This list was made to acknowledge and celebrate the best players of CS:GO in 2017. Unlike a few of the other lists where there is a hard ranking, this will acknowledge the best players by role. In this list, I name the winner and the runner-up of each category. As there are no real set roles I’ve divided it into supportive player, versatile player, small man player, best leader, best AWPer, T-side entry, CT-side playmaker, hardest carry, and overall best player.
As for criteria I took into account a few things. Consistency - How much a player turned up tournament after tournament. Path taken - The performance the player gives against what kind of team is taken into account. To a lesser degree results are mixed into the performance/path, though there are games where the best player was on the losing side of the equation. Mitigating circumstances - As this is an individual role, things like having better teammates or a better team count against players. This is because I find it more impressive when a player performs under more adverse conditions. And finally, I only counted LAN results.
Best supportive player
The word support is a vague term. The way I use it is the player given the least resources, the one that helps facilitate the other teammates. It is dependent on the team, the style they are running, and who is getting the resource to do what. In this case a supportive end player is someone who isn’t focused on by his team to be the pivotal player in their style or strategy. The best support player this year is:
Winner: Andreas “xyp9x” Hojsleth
Xyp9x is the support player of Astralis. He is a player that has the firepower to be a star player for a team, but hasn’t played such a role since the early days of CS:GO. On the T-side, he’s a role player. This means that he does whatever needs to be done that round. So it can be do either help someone take map control with nade usage, hold a passive angle in a default, or sometimes be the aggressor or counter-aggressor in a setup. On the Ct-side the role changes depending on the map, but in general he is given the smallest priority on the team to play make. The reason he won is because he had the best peak and consistency of any supportive end player this year. Additionally he is an integral part of Astralis’ small man scenarios and can swing critical rounds to the Astralis side with his 1vX ability.
He surpassed everyone else on this list in every quantifiable way. He was the most consistent, he played an integral part of his team, and he had the best peaks of any support player in the 2017 year and some of the most memorable plays of anyone this year.
Runner-up: Ricardo “Boltz” Prass
My runner-up is boltz. The other two choices were Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt or Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey. KioShima had the higher peak compared to boltz, but hasn’t played since being benched in FaZe. NBK- is comparable to boltz, but I favored boltz. The reason was because Boltz had comparable results while playing on a worse overall team for most of the year in Immortals. On top of that Immortals had roster changes and leadership issues, but Boltz consistently played his role and helped facilitate his star players throughout his time there. The same could be said for his time on SK where he had little time to adjust to the team, but was able to help them win tournaments upon entering the team.
Best versatile player
For the versatile player award, it was given to the player who did a multitude of different roles for his team to succeed. Players that were impactful for their team had to do it at any moment of a round, whether it was early round, mid round, late round, whichever side, whichever map, or whichever role they had to do in each round.
Winner: Nikola “NiKo” Kovac
NiKo is the best versatile player in the game. He can fit a variety of roles and positions and is the primary star player of FaZe. On the T-side he is given a side of the map to work on and is used as a second caller for FaZe. I’ve seen him play as entry, second-man in or lurk. On the Ct-side, he works both as a strong playmaker and secondary AWPer. He is also one of the few players in the world that can consistently win forcebuys with his deagle. While he has the best team compared to the other candidates, he still performed by far the best in terms of peak performance, consistency, and competition faced.
Runner-up: Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev
The runner-up was incredibly close. It was either going to be AdreN or Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann. Both players were incredibly versatile in what they did for their teams. Both could play on either side, both did entry work, both did lurker work, and both had an incredible impact with pistols. Dupreeh became the secondary AWP for Astralis on the Ct-side, while AdreN played a critical role as rotator or playmaker for Gambit’s Ct-sides. Both of them came up with critical clutches for their teams. This can be argued either way, but I went with AdreN. I think AdreN’s peak was a bit higher, but dupreeh’s consistency went on a bit longer. On top of that, dupreeh’s lows weren’t as bad as AdreN’s after Danylo “Zeus” Teslnko left Gambit.
What really cinched it for AdreN was that he was much more critical to his team’s success than dupreeh was. The early part of the Astralis year was based off of the Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye combo. Dupreeh later came on as the second star after Kjaerbye’s form fell. Dupreeh ended the year on an astounding note as the primary star of the Astralis teams when they used stand-ins in their last two events. Despite that, I still favored AdreN for the overall 2017 yea. The reason was that AdreN had to be the best player on his team and at times the best in the server for Gambit to have any chance. He consistently did this throughout the entire time of the Zeus-Gambit iteration. He also did this with lesser teammates relative to the competition. For my money, he was in the running for player of the year right up till Zeus left the squad and he took on the leadership role.
