CS:GO 11 Mar 2021 10:06 AM +00:00

Thorin's Top 20 CS:GO Players of All-Time (20-11)

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With more than three full years of competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive having passed, compiling a list of the top 20 players ensures many famous, well-loved and fondly remembered players are going to be left off such a list. 

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Deciding the names and order of such a list requires one to determine for themselves the weighting of different criteria’s to come to a coherent and consistent decision-making process. To determine this list and its order I considered a player's level of play, relative to the time; the importance of his role and impact within his team, including how much of a focal point he was; the success of his career, relative to who he had on his team and in the context of the best tournaments; domestic and international play, in their own contexts. 

I've ignored domestic success, in terms of tournaments which featured no teams from outside of the individual countries of the competitor in question, to prevent a slight skewing in favour of players who have access to a lot of domestic competitions.  Luckily, CS:GO has seen such a large and open circuit since even its early days, albeit with far less money and less travel budgets back then, that international play accounts for the vast majority of a player's career. 

Others may weigh the criteria differently, but in part one of this two part series, I will lay out places 20-11 in my Top 20 CS:GO Players of All-Time. 

Thorin's Top 20 CS:GO Players of All-Time 

Part 1: 20-11

Part 2: 10-1 

20. Jaroslaw "pasha" Jarzabkowski

Significant accomplishments:

2012 Northcon (2nd)

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2012 StarSeries IV (1st)

2013 Techlabs Cup Moscow (3rd)

2013 Mad Catz Vienna (4th)

2013 Starseries V (4th)

2013 ESEA S13 (4th)

2013 StarSeries VI (4th)

2013 Techlabs Cup Grand Final (2nd)

2013 StarSeries VIII (1st)

2014 Copenhagen Games (2nd)

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2014 StarSeries IX (4th)

2014 ESEA S16 (3rd)

2014 Gfinity G3 (1st)

2014 FACEIT S2 Final (3rd-4th)

2014 ESWC (3rd)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (3rd)

2014 ESEA S17 (2nd)

2014 Acer A-Split Invitational (1st)

2015 iOS Pantamera (4th)

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2015 Gfinity Spring Masters I (3rd)

2015 Copenhagen Games (1st)

2015 ESEA S18 (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 (3rd-4th)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (2nd)

2015 ESL ESEA PL S1 (3rd-4th)

2015 CEVO-P S7 (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA PL Dubai Invitational (1st)

2015 Gfinity Champion of Champions (3rd-4th) 

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Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (9th-12th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (1st)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 9

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International Finals: 14

International Top 4: 31

International Top 8: 38 

Aficionados of the play of powerhouse Polish side Virtus.pro may now, rightfully, consider Snax the driving force and star player behind the famous "Virtus.plow" mode of destruction that team flips into for the odd glorious event every year.  However, once upon a time it was pasha who was the best player in the team and had the largest impact on their victories.  When CS:GO had begun, his team had been a decent international side, but never truly contended for titles.  pasha himself struggled to make a name outside of his previous CS 1.6 exploits, with TaZ standing as the best Polish player early in the game. 

With VP's rise in 2014, winning the second major in history and establishing themselves as a top four team for the majority of the year, racking up a great many top four finishes, pasha was the most valuable piece of the machine.  For the first six months or so of the year he stood as both his team's most consistent star presence and one of the most consistent top tier players in the entire world.  Snax and byali were the others providing firepower, but they would seemingly take turns, working almost like a tag team, in terms of who would do well in a game.  pasha, on the other hand, always delivered. 

During that time span, it was pasha's AWP which provided a large amount of raw fragging for VP, with his aggressive peek-heavy style allowing him to lock down CT positions and break the game open on the Terrorist side.  The Polish star would charge into engagements with the enemy, epitomising the notion of the "ballsy" player.  What's more, pasha had above average rifles for an AWPer, making him one of the few snipers who could still have a good impact on the game even when he didn't have an AWP in his hands. 

From the latter part of 2014 onwards, pasha has receded as a star within his team, with VP suffering a number of temporary slumps, finishing well outside of the top four teams at times, and his play suffering at different times.  The team has transitioned over to Snax being their star player and main carry, with pasha even losing his AWPing role to NEO in the last few months.  Despite not being a star calibre player this year, pasha's accomplishment, peak period of play in 2014 and overall consistency make him one of the game's greats. 

When one considers how long NEO has struggled in CS:GO, it's difficult to imagine VP ever having accomplished great things without pasha taking up the star role. 

