the Russian player's impending signing with the then-No. 3 ranked G2. The speculation only grew once m0NESY was transfer-listed on NAVI Junior in early December 2021.
It was a high-end deal, with whispers placing the transfer fee at upwards of $600,000, an absurd amount of money for a 16-year-old who was still untested in the upper echelons of play. Regardless, G2 took the gamble and opened their chequebook, with the sniper being officially unveiled as their new recruit on January 3 2022. The stage was officially set to see how the prodigal Russian would do versus the very best players in the world and m0NESY was thrown straight into the deep end of tier-one Counter-Strike.
"I just remember my first emotions when found out about it [being approached by G2]. I said to myself — this is a chance and I can't miss it. As much as I love my teammates from the academy, my coach and others, I needed to move forward and learn.
"I knew what was in front of me, it wouldn't be easy for me cause of the language barrier and that this would be my first experience on tier one level, but only in this way you can become stronger than yourself."
|TournamentEvent||Team (place)||Rating 2.0 (in team)||ADR||KPR||DPR||Impact||KAST||Award|
|1.15 (3rd, +5%)||73.3||0.73||0.60||1.07||73.5%||EVP|
|1.16 (2nd, +9%)||74.0||0.76||0.63||1.28||70.3%|
|1.19 (1st, +16%)||75.1||0.74||0.57||1.23||73.9%|
|1.06 (3rd, 0%)||67.8||0.70||0.60||1.01||71.3%|
BLAST Spring Final
|1.11 (3rd, +3%)||71.6||0.67||0.60||1.12||69.1%|
|1.06 (3rd, +3%)||63.9||0.69||0.57||0.94||71.1%|
|1.25 (2nd, +11%)||78.2||0.80||0.57||1.24||76.4%||EVP|
BLAST Fall Final
|1.20 (2nd, +15%)||79.0||0.78||0.59||1.14||74.4%|
BLAST World Final
|1.24 (1st, +12%)||73.3||0.79||0.55||1.28||74.1%||MVP|
The first glimpses of the 16-year-old sensation donning a G2 jersey took place at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups. The team entered the year with a fresh identity, as both Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen and Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam put pen to paper and joined forces with the European combine just before the start of their 2022 debut. Things initially went well for m0NESY and co., and the side put up a flawless group-stage campaign after picking up a win over Complexity (16-12) and twice defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas in both the upper final (16-6) and group final (22-19).
G2's waltz through the online competition soon hit a brick wall in their first top-five test, where they were bested by the newly-revamped and the No. 3-ranked Vitality in the third round of the Knockout Stage (1-2). G2 rebounded shortly after, with m0NESY coming alive in the all-important series against MIBR (16-5, 16-6) to qualify the side for the BLAST Premier Spring Final. He ended the two-map trouncing against the Brazilians sporting the European combine's second-highest rating (1.35) alongside a near-equal impact rating (1.34), with a history-defining 1vs4 clutch to boot, a play he recalled as being his personal highlight of 2022:
"Oh, hahaha, I made many clutches this year honestly. Which one should I pick? Hmmm. I would say it is 1vs4 against MIBR on Inferno. My first tournament for G2, playing from home, pressure, and this moment when I was 1vs4, 15 secs on the timer, you have to decide everything fast. It was so quick I didn't even understand I left 1vs1 after bombplant. Why this highlight? Because my journey on tier 1 started with this match. I got a lot of confidence haha."
It was a successful tier-one tournament debut for the young Russian. His individual level was rock-solid, ending the 12-team qualifier in the green with a 1.13 rating, above-average KPR (0.72) and DPR (0.58), and a healthy KAST (76%). In addition, G2's only defeat came at the hands of Vitality. While the Franco-Danish mix was in the midst of a transitional phase, they were still among the top three in the world ranking. G2 also came into the event with limited practice under their belts whilst m0NESY was less than two months into his first stint in an English-speaking lineup.
"I didn't expect it [the transition] to be easy. I knew basic language, words, but it was still not easy and enough to speak with players. I was out of my comfort zone and I was fine with it and it gave me a huge boost in the end."
G2 looked to maintain this mostly solid form into IEM Katowice, the first Big Event of the year with $1,000,000 up for grabs. An opening group-stage loss to fnatic did little to deter the quintet, who responded with a splendid run through the lower bracket. They picked up wins over Liquid, FURIA, and Astralis with ease en route to a playoff spot in the famed Spodek Arena. This new-found momentum whilst staring down the barrel of elimination continued into the knockout stage; G2 moved up the event's pedestal, outmuscling Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere, the world's No. 1 team, to meet FaZe in the grand final.