Best small man player
I define this as the best player in the 3v3 situations or smaller, whether the round is still in contention or if it’s in a retake/postplant scenario. Another way to put this is who is the best mid or late round player in the game.
Winner: Marcelo “Coldzera” David
This one was easy. The system of SK is predicated on the fact that Coldzera has a high percentage chance to win these scenarios. As the world’s best passive and positional player, Coldzera was able to make the reads and right decisions again and again in these situations. He knew when to take aggressive risks, when to hold back, how to play off his teammates, information, and general trends of the opponents. If he and his team were in power play situations, the game was almost assured. If the SK side was down players, but coldzera was still alive, they always had a chance to take the round anyway. He was able to do this against all competition with the notable exception of Astralis, and even then he still got his. On top of that I consider him the best 1vX player in the world on top of that and he has won multiple MVPs of top tier events and has been doing it all year. If that wasn’t enough he has done all of this in the highest pressure situations as well.
There are a few players I could have chosen as the runner-up, but in the end I went with Xyp9x. The reason is because Astralis have some of the best retake/postplant scenarios in the world and it is often the case that Xyp9x is a part of those scenarios. He is a key linchpin in the teamwork of that team and even should they fail, he has proven time and time again that he can win any 1vX situation.
This was the hardest category to judge. Beyond the fact that you don’t know what it is the leaders are saying or doing behind the scene is the fact that you can categorize leadership in all kinds of directions. There is the tactical leader, the charismatic leader, the teaching leader, and multiple variations therein. For this one, I measured it based on a combination of those factors.
Winner: Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander
This award was close up until the end of the year, but I feel that gla1ve outstripped his competitors in the last stretch of the year. The reason is that Astralis’ primary strength is their system on both sides of the map. This is where the leader should have the most impact and so give the nod to gla1ve. On top of that Astralis has been one of the best teams all year and Astralis as a team has continued to evolve throughout the year. In comparison to the other top teams, they have had less firepower than teams like SK, FaZe, and G2.
The most impressive thing about gla1ve is how all-around he is. What I mean by that is he has the tactical sides that defined maps like Overpass and Train. But even on contested maps or weaker maps like Mirage, Nuke, Cache, or Inferno, the team showed an incredible depth to their play. This structure shined not only in their gun rounds, but also in their force-buys, retakes, and post plants. On top of that when things weren’t working, he showed an uncanny ability of when to go for explosive plays.
Finally the last run of the year with standins was incredibly impressive as that showed how strong the base fundamentals of his system were regardless of who was plugged in. So I consider him the best leader of the year.
Runner-up: Finn “Karrigan” Andersen
This was a tough one to call. The other two choices were either Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen. If we’re talking about tactics and structure in pure gun rounds then MSL is better than both and arguably the best in the world. At the same time, he has had the most criticized map vetoes of any top leader.
As for FalleN and karrigan, both have shown an ability to lead no matter who was playing with them. FalleN led the team at ELeague Major with Ricardo “fox” Pacheco. They then used Joao “felps” Vasconcellos and tried to play towards him as a star. When the consistency wasn’t there they were able to mold him to their system and it made them the best team in the middle of the year, only falling off after the Krakow Major. Finally, when boltz joined the team, they went on to become the best team at the end of the year.
This run was paralleled by Karrigan who first had a squad with aizy at ELeague Major. They then got the NiKo line-up which became a top 3 team in the middle of the year, and the final line-up had the team become a top 2 team at the end of the year.
When looked through this lens, it’s clear that both FalleN and Karrigan were able to figure out how to enable their lineups whereas MSL struggled with North through 2017 until Valdemar “valde” Vangsa joined the lineup. He can’t have control of his player’s forms, but the fact that he switched to a loose style in the middle of the year hurt him a bit in this category.
As for Karrigan, he had the best map vetoes of any leader in the game. He did what FalleN did, but I’d argue it was even more impressive as he used players from five different cultures, something that has never been done in CS:GO history.
Despite these positives, there were some negatives to Karrigan’s leadership that put him a step behind FalleN. He has shown bad leadership in a few high-pressure situations, most notably the Krakow Major and the finals against NiP. He was also unable to construct a viable plan B for FaZe, the loose structure of the team enables the players by design, but when the form wasn’t there, the FaZe squad didn’t show much else and struggled. While this isn’t solely a leadership issue, he is the one who takes responsibility.
