GosuGamers Awards 2015: Counter-Strike:Global Offensive nominations
Welcome to the second GosuGamers Awards (GosuAwards for short) for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Since GosuAwards might be a new thing to some of its readers and they might not know what this is all about, we feel that a short explanation is in order.
The GosuAwards are a long standing tradition of our community, dating back to almost a decade. Every year, teams, players, stories and personalities from major eSports titles are nominated in several categories and the GosuGamers community gets to vote for who they think deserves the title. At the end of the year, during the official GosuAwards ceremony, the winner and runner-up of each category will be announced. There will be two of those for each category: one awarded by the GosuCrew committee which is also the body that determines the nominations and another chosen by the community vote.
For our second year in CS:GO, we've split the nominees in eighteen different categories, with five nominees in each, with some exceptions. The polls will be open starting today until after the Christmas holidays. At the start of 2016, the winners will be announced in a special GosuAwards 2015 article.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to read on each nomination, cast your vote and choose wisely (i.e. objectivism over fanboyism).
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer
This Swedish superstar has been steadily rising through his CS:GO career, but he has truly shown his colours during his time with Fnatic this year. Winning ESL One: Katowice and ESL One: Cologne, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer has consistently shown he is one of the best all-around CS:GO players of today, excelling in almost every area of the game from gun play to game sense.
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist
Another member of Fnatic, Robin “flusha” Rönnquist’s raw talent is so great that he has become the subject of many a hacking witch-hunt. As with olofmeister, flusha has seen his team dominate this year’s events and throughout has wowed crowds with unbelievable headshots, smoke kills, and wall-bangs, even taking up the role of in-game leader closer to the end of the year.
Nicolai "device" Reedtz
Once only seen as high level AWPer, Nicolai “device” Reedtz has completely changed up his role within the Danish ex-TSM line-up, as he has moved on to the rifle, and, quite apparently, for the better. This young gun has become one of the most feared riflers in the game, with stellar aim, positioning, and movement, and is one of the reasons the Danish squad has come so far since the end of last year.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub
If there was one player that every AWPer looked up to, it would be Kenny “kennyS” Schrub. During his time with Titan, he carried his team to victory more than once, using his unparalleled AWPing skills and perfect positioning to pull off inhuman shots that some of his peers could never execute. Now with Team EnVyUs, kennyS has his first major win under his belt, and he continues to show up in frag reel after frag reel.
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs
Although not always the flashiest AWP around, Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács is undoubtedly one of the most consistent players to ever take up the big green gun; every time he fires, it seems that there is always one less opponent left standing. 2015 has been an especially great year for him under the Natus Vincere banner, as he has helped elevate the team to their current standing in the top five, recently coming in second at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca.
Marcelo "coldzera" David
Playing for Luminosity Gaming, he has shown sparks of his talent at ESL One: Cologne, where LG almost took a map off Fnatic. In Cluj-Napoca they had two awfully close maps against Natus Vincere, and this was due to coldzera performing exceptionally well. Especially at DreamHack Winter, he has been a top clutcher, being responsible, to a large degree, for the team’s success.
Ricardo "fox" Pacheco
Fox has actually been a 1.6 legend, having been voted best AWPer of 2010. But in 2012 he made a comeback with K1ck, unfortunately not having that much of an impact anymore. But, as he was brought in for Team Kinguin, he was finally able to show his astonishing skill. With his team, he rose from being a decent team to reaching the quarterfinals of Cologne, prior to reaching the semi-finals of Cluj-Napoca, almost taking out Team EnVyUs in the process. His balance between AWPing and rifling makes up an incredibly rounded player, who has taken his part in dominating the scene this year.
Nikola "NiKolinho" Kovač
His role as a stand-in player for mousesports did not gain him much attention. But in times of struggle, he was there to help his team and replace ‘’Spiidi’’ from the roster. Playing in active duty, he did some incredible plays to at least try and keep mousesports in the groups of the last major. His two seconds long Deagle-3K on Mirage against G2 is just a slight example of what he is capable of doing.
Lincoln "fnx" Lau
Fnx has not been in the scene for most of the year. His first appearance at a larger tournament was at the FACEIT Season 3 finals, in which he was greatly responsible for the strong performance of his team, Luminosity Gaming. He has proven to be a top aimer time and time again, as he has clutched numerous rounds in order to push his team forward.
Bartosz "Hyper" Wolny
In the Stockholm qualifiers for Cluj-Napoca, Vexed were placed against HellRaisers, losing out and being thrown to the losers’ bracket. Still, they managed to fight up and win against the same team again, qualifying for the major. Hyper has contributed a lot to this team and has undoubtedly assisted it in reaching further than ever imagined.
We will start with Fnatic, the Swedish superstar team who dominated the professional scene for a large majority of this year. At the beginning of the year while these guys still had Markus ‘’pronax’’ Wallsten as their in-game leader, we saw a Fnatic the likes of which had never been seen before. The roster made history after winning two consecutive majors, winning ESL One: Cologne and ESL One: Katowice back to back. After their last major win Fnatic fell into a bit of a slump that lasted until pronax announced his departure from the team. This, however, did not cause Fnatic to fall apart, rather it caused them to pick up a new superstar in the form of Gamers2’s Dennis ‘’dennis’’ Edman. This surprise roster change shocked the professional scene and left many speculating whether or not Fnatic would retain their superstar team status. Fortunately for Fnatic the change would prove to be a positive one and with the addition of Dennis, Fnatic has come out of their slump and have most recently proven this by winning the ESL Pro league grand finals taking the title 3-2 over Natus Vincere. Fnatic has remained one of, if not the best team in the professional scene throughout the year and I have faith they will continue to impress throughout the New Year.