The matchup, whilst an 0-3 loss on paper, was one of the most hard-fought and entertaining grand finals of the year. Each of the maps went the distance, with Mirage notably going into quintuple overtime (a 27-31 G2 loss), in a title decider that could have gone either way. m0NESY only managed to muster a 1.05 rating in the grand final versus FaZe, but otherwise had an incredible start to his first-ever Elite Event.
He boasted above-average statistics in all but one category and ended the flagship tournament with a 1.15 rating. His exemplary efforts in keeping G2 alive at various stages of the tournament were enough for him to be recognised with a career-first Exceptionally Valuable Player (EVP) award by the end of the multinational camp's silver-medal campaign.
"At the first match [in Katowice], I had a lot of pressure from the community and socials, although I told myself that I was not worried about this, but still this thought was in my head and [it] didn't go away. Every time I was checking my phone, everywhere people were writing m0NESY playing his first match, somewhere it motivated me, and somewhere it didn't give me rest.
"The first game we played against fnatic didn't go well and after this game I remember my coach Remy [XTQZZZ] came to me and said: 'Ilya, play how you know to play, do whatever you want, we're here to learn, tomorrow we play and you smash them.' This talk really helped me to not overthink, and be myself in upcoming matches. And till the grand final I was playing my real CS."
G2 crossed the border into Germany for ESL Pro League Season 15, the next competition in their schedule and one which began a slew of sub-par results for the squad. They took home comfortable wins over Looking For Org and Ninjas in Pyjamas, but otherwise fell flat after conceding gut-wrenching losses to MOUZ, fnatic, and Entropiq, eventually bowing out with a modest 2-3 record.
A positive takeaway was that m0NESY's explosive entry into tier-one Counter-Strike showed no signs of slowing down even in spite of G2's overall failures. He posted below-average stats in the series against Alex "ALEX" McMeekin's men, but was still continuing his meteoric start to life amongst the titans of the game. His 1.16 rating (0.10 points above the team average) and 1.28 impact rating were key in enabling the young sniper to nab a Valuable Player (VP) award, and there was no denying that m0NESY was showing that he was more than comfortable at the top level, even if G2 went home from Düsseldorf in 17-20th place.
G2's focus shifted to the Major cycle by April, heading to Romania to make a run through the PGL Antwerp Major RMR. An opening-round loss to Anonymo brought back memories of the team's dire performance at ESL Pro League Season 15. Fortunately for G2, the side rebounded and the international mix went on to pick up three wins on the trot over Sangal, Bad News Eagles, and Astralis to earn a Major berth.
m0NESY's stats at the Major-qualifying event took a slight dip. The Russian was only able to accrue a 1.03 rating — a sizeable drop compared to the 1.10+ ratings seen in his first three tournament outings of the year thus far. Nonetheless, G2 breathed a sigh of relief and turned their attention to the Major itself in a month's time. m0NESY also made history for himself, qualifying for his first-ever Major in his rookie year at the top level.
"First RMR, first feelings of playing there, and a bad start. Tough for me to remember what happened exactly in that moment, but we played bad in the group on RMR."
G2's run through the Valve-sponsored event in Belgium got off to a blinding start. m0NESY's troops posted a flawless 3-0 record in the Challengers Stage after tallying wins over Liquid, Spirit, and ENCE to progress to the next phase of the million-dollar competition. Alas, this electrifying start to the Major came crashing down at the onset of the Legends Stage.
The side was dealt an unfortunate hand in regard to seeding, instantly being sent down to the 0-1 pool after being narrowly beaten by Natus Vincere (17-19), the world's second-best team, in the opening round. A back-and-forth ensued for the international ensemble, trading wins and losses to sit with a 2-2 record by the final day, where a battle against FURIA stood between a ticket to the playoffs or a trip back home.
Fortunes favoured the Brazilians this time around, though. FURIA struck first with a close 16-12 victory on Vertigo, their map pick, while G2 answered right back with an even tighter 16-14 triumph on Inferno. Ancient was the decider and, despite being up 10-5 by the side swap, G2 were unable to press home their advantage, eventually conceding the map 11-16 and being consigned to a 9-11th finish in the first Major of 2022.
"The lowest point of the year [was when] I didn't make playoffs at the Major. The most disappointing moment. Now I feel like we could do more [than] last year. This is a dream of anyone to play at a Major. Get a medal in your inventory for playoffs hahaha, I want this one so bad."
