The 10 highest peaking GosuRank players of all time

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 11 September 2016 14:34

The GosuRankings is the most comprehensive Hearthstone database in existence, but who are the players who conquered its highest peaks?

In card games, having a high ranking peak is a daunting task. Whether referring to Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh or any other competitively-relevant TCG, playing against chance as much as against the person on the opposite side of the table has its intricacies. Unlike traditional esports titles where victory is – for the most part – in one’s own hands, card game matches can be decided at the whim of the deck alone.

For three years, the GosuRankings have been tracking players’ careers, perpetually challenged to show the world which names are on top of the game. With over 30,000 series on record, the GosuRankings are world’s largest database when it comes to competitive Hearthstone, updated daily to reflect the current and overall form of game’s competitors.

Below is the list of the ten players who achieved the highest career-long GosuRankings peaks. Their stories vary, featuring either of back-to-back major success and/or unwavering consistency. Starting at #10 is China’s most recognized Hearthstone face:

10. Xieyu “TiddlerCelestial” Wang – 1313 points
Date of peak: 15 June 2015
Tournament: DreamHack Summer

Despite coming from a region largely unknown to the western world, TiddlerCelestial built himself to be China’s Hearthstone godfather, literally. Between the day of his break-out as a runner-up of the 2014 World Championship and today when he’s the owner of his country’s most diverse and successful team, Tiddler’s career has been exemplary of what an Asian player needs to do to become known in the west.

Although he left Anaheim with silver in 2014, Tiddler flew west in June of next year for another high-profile event: DreamHack Summer. After seven rounds of swiss, Tiddler stood second in the standings with 6-1 and proceeded to ace the playoffs, winning a see-saw game against David “Dog” Caero in the grand finals for a 9-1 scoreboard and the first triumph for China on western soil.

9. David “Dog” Caero – 1324 points
Date of peak: 7 May 2016
Tournament: DreamHack Austin

Speaking of Dog, the Liquid player has been chasing a tournament championship for the entirety of his career and out of every player on this list is the only one without a LAN title to his name. Yet, what Dog embodies is the spirit of Hearthstone competition and how one can be on the top without a single “important” victory.

Dog’s peak weirdly came not after his second places at DreamHack Summer ’15 or Truesilver Championship 2 or top four at StarSeries Season 1, but in round 8 of DreamHack Austin just this year, one round before a third loss would eliminate him from the tournament. It’s a further example of how tournament consistency can sometimes pay more than a singular victorious run.

8. Dima “Rdu” Radu – 1330 points
Date of peak: 3 October 2014
Tournament: WCA 2014

2014 went under the sign of two players. One was Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh, who ended the year on a high note at DreamHack Winter and went on to be one of game’s most winning contenders. The other one was Rdu.

Rdu burst onto the scene with surprising victory at DreamHack Summer, defeating Jason “Amaz” Chan in a dramatic and controversial grand final which led to Rdu’s integrity as a player questions for months to come. Instead of surrendering to community pressure, however, the young Romania took every single opportunity he got to restore his reputation. The struggle included tireless grind, practice and playing in the small hours of the night, going to bed for a short rest, back to school, back to practice, back to grind, back to winning…

This all happened during the second half of 2014 and saw Rdu gather power after every single game he played, culminating at the highest-paying non-Blizzard tournament at the time: WCA 2014. Finishing fourth after fellow European Petar “Gaara” Stevanovic, Rdu peaked at personal best of 1330, finally proving the quality of a player he is.


7. James “Firebat” Kostesich – 1333 points
Date of peak: 26 April 2015
Tournament: DreamHack Bucharest

There can be no doubt that Firebat is among the most talented and dedicated players to ever touch Hearthstone. With winnings closing $220,000 – mostly coming from his World Championship and WCA 2015 runs – the Cloud9 player is the winningest competitor in Hearthstone to date.

Similar to Dog, Firebat’s peak was during neither of the two aforementioned tournaments, but the 2015 DreamHack Bucharest. Held in April, DH:B came at the perfect time to add to Firebat’s ever-growing win-rate which started with the World Championship and included back-to-back Gfinity championships before ending with a grand final appearance in Romania’s capital.

Firebat’s rank would ultimately begin to drop, but not before a StarSeries championship and back-to-back silvers at the end of 2015. A transition from competing to streaming has took its toll on Firebat’s points but his winnings will remain in Hearthstone’s history, at least until the 2016 world champion banks a quarter million dollars.


6. Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh – 1336 points
Date of peak: 29 November 2014
Tournament: DreamHack Winter

Parallel to Rdu, Kolento gave his best to own 2014, and he did. Even if one is to disregard his two GosuAwards for player and innovator of the year, the Ukrainian was, arguably, in the best shape of his life. Yes, he won more trophies and had a more diverse career in 2015, but in 2014 he was all he needed to be to rule the wild west of Hearthstone. VGVN #2, Prismata Cup, HouseCup and DreamHack Winter were ridiculously stacked tournaments – even for those days where most tournaments consisted of cherry-picked invites almost exclusively – and Kolento showed no quarter.

