Best five of IEM Dallas
See who joins MVP SunPayus in our all-star team of the event.
The events are coming thick and fast to close the season and that means another Best Five needs to be assembled. If you're not familiar with how this works, we assign players to categories based on the positions they play: Anchor entails players with four or more supportive CT side positions; Opener is four or more pack T-side positions; Closer is four or more lurk T-side positions. This, in theory, should let us build a pretty balanced side. Without further ado then, let's get into it.
Robin "ropz" Kool, like Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato in Rio, throws a slight spanner in the works of our 'Best Five' by being a star player who predominately spends his time in anchor roles on CT. He qualifies by occupying small sites like A on Ancient and Anubis as well as Ramp on Nuke and Pit on Inferno, and once he was in the running it was hard to look past the imperious Estonian.
Rasmus "sjuush" Beck and Jon "JDC" de Castro also had good tournaments from their anchor role, but ropz's 1.27 playoff rating is eons beyond either of them. That rating isn't inflated by his various clutches and 'easy' kills from his passive lurking on T side, either; he averaged a 1.28 CT rating in FaZe's six playoff maps (though two of those were on Mirage, where he excels in Connector).
Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia, despite his MVP, was not quite a lock for this award thanks to the incredible profiency of Nicolai "device" Reedtz in Astralis' quarter-final exit. The Dane has been reborn as one of the world's most aggressive AWPers, posting 0.94 KPR and 0.16 openers per round (at a 77% success rate). He put his side on his back time and time again, including two monstrous losing efforts (39-21 K-D vs ENCE on Nuke in a 17-19 loss, and 42-24 against MOUZ in a 20-22 loss on Inferno).
It is telling then that SunPayus has been taking inspiration from device, then. "I've been telling SunPayus, 'Stop watching [sh1ro and Jame].' You can play this style, but you can be so much more aggressive," Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer told Blix.gg. "It was a blessing that device came back because he loves device also, so he started watching him, but the thing is he turned it on aggression-wise".
This shows in the numbers, with SunPayus ending Dallas with 0.15 openers per round, just 0.01 shy of device's total. He was also instrumental in ENCE's marathon win on Ancient versus FaZe, starting slow but arriving in crunch time with a key 1on2 clutch.
There are still question marks over his T-side play — he averaged a 0.90 rating on T side in playoffs and 1.42 on CT — but even with that slight hole in his game, he is posting 1.45 ratings in big event grand finals. He was a worthy MVP, and thus has to be the AWPer in our Best Five.
The closest player to SunPayus' MVP was David "frozen" Čerňanský, who clocked in another extremely consistent shift for MOUZ this event. The 20-year-old — yes, he's still that young — has excelled in spite of MOUZ' inconsistency as of late with a 1.21 rating for 2023 so far and Dallas was no different.
He recorded 84.4 ADR over his decent sample of 14 maps, with a Dzhami "Jame" Ali-like 0.52 deaths per round and only one map below a 1.00 rating. His floor since he moved to the more passive style of lurking after ropz's departure has been higher than many a pro's ceiling, form that has perhaps gone slightly under the radar.
Snappi's career has had its ups and downs, but he is hitting his peak with this international ENCE side. Alongside Eetu "sAw" Saha, he has built a system, both in-game with their calling and out of it with their scouting, that can get the best out of talent available to him as well as replenishing that talent should it leave for greener pastures.
This record is not even a bad one for Snappi considering the firepower available to him in this period — nearly all of those second places were overperformance — but it still must have felt exceptionally good to break the streak and win his first Big Event after two 2nd place finishes in 2022.
There is also no doubting his impact on ENCE in Dallas; that his squad survived for so long in overtime against FaZe on Ancient despite losing more than a few favourable situations is credit to the mentality Snappi encourages within his team. ENCE also posted a chart-topping 61.3% CT side win percentage at the event, and were second only to Heroic with their average of 51.2% on the offensive half.
The last decision was also the most difficult one. The designated pack players in the grand final, IGLs Snappi and Christopher "dexter" Nong, as well as Pavle "Maden" Bošković and Dorian "xertioN" Berman, all had good moments but lacked the consistency to really make this spot their own. As such, we had to look further to find our Opener.
Martin "stavn" Lund is the name that jumps off of a basic stats page with a 1.24 overall rating, but he was only Heroic's highest-rated player in one map, the 14-16 loss against MOUZ on Ancient. He performed exceptionally throughout groups to earn that overall rating, but it is definitely a figure that was inflated by how many stomps he was a (key) part of.
Compare that to Håvard "rain" Nygaard, who had a few dodgy maps in groups and was especially quiet in the 2-0 loss to ENCE. Three of those maps actually came on Anubis, and he endedthe event with a 0.72 average rating on CS:GO's newest map. On more conventional footing, though, rain was exceptional, especially in a map-winning 27-13 showing against ENCE on Mirage in the semi-finals, as well as a 1.30 average rating in the quarter-final against G2.
Ultimately, it is hard to look past stavn — his ratings were earnt in stomps, but those stomps were against MOUZ and G2. He was also Heroic's best performer in their last map of the event, a 16-14 loss in which his team let him down.
So there we have it, our Best Five of IEM Dallas 2023. device is unlucky to miss out, but even without him we have a solid five. Old MOUZ boys ropz and frozen pair up as our team's extremity players on T side, with stavn, SunPayus, and Snappi on map control. There is a slight lack of aggression — stavn is more of a supportive or 2nd in pack rifler than a raw opener —, but the team should still work fine.