Having said that, his task was something no one has ever gotten such a multicultural mix and take it to the top at such speed as Karrigan either. While FaZe has had incredible talent, Karrigan has been able to either enable or revive star players. KioShiMa reinvented himself as a great support player under FaZe. Aleski “allu” Jalli returned to the top of competitive play as a solid AWPer. Havard “rain” Nygaard continued to improve throughout his time on FaZe. Both Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs, and Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson rose their skill once they left their old lineups to play under Karrigan. While you can’t give Karrigan sole responsibility, he has had a ridiculous record of getting the best out of his players incredibly quickly.
So while Karrigan did have his negative points, I feel that his ability to enable his players despite the cultural background, great map vetoes, and overall consistent T-sides overshadowed that. Because of that, I went with Karrigan over FalleN, if just barely.
Who was the best at handling the big green gun? While there are different types of roles an AWPer can play, whether you are the focal point of the team, a supportive element, a Ct-side, or a T-side AWPer, in the end, I made it one category as one AWPer was able to do all of that anyway.
Winner: Kenny “kennyS’ Schrub
One of the best players of the year and also the best AWPer of the year. He was the superstar player of G2 and was vital in every tournament run they made. After moving from EnVyUs to G2, he has risen back to peak form and is now the best AWPer in the world. He gets it done on all maps, at all ranges, in every situation. In particular, his AWP play on nuke is by far the best. In almost every category you can think of, kennyS outshone every other AWPer this year.
Dev1ce is my runner-up for the year. While there are other AWPers who had peaks that were higher than his, no one beyond KennyS could match his consistency or how important a role he played in Astralis. He was an integral part of the Astralis system and was the reason why Train and Overpass were so strong for Astralis early on. On top of that, his highs in the early part of the year were comparable to any top AWPer you’d care to name. Finally, he was able to keep his strength with rifles and was able to contribute in a way few other AWPers could when his team couldn’t afford to get the AWP.
Perhaps the most impressive thing to me was how dev1ce managed to do this. There are still many AWPers I consider to have higher levels of talent than dev1ce with the AWP in terms of speed, accuracy, multi-kill highlights, or close-range combat. But dev1ce has been able to utilize his practice regimen, his intelligence, and preparation to close the gap and at times surpass his AWP rivals. He was responsible for giving SK their most devastating loss at the Krakow Major.
Best T-side Entry
This is the player who clears the way and breaks open sites. The vanguard of the entry unit, the guy who can either break open the site or give space to the guy following him to break open the site. It’s complicated in that some entry players are supportive types like MSL or Zeus.
Winner: Kristian “k0nfig” Wiencke
K0nfig is currently the best player in Denmark and one of the best in the world. After the fall of Magisk, k0nfig’s form has continually gone up. He has been consistent nearly all year and he is the engine of the entire North enterprise. His first bullet aim is incredible and his confidence never wavers. On top of that, when he was put on lurk, he’d also break open sites by himself, most notably on Сache. This was a close category, but in the end I favored k0nfig because, unlike Fernando “fer” Alvarenge, he didn’t have a Coldzera to follow him up. Having a player like that eases the pressure somewhat, whereas k0nfig had no one comparable to that.
One of the best players of the year and at points throughout the year, arguably the best player. Fer has been a menace to every Ct-side he faced. His aggression and ability to create space and take map control could often decide games for SK. While we’ve always known he was capable of this, it wasn’t until this year that he showed how much of a nut he was. As FalleN’s form dipped down, fer took over the initiative aggression for the team and he was like a battering ram. Every team knew he was coming, but they couldn’t do much to stop it. By the end of the year he had cooled off from the insane peaks he was at earlier which was another reason as to why I favored k0nfig over him.
Best Ct-side playmaker
This is the player who was sent out from their team to make a play. To get the information, to get a pick and gain an advantage for their team early on in the Ct-side. In this category, both rifler or AWPer could have won this category.
Fer could have legitimately won the T-side entry award, but he was tightly contested there as players from other teams could match him. But on the Ct-side, his aggression and success with that aggression was ahead of all of his peers by a country mile. While fer was a menace on the T-side of the map, he was nearly unstoppable on the Ct-side. He created a role for himself that played out almost exactly the same way it did on the T-side as he entried into the opponent's from the Ct-side. His hyper-aggression consistently devastated T-sides and just like before the opponent knew he was coming, they just couldn’t stop him. An incredibly destructive player and at times teams made entire T-side strategies to stop him to no avail.