19. Spencer "hiko" Martin

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Significant accomplishments:

2012 ESWC (3rd)

2013 Copenhagen Games (5th-6th)

2013 ESEA S13 (2nd)

2013 ESEA S14 (2nd)

2013 ESWC (5th-8th)

2014 ESEA S15 (3rd)

2014 ESEA S16 (2nd)

2014 FACEIT S2 Final (5th-6th)

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2014 ESEA S17 (5th-6th)

2015 ESWC (3rd-4th) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (5th-8th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (9th-12th) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 0

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International Finals: 3

International Top 4: 7

International Top 8: 13 

The politics surrounding Hiko's name, from leaving the most well-loved North American team to showing disinterest in joining up with the modern day top sides from the region and reports being published about his behind the scenes negotiations, have seemingly seen him vilified and down-played by much of the community over 2015, but those who saw him during his peaks, in the first half of 2013 and the middle months of 2014, know the level he rose to. 

While no other North American player was truly capable of matching up with the elite European players, beyond the occasional match or event, Hiko emerged as a true NA star and delivered big time performance inside and outside of North America, a detail which is hardly irrelevant even in the modern day, as the player of his new team-mates in Team Liquid can attest. 

After a strong 2013, propelling two different cores (Quantic and compLexity) to top finishes, Hiko delivered some more peak level performances in 2014, most notably the ESL One Cologne major where C9 may very well have made the final, were it not for that miraculously drawn and played cobblestone from NiP. 

At his best, Hiko stood as easily the most well rounded North American player and legitimately could compete with top Europeans as one of the world's best passive riflers.  That he routinely showed up in big games and at European competitions also put him on another plane to the rest of the North American talent, with names like swag and DaZeD having off-and-on performances outside of North America's borders and the likes of Skadoodle seemingly limited to only being dangerous within them.  It's fitting in that respect, that he has also long been known as one of his region's finest clutch round players. 

In terms of raw accomplishments, Hiko has one of the shallowest resumes on this list, but one must consider the talent level he was surrounded by for the majority of his career and the lack of overseas travel opportunities which plagued the first half of his career.  Over his entire career, Hiko has probably played with less top tier talent, even relative to their positions, than any other name on this list. 

The last year of Hiko's time in CS:GO has been fairly barren, due to C9's spiral out of relevance, the proposed super-team being largely banished from the game, the failed Nihilum project and Hiko's lengthy negotiation period with different teams.  With all of that said, he still managed to deliver another decent placing, helping FlipSid3 deliver the most embarrassing and unlikely series loss of NiP's careers. 

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18. Jesper "JW" Wecksell

 

Significant accomplishments:

2013 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2013 Mad Catz Invitational (2nd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Kiev (2nd)

2013 StarSeries VII (4th)

2013 MSI Beat It Finals (2nd)

2014 Gfinity G3 (3rd-4th)

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2014 StarSeries X (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm (3rd-4th)

2014 FACEIT S2 Final (1st)

2014 ESWC (1st)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (1st)

2014 ESEA S17 (1st)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen (4th)

2015 Clutch Con (1st)

2015 iOS Pantamera (1st)

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2015 ESEA S18 (2nd)

2015 PGL CCS S1 Final (2nd)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 (3rd-4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (1st)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (2nd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA PL S1 (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 (3rd-4th)

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2015 Fragbite Masters Champions Showdown (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA PL Dubai Invitational (3rd-4th)

2015 Gfinity Champion of Champions (2nd) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (1st)

2014 EMS One Katowice (5th-8th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2014 ESL One Katowice (1st)

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2014 ESL One Cologne (1st) 

Major titles: 3

International Titles: 15

International Finals: 24

International Top 4: 31

International Top 8: 33 

I won't be surprised if people immediately scoff at the notion a three time major winner, a record equalled by only two other players in history, is ranked so low in the top 20, but it provides an early opportunity to outline my criteria regarding star players and carry roles.  JW was the star of Epsilon and would remain the primary carry and name during his line-ups time over in FNATIC.  Those who were not around during that time may be surprised to know, though, that he often suffered from nerve issues and would rarely deliver big performances in the important offline matches. 

The JW of 2013 to the Summer of 2014, was largely a strong player online and in group stage level matches, but frequently went missing in big quarter-finals and semi-finals.  Even in the legendary upset victory at Dreamhack Winter, it was more the play of the Flusha and schneider which appeared to have the largest impact on bringing home the trophy.  The following six months saw Flusha emerging as easily the best player in the team, even challenging GeT_RiGhT's status as the game's premiere lurker. 

When olofm and KRiMZ arrived, in the Summer of 2014, JW would emerge again as a star calibre talent and far surpass his past efforts.  In the first tournaments of FNATIC's spree of event titles with that line-up, the mercurial AWPer would create frag movie highlights in practically every big game, no matter where it took place in the tournament.  With KRiMZ providing the high quality consistent fragging, JW was the sizzle and entertained fans and frustrated opponents. 