Coming out of the gates next are the boys in blue, the French Team EnVyUs. The former Team LDLC emerged this year with a lot of hype behind them. They were expected to perform and they definitely did not disappoint. Towards the beginning of the year EnVyUs put up consistent results and many picked them as a favourite for winning ESL One: Katowice, however their attempt ended in a loss to the Ninjas in Pyjamas in the semi-finals. This loss, combined with a slump throughout most of spring and summer caused Envyus to make some major roster changes taking Titan’s star players, kennyS and shox. This roster change proved to be the catalyst EnVyUs needed, resulting in them winning Dreamhack Open London. They carried this momentum to the next major, and, at Cluj Napoca, took down Team SoloMid to take their first major title. EnVyUs is one of the best teams in the world right now and only time will tell if they can keep their status next year.
One cannot discuss the best teams of the year without talking about the Danish TSM roster. The former Team Dignitas came out of the gates this year with a new sponsor and something to prove. The Danes proved they had what it takes to play with the best teams in the professional scene. As one of the few teams capable of beating the golden age Fnatic line-up, TSM was constantly in the top 3 and sometimes even the best ranked team in the world, putting up consistent wins against the other top tier teams. However, whenever TSM gets to a major they seemed to be doomed to washout in the semi-finals. This trend lasted throughout both ESL One:Cologne and ESL One: Katowice, a curse that has continued throughout the year. At the end of the year the ex-TSM roster stood with no major victory and without a sponsor, making things look pretty bleak for the Danish team. Despite their setbacks and current status, the ex-TSM roster still claims the position of one of the year's best teams and the skill the roster has will likely keep them together until a new sponsor comes along and offers these guys a brighter future.
Another titan present in the current pro scene dubbed the Virtus plow by its fan base, the Polish roster Virtus pro. An old and respected name in the beginning of 2014. Since then the Polish team have won a major, as well as several smaller tourneys. However, in 2015 the roster has experienced a back and forth spiral throughout most of the year. The team made it to the semi-finals of almost every major this year, however, that was as far as they went most of the time, much to the dismay of Virtus.Pro fans around the world. The team still put up consistent results against other top teams like Fnatic and ex-TSM, earning them their position on this list. Despite their setbacks the Polish roster retained their status as one of the best in the professional scene and deserve recognition.
The final titan of the CS:GO scene is the Ukraine roster of team Natus Vincere. Another team on this list that hasn't won a major, but has still managed to put up consistent results against other top tier teams. The closest team Na’Vi has come to winning a major against this year was at Cluj-Napoca, where they made it to the grand finals against Team EnVyUs. Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, they were knocked out and we're sent back home with no major victory. However, at the end of the year the team stands as one of the best in the world and they owe a lot of that to their star AWPer Ladislav ‘’GuardiaN’’ Kovács. I, for one, don't think Na’Vi have hit their peak yet and I hope to see them come back stronger than ever next year.
2015 has been the year for the Brazilians of Luminosity Gaming. More or less coming out of the blue, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo has once again managed to form a Brazilian roster capable of upsetting the competitive scene, in fashion of the 2008 MiBr (Made in Brazil) tale. Gaining some reputation earlier this year, Luminosity Gaming had outperformed all expectations with their two new acquisitions Tacio "TACO" Filho and Lincoln "fnx" Lau in November this year. Despite common conjecture, every roster change needs time and practice to be effective, Luminosity Gaming was able to reach the grand finals at the FACEIT League Stage 3, beating both major title winners Team EnVyUs and Ninjas in Pyjamas, as well as former Team SoloMid. With a win/lose ratio of over 60% (September: 73%, October 64%, November: 74%) this autumn, Luminosity Gaming is one of the most improved teams this year.
What started as supposedly five high impact fraggers thrown into a bucket, turned out to be one of the most upsetting teams this year. The international team based around Mikail "Maikelele" Bill started earlier this year under the name of Team Kinguin. The team was able to achieve its first victory winning Gaming Paradise this summer. Having trouble with in-game communications due to language barriers amongst the team members, the two newly acquired players Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad and Philip "aizy" Aistrup would soon join the team for good. The new roster, featuring two Norwegians, one Portuguese, one Dane and one Swede was able to upset this year’s final major event, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca. Pushing through to the semi-finals and beating Fnatic in the process, G2 Esports were one of the teams to cause major upsets this year.
Team Dignitas is among the teams undergoing the most roster changes this year. Beginning with the departure of Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen earlier this year, the team realised it wasn't working anymore and something had to be done. Since then Team Dignitas has undergone various roster changes, with the most recent one being the acquisition of Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel and Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke. After a few months of ups and downs with poor results, Team Dignitas finally seemed to settle in with the new roster, delivering stable results. Since May this year, their win/lose ratio has increased by about 15%. Although this doesn't sound like much, it reflects the improvements Team Dignitas is still undergoing.
