Starting off from a relatively shaky state, CS GO has now become one of the biggest competitive games out there. It has earned its way back as the biggest audience draw among competitive FPS and the next positive step toward real growth will be this major. The scene is more competitive than it ever was before and as a result, we have a lot of rising talent as well as many old school legends who are making a return, so who deserves a nod from each team going into this major? Here are our picks for noteworthy players from each team going into MLG Major Columbus
Mihail “Dosia” Stolyarov (Gambit Gaming): Due to the fall off between his original teammates and then the streak of failed changes, many people forget how good Dosia can really be at his peak. In the original NIP era, he was one of the few who could stand up to the monstrous duo of Forest and Get_Right and even handed the Swedish legends some losses. Then, of course, the whole superstar squad of the original Hellraisers was created, but it never worked well as a team and eventually lead to many negative changes for everyone involved, including Dosia. The result? No one from the original Hellraisers lineup saw the face of similar success ever again. Fortunately, later Gambit gave Dosia a second chance at a comeback upon signing his team. So keep an eye out for the Russian monster, he was after all the #4 ranked player during his peak (2013) and chances are we will shades of that in this major.
Tyler ‘Skadoodle’ Latham (Cloud9): Hailed as the best AWPer NA has ever produced in CS GO, Skadoodle is an amazingly explosive player who could go head to head against the very best. Famously known for his amazing duels against KennyS, Skadoodle reached the height of his career upon joining Cloud9 that was led by Sean Gares. He was part of the roster that caused major upsets against EnvyUS and FNATIC and made a great run in two tournaments. Lately, he hasn’t shown the same level of performance, though, which could be due to the lack of leadership that Sean Gares provided before. However now that the team has had some time adjusting with Stewie2K, expect Skadoodle to be more comfortable in his role.
Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev: One of the most controversial yet talented player in the world, S1mple is the perfect example of a player held back greatly by other issues. Recently he made a rather risky decision to leave his home country and move to North America in order to be a part of Team Liquid. However, things did not go nearly as smoothly as people expected for the roster, as S1mple performed worse than he has ever had during the major qualifiers and broke down in tears after winning a nail-biting match. It hurts his record but was probably a necessary lesson for the young Russian. Expect S1mple to be an in a much better place during the major, who will unleash hell upon his opponents if used properly.
Georgi ‘WorldEdit’ Yaskin: Originally considered an up and coming talent, WorldEdit earned a lot of interest towards him early on. Though he never was able to fully develop as a player in my opinion before he was thrown into offline settings. Fortunately, Blad3 took him under his wing and provided him with a well-structured team in FLipSid3 tactics. The team took a while to really get going but the results finally started to show in the qualifiers, where they destroyed the momentum driven Tempo Storm. WorldEdit was undoubtedly the MVP of the tournament and has since looked more comfortable than ever before. Going to the major, the team might not have the firepower necessary to topple the giants in their brackets, but if anyone is going to show up and make it scary, it will probably be WolrdEdit.
Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik (CLG): If you asked me to put the spotlight on a player from CLG a few months ago, it would without a doubt be JDM. Unfortunately, he failed greatly in the qualifiers and the man saving the team was actually Tarik, their second star. His performance recently has seen a sudden spike upwards and it is clear that Tarik has stepped it up at the right time for the major. Unfortunately, they have a group filled with monsters that would happily eat them up, but if there were an upset to happen, then Tarik will be the one leading the charge
Richard ‘shox’ Papillon (Gamers2): To truly appreciate the power of Shox, one must understand his presence in the CS GO scene. He was the first superstar player to truly match and surpass Get_Right during the NIP era and was the reason VeryGames became the best team in the world. I would go as far as calling late 2013 late Shox one of the most devastating individual force in all of CS GO. Sadly his greatness was later burdened by inappropriate roles at LDLC. Fortunately, now he is back where he started, under the guidance of EX6, arguably the greatest mind in French CS. Say what you will about EX6, but he brought out the best in everyone, whether it be Shox or KennyS.
David ‘DAVEY’ Stafford (Splyce): Since his time with 3sUP, I have considered Davey to be a much-underrated rifler in the NA scene. He has had great showings against the likes of Luminosity Gaming, NME and Cloud9. Which I feel like went unnoticed for some reason by most of the community, this year though he has made great progress in terms of team synergy with Splyce and has shown great form throughout. Make no mistake, Splyce is a huge underdog in their group, but do expect some moments to remember from Davey.
Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač (Mousesports): Originally I expected Nex to come out as the star in this lineup, but Niko took over like no one thought he could. He replaced the void left by Mousesports and then some, causing many upsets and putting out star level performance consistently in 2016. Even rivaling the likes of Olofmeister in terms of statistics, which should give you guys some idea if you haven’t seen him in action much. Niko is not just another star player, he is a superstar that can go head to head against even the best CS GO has to offer and come out on top. Expect to see great things from the German god.
Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub(Team EnvyUS): Pre AWP nerf, KennyS was undoubtedly the best AWPer in the world. During his time in Titan, KennyS showed a level that is yet to be matched by anyone else, including Guardian. Unfortunately, he wasn’t been the same after the nerf and that has been very clear in his game. Fortunately, he has shown a return to form and has started to top the scoreboard with his team again. Granted that there are serious doubt centered on the current EnvyUS, but if any man can carry a slumping team to victory, it’s KennyS.
Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo (Luminosity Gaming): No doubt that a lot of you expected ColdZera to be the highlight player for Luminosity Gaming, but keep in mind that while everyone else has been an on and off player in big stages, it is Fallen who stepped up in the important battles. A good example would be IEM Katowice, where ColdZera heavily underperformed, but Fallen maintained his usual standards. Not to mention, Fallen is also the mastermind behind Luminosity Gaming and is the person who created the structure behind the Brazilian squad. Whether the trigger is being pulled by Fer or ColdZera, the one holding the strings will always be Fallen.
Janusz ‘Snax’ Pogorzelski (Virtus.Pro): In one of the biggest slump, we have seen a Tier 1 team face, Virtus.Pro right now is in a very shaky state. They have a terrible record in 2016 and failed to redeem themselves even in their home country, but the one player who always gave hope of something great is Snax. Alongside NEO, he is the most consistent player in the Polish squad and his role allows him chances to create enough opportunities for the team to gain an edge. If we do see the plow mode start off again, Snax will have to be the one leading it, it is the time for young guns take charge again.
Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard (Faze Clan): A Norwegian gem is a perfect description for Rain. He is a player that gives Faze Clan the ability to close games and keep it all together. While Jkaem is an equally skilled player and can take over a game himself, his role does not allow the squad to gain a significant edge. Whereas Rain can turn the game on its head when he is one fire and win the close rounds to close it out. Ever since his G2 days, Rain has been the best player in the squad. Blessed with amazing ability to clutch and a great level of understanding when behind, Rain is the man who can make things happen for Faze Clan.
Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund (NIP-Gaming): If you go through both major versions of Counter-Strike, then Get_Right will come through as the ultimate player. He has been a consistent star level player for every team he played through and eventually became the greatest ever to play in CS GO. He is the only player to earn the title of player of the year in both major versions and has evolved his play throughout the year. However things have changed drastically since his peak and now others have blown past him and he is no longer the god he once used to be. However under Pyth, Get_Right is once again returning to form and has shown performance that shown shades of his old form against the likes of Astralis and FNATIC. Forest might be the ultimate marksman, but if NIP is to do real damage again, it is Get_Right who will step up make it happen, again!
Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács (Natus Vincere): There were times when other AWPers probably surpassed Guardian, but no one has been as consistent for a longer period of time. Guardian has been the pillar of everything that is Na`Vi in CS GO. He is the equivalent of what Markeloff was in 1.6 and is going through an arguably more competitive time in the scene. His performance so far in 2016 has been astonishing, often carrying the entire team on his back, making runs to grand finals even. Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács is the best AWPer in the world right now and there is no other way around it, If Na`Vi makes a run deep in the event, then this is the man who will lead the charge.
Nicolai ‘device’ Reedtz (Astralis): This one really should be no surprise anymore, Device has been the best Danish player for a while now and is the ultimate weapon Astralis have against the likes of FNATIC & EnvyUS. He is one of the most versatile players to have ever touched the game and the level of consistency offered is amazing. Even in games where Astralis were destroyed by other titans such as Natus Vincere and FNATIC, Device always made it respectable. Whether he finally catches up to the likes of Olofmeister and takes him team to victory is a different question, but there is no doubt that his level of talent deserves attention from every CS GO fan.
Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer (FNATIC): Since the original era of NIP, where GTR was the best player by far for back to back years, we haven’t seen a player at the level of Olofmeister. In terms of raw skill level and versatility, OlofM might be the greatest to ever grace us in CS GO. He can single-handedly dig his team out of a bad situation, which FNATIC falls in so rarely to begin with because of how solid they are. Be it the AWP, pistol or rifles, this man can make everything work and make an unparalleled impact on the game. Not to mention the almost unbeatable duo he sports with Krimz and their ridiculous win rate in 2vX situations. Simply put Olofmeister right now is at a level of his own and this is the major where his run will either end or reach a level only achieved by a handful of people before across the game’s history.