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With all of that said, KRiMZ was very much the best player in team during that latter five or so months of the year, with JW as the second star.  His impact on games was big, but he was not the primary reason behind their wins, which were already establishing them as a truly great team, in a historical context. 

During 2015, when FNATIC has won even more titles and even helped him acquire two more of his major victories, JW has been somewhat underwhelming.  It has been the emergence of olofm as the world's best player, flusha's occasional carry performances and the still stellar consistency of KRiMZ which have put FNATIC time and time again in the position of finishing atop the podium.  JW has been far less relied upon and he has turned up with much less frequency. 

In terms of skill level, he is truly one of the most stunning players to have ever graced a CS:GO stage, but his incredible accomplishments must be weighed against his role within the collective effort to obtain such glory.  Put amongst some of the superlative stars on this list, JW cannot measure up in terms of true star power and longevity in such a role. 

17. Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen

Significant accomplishments:

2013 EMS One Fall (3rd-4th)

2014 Copenhagen Games (3rd-4th)

2014 Gfinity G3 (3rd-4th)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (4th)

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2015 MLG X Games Aspen (3rd)

2015 StarSeries XII (3rd)

2015 Copenhagen Games (2nd)

2015 PGL CCS S1 Final (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 (1st)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 (1st)

2015 IEM X Gamescom (2nd)

2015 Fragbite Masters Champions Showdown (2nd)

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2015 ESL ESEA PL Dubai Invitational (2nd)

2015 Dreamhack London (2nd) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (3rd-4th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th) 

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Major titles: 0

International Titles: 4

International Finals: 9

International Top 4: 18

International Top 8: 29 

In the modern day TSM, cajunb's huge impact play and dominating single map performances have seen him stake a reasonable claim to being the second best player in TSM, where device naturally occupies the role of primary star, but it should not be forgotten that it was dupreeh who was the star side-kick for the majority of the core's time in CS:GO. 

Back then, from the latter half of 2013 onwards, device and dupreeh made up a pairing which could reasonably go head-to-head with any duo of stars in the entire world and which powered Copenhagen Wolves and team dignitas, essentially the same team with a revolving door of fifth men, to a progressively more and more impressive set of finishes.  As the team climbed from consistently making quarter-finals up to reaching the top four on numerous occasions, it seemed as if device and dupreeh were set to become this generation's GeT_RiGhT and f0rest, the Swedish tag team of stars which had made NiP the most successful team in history. 

That potential was never to be realised, at least in that exact respect and during the majority of the pair's time in CS:GO.  After reaching many semi-finals only to again and again fall apart against any top opponent they faced, but most notably NiP, it seemed as if dupreeh was never to become a CS:GO champion.  The talent was there, but it speaks to how dysfunctional the team was that while dupreeh was considered one of the world's elite entry fraggers, his dignitas team relied upon huge CT halves and struggled to put T rounds on the board in big games. 

It is difficult to put much of the blame for those circumstances on dupreeh's shoulders as, as already referenced, he was performing well in his role.  Much of the choking and problems in big games and T sides seemed to stem from device, while dupreeh showed up on more occassions, albeit without the ability to take over a game in the same way as his fellow star.  A dupreeh performance was always more about consistently fragging with a rifle, picking up one or two kills and putting his team in position to be able to close rounds.  That they often couldn't, at least on the Terrorist side, is not the fault of dupreeh. 

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That story-line was so ingrained in the collective consciousness of the community for so long, reaching right up and through to StarSeries XII, in the earlier part of this year, yet the period following that has completely redefined dupreeh's resume.  Suddenly, a star who had always been capable of and in position to win titles has leapt up to the trophy haul charts with four big wins in 2015.  Prior to Copenhagen Games 2015, dupreeh had never played in an international final, but has since then battled in nine, with one admittedly being a two team show-match. 

dupreeh's career was one which was always marked for greatness, with many more quarter-final and top four finishes than even some of the lesser champions, but his 2015 has seen him finally add the titles such talent should naturally attract.  Within TSM, his role is a tricky one to define, as he seems to share the second star role with cajunb, one being an explosive but inconsistent force and the other a more polished and even-keeled fragger. 