Of those four, DH:W was of course the most important showing in Kolento’s career. Outside of beating giants such as Rdu, Neirea, StrifeCro and ThijsNL, Kolento gave one of the best matches ever broadcasted in Hearthstone and made for an unforgettable end of 2014.

Much like Firebat, Kolento has been staying off the competitive radar for the majority of 2016 and the amount of games he’s played is nowhere near his most active days. With the current scene being much more diverse and ruled by the young stars of today, it will take another streak of big LAN events for Kolento to return to the old gold-winning form.


5. Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen – 1343 points
Date of peak: 20 June 2016
Tournament: DreamHack Summer

It’s ironic how few people think of Hoej when consistency is being discussed. The Dane broke out during HouseCup #2 through stellar Hunter play and later on abused the power of Secrets Paladin to skyrocket his win-rate. By the end of 2015, no one would consider him a one-hit wonder anymore.

As it often happens in Hearthstone as we’ve seen in several of the names on this list, a peak performance is not always associated with a championship. In 2016, Hoej built upon the foundations he lay the previous year and took it to his personal best during the semi-finals of DreamHack Summer. He’s yet to win a gold this year.

Hoej’s consistency really doesn’t punch you in the face and only careful examination is able to highlight it properly. Not only is he the fifth highest peaking player of all time, but also holds two more peak scores in the top 25. Although Simon “Crane” Raunholst is the hotter Dane at the moment, it’s his compatriot who did all the groundwork for his country.


4. Ryan “Purple” Root- 1372 points
Date of peak: 17 December 2015
Tournament: WCA 2015

All peak stories so far have been ones of prolonged periods of stellar player, not necessarily associated with a championship run. Purple’s story is different.

Originally hired to coach team Archon, Purple spend the majority of his career off-stream, helping Amaz’s team behind the scenes. When he was occasionally let out to play, his results were not convincing, though his genius could often be seen in his decision making.

Then, in the span of one month towards the end of 2015, Purple went on fire. He conquered HWC Americas Championship and backed it with a 12-1 record in DreamHack Winter, at the time the most stacked tournament in Hearthstone. It was a meteoric rise that landed Purple at a 1372 peak, but unlike many of the players mentioned in this article he never repeated it or even came close to such heights. Out of all success stories, this one is unquestionably the most short-lived one.

3. Jan “SuperJJ” Janssen – 1397 points
Date of peak: 18 June 2016
Tournament: DreamHack Summer

We enter the top three with Complexity’s most prized possession: SuperJJ. Formerly known as a streamer and Rogue expert, SuperJJ was first give a chance to really shine at SeatStory Cup IV where his deckbuilding innovation got him his first gold – and the start of his career.

Since then, SuperJJ has been synonymous with success. In nine months, he’s made it to nine top four finishes. Every time one would look at swiss standings of a major, there SuperJJ is, crushing it. Whether it’s an open tournament or an invitational, one can expect him to do well. It’s a break-out story for the ages.

Time will tell how 2016 will end for JJ as the race between him and the other two remaining players is a close one, but odds are bright. The new expansion is out and this is the time where SuperJJ is at his best.


2. Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert – 1429 points
Date of peak: 28 August 2016
Tournament: Truesilver Championship 3

Xixo might just be the best player of 2016 so far. He didn’t make it to a single HCT championship and he’s missing the Last Call qualifier as his final chance of winning a Blizzcon seed but everywhere else he’s been an exemplary competitor, making one playoffs after another.

Much of what Xixo is now, however, is rooted in his 2015 successes. At one point, the ladder god known for his “world first” runs to legend decided kicking ass in tournaments is great too and proceeded to win four invitationals in a row, including the $20,000 Esports Arena. In 2016, he just kept adding on and after winning StarSeries Season 2, making the playoffs of DreamHack Austin and finishing second at Truesilver Championship 3, Xixo hit a peak of 1429 – the second highest a player has ever gotten.

Seeing how he shows no intention of slowing down whatsoever, it could be not long before we have a new peak king, but for now the title belongs to the one and only:

1. Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk - 1450
Date of peak: 6 November 2015
Tournament: 2015 World Championship

Thijs’ career has always been one of extremes. When he struggles to figure out a format, or meta, or an expansion or when he’s not giving his all, the Dutchman’s performances drops significantly. At the time when conquest was introduced and League of Explorers released, ThijsNL’s records did not reflect that of a world class player.

On the other hand, when he’s in shape, he’s unstoppable. The first spike of brilliance was in late 2014 when within one month he made consecutive DreamHack grand finals, losing the Winter one to player of the year Kolento. His second spike was even more impressive. Fresh off the victorious run of Nihilum at ATLC, Thijs went back to crushing solo tournaments, winning HWC European Championship, finishing second at StarSeries 1 and finished fourth in the World Championship at Blizzcon, only losing to the guy who would ultimately take it all – Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall.

That period was when ThijsNL broke GosuRanking records almost weekly. He was the first to beat the 1400 mark after the world championship group stage only to finish at 1450. And when your peak in a card game is comparable to the scores of world champions in “pure skill” esports like Dota 2, CS:GO or Heroes, you know you’ve achieved something special.