Spencer "Hiko" Martin's undertaking to build his North American dream team has been one hell of a project. With decent results earlier this year, Team Liquid has managed to consecutively improve their performance in the second half of this year, leading to a 70% win/lose ratio. As of now, Team Liquid is ranked as the second best team in North America, as well as the twelfth best worldwide, confirming the steady increase of performance and, therefore, reputation throughout this year. Although one could argue Team Liquid is built around Hiko himself, we've seen every player stepping up in numerous matches, giving themselves a strong team spirit, as well as belief in their individual skill. Team Liquid definitely deserves its place amongst the most improved teams.
The Oceanic team Legacy is as brand new as it gets. Having only attended one prominent event, one would assume there's not much to write about it, but wait - there is more. Out of the blue, Legacy managed to win the Oceanic division of the FACEIT League, defeating both Renegades and Team Immunity, granting them a spot at the finals. Despite losing two matches there, they were able to contest against Virtus.Pro (16-12) and Team Liquid (16-8, 16-11). This may not sound like much, but being able to put up twelve rounds against a top 5 team for a roster being in the scene for not much longer than a couple of weeks, deserves to be acknowledged. We're keen to see Legacy's future in 2016, the matter being whether they can sustain or even exceed their recent improvements.
It's been a rough year for HellRaisers. Starting with the departure of Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov earlier this year, one could say a chain reaction was set off. In addition to Dosia, Rustem "MOU" Telepov and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev had to go as well. Despite their new acquisitions in order to deliver decent results again, HellRaisers is yet to find its old level. Unfortunately, they were not able to achieve any significant results in the recent months. Eliminated in both qualifiers for ESL One: Cologne and DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, as well as not reaching the group stage in the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 and FACEIT League Stage III, Hellraisers themselves, as well as their fans, were disappointed with the results throughout the second half of 2015.
In the first half of 2015, Renegades were considered one of the upcoming stars, given the eighth place in the GosuGamers world rankings. Since then, however, their performance has steadily declined, leading to twenty-first place as of now. After their withdrawal from the FACEIT Stage II finals in order to play at the ESL One: Cologne qualifier, they were able to reach the major event, however did not see massive success in it. The next major, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, didn't turn out well for them too, as they again failed to qualify. The elimination from the Oceanic division of FACEIT Stage III just exacerbates the latter.
It's time for some European spices in the mix. PENTA Esports, arguably the second best German team, has failed to fulfil expectations throughout the second half of 2015. Despite having real talent like Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend, Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz and ex mousesports player Timo "Spiidi" Richter on board, they couldn't achieve any significant international results after their 5-8th place at ESL One: Katowice. With them fighting their way up to the last eight teams in Katowice, the expectations were high. But what followed? A failed qualifier for ESL One Cologne, early elimination in the Champions League Season 2 and last place in the European Division of the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2. PENTA Esports has undergone some roster changes in 2015, which - of course - also made them struggle. They do, however, have the talent to achieve more than they've done recently. We're keen to find out what the future poses for them.
FlipSid3 Tactics is our second Ukrainian contestant for the most disappointing team of 2015. Despite having well experienced players like Counter-Strike 1.6 legend Yegor "markeloff" Markelov, as well as other impact players like George "WorldEdit" Yaskin and Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev, FlipSid3 Tactics were not able to perform well this year. Eliminated in the group stages of both ESL One: Cologne and DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, as well as eliminations in the group stages for both StarLadder Season 14 and FACEIT League Stage II and a missed qualifier for Stage III - to just name a few, FlipSid3 Tactics had a rough time throughout this year. Whether the inconsistent results are a team or organisation issue - or just misfortune - isn't clear. We are excited to find out what 2016 holds for them.
Kory ‘’Semphis’’ Friesen leaking Cloud9’s Adderall use
Then Nihilum member, Kory ‘’Semphis’’ Friesen, stated in an interview with Mohan ‘’launders’’ Govindasamy, that Cloud9 were using Adderall - a prescription drug - during tournaments. The drug is mainly used to treat cases of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy; however it can also act as a cognitive enhancer, due to the presence of amphetamines within the drug, giving players an advantage over their opponents. The story reached a point where ESL posted a statement, announcing the implementation of a mandatory anti-doping system for all of their future tournaments.
Richard Lewis and Jonathan ‘’Loda’’ Berg confrontation, DreamHack Winter 2015
DreamHack Winter 2015 saw quite a nasty confrontation between the two individuals. It all started with a comic tweet from the CS:GO host, aimed at his friend, Martin ‘’Hiko’’ Spencer. Aforementioned tweet, had, in some way, upset Berg’s girlfriend, who tweeted back at Lewis frowning upon it. Lewis tweeted back with yet another comic tweet; this time personally aimed at Berg’s other half. After these interactions, Berg decided to confront Lewis by suggesting they meet up and discuss the situation. To make a long story short, the two gentlemen had a physical confrontation backstage, which ended up escalating to the public through twitter. After all of this DreamHack went on to issue a statement against violence in eSports and both parties apologised for the situation that occurred.