16. Ioann "Edward" Sukharev 

Significant accomplishments:

2013 Techlabs Cup Moscow (4th)

2013 StarSeries V (3rd)

2013 StarSeries VI (2nd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Kiev (1st)

2013 Dreamhack Bucharest (3rd-4th)

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2013 StarSeries VII (2nd)

2013 ESWC (3rd)

2013 StarSeries VIII (2nd)

2014 StarSeries IX (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2014 ESEA S16 (4th)

2014 IronGaming (2nd)

2014 StarSeries X (2nd)

2014 Game Show S1 (1st)

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2014 StarSeries IX (2nd)

2014 ESWC (4th)

2015 EPL Winter (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (3rd-4th)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (3rd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2015 StarSeries XIII (1st)

2015 ESWC (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 (3rd-4th)

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2015 CEVO-P S7 (2nd)

2015 Gaming Paradise (2nd) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (13th-16th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (13th-16th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th) 

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Major titles: 0

International Titles: 6

International Finals: 16

International Top 4: 26

International Top 8: 31 

I suspect Edward's inclusion on this list may be a contentious one, with his name rarely being put forwards amongst the stars of the game at any point in time, but he has been the secondary star force behind Na`Vi's success.  He was the second best player in the original Na`Vi line-up, which had transitioned wholecloth from CS 1.6, and would at one point in time be considered the second best team in the world and capable of taking maps from NiP, still a novelty back in the middle of 2013. 

When Edward went over to Astana Dragons, later to be renamed HellRaisers, he was the odd man out, with his spots and role seemingly taken by others in a team which had too many stars and not enough supportive players.  Despite some top finishes, progressively poorer individual performances led to him leaving and returning home to Na`Vi later in the year.  Na`Vi would shock the world by breaking out from around May of 2014 onwards, winning StarSeries IX.  Edward was very much the second best player in this side, behind the stellar AWPing of GuardiaN, and would sometimes even have to carry the load when his sniper had his bizarre off games. 

In 2015, Na`Vi have gone from the most dangerous upset side to legitimate contenders, at least during the Summer months.  During this time, Edward has still stood out as arguably the second best, behind an even more impressive GuardiaN.  flamie's impact has been huge, but far less predictable. 

Edward has always been the pistol master, a play-style characteristic which he brought over from his time in 1.6, but his rifling has always been strong and unique in his slow movement around the map.  Edward is seemingly incapable of getting rattled, which is a benefit in allowing him to perform against better teams but can also seemingly be a negative in as much as he sometimes appears to not care as much about the team concept. 

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An under-rated talent, his 26 top four finishes over his CS:GO career show that he has been ever present as a strong player within his region.  Until 2015, Na`Vi were often an under-skilled side, relative to the elite teams, and relied upon GuardiaN's AWPing, Edward's fragging and Zeus's tactical execution.  In that respect, Edward's career in CS:GO has been one of an overachiever, as a cursory glance over the accomplishments of dupreeh prior to 2015 will show, with titles being very difficult to come by for all but the great teams. 

15. Nathan "NBK" Schmitt 

Significant accomplishments:

2012 Dreamhack Valencia (2nd)

2012 ESWC (2nd)

2012 Dreamhack Winter (2nd)

2012 AMD Sapphire CS:GO Invitational (2nd)

2013 Mad Catz Vienna (3rd)

2013 Copenhagen Games (4th)

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2013 EMS One Spring (3rd-4th)

2013 ESEA S13 (3rd)

2013 EMS One Summer (1st)

2013 Mad Catz Invitational (1st)

2013 StarSeries VII (1st)

2013 EMS One Fall (1st)

2013 ESWC (2nd)

2013 MSI Beat it Finals (1st)

2014 ESEA S15 (2nd)

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2014 Dreamhack CS:GO Invitational (1st)

2014 StarSeries IX (3rd)

2014 Gfinity G3 (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm (2nd)

2014 StarSeries XI (1st)

2014 FACEIT S2 Finals (3rd-4th)

2014 ESWC (2nd)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (2nd)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen (1st)

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2015 iOS Pantamera (3rd)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters I (1st)

2015 StarSeries XII (1st)

2015 EPL Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 PGL CCS S1 Final (4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (2nd)

2015 StarSeries XIII (2nd)

2015 Gfinity Summer Masters I (1st)

2015 ESWC (3rd-4th)

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2015 IEM X Gamescom (1st)

2015 Dreamhack London (1st)

2015 Gfinity Champion of Champions (1st) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (9th-12th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (9th-12th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (1st)

2015 ESL One Katowice (3rd-4th)

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2015 ESL One Cologne (2nd) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 14

International Finals: 27

International Top 4: 39

International Top 8: 44 

As the only member of every single all-time great French CS:GO line-up, NBK's resume is understandably monstrous in its numbers in all categories.  The problem with ranking NBK in such a list is his ever-changing role within those teams.  The early NBK, from late 2012 to mid 2013, was the second star of VeryGames and could both consistently frag and often win clutch rounds, a key quality for a team famous for breaking down in the face of NiP's dominance. 

