Markeloff‘s missed opportunity in Global Offensive
When we think of household 1.6 names there are many that come to mind. There are undisputed great players like f0rest, Neo, Potti, etc. As for AWPers, it’s impossible not to remember the Ukrainian player Yegor “markeloff” Markelov. His AWPing capabilities were some of the best at the end of Counter-Strike. Not to mention his team Na’vi left 1.6 on a very high-note accomplishing ridiculous achievements like winning 4 major events in a row. Yet his CS:GO career would never live up to his achievements of 1.6. It's like comparing apples to oranges.
Markeloff entered Global Offensive with Na’vi in the later stages of 2012. The reason behind it – a lack of tournaments in the 1.6 scene. As much as markeloff didn’t want to make the switch, if they wanted to compete, the transition had to be made. Because Na’vi was 3 months late to the party, they had to play experienced rosters. Early exits in tournaments didn’t resemble the old Na’vi. But it was markeloff who, despite his early distaste for Global Offensive, proved to be a solid AWPer. In the MadCatz Vienna CS:GO invitational he was the tournament's best AWPer with 0.49 kills per round, and he troubled Very Games by having 56 kills with the AWP in that bo3. In Na’vi he remained as the 1st or 2nd best player in these international LAN matches.
Even though markeloff could still perform with the big-green it was last seen in action in SLTV StarSeries V Finals. After the loss to the European mix Nostalgie in the Prague Challenge 2013 markeloff decided to leave Na’vi. He continued his journey in 2013 with Astana Dragons. This CIS team would find more success over the remainder of 2013 than Natus Vincere. As Markeloff continued the year as a rifler in Astana Dragons, he would remain as a solid fragger. By the end of 2013, markeloff would appear on HLTV’s Top 20 players list as the 15th best player in the world. Even though he abandoned the AWP role halfway through the year, he was the 5th with most kills on the AWP.
High risk and high reward
The AWP is a powerful tool. It can deal a lethal blow to a team’s offensive hit. Not only that, but it can open up bombsites on T side. In the right hands, the weapon can change the tide of a game. In the wrong hands, you will be teased as the 4750$ decoy. Markeloff was the former during the last years of 1.6. Even though we didn’t see him flourish for a longer period of time, his AWPing was incredible. The mobility on maps like train was a sight to behold. His ability to hit shots with just tiniest of margins made him a scary adversary.
As the 1.6 scene dwindled on, markeloff & co had to make the transition. As a matter of fact, the transition was a success. Markeloff stated in an interview with HLTV “It took about two weeks to adapt to the new cs. I had like 180h per 2 weeks those days I immediately liked it”. His early AWPing wasn’t on the same level as 1.6. You can factor in the more sluggish movement mechanics of CS:GO compared to 1.6. But markeloff’s ability to hit shots remained strong. On his Livestream you could sim practicing the AWP and giving us a glimpse of that 1.6 pazazz. Not only that, just like in 1.6, he could pick up a rifle and use it instead. Gradually neglecting the sniper rifle as the years went by.
Where did the AWP go?
It’s hard to pin-point the reasoning on why markeloff stopped using the AWP. He has given multiple hints on this choice. From the tactically sound because of the effectiveness of smoke grenades and flashbangs in CSGO and his team not needing a sniper rifle player, to the outright weird concepts of “wanting to try different weapons” and "needing more time". Whatever the true reason was, even markeloff knew that pundits and viewers wanted to see his AWPing return. At the end of 2013 even teasing a more AWP heavy focus for 2014. Yet, the usage of the AWP decreased twice as much, using it about 12% and wracking up just 354 kills in official games. He ceased using the AWP in its entirety after joining Flipside in 2015.
It was only in 2018 we could see the sniper picked up more frequently. But it was no longer the aggressive and confident AWPer he once was. He was very stationary on the CT side and there are many instances where he gets caught off by the opponents. On the T side things weren’t any better. The main reason to purchase the AWP is to find entry frags, but markeloff would be the 2nd or 3rd man into a bombsite. Drastically reducing his effectiveness and begging the question of why purchase the AWP in the first place?
Very few individuals could successfully make the transition from 1.6 to CSGO and maintain more than a fraction of their original level. Markeloff could’ve been one of those players to reach the highlights of 1.6. Whether it was complacency, after achieving so much in 1.6, or a lack of will to improve we will never know. There are still videos of him practicing the big-green in CSGO’s CSDM servers. Flicking, scoping and obliterating the opposition with his quick wits. Now it stands as a sad reminder of the player we never saw flourish in this new environment.