Gaming Paradise shambles
Gaming Paradise was, perhaps, the most disappointing event of the year. The project was made out to look absolutely amazing, with proportions unbeknownst to eSports. It was almost like a small eSports heaven on the beautiful coasts of Slovenia. Instead of an eSports heaven, we saw a tournament where rent for equipment had not been payed for, hotel expenses for participating teams were not covered and team members of Titan had to seek medical treatment after reporting to be ‘’very ill’’. To further worsen the situation, select CS:GO teams had the ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational in Dubai to participate at, two days after the finals at Gaming Paradise. Recent news revealed that the company in charge of paying out the prize money is yet to do so. In a statement of G2 Esports regarding their prize money it became clear that the company is probably going to file for bankruptcy.
iBUYPOWER match throwing scandal
At the start of the year a match was under scrutiny, namely one that saw iBUYPOWER lose 4-16 to NETCODE Guides in August 2014. It was no ordinary match and saw some suspicious behaviour from the losing team. They giggled away as they lost the game, went for knife kills that ended up losing them rounds and generally exhibited extraordinarily strange behaviour. Upon investigation of the VOD of the match, people raised suspicion and demanded an inquiry into potential match rigging. Initially all members of iBUYPOWER refuted all allegations of match rigging, however, in January 2015, a text message exchange between team member Derek ‘’dboorN’’ Boorn and his girlfriend came to light, where it was apparent that the team had purposefully lost the match, in order to secure over $15,000 in weapon skin value. As soon this information came to light and the team was proven guilty of match rigging, Valve issued a statement where they banned team members and people associated with the rigging from participation at future Valve endorsed events.
The fifth Major in CS:GO history was one of the most electrifying events of the year. Next to the $250, 000 prize purse, it had gathered 16 big teams, all of them keeping their eye on the prize. It featured one of the best comebacks of the year, when Fnatic crawled their way back into the 1st map of the final, as well as featuring a superb semi-final between Virtus.Pro and Fnatic. It was also another major event that broke viewership records.
The sixth major in history and the final one of the year. Many people were sceptical about DreamHack’s decision to move the major to this location; however it turned out to be one of the best events of the year. It had a lot of upsets as G2.Kinguin, Na’Vi and NiP all reached the semi-finals. It is also worth mentioning that the event featured one of the best matches of the year, with G2.Kinguin taking on the French, Team EnVyUs.
The second major of the year delivered no shortage of emotions. It was a direct follow up to the Adderall drama, hence the implementation of an anti-drug policy during the event. This major saw Luminosity Gaming once again rise to the occasion and upset big teams, as well as G2.Kinguin surprising everyone and reaching the quarter-finals.
It was one of the first events of the year and one of the very last ones to feature the old Team LDLC line-up. It saw a number of good matches, with the event concluding in the Frenchmen coming out victorious over the Ninjas in Pyjamas, in what was a great final, and close one as well. It also ended Fnatic’s final run, after they crashed out in the semi-finals to fellow Swedish team, NiP.
One of the last events of the year, featuring eight best teams in the world, two of which came from North America and one from Australia. There was no joy for the Aussie team, as they were the first ones to crash out. Again, the tournament was filled with upsets as Luminosity Gaming grabbed wins against Team SoloMid and Team EnVyUs, just to fall short to Fnatic in the grand finals. The event also saw Virtus.Pro come in terrific form, giving the Swedes a run for their money in the semi-finals.
Anders and Semmler
It is hard to imagine the next big tournament without these guys, who hardly need any introduction if you watched finals of any major tournament. Their style is almost a perfect combination of pure hype shout casting and thorough game analysis. If there is any doubt about the quality of their commenting, “Are you kidding me?”
James and ddk
The FACEIT duo is not falling behind too far. They put in an impressive amount of hard work, climbing their way to the cohort of the best. And, of course, it is hard to forget hilarious moments these two can pull, always making the best fluff highlights.
Sadokist and HenryG
One of the perfect examples of how passion and hard work can pull you through all the way from a clean sheet to the top. The duo brings a great combination of ex-pro analysis and play-by-play commentating. Arguably the highest WPM (words-per-minute) and best Thorin impression of this year.
Pansy and Deman
Never enough of British accents, eh, mate? In 2015 this duo demonstrated a solid performance despite a cold welcome from the masses, mostly for not being exclusively CS:GO casters throughout their career. This provides a basis for criticism of their in-game knowledge but, nevertheless, most people agree that their shout-casting and general tempo and flow of speech deserve nothing but praise.
TosspoT and Fifflaren
Starting their collaboration at DreamHack Winter 2014 they showed the world nothing but rapid improvement on top of appreciation from the community. Unfortunately, their presence on events throughout 2015 was somewhat limited, but that only confirms that a lot of people are looking forward seeing them.
In early October 2015, headlines were topped with the attempt of Esports organisations to further legitimize tournaments and better serve the professional players. Esports teams have compiled a list of requirements that must be met in order for their teams to compete. In the statement it is said that the teams, apart from those in the US, will decline any online only event that does not have LAN finals. CS:GO teams have set the minimum prize pool at $75,000 or higher, and DOTA 2 teams were asking for $100,000 prize pools. Moreover, the teams were asking for travel support, requiring the organizers to cover either the flights, or three hotel rooms for six people.
Swedish schools add Esports classes
In August breaking news emerged that three high schools in Sweden were ready to include Esports as a class in the upcoming semesters. In a statement it was said that neither school will be providing a full blown Esports program but rather outside of the mandatory subjects, such as maths and languages, there will be subjects such as Esports, Dota and Counter-Strike offered for certain alignments.
Virtus.Pro receive $100,000,000 investment
It is no secret that Esports has been showing exponential growth in recent years, from being on national TV shows to having larger tournaments than some actual sports. However, the most recent historical change occurred, when one of the wealthiest Russians, Alisher Usmanov, decided to invest $100,000,000 into Virtus.pro. It was said that with such a large investment Virtus.pro will be able to launch new tournaments, approach new games, develop new media channels and on the top of it - construct a new Esports arena.