When shox arrived, NBK's consistent level of play allowed ScreaM, expected to be the second star to the phenomenal talent of shox's primary carry, to have the off-games which would plague his career and see him never quite fit the formula of Ex6TenZ's team approach.  After the Titan period came to an end for NBK, he joined up with LDLC, later renamed to EnVyUs, and became the Support player.  He initially struggled somewhat in this role, at the very least in big matches, but has since overcome such issues to become one of the best in this new role. 

It is no exaggeration to say that NBK has played many more roles at a high level than any other player in history.  He has been a top second star fragger, lurker and now Support.  Along the way, he has accomplished great things in all of those roles and with all of his team, being a part of the best team in the world on at least two occasions.  Within his teams, he has always been an important part of building the team system with his in-game leaders, Ex6TenZ and Happy.  As such, one begins to understand how important he has been to laying the foundation of those teams. 

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While he has played with an incredible array of talents, practically every star name in the French CS:GO scene, with the exception of the infamous KQLY, NBK has been vital to facilitating that talent, most notably in the case of Happy, where NBK has enabled his leader to become one of the world's best players.  All of that was possible only due to the Swiss army knife-like qualities NBK possesses.  When a player with star talent is both willing and able to reposition himself as a supportive player, his team will be provided with a unique luxury, being as the Support players of other teams are rarely highly skilled. 

Modern day CS:GO fans have rarely seen NBK showing off in the first class carriage of the EnVyUs train, but rest assured he has been putting in heavy hours in the engine room, keeping it rolling along as it is has shifted from star player to star player, as Happy gave way to kioShiMa and then led into a shox era, towards the end.  The only constant in French CS:GO has been that NBK helps facilitate every great line-up, whatever his role may be at the time. 

14. Robin "flusha" Rönnquist

Significant accomplishments:

2013 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2013 Mad Catz Invitational (2nd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Kiev (2nd)

2013 StarSeries VII (4th)

2013 MSI Beat It Finals (2nd)

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2014 Gfinity G3 (3rd-4th)

2014 StarSeries X (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm (3rd-4th)

2014 FACEIT S2 Final (1st)

2014 ESWC (1st)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (1st)

2014 ESEA S17 (1st)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen (4th)

2015 Clutch Con (1st)

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2015 iOS Pantamera (1st)

2015 ESEA S18 (2nd)

2015 PGL CCS S1 Final (2nd)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 (3rd-4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (1st)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (2nd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA PL S1 (1st)

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2015 FACEIT Stage 2 (3rd-4th)

2015 Fragbite Masters Champions Showdown (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA PL Dubai Invitational (3rd-4th)

2015 Gfinity Champion of Champions (2nd) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (1st)

2014 EMS One Katowice (5th-8th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

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2014 ESL One Katowice (1st)

2014 ESL One Cologne (1st) 

Major titles: 3

International Titles: 15

International Finals: 24

International Top 4: 31

International Top 8: 33 

Do not imagine flusha's entry this high on the list is informed largely on his unexpectedly impressive carry performances in key maps at some of the biggest tournaments over the last 3-4 months, such as ESL One Cologne.  Rather, flusha is here first and foremost for his role as the star of the FNATIC line-up of the first half of 2014.  In 2013, flusha had been counter-intuitively used as an entry fragger at times, but pronax's arrival saw him shifted into what has since proved to be his true role: that of lurker. 

The first six months of 2014 was a downward spiral for FNATIC, who progressively slid down the rankings and placing’s, but for flusha it was his peak period of play and saw him legitimately staking his claim to being one of the world's finest CS:GO players.  With GeT_RiGhT beginning to drop from his near untouchable status as the game's lurking deity, it was flusha who began to astonish fans with routine clutches and play from behind, in terms of numbers faced.  While JW floundered in the star role and schneider delivered solid but under-stated games, flusha was the only true carry force in FNATIC. 

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The arrival of the divine duo of KRiMZ and olofm, each to later spend time as the best player in the world and thus FNATIC, naturally, saw flusha consigned to merely a good Support player.  Along with pronax and KRiMZ, he would make up the core of what was one of the most dominant teams in history, surpassing all of their rivals and racking up three straight high level international tournament titles in a row. 

KRiMZ was consistently putting up star numbers in every game, JW was at his very best and olofm was the ultimate luxury of an all-around talent who would contribute a good game every now and then.  This left flusha as merely a contributing role player within the team, not required to carry in any conceivable sense of the term.  2015 changed that story in all respects.  MLG X Games Aspen was one of the worst tournaments in the history of that FNATIC line-up not least because flusha was so disastrously poor as to bring down even a special campaign of excellence from KRiMZ. 

