Counter-Strike is in a constant state of change. From thousands of competitors who regularly join the server, only a fraction makes it to a Major. Even fewer players manage to stay relevant throughout their entire careers. We have taken a look at the best CS:GO players of 2015 and answered the question: Where are they now?
New players come and old ones go. Even though legends such as Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko have long since retired, new legends come to play in the form of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and other super-talented players. They then dominate the scene for some years to come. But after half a decade, a lot has changed.
THE PLAYERS WHO FELL OFF
Many players have exited the HLTV Top 20. In comparison to 2015, only three players have held on, which means that 17 have fallen off their level – sometimes by quite a stretch. Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski was once the Polish prodigy and definitely met these expectations well. Between 2014 and 2016, he retained a Top 5 spot – a remarkable achievement, which also helps expain Virtus.pro’s tournament victories to some degree. But his descent coincided with VP spiralling into obscurity. Suddenly, he dropped to the last place of the rankings and ever since 2018, he is basically gone from the top level. After the break-up of Virtus.pro, he spent some short and unsuccessful months with mousesports. His return to VP didn’t result in the stats boost that everyone had hoped for. Since then, he has played for Illuminar, a team that currently sits on the 35th spot in the world rankings.
Many of these once explosive players have now taken a backseat. This includes competitors like Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, Richard “shox” Papillon, Egor “flamie” Vasilyev, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, René “cajunb” Borg, and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, who have all vanished into the shadows of their respective super-star mates. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of, after all every team needs veterans to lead the youngsters through their first experiences at the top. ZywOo, for instance, wouldn’t have had such a break-out performance if it weren’t for the likes of Nathan “NBK” Schmitt or apEX helping him along the way.
But still, their glory days are long gone and it is getting increasingly unlikely that we will ever see one of them in the Top 20 again. Every pro’s days are numbered, but even at the bottom of the scoreboard, success can be found.
THE DEPARTURES AND THE TEAM-LESS
An impressive number of players from 2015 is still in the business. But a select few have been drawn away from their teams – either because of a massive dip in performance, or because they chose to depart the scene altogether. The #20 of 2015, Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, recently announced his move to VALORANT and has since competed for T1. This new roster is relatively successful. But there, he doesn’t even get close to his MVP-winning performance at the ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018. Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer, who was part of Team EnVyUs five years back and led them to a Major victory in Cluj-Napoca, has also vacated the scene. Most recently, he participated in the European VALORANT First Strike event under the ‘Orgless’ moniker.
The other players have remained loyal to CS:GO, although Ladislav “Guardian” Kovács is struggling to join a relevant team at the moment. After he was removed from Natus Vincere and has spent some time on the team’s bench, he tried to restart his career alongside Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov. However, this mix-team was rather unsuccessul and now he just plays for some obscure Slovakian rosters. It stands to question whether his career will ever take flight again.
THE MOST CONSISTENT PLAYERS
But now for something different. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson held the #12 and #7 spots back then. Today, they reside on 16th and 17th place, respectively. While this is a descent of sorts, it is impressive to see them still belonging to the Top 20 half a decade later. But one player is actually even better at this, Nicolai “device” Reedtz.
When talking about the ‘best Counter-Strike player of all time’, tenure is rarely a part of the discussion. Obviously, s1mple and ZywOo are ranked higher, but nobody has stayed as long at the top as device. In 2014, he first appeared in the rankings in last place. He expanded on this in the following year with a third-place finish, which he maintained in 2016 as well. He only attained a fifth place in 2017, but suddenly got a silver medal in the year after. Now, he is “only” the third-best rated player of 2019, but that puts him ahead of lots of pro players. Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev have only joined the list in 2016. ZywOo even had to wait until 2019.
THE BEST CSGO PLAYER OF 2015: OLOFMEISTER
Every enthusiastic CS:GO viewer should know who Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer is. Even fans who have missed his blossoming in 2014 and his utter domination of the scene in 2015 should still know him as a relevant player of recent years. Five years ago, he earned a first-place medal after he regularly led Fnatic to tournament victories. His trophy room boasts two Major trophies from that year and there were barely any events where they didn’t at least make the Grand Finals.
In large parts, olofmeister is responsible for this. The Swede was definitely the glue that held fnatic together. He could fill virtually any role. On top of that, he always got kills on the scoreboard. But obviously, he couldn’t retain that level forever. In the following years, he was surpassed by Marcelo “coldzera” David and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. As a part of FaZe Clan, he became less and less relevant. Now, he switches between weak performances and fatigue-induced breaks from competitive play. His career appears to be nearing its end, but his role in the Fnatic era of 2015 will never be forgotten.
The existence of players like KRIMZ, dupreeh, and device proves that a Counter-Strike career can work out fine for more than half a decade. There’s one thing that we always have to keep in mind – if a player manages to come out on top over thousands of competitors who are trying to break into CS:GO, and manages to reach the professional space, that should be called a success already. There are more than enough youngsters willing to take their place. The 2015 ranking should be sufficient evidence for this. But some pros are still going strong and are delivering world-class performances. We can only hope to have them in the scene for many years to come.