MTG buying ESL, DreamHack and ESL acquiring ESEA
Some might called it a monopolization, but one thing is surely clear - the Swedish based Modern Times Group (MTG) is trying to bring CS:GO to a whole new level. MTG initially acquired a majority share of ESL before the company proceeded with their second goal of buying DreamHack. If you thought that this would be the final move by MTG, then you were wrong. ESL, a company owned now by the Swedish digital entertainment company, has announced the acquisition of ESEA. What will this mean for Esports? Only the future can tell.
Turner and WME/IMG to broadcast E-league on TBS
An American basic cable and satellite television channel, TBS (Turner Broadcasting System) which is a division of Time Warner, has announced that they will be broadcasting a new Esports project called E-league. This event will feature fifteen teams fighting in a 10 week long tournament for the lion’s share of $1,200,000. This move clearly demonstrates that Esports is heading in the right direction. Moreover, it will undoubtedly boost the interest for Esports among the people who still haven’t had a chance to meet with this amazing community.
Anders Blume is undoubtedly the most adored caster in CS:GO. From being voted in by the community after his humble start, to stardom and participation at the largest events available to the scene, Admiral Blume has kept his charm and dignity intact throughout the whole journey.
Olof ‘’olofmeister’’ Kajbjer
Olof ‘’olofmeister’’ Kajbjer is widely acknowledged as the best player in the CS:GO scene. This gentleman has kept his cool throughout all of the stardom that he faced over the past year and a bit, humbly accepting his wins and showing respect to all opponents that he has faced. During post-match interviews he is very level headed and calm, demonstrating his respectable personality.
Pala ‘’Mantrousse’’ Gilroy Sen
How could we not include this charismatic newcomer to our list? We’ve seen him give post-match interviews at recent events such as DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, and he even hosted the recent Fragbite Season 5 LAN Finals, where he proved to be an interesting and knowledgeable host. Having started from producing YouTube videos, he progressed very far, so much so, that he started taking interviews from professional players at major Valve sponsored events. ‘’Mantrousse’’ graces the scene with his funny and goofy personality, bringing some light, casual ‘’bant’’ to the eSports scene.
Jordan ‘’n0thing’’ Gilbert
Jordan Gilbert is probably one of the most popular personalities in CS:GO. He’s a cool guy that’s been in the scene for as long as you can remember it, and there is a reason behind why everyone knows him. He’s just cool. From the hilarious flashbang and Molotov dances, to his rants on YouTube about the technical aspects of the game, ‘’n0thing’’ really comes across as a genuine and fulfilled young man that is truly enjoying his journey through eSports.
Jaroslaw ‘’paszaBiceps’’ Jarzabkowski
PapaBiceps, what a guy. If we asked you to find a person that dislikes Jaroslaw Jarzabkowski you’d probably have a difficult time finding that individual. For you see, we are all his brothers my friends. ‘’paszaBiceps’’ has been around the scene for a while now and he is undeniably one of the nicest personalities in eSports. On numerous occasions he has demonstrated his kindness and openness to people that most would disregard and consider strangers. He is not afraid to voice his opinion and express his emotions, regardless of all the hate and criticism he receives for it, and for this reason, we love him dearly.
G2 Esports (+jkaem)
Former roster of Team Kinguin demonstrated a mediocre performance during the spring-summer season, compared to the expectations that are associated with the names involved with the team. However, in autumn, the team caught a second breath and reached two semi-finals in a row, which cannot be a reason for criticism considering their opponents.
Team EnvyUs (+apEX, +kennyS)
Looking purely at statistics it is easy to point out the improvement of the results at premier events; however, the improvement is potentially much deeper than that. In the second half of 2015 they reached the major finals twice, with one eventual victory, sporting nomination for ‘’best team of the year’’, which is supposedly quite difficult after changing 40% of the roster.
Cloud9 (+Skadoodle, +Freakozoid)
With the North America vs Europe discussion aside, in 2015 Cloud9 became a worthy challenger among the top teams, securing top 3 positions at numerous events. Although this year the team did not impress at majors, it is possible to say that the change was definitely a step in the right direction.
Lumiminosity Gaming (+fnx, +TACO)
The South American representative has demonstrated an incredible run after their recent roster change. It was a very risky move by Luminosity Gaming, however, despite potential catastrophes, the roster saw the addition of fnx and TACO, both of which contributed greatly to the team’s run at the FACEIT Stage III Finals, granting the team second place and $50,000.
It is still quite early to analyse this change, but, the early results are already coming through. It is possible to predict with confidence that the impeccable 2015 run of Fnatic is not going to stop in the foreseeable future. The team is maintaining their level, despite the substitution.
PENTA Sports (-Spiidi, -nex, -denis)
Once known as one of the top teams in the German scene and a contender world-wide, Penta Sports had their team gutted this May during a surprise shuffle between them and mousesports that took three of their best: Johannes "nex" Maget, Denis "denis" Howell and Timo "Spiidi" Richter. Left with the some of mousesports’ weaker players, as well as a few new faces, it came painfully clear that this new roster was a huge step down from the old version of the team.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (-Maikelele)
The Ninjas in Pyjamas made their first ever roster change after one of the original members, Robin “fifflaren” Johansson, left the team in late 2014, bringing on board Mikail “Maikelele” Bill in his place just a day later. The team went on to put up a series of impressive results, most notably coming in second at Dreamhack Winter, but just a few months later NiP switched their roster again, dropping Maikelele in favour of their current AWPer, Aleksi “allu” Jalli, earlier this year. Although the team seemed to perform well during their honeymoon period, their performance quickly fell to a record low outside of the majors, a slump that the Ninjas still can’t seem to get themselves out of to this day.