Word on the street was that cheating accusations in late 2014, particularly centred around Dreamhack Winter and as part of a larger paranoia spurred by the ban of Titan second star KQLY, had rattled flusha and set him on tilt.  Certainly, his play seemed significantly worse and his behaviour was of a man who seemed in crisis, possibly even considering retirement, if his tweets and blog posts are anything to go by. 

Later the same year, flusha was given room to elevate his play to that of a star, albeit it perhaps the third star of a talented FNATIC line-up, by virtue of the relative disappearance of JW's carry games and KRiMZ settling into a quieter work-man-like role.  The flusha who had inspired so much hype in early 2014 and apparently suspicious clips late the same year was back.  In single maps, he would carry FNATIC out of trouble and into the winner's circle.  The ultimate display of this bravery came at ESL One Cologne, where he was a primary factor in ensuring FNATIC repeated as the first back-to-back major champions in history, thus winning himself a third of such titles. 

If flusha was ever bothered by the accusations made against him, those days have long since gone.  Most of all the members in the team, he is the man who seemingly cares not if the crowd boos him or an opposing player refuses to shake his hand.  Cheers can't be deposited in the bank and those booing fans becoming all of a sudden rather silent when their teams are trounced, these are the wisdoms flusha has learned and illustrated for all to see.  The crowd in Cologne will one day be found to be on the wrong side of history, jeering one of the great players and one with bigger balls than any sneering fan. 

13. Daniil "Zeus" Teslenko 

Significant accomplishments:

2013 Techlabs Cup Moscow (4th)

2013 StarSeries V (3rd)

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2013 StarSeries VI (2nd)

2013 Dreamhack Bucharest (3rd-4th)

2013 Techlabs Cup Minsk II (2nd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Grand Final (3rd)

2013 StarSeries VIII (2nd)

2014 StarSeries IX (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2014 ESEA S16 (4th)

2014 IronGaming (2nd)

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2014 StarSeries X (2nd)

2014 Game Show S1 (1st)

2014 StarSeries IX (2nd)

2014 ESWC (4th)

2015 EPL Winter (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (3rd-4th)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (3rd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2015 StarSeries XIII (1st)

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2015 ESWC (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 (3rd-4th)

2015 CEVO-P S7 (2nd)

2015 Gaming Paradise (2nd) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (13th-16th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (13th-16th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

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2015 ESL One Katowice (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 5

International Finals: 15

International Top 4: 25

International Top 8: 30 

I once referred to a derisory nickname TaZ had been given by his team-mates back in 1.6, due to his penchant for delivering faux epic speeches before big games, which naturally eventually wears upon even the most earnest team-mates.  That pet name was "The General" and it fits for those purposes, but the CS:GO player who deserves it most of all is Na`Vi's Zeus.  A legendary 1.6 leader who transitioned from being a middle of the pack fragger to a star in-game leader, he led a team from Ukraine to the most prize money won a single team in the history of the game, a record which was never beaten. 

During that time in 1.6, Zeus seemed to have struck a great balance between tactics and free-form play, with Na`Vi somewhere between the extremes of the Poles of ESC, known for a loose approach leading into their wheelhouse of 2vX situations, where they could intuitively out-play opponents, and the Danes of mTw, whose execution-based style and anti-stratting changed Counter-Strike strategy forever. 

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In CS:GO, Zeus not only had to learn from scratch how to lead a team, with the traditionally weak  Support players of 1.6 dying a death early on, but also learn to work with far less powerful weapons.  Of all the teams to switch over with their 1.6 roster intact, Na`Vi were the most successful, managing to play top teams closely in some key matches and even finish top two at StarSeries VI, taking maps of the imperious NiP. 

What many will forget is the period after that, when Zeus lost his star players (markeloff and Edward) to the CIS super-team project of Astana Dragons.  That was supposed to spell the end for Na`Vi, still saddled with their less skilled players and forced to take risks on Russian players seized and kibaken.  Both had been around in the latter days of 1.6 but neither had yet proven any kind of special form.  Zeus took this new line-up, lacking a single veritable CS:GO star, and managed to match the run of rivals Astana by reaching the semi-final of Dreamhack Bucharest.  The general was getting more out of less. 