The exit was a disappointing one for G2, who had now failed to advance to the playoffs in their past two Big Event appearances and the highs of their run at IEM Katowice continued to look like a distant memory. A positive from the Major came in the form of m0NESY, who ended the nine maps played through the Legends Stage as his team's stalwart with a roster-high 1.19 rating — a showing 16% better than the rest of his G2 comrades. The Russian teenager's unparalleled display was also present in several other categories, like impact (1.23 rating), KAST (73.9%), and KPR (0.74), which gave the youngster a Valuable Player nod, just shy of an EVP, on their way out of the tournament.
Any time away from the game to recover from their post-Major blues would have to wait as G2 made their way stateside for IEM Dallas, which started just eight days after the conclusion of the PGL Antwerp Major. The competition hosted 16 teams — seven of which were situated within the top 10. A second-round defeat to ENCE meant G2 once again had to ride through the lower bracket, where they relished in taking wins over Movistar Riders, Astralis, and Vitality to claim a spot in the playoffs.
G2's eventual run through the knockout stage was a short-lived one. They were edged out by FURIA (16-13, 17-19, 5-16), being eliminated by the Brazilians in back-to-back outings to finish the tournament in 5-6th place.
Notably, while m0NESY was positive in seven of the eight maps played through the group stage, he was individually quiet in the knock-out series. He finished in fourth place on the teamsheet with a tame 0.86 rating and could only muster a 57.6 ADR. While the AWPer was able to rely on Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač to provide a fair amount of the power in the fragging department, he had become a key cog in the G2 machine, and his untimely absence proved to be costly in Texas.
G2's quarter-final run through the American event soon gave way to the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, where the team posted a better result compared to their time in the United States. G2 twice completed the reverse sweep over Vitality and FaZe to end Group A as the top seed. Alas, the extra day of practice between the end of groups and the start of the playoffs did little in the grand scheme of things. The squad was unable to repeat their initial victory over Dan "apEX" Madesclaire's men and they faltered 1-2, with close 13-16 scorelines in their two map losses, to go home in 3-4th place.
m0NESY still remained one of G2's most impactful players, even if he struggled to have a consistently strong impact in Lisbon. He only posted above-average ratings in less than half of the roster's games, dipping into the red more times than not. However, he made up for these shortcomings with miraculous peaks, all combining together to earn the young marksman his fourth VP acknowledgement of the year.
Next up on G2's calendar was the season-concluding IEM Cologne. What was a chance for the multinational ensemble to try and secure another strong showing in one of just four Elite Events of the year went drastically awry, losing to a lower-ranked Movistar Riders to be cast straight down to elimination territory. A bloody-nosed G2 rebounded with a much-needed victory against ENCE to keep their tournament dreams alive, but a loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas closed the door shut on any confidence-boosting placement and the team was knocked out in 9-12th place.
This less-than-impressive showing wrapped up G2's first season of the year, one which started brilliantly with a second-place showing at IEM Katowice but soon unravelled in the months that followed. It was also a turbulent period for m0NESY. His peaks were among the very best in the world, with his ceiling often being series-winning. Despite this, he also suffered from strong bouts of inconsistency, sometimes failing to come online when it mattered most or having incredibly contrasting displays from map to map.
G2's inability to make deep runs on a regular basis gave way to roster changes. Aleksib was relieved of his duties just seven months into his stint whilst Audric "JACKZ" Jug, whose spot on the squad was often defended by his mood-lifting personality and team-focused attitude, was also allowed to explore his options.
G2 settled on their replacements towards the tail end of the off-season. They called up Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen, who was on Copenhagen Flames' bench after making back-to-back Majors while with the Danish quintet, and Justin "jks" Savage, who had played a part in denying G2 the trophy at IEM Katowice whilst acting as FaZe's stand-in.
There was little time for G2 to get used to HooXi's new system, as they instantly made the journey to Copenhagen with the aim of qualifying for the BLAST Premier Fall Final. Their debut event immediately got off to a shaky start and they were quickly down to their very last life in the Last Chance Stage after picking up just one victory over BIG. A bloodbath series versus Vitality ensued, both fighting tooth and nail to clinch one of the few remaining spots up for grabs at the BLAST Fall Final. Luckily for G2, a masterclass of paramount importance came from their rookie at their time of need. m0NESY took it upon himself to be the difference-maker in the three-map decider series, lighting up the server with an awe-inspiring 1.35 rating and colossal 75-49 K-D to carry his side to a 2-1 victory over the French-Danish outfit.