HellRaisers (-s1mple, -markeloff)
Hellraiser’s performance has fallen precipitously this year after losing one of their best players in January, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev as well as Yegor "markeloff" Markelov who both later moved to FlipSid3 Tactics. s1mple is well known as one of the best in the CIS region, and his absence on the HR roster left them off much worse than before.
Gamers2 vs. Team EnVyUs - DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Semi-finals
After being shredded to pieces at the ESL One: Cologne finals, Team EnVyUs were bound to fight for revenge, which they successfully had, after kicking out Fnatic in the quarter-finals. Virtus.Pro were surprisingly denied their semi-finals entrance, being trashed by Gamers2, who showed a good performance before, but suddenly pulled out some incredible plays. Still, EnVyUs were expected to win the fight. Gamers2 started off by winning de_dust2 convincingly, and, on Inferno EnVyUs had to fight back the in the most savage way, in order to stay alive. In a triple overtime, they managed to win 25-21 under the heaviest pressure imaginable. This map alone makes up for, perhaps, the most interesting match of 2015.
Cloud9 vs. Fnatic - FACEIT S2 Semi-finals at DreamHack Valencia
Cloud9 making it to the grand finals of ESEA Season 1 was a totally unexpected occurrence. Fighting hard, they still lost against Fnatic. At the finals of FACEIT Season II, they were meant to meet again. This time, Cloud9 showed up on point and managed to take out the team that was, at the time, considered to be the best in the world. A 2-0 crush against Fnatic may be considered the most valuable match of 2015.
Fnatic vs. NiP - ESL One Katowice finals
The last major of 2014 saw Fnatic fall out in the quarter-finals, and, with the Ninjas in Pyjamas being placed second and having won ESL One: Cologne 2014 prior to that, there were huge expectations set on the Swedes to wreak havoc on Fnatic. After the quarter finals against Virtus.Pro it was pretty clear that Fnatic were simply on fire. The grand finals demonstrated how close two teams can be in regards to skill, as both brought their games pretty close. On the last map, nobody could have been able to point out the clear favourites. With a heart-wrenching, suspenseful 16-14, Fnatic made their dominance over the Counter-Strike scene clear, which they were able to carry on throughout most of 2015.
Luminosity vs. TSM - DreamHack Winter / FACEIT S3 Semi-finals
Achieving the impossible, Luminosity Gaming managed to take out Team EnVyUs so fast and so decisively, and after that even the Ninjas in Pyjamas fell to their amazing run. But the most interesting and ludicrously close game to consider would still be their fight against TSM. An embarrassing 16-5 loss to the Danes was suddenly turned around into a 16-6 crush on Overpass, one of TSM’s strongest maps. The decider then went into overtime, which LG took 21-17.
Fnatic vs. Virtus.Pro - ESL One Cologne Semi-Finals
Virtus.Pro had a really strong crowd cheering for them at the ESL One: Cologne semi-finals, where they managed to embarrass the Swedes with a 16-6 win on de_mirage. With a hostile crowd in the back, Fnatic did not, however, loose focus, still fighting on, and everybody feared their ability to push back. De_inferno presented a nerve-wrecking close game with a year’s highlight, which would be the terrific AK-47 4K by paszaBiceps under CT-arch. Nonetheless Fnatic took the map and went on to conquer de_cobblestone, as well as their ticket to the finals.
The relationship between these two Swedish teams is not known to be the best for a variety of reasons. In order to really understand the bad blood between these teams, one must look at the history of the Ninjas’ performance. Up until about a year ago or so the Ninjas were known as the best team in not only Sweden but in the rest of the world. Since then the roles have reversed as the Ninjas dropped their first major to a fledgling Fnatic in the form of Dreamhack Winter 2013. This obviously annoyed the Ninjas, as they had lost a major to another Swedish team, however this would not mark the end of their misfortunes. In the beginning of summer 2014, Fnatic made major roster changes picking up the two former LGB players Olofmeister and Krimz.After this roster change it dawned on the community that Fnatic were stronger than NiP.
Rivalry between the French and Swedish superstars has been a known one throughout the majority of this year. An example was this year's Cologne major, where Fnatic and EnVyUs fought through the other top tier teams of the world and faced each other in the grand finals. The major resulted in a loss for the French team and their dreams of taking their first major title fell short. This loss gave Team EnVyUs something to prove and they fought hard until the grand finals of Cluj-Napoca, where they finally secured their first major win. Since then Fnatic and EnVyUs have faced each other on occasion some in favour of Fnatic and some in favour of EnVyUs, however their competitive rivalry remains and I have a feeling it will remain until one of them claims victory.
The rivalry between the Virtus plow and the Ninjas is an old one that has existed since the beginning of CS:GO. It mainly exists due to both of these teams being constantly in the top tier, thus resulting in many close games between these two teams. Both teams also sport extremely loud and loyal fan bases and this has undoubtedly leads to an intense rivalry. While this rivalry has simmered down over this year many hope for a return of the legendary battles, a hope that I also share.