For the same reasons as to why I picked him as runner-up for the year as the best AWPer. He was the most pivotal player for Astralis when it came down to getting an early advantage on the Ct-side with an AWP.
This isn’t so much a role as much as an acknowledgment. You didn’t have the same amount of resources as the other best players in the world. This could mean your team had less firepower, or your team had no leader, but your individual performance was so incredible that I had to acknowledge its greatness.
Winner: Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
While s1mple has nowhere close to the results of the other best players in the world, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t as good as them. Throughout almost all of 2017, Na`Vi had internal issues, no leader, and falling form from nearly every player in the roster. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev cooled down, GuardiaN was inconsistent and unmotivated, Denis “seized” Kostin had the worst year of his career, Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev was consistent for the first half of the year before falling down later on. Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko was the leader that was brought back in, but unlike the other great leaders, he hasn’t been able to mold the team quickly to gain immediate success. Even when Denis “electronic” Sharipov was brought in, he was inconsistent as well.
That is the context in which s1mple has played all year. On top of that he was forced into the system for the first part of the year with Na`Vi in the Guardian line-up and even then still put up the numbers, the kills, and the impact to give Na`Vi a chance to win. It was only after GuardiaN had left that s1mple could play his own style of play as an aggressive space-maker and playmaker. He was incredible and arguably the best aggressive T-side and Ct-side entry role. Unfortunately I couldn’t pick him as he only got to play this role in the latter end of the year, though I will say he had the highest peak of any of the candidates in those categories. If my criteria was only the highest peak of play, then s1mple would have likely won both awards. Even then, he was still in my shortlist of best players of the year. If his team does get it together, he will be battling for titles of the biggest tournaments.
Among all of the veterans that are still playing today, the one that impresses me most is AdreN. AdreN is the only one to have reinvented himself as a superstar player and his performance for Gambit was even more awe-inspiring when you consider how few resources he was given. He could break open the T-side of the map, or close it out in the mid-round or in a clutch situation. The same could be said for his Ct-side. Overall he was the most critical player for his team’s successes compared to anyone else.
This was in contention all year. Three-quarters of the way through the players that were still in contention for this award was: Coldzera, fer, dev1ce, kennyS, AdreN, and NiKo. By the end of the year, only two remained: Coldzera and NiKo.
This was a tight race between the two. Both players had played with different lineups and both had performed extremely well. Both had incredible players on their teams, both had incredible captains. Both were incredibly consistent and Coldzera’s efficacy was balanced against NiKo’s versatility. In the end, I favored Coldzera’s efficacy. Their performance ceilings were similar, but Coldzera’s performance floor was higher than anyone else this year.
There were so many factors tied between the two of them. Both had incredible impact and consistency all year. NiKo showed one of the strongest carry performances of the year in his last event on mouz. But Coldzera showed an incredible performance when SK had to use a stand-in with Ricardo “fox” Pacheco. Both players have played on different line-ups, NiKo played with mouz, FaZe with kioShiMa and Aleksi “allu” Jalli, and the current FaZe. SK had less dramatic shifts, but they also had roster changes as they went from Joao “felps” Vasconcellos to boltz.
In terms of circumstance, I think you have to favor NiKo as Coldzera has been playing with this core line-up for the last 2 years whereas NiKo has been making it work consistently despite shifting players and role changes.
As for the supporting cast, I think it evens out mostly as NiKo ended up on FaZe with a strong roster in both iterations of the line-up. The next thing to look at its efficacy. How consistently impactful both players were to their teams and in this I favor NiKo a bit more as fer was the standout player for the first half of 2017 for SK despite Coldzera being a clear superstar player. In NiKo’s case, he was the superstar player for the majority of the year.
Despite those two edges though, I still favored Coldzera. It came down to two reasons. When we look at overall MVP performances Coldzera had outpaced NiKo at tier 1 events. This goes into the second reason as to why I favored Coldzera. Coldzera was the best player all year under high-pressure situations. SK is considered the clutchest team in the world and Coldzera is a large reason that is the case. The margins that NiKo gained from circumstance and impact were not enough to contest Coldzera’s ability to not only play at the same level but also do it in the highest pressure games time and time and time again.