His team-saving score wasn't just a flash in the pan either. He ended the LAN in Denmark with a tournament-high 1.34 rating over 10 maps, whilst also impressing in every other facet of his play with green-level performances in each category, including 1.36 impact, 88.0 ADR, and 0.83 KPR. The Russian teen was joined at the top of the scoreboard by NiKo, who has struck up a close friendship with the rookie. The Bosnian has acted as a mentor to the 17-year-old, and their relationship inside and outside of the game has created a deadly duo, one that puts G2 on their backs with oftentimes unmatchable firepower.
"Yeah, we have good relationships with NiKo. He's an insane player, a good friend IRL [in real life]. He's the guy who wants me to destroy everyone, to be the best, to prove myself. Because of him, I fixed a lot of stuff, so many things we worked on, you just can't imagine.
"He made me do things that I didn't want to do and he's right. I wouldn't say I was nervous [to play with NiKo for the first time], it was just a different experience. They have been playing at this level for a long time and for me, [it's the] first year."
This other-worldly performance from the 17-year-old superstar carried over into ESL Pro League Season 16. G2's flawless group-stage effort — the first 10-0 record in Pro League history — was made a whole lot easier by m0NESY, who was firing on all cylinders in their final set of games against FTW, FaZe, Outsiders to accrue a 1.56 rating over the three series. Another top-tier performance from m0NESY (1.29 rating) guided the team to a quarter-final finish over Natus Vincere, but G2 was stopped in their tracks by yet another stubborn Vitality, who again ended their run through a tournament, this time in 3-4th place.
G2 stayed in Malta for the IEM Road to Rio Europe RMR, an event that would live in infamy for the organisation. A 16-0 hounding of ECSTATIC christened the tournament in phenomenal form, but warning signs soon began blaring. The HooXi-led roster became embroiled in an uphill battle by the end of the third day, down 1-2 and facing an early elimination from the Major circuit after conceding 13-16 losses to Cloud9 and 1WIN.
A do-or-die matchup with GamerLegion ensued, a side that was ranked a whopping 55 spots lower than G2 at the outset of the series. m0NESY's best efforts (1.28 rating and 82.1 ADR) couldn't carry G2 over the line this time, with the international outfit succumbing to a perseverant GamerLegion 1-2 to have their IEM Rio Major dreams crushed.
The result broke the organisation's 11-Major-attending streak and was a humungous blight on the star-studded lineup. Whilst their past results had been shaky, they had still put up strong results in the lead-up to the event, making their inability to qualify even more shocking. m0NESY's team-high 1.22 rating offered little solace, as both the Russian and the roster as a whole were set to watch the $1,250,000 spectacle from the sidelines, a tough pill to swallow considering the previous iteration of the lineup made the grand final of the esteemed PGL Stockholm Major not even a year prior.
"I couldn't believe it [when we didn't qualify for the IEM Rio Major]. I was shocked, I can't describe those emotions. We met in the practice room with the team after the defeat, nobody wanted to talk, it was just silent and everyone was shocked.
"That's a good lesson, I can't say much. It is what it is, nothing ever goes as planned. So that's how it should be. We just overthought a lot before every game, we played not to lose and it's bad."
G2 enjoyed a six-week break following their shock ousting from the Major cycle. They finally returned to competition at the BLAST Premier Fall Final in late November, the penultimate tournament of the year. G2 still looked far from peak form despite the lengthy gap in play, barely advancing to the playoffs after suffering an opening loss to Liquid and what was always going to be a routine win over Fluxo. A spot in the Royal Arena in Copenhagen awaited nonetheless, but G2's best efforts did little to stop Heroic from harnessing the hometown advantage en route to a 2-1 victory (16-8, 6-16, 16-12) in the quarter-finals. m0NESY's form had started to become more consistent, though. He ended proceedings with a comfortable 1.20 rating, earning another VP nod for his actions.
The team then turned their attention to the end-of-year BLAST Premier World Final, brushing aside any pessimism as they aimed to end 2022 on a high. A first-round defeat to FaZe (1-2) greeted the European ensemble in Abu Dhabi, and the tournament outlook quickly appeared bleak with another early exit on the cards. G2 pushed ahead, spurred on by a stellar display from m0NESY, who went above and beyond the call of duty with a 1.94 rating in a 2-0 win over Outsiders to advance to the playoff stage.