This rivalry was a rather intense one and really only began this year, due to the rise of both of their teams in the professional scene. These teams had some of the most Intense, nail biting matches of the year especially when they faced each other in the majors. As most would expect the intensity of these matches has left a wee bit of animosity between these two teams, however they are always good sports in the end and you rarely see saltiness from either side even on their worst days. With TSM now being ex-TSM the future of this rivalry is ‘up in the air’, however I have a feeling the Danes will come back with a new name and keep this rivalry going strong.
The final rivalry on this list comes in the form of the beasts from the east Na’Vi and the boys in blue, Team Envyus. The matches that you will see played between these teams feature some of the greatest AWP battles in professional CS:GO, as two of the world's greatest acknowledged AWPers face off against each other and believe me, they do not disappoint. With both of these team retaining their status into the new year, I am excited to see more intense AWP battles between the two, as well as many more close matches as the competitive rivalry between these two giants continues on into to the unforeseen future.
Alex “Machine” Richardson
Alex Richardson, widely known to the CS:GO audience as ‘’Machine’’, was the analyst host of most of ESL’s tournaments this year. He started off with the first major of the year, ESL One Katowice, then we also saw him at ESL Pro League, ESL ESEA Pro League, IEM San Jose, IEM Cologne, etc. Even when he wasn’t adopting the role of a host, we still could see him commentating the matches. It is certain that Alex has had a successful year when it comes to any event with ESL’s trademark.
Paul "RedEye" Chaloner
Paul Chaloner is one of the very few veterans of Esports. Being around for many years, Paul has hosted some of the greatest Esports events to date. The start of this year brought a big change in his career, as he decided to step down from being the main host at ESL and took on another role at Gfinity. This, however, didn’t stop him from continuing what he does best. He made a grandiose reappearance at the last major of this year, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca.
Pala "Mantrousse" Gilroy Sen
Yes, that charming new guy! Pala "Mantrousse" Gilroy Sen came to light at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, where he did on-stage interviewing, as well as doing video profiles with some of the professional CS:GO players. Later on, we also saw him at DreamHack Winter. Concluding this year, he made an appearance at Fragbite Masters Season 5 where he actually took the role of desk host.
O. J. Borg
OJ is one of many great masters of ceremonies that ESL has to offer. He was holding the magic stick at the second major of this year, ESL One Cologne. We saw him take on the role of stage host, which he managed perfectly, and many expected to see him again at some of the bigger events - which actually happened at IEM San Jose.
The first part of the year was marked by one guy coming from the ESL team. Sean Charles was acting as stage host for the first major of the year, ESL One Katowice, as well as for the ESL Pro League. He was the first person to replace the wonderful Paul ‘RedEye’ Chaloner, and somehow he managed to do so in style! Sean showed an exciting performance on stage and we are looking forward to seeing him once again, marching through the main stage of upcoming large tournaments.
Electronic Sports League (ESL)
Electronic Sports League has brought us a lot of unforgettable moments during this year, starting with ESL Pro League that later on in the year was merged with ESEA to form an ESL ESEA Pro League. ESL was host of two out of three majors of 2015, ESL One Katowice and ESL One Cologne. But that wasn’t all, as IEM has returned to CS:GO, we saw IEM Cologne and IEM San Jose as the biggest tournaments of this circuit, and of course ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational Dubai where the best teams met once again.
DreamHack has developed a whole new approach in 2015, announcing at the start of the year the implementation of a DreamHack Open Tour that will consist of multiple smaller events, which are half-open to anyone who could pass the qualification process. Moreover, we saw the DreamHack Summer and Winter editions, where the Winter edition served as the LAN finals of FACEIT Stage 3. To round this list up, DreamHack has hosted the third major of 2015, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca.
The PGL from Romania made headlines this year with the Kick-off season of their CS:GO Championship Series, where we saw a whole new level of online production and camera / replays work. This was followed with another season of their CS:GO League, to finally round it up with DreamHack Cluj-Napoca major where they were the ones co-organizing it with DreamHack. It has been said that this event was the best the CS:GO community has seen so far, was it?
The Ukrainian organization is considered to be one of the Esports’ veterans, being around for very long and hosting multiple seasons of tournaments, not only for CS:GO, but also for many other Esports titles. This year we saw three seasons of their very own StarSeries being played, with a lot more to come. The next stop is their Season 14 LAN finals in Minsk, commencing January 2016.
Major League Gaming (MLG)
Major League Gaming dove into the deep CS:GO waters with their X Games in Aspen, where they made the headlines after setting new production standards. An event that didn’t have any spectacular announcement turned out to be one of the best we saw this year. Later on, MLG continued their work in CS:GO by organizing multiple CEVO League LAN finals and finally earning the respect and reputation within the industry to host Valve’s first major of 2016.
Jesper "JW" Wecksell
One of the most aggressive players in the scene, but also one of the most inconsistent ones. JW can absolutely demolish teams or, on occasion, land you a free win. He has found a new level of consistency towards the end of this year, being one of his team’s most level players. He won two of three majors this year and continued with his mind blowing performance during some smaller events. Jesper has one of the best movement abilities known to the scene, something that was more noticeable this year.
Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs
The Na’Vi AWPer is one of the most rounded players in CS:GO. He can do anything, but his specialty is playing with the AWP. Ladislav has been carrying his team during multiple events and his biggest success of the year was reaching the grand finals of DreamHack Cluj-Napoca. His reflexes are out of this world and he has demonstrated this capability of his through numerous flick shots. Despite his team not winning many events this year, GuardiaN has always been a standout performer and Na’Vi’s star player.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub
The Frenchman started this year as the best player in the world, reaching heights nobody has yet achieved. After that happened, the AWP nerf was released and Kenny disappeared, performing nowhere near to his usual standard. It took him a couple of months, but he finally adapted and together with his teammate, Apex, joined the Team EnVyUs line-up. After the switch Kenny became one of the core performers once again, helping his team reach the finals of ESL One: Cologne and carried them to the victory at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca.
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham
The North American AWPer is one of the best CT-side snipers in the game at this point in time. He has risen to the task during Cloud9’s miracle run of four tournament grand finals in a row. He is known for locking down bomb sites with his AWP. He is one of the fastest and most consistent AWPers in the whole world. After that superb run by Cloud9, even after his teammates dropped off in form, Skadoodle continued to put up numbers never dropping below 15-25 kills per map.
Finn "Karrigan" Andersen
He rose up to the occasion during his time at the international mousesports line-up during the beginning of the year and joined the ? team (ex-TSM) after a number of good performances. He became the team’s in-game leader, shepherding the team to a victory at the FACEIT Season 2 finals. Not only was Karrigan an amazing in-game leader, he also did a great job AWPing for the team. Towards the end of this year he became one of the best AWPers in the scene, simply outsmarting the opponents, leading his team to even more top eight finishes.
Chris "chrisJ" de Jong
Last but not least, the mousesports AWPer has struggled throughout this year, but whenever he showed up, it was undeniably a great show. Chris is one of the flashiest players in the scene and as a part of a team which struggled throughout the year, he has flashed many, many times. He hasn’t achieved much with his team except for qualifying for two majors in the latter half of the year. He is also known as one of, if not the best, SSG 08 players in the world, abusing jump-scouting to the rim before the hitbox update.
Markus ‘’pronax’’ Wallsten
Markus Wallsten, also known in the CS:GO world as ‘’pronax’’ is one of the best in-game leaders known to the scene. With his leadership and strategizing capabilities, Fnatic managed to secure a total of three major tournaments over a two year period, namely DreamHack Winter 2013, ESL One: Katowice 2015 and ESL One: Cologne 2015. Regardless of the fact that ‘’pronax’’ has now departed from Fnatic, he will forever be remembered for this colossal feat, that so far, not a single in-game leader has managed to reach.
Vincent ‘’Happy’’ Cervoni
Vincent ‘’Happy’’ Cervoni is quite an emotional in-game leader. Whilst in-game leaders predominantly compromise their performance for the leading aspect of the game, ‘’Happy’’ is known to frequently show up when the time is right. He led his former team, Team LDLC, to a victory at DreamHack Winter 2014, as well as his current roster, Team EnVyUs, to 2nd place at ESL One: Cologne 2015 and 1st place at the most recent major, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015.
Finn ‘’karrigan’’ Andersen
Finn ‘’karrigan’’ Andersen, leader of ex-TSM, now ? has shown impressive leading skills over the past year, managing to lead his team to various top placings at major tournaments, as well as victories at minor tournaments. To give perspective on how far the team has come since its conception, then Dignitas, was incapable of placing anywhere near the same spots they are securing with Finn ‘’karrigan’’ Andersen. The Danish roster has not yet achieved a victory at a major tournament; however, we have seen them demonstrate their capabilities, pushing over the likes of Fnatic and EnVyUs whilst being led by their in-game leader, Finn ‘’karrigan’’ Andersen.
Sergey ‘’starix’’ Ischuk
Sergey ‘’starix’’ Ischuk, coach and in-game leader for Natus Vincere has been accumulating his knowledge of Counter-Strike since way back in 1.6. He is one of the few veterans that took up an active role in teams, instead of retiring or doing a more passive job. Starix has not always been an in-game leader for Na’Vi, however recently the team decided to shift the responsibility from their team captain to him, to lessen the burden on Danylo ‘’zeus’’ Teslenko. So far this decision has proved to be a positive one, as the team managed to secure a victory at IEM San Jose, along with various top placements at major tournaments throughout the year.
Kévin ‘’Ex6TenZ’’ Droolans
Kévin ‘’Ex6TenZ’’ Droolans is widely acknowledged by professional players to be the ultimate mastermind when it comes to CS:GO tactics. Whilst Titan haven’t shown a very convincing performance this year, their in-game leader strikes fear in even the most experienced of professionals. An instance of the aforementioned would be the time when Fnatic was at its peak, winning two back to back majors, ex-in-game leader Markus ‘’pronax’’ Wallsten, one of the geniuses of his time, mentioned that the team he is most reluctant to play against was Titan, due to the incredible pool of knowledge that ‘’Ex6TenZ’’ brings to the table.
The original version of the article mentioned that Renegades failed to qualify for ESL One Cologne major. It has since been corrected to state that they in fact did.
GosuAwards 2015 committee
Vladimir "Angel" Kojadinovic
Aleksei "Aleksei.L" Lushnikov
Ayuka "a_shuchu" Boldyrev
Seth "sshogun" Sawant
Kajetan "CMG" Jordan
Fabio "f4nz0" Schlößer Vila
Demis "knight" Balbach
Anthony "Entus" Stroud