2014 saw Zeus lead Na`Vi to event victories, upsetting bigger names, and making a number of finals.  While their victory early on at StarSeries IX was the crown jewel, beating a field of three of the world's best teams, it was the year end win over dignitas which probably doesn't get enough credit.  dignitas was a team who were assuredly much more skilled than Na`Vi, yet Zeus's team managed to beat dignitas comprehensively on cobblestone, a map his team had never played before in official competition, and then out-duel them on mirage, a map dignitas were no slouches on, and admittedly Na`Vi were specialists of. 

2015 was the year Zeus's men went from dark horses to legitimate favourites for events, as evidenced by a run of three straight finals and a seven straight top four finishes displayed.  This was Na`Vi's time to become more than just a team who could blow hot and snatch a title.  Now, they were a well-rounded side with a deep map pool and a list of teams they were favourites against match-up-wise. 

Zeus's role within this progression of success is clear and worthy of consideration in the context of his greatness as a player.  While so many teams in CS:GO (FNATIC, NiP, EnVyUs and Virtus.pro) have found their success with a looser style of play, allowing their star talents to work specific weaknesses of the opponent, Zeus has, along with Ex6TenZ, stuck firm to the execution school of thought.  Na`Vi are famed for the most extreme execution-orientated approach to CS, with their infamously slow set-ups and then routine attacks around the 30 second mark. 

When most teams attempt such slow tactics, the obvious problems which beset them are failing to get the bomb down in time, should the tactic be at all disrupted; being flanked by opponents who read where they will attack, should they fail to cover all directions; and having their base strategy attacked by aggressive pushes from the CTs head-on.  What has made Zeus's leadership so unique and successful has been that none of these potential weaknesses have ever truly held Na`Vi back. 

Na`Vi are able to slowly set-up without being punished for it, surely a sign that Zeus is adept at assessing which tactic to pull out in which round.  Na`Vi rarely fail to plant the bomb, despite being famous for such a slow approach, and have often been considered one of the best Terrorist teams, showing Zeus's deep play-book of both tactics and variations, to throw opponents off and ensure his teams keep striking at bomb-sites.  Finally, Na`Vi are rarely flanked, despite even being a team who will gamble and not have someone guarding the flank in many instances, allowing an even more sharply driven home attack, due to the extra man.

Zeus has worked for most of his career with no super-star level talents, with GuardiaN only showing flashes of such play for most of 2014 and then entering such territory firmly only this y ear.  Instead, Zeus has been able to win tournaments and place highly by making players like Edward, seized and flamie more effective than they've ever been in CS:GO, a true sign of a great leader. 

The General is not one to be trifled with, as he can routinely be seen tearing up his team-mates for failing to play according to his specifications or up to the standards he demands.  This contentious relationship with certain team-mates, seemingly a defining trait of the CIS region, has been cited as a reason for losses but has also allowed him to retain absolute control over his team and thus steer them to consistent success the likes of which HellRaisers, who have fielded many more talents, have never approached. 

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When The General's orders are followed with precision, the battle is often won, even in the face of overwhelming odds and powerful opponents.  As an individual player, Zeus has also been one of the better fraggers amongst the in-game leaders who did not use a loose style or have fragging as their primary calling card (Xizt and Happy, for example). 

12. Vincent "Happy" Cervoni 

Significant accomplishments:

2013 Dreamhack Summer (3rd-4th)

2014 Copenhagen Games (3rd-4th)

2014 Dreamhack Valencia (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm (2nd)

2014 StarSeries XI (1st)

2014 FACEIT S2 Finals (3rd-4th)

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2014 ESWC (2nd)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (2nd)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen (1st)

2015 iOS Pantamera (3rd)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters I (1st)

2015 StarSeries XII (1st)

2015 EPL Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 PGL CCS S1 Final (4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (2nd)

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2015 StarSeries XIII (2nd)

2015 Gfinity Summer Masters I (1st)

2015 ESWC (3rd-4th)

2015 IEM X Gamescom (1st)

2015 Dreamhack London (1st)

2015 Gfinity Champion of Champions (1st) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (5th-8th)

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2014 ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (1st)

2015 ESL One Katowice (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (2nd) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 10

International Finals: 16

International Top 4: 25

International Top 8: 31 

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My favourite frenemy is both an enigma among in-game leaders and star players alike.  Happy would be eligible for this list purely on the basis of his individual performances alone, at one time in late 2014 and early 2015 legitimately being deserving of the title of one of the world's very best players, as well as approaching inclusion as a leader.  It's no coincidence he has finished top four in four straight majors, with three different line-ups, and one of those campaigns yielded a much coveted major title. 

As an individual player, Happy has legitimately proven to be a star within the latter day LDLC line-ups, even if he was merely the leader in the KQLY and apEX LDLC line-up of the first half of 2014.  The star Happy is one of the world's best lurkers, a strong rifler and famously good at navigating through smokes. 