From there, G2 hammered home the advantage provided by their prodigy, besting their yearlong kryptonite of Vitality (2-1) before getting their revenge over FaZe in the semi-finals, often in disadvantageous situations, to advance all the way to their second grand final of the year.
The stage was set for a title-deciding tango with Liquid. Both sides were in the midst of a title drought and would relish in ending 2022 with a Big Event trophy in their cabinets. The series was easily won by G2, closing out Inferno, their map pick, 16-8 before punishing Mirage, Liquid's choice, 16-12 to be crowned champions in the UAE.
"I didn't believe [it when we won], I was just looking at the trophy. I couldn't believe it is in my hands. My parents were there, they were sitting in front of the stage watching me, and watching me in the end lifting the trophy. Even talking about this gives me goosebumps. That was my goal for this year, that was my dream when I started playing Counter-Strike. The dream has come true fellas."
Their victory was due in good part to a consistent and commendable performance from m0NESY. He ended the series as the team's second-best player, sporting a solid 1.27 rating. It was his efforts all tournament long that earned him his first-ever Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, however. He sat atop the tally with a 1.24 rating, only dipping into the red in the group-stage affair versus FaZe.
His world-class rating in the event was supported by an even higher 1.28 impact rating, an insatiable appetite for frags with 0.79 KPR alongside a stubborn ability to not die with 0.55 DPR. All of this combine to make history. He became the youngest recipient of a Big Event MVP thanks to his potent consistency and peak fragging output. It was these tournament-leading statistics which played a huge part in winning G2 their first Big Event silverware since 2017 and something which justified the lavish $600,000 price tag the Russian allegedly had just one year earlier.
"Of course [winning more trophies is the goal for 2023], yes. None of you understand what a difficult way we've made from the beginning of the year to the end of this. Each of us was worried so much, this victory at BLAST is the merit of all of us. And we will keep going and keep going for more and more.
"I will give my all, no matter what. This year has been productive, the next one will be much better. Me and my team will do our best to lift more trophies."
Why was m0NESY the 7th best player of 2022?
m0NESY comes in at No. 7 on the Top 20 list of 2022 thanks to his excellent floor in each event outing. The Russian youngster posted a fantastic year-round resumé with the tenth-highest rating (1.17), whilst his lows at IEM Dallas and IEM Cologne were still solid and above-average performances (1.06).
These personal highs proved to be the springboard for enabling G2 to make four deep runs throughout the year, even going on to win a Big Event trophy at the end-of-year BLAST World Final. The 17-year-old notably picked up an MVP and two EVPs for his efforts and was also particularly close to adding more EVP accolades to his tally at the PGL Antwerp Major and the BLAST Premier Fall Final.
Another important factor in his top-ten finish on the list is that he maintained potent-level displays when playing at both the biggest tournaments of the year and against the toughest opposition. m0NESY averaged a stellar 1.17 rating across the four Elite Events he participated in while also going on to showcase a superlative 1.22 rating across 35 maps against top-five opposition.
What's more, m0NESY was one of the most impactful players in the world in a number of categories. He boasted a 64.3% opening kill success rate, the highest in the world when compared to those with above-average attempts, the seventh-best K-D ratio (+572), and proved to be a hard foe to go up against with the eighth-lowest deaths per round (0.59).
The reason m0NESY was unable to rank higher in the list was due in part to missing more individual accolades in comparison with the players above him and most of his higher-ranked peers outperforming him on an individual level. He also sported a 1.11 rating in Big Matches, which while not poor, was simply bested by those who placed higher.
m0NESY followed in the footsteps of many of his other Top 20 alumni, becoming the sixth person to give the nod to Daniil "headtr1ck" Valitov, his former NAVI Junior teammate.
The Ukrainian AWPer was above and beyond his academy side's best-performing player, boasting a strong 1.19 rating over 88 maps. He also made the jump to the main team on two occasions, helping out Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and company at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups and ESL Pro League Season 15.
"I have known him for a very long time. He has great potential in the game. Once he joins his new tier 1 team, he will need time, like I did. He will have to go through many difficulties, ranging from the language barrier to defeats. I believe in him and I'm looking forward to playing against him on tier 1 once again."
The 18-year-old has just been announced as the new AWPer of Ninjas in Pyjamas, and is about to make his tier-one debut at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups.
Stay tuned to our Top 20 players of 2022 ranking and take a look at the Introduction article to learn more about how the players were selected.