Another season of WePlay Academy League comes to an end and new talents continue to emerge. With the sixth edition revealing a new winner, the competition keeps delivering the best environment for new blood to show up. The league continues to grow with every edition as more organizations join the competition. In this last edition, it was the time for the Brazilian talent from MIBR Academy and the Danes from Flames Ascent to debut. Sadly, both teams finished bottom of their groups going 1-11 and 4-8, respectively.
Following promotions to the main team, MOUZ NXT said goodbye to the remaining players that won four editions of WAL in a row. Jimi "Jimpphat" Salo was the only player to be kept on while the German organization decided to gamble on new talent.
It’s getting difficult not to talk about Jimpphat, the Finnish talent continues to be a star for the European squad, especially in Season 6. According to MOUZ NXT’s coach, Tobias "TOBIZ" Theo, Jimpphat's increase in performance this season is in part attributed to him returning to more star roles which he had to sacrifice when initially joining the academy squad. The 16-year-old player is Jere "sergej" Salo’s younger brother, a player that notably shined during ENCE’s second-place finish at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major, and who was deemed the thirteenth best player of 2019 by HLTV. It should also be mentioned that Jimpphat has a VAC ban that will expire in January 2023. Since the Major qualification cycle for the BLAST Paris Major is expected to begin a few weeks after then, Jimpphat is unlikely to be picked up by a team with Major ambitions, but his talent speaks for itself, and a great career seems to be ahead for the young Finn.
After names like Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov, Dzhami "Jame" Ali, Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov, and so many more, the CIS region now meets a new AWPing talent. Artem "ArtFr0st" Kharitonov, who is 20 years old, was the main stand-out performer during Team Spirit Academy’s journey in the Academy League this season. Impressive numbers such as a 1.24 rating and 79.5% KAST define the Russian’s performances in Season 6. ArtFr0st’s teammate, Mykhailo "OWNER" Lymar, formerly of B8 and HellRaisers, also continues to shine for Spirit Academy, which is an especially impressive feat considering that the 19-year-old is also the team’s in-game leader. A name to keep an eye on in the months to follow, without a doubt.
A run of good performances made the coach of NAVI’s main team, Andrii "B1ad3" Horodenskyi, shine a light on the new talent in the academy team, Andrii "npl" Kukharskyi (formerly known as "nipl"), by giving him a chance to play in a few maps in the upcoming BLAST Premier World Final, the coach confirmed to HLTV. The 17-year-old player was the top performer for NAVI Junior during the sixth edition of WAL, ending the tournament with a 1.26 rating. The player that will fill in for Viktor "sdy" Orudzhev in the main roster, will now have an opportunity to show his potential against Tier 1 teams following a “mission accomplished” against other academies.
From the crowned team, Young Ninjas, two 17-year-old riflers, Linus "nilo" Bergman and Adam "adamb" Ångström, have brought a breath of fresh air to the Swedish scene. It was especially nice to see nilo returning to Young Ninjas, as the young Swede played an instrumental role in the academy team’s first-ever run during the online portion of WAL S1, averaging a 1.21 rating. Even with the title conquered and good performances, the lingering feeling is that we want to see more of these talents. If they are capable of putting up these numbers consistently, these two can be serious contenders in the CS:GO scene.