As a leader, Happy has often been over-rated, in the author's opinion, for his tactical prowess, in as much as he is not a mastermind tactician who develops a deep play-book of executions and feints.  Rather, Happy is a leader who assesses the style of his team and looks to create favourable skill match-ups on the map, a bi-product of such an approach being that he is often put into good positions from which to frag himself, which makes him entirely unique as a leader, with practically every other great leader working to facilitate others instead.  Happy is in no sense of the term a Supportive in-game leader. 

Happy must be credited for his ability to make players work in his line-ups.  His early LDLC line-ups were beating out and out-placing teams with more pedigree, talent and experience, largely because of how Happy designed the system to go around his star players.  As one of those stars in the latter LDLC, now EnVyUs, he has been able to maintain one of the greatest line-ups in history, leading them to 14 straight top four finishes offline, the second best such streak in history to that point in time and now the third best. 

Any criticisms of Happy are merely based on preference and philosophy on the ideal way to play the game, in a very generalised sense.  Happy has created his own way of playing the game and for his teams to play the game, with that style being incredibly successful and only down-played to the extent that I think it isn't often understood just how much success that team had and could have had, due to taking place directly within the FNATIC era. 

That Happy's tenure as a top player and in-game leader seem far from over, with his new nV team already blasting home elite level finishes, he seems destined to further climb this list. 

11. Mikhail "Dosia" Stolyarov

Significant accomplishments:

2012 StarSeries IV (2nd)

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2013 Techlabs Cup Moscow (2nd)

2013 Copenhagen Games (3rd)

2013 Starseries V (1st)

2013 Dreamhack Summer (3rd-4th)

2013 EMS One Summer (2nd)

2013 StarSeries VI (3rd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Kiev (1st)

2013 Dreamhack Bucharest (3rd-4th)

2013 StarSeries VII (2nd)

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2013 ESWC (3rd)

2013 Techlabs Cup Grand Final (1st)

2013 StarSeries VIII (4th)

2014 Dreamhack Summer (3rd-4th)

2014 Dreamhack Valencia (3rd)

2014 StarSeries X (3rd)

2014 Game Show S1 (2nd)

2015 ASUS ROG Winter (3rd)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (3rd-4th)

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2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (4th)

2015 Acer Predator Masters S1 (1st) 

Accomplishments at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (5th-8th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (9th-12th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (13th-16th) 

Major titles: 0

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International Titles: 4

International Finals: 9

International Top 4: 21

International Top 8: 25 

Those who began observing CS:GO matches in 2015 simply have no notion of who Dosia is in the context of this list.  When CS:GO first began, GeT_RiGhT and f0rest were the two best players in the server in practically every match for the majority of that divinely inspired 87:0 run of offline map wins.  Their first competition came in the form of Dosia, who delivered upon the prophecy he represented in the latter part of 1.6 of the genius Russian player whose skills were sent from above. 

Dosia's Virtus.pro not only beat NiP for the first time, but would do so again and always play the Ninjas closely.  Dosia was a massive part of those performances, clashing horns with the near-mythical monsters of his day and at times even out-performing them.  Dosia was one of the original CS:GO deities.  The Astana Dragons team which followed would continue to beat NiP and remain a top tier team. 

In 2014, the team, now known as HellRaisers, dropped to their status as cruel jokes of the top tier, capable of upsetting seemingly anyone in a Bo1 setting but then assured of a quick elimination in the Bo3 play-off portion of tournaments.  Despite such a continuing trend, Dosia's men would still deliver the occasional big performance to remind fans and experts alike of the potential their line-ups contained by would seemingly never realise in any meaningful sense. 

Even in 2015, with HellRaisers no longer even a team making deep runs more than once in a blue moon, there came the miracle of the Acer Predator Masters, beating the mighty TSM in a Bo3 and later the impressive mouz in a Bo7.  Dosia has been a star player of the CIS region and a talisman for many of its finest wins. 

His performance level has not been top tier with consistency since the Summer of 2014, but that seems to be a mixture of his abusively passive playing style, which goes against the grain of the aggression-rewarding meta-game of today, and possibly motivational crises that have come from so many years of playing and ever descending results. 

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The major era has seen Dosia lacking the kind of placing’s many others on this list possess, but what he accomplished in the first year and a half of CS:GO earns him heavy consideration as an all-time great player.  While others were still learning the game, he was show-casing the power of his raw talent within it.  Inefficient in his playing style, infuriating to spectate and yet undeniably inspired in his skill. 

Tomorrow I'll reveal the 10 best CS:GO players of all-time, in my estimations. 

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