Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
© John Gooderson

What does it take to be the best?

As the ever-shifting tide of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive meta continues to roll in and out we are in a constantly evolving debate of who the best player, or players, in the world are.
Written by Rob & John Gooderson
7 min readPublished on
There have been some definite “world’s best”, there have been some who have dominated an era, and there are some that seem to be continually trading places or pushing for that spot but struggling to solidify themselves as undisputed. But what does it take to be the best, and what are some exceptions to the rule?
One of the most important things in the pursuit for the title of the best in the world is consistency.
One of the most universally agreed best players in the world, in his prime, was Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer, who at the time was dominating the scene with his 2015 Fnatic side. Winning two Majors in the same year at both ESL One Cologne and ESL One Katowice. Another on the list is the man ranked by HLTV as the number 1 player in the world back to back for 2016 and 2017, Marcelo “coldzera” David who himself picked up two Major titles over those years. Number three that I want to compare is one of the current contenders, Nicolai “device” Reedtz who is the man spearheading the success of Astralis and, as of September 2018, a double Major winner himself.

Consistency is key

One of the most important things in the pursuit for the title of the best in the world is consistency. There are many players who can turn a game upside down. We’ve all had that one day where we feel like we could take on an army on our own, where every chance goes our way and every decision comes good. But to keep on top of the game consistently, to be that power your team can count on to turn up day in day out, is what makes an entire scene stop and listen.
Starting with Olofmeister, during 2015 he had just three LAN events with an HLTV Rating (1.0) of below 1.0, of 0.96, 0.97 and 0.98. Of 22 LAN events that is 19 events over 1.0, 20 events with a positive K/D ratio and one with an exact 0. On top of this, in that time, only two of those positive events were with a K/D of below +10, with four being +50 and above. An average of his K/D over those 22 events brings him out at +29.13 and an average rating of 1.14 (Rating 1.0).
Meanwhile, with a larger sample size due to his definite number one reign spanning two years of 2016 and 2017, coldzera played 35 LAN events. Over these 35 events, he didn’t finish a single one with an HLTV rating of less than 1.0. Meanwhile he finished only two of those LANs with a negative K/D ratio. This leaves him with the staggering numbers of an average rating (2.0) of 1.23 and an average K/D of 47.25.
Device, as he’s currently not had his period of definitive number 1 and is still building his way there, we will take his form from the last 12 months. This leaves us with 16 LAN events to go off, in two of which he held a rating (2.0) of less than 1 and the same with K/D (in the same events). Over those 16 events, we get an average rating of 1.24 and an average K/D of 46.31.
Based on these numbers alone, device would be a strong contender for the title of best player in the world for 2018 should he continue in the same vein to finish out the year.
Astralis' coach Zonic, with device and dupreeh at the FACEIT London Major 2018

Zonic, device & dupreeh

© John Gooderson


Second to their consistency, it is the composure of players like those listed above that set them apart from the rest. Some players may fall away in form once they reach the stage, or worse yet the final.
To get an idea of how well these stars perform on the biggest stage, we took a look at each of their Major victories within the same time periods for each player as used previously.
The most recent victory coming from device taking the FACEIT Major 2018 2-0 over Natus Vincere. In this Grand Final, the team very much shared the load with the lowest rated player pulling a 1.22 and the highest a 1.35. Practically impossible to split them, it is safe to say that device showed up, actually taking home the MVP award for the tournament.
In the first of his Major Final victories, coldzera’s Luminosity also took down Natus Vincere, albeit a one with a very different look, in a 2-0 best of three series. Similar to the aforementioned FACEIT Final, the entire Brazilian roster showed up with solid performances. Whilst finishing middle of his team on an impressive rating of 1.38 coldzera did put up a +23 K/D ratio in the final itself. It was his second Major victory which saw him come out the top star of the final, a crushing 2-0 victory over Team Liquid which saw him finish this time with a +24 KD over two maps and a rating of 1.59. For both events he took home the MVP award.
FalleN, fer, TACO, coldzera, felps

SK Gaming Brazilian Roster at ECS

© John Gooderson

In 2015 olofmeister and his fnatic side flew to two Major victories taking the legendary ESL One Cologne and ESL One Katowice double against EnVy and Ninjas in Pyjamas respectively. In Cologne they took down the French side 2-0 with olofmeister playing a smaller part in the numbers on map one but being absolutely instrumental on the second of Cobblestone. It was the Katowice final against fellow Swedes which really displayed just how much of a difference one man can make. A Major Final in which the winning team had only one positive player, and one player with a rating over 1.0, with that player ending +21 and their rating being 1.29. It feels like it shouldn't have to be said that the rest of the team obviously played a role and the stats don’t always tell the whole story. But it is clear to anyone that olofmeister was an absolute force at the time and his performances helped rocket fnatic into the history books.
No player will be perfect in every series, be it final or otherwise, but these three have proved that they are more than capable of performing on the big stage when it really matters.


Finally, it’s time to touch on something that seems counterproductive to take into account when talking about the best individual, however almost certainly plays a part. A team that allows these star players to post those incredible numbers, that allows them the steady backbone to make those risk reward plays in the knowledge that they are there to support with consistent play. All of the players we’ve looked at today have had that team behind them. But it is at this point where we can look to one particular outlier as a challenger to device as the current best player in the world. One who is yet to win a Major and who will come home with less trophies perhaps due to so far often lacking the solid backbone.
Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is an incredible talent, with the power to shut down an entire team on his own. The issue is that power isn’t likely enough to consistently challenge for the biggest trophies in Counter-Strike. The team does appear to be running into a vein of form however as they have climbed to second in the team rankings, with the most impressive placements being ESL One Cologne and the second place finish at the FACEIT Major. It feels like they are almost ready to finally turn their potential into placements at some of the bigger tournaments the game has to offer and with numbers like this from their star man, it is clear to see why.
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev

Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev

© John Gooderson

Over 14 LAN events in the last 12 months s1mple has an average K/D of 82.21 and an average rating of 1.34. Incredible numbers that show why he is one of the only players to receive MVP awards for events that he didn’t win. The question is will the lack of Major victories and the fact his team do not sit at #1 in the world currently count against him when it comes time to decide the definitive best player of the year?
The next few months to close out the year will be an interesting race to see who will finish out the year in the top spot both as a team and as individuals though so far it looks like Astralis have taken an impressive lead, spearheaded by that dangerous man device.
Who do you think deserves the title of best player of the year? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!