Thanks to its impressive sponsorships, prize pools and ever-increasing viewership numbers, Counter-Strike has firmly nestled itself as the world’s premier first-person shooter. Its design is wonderfully complex and offers the world one of the highest skill ceilings found anywhere in the gaming world. This allows for the top pros to swagger out on stage and perform some of the most brilliant, daredevil-like stunts that us mere mortals wouldn’t even be able to imagine.
Just as Barcelona have Lionel Messi and Juventus have Cristiano Ronaldo, even some of the best Counter-Strike teams in the world find themselves reliant on the genius of some of these individuals. Here are our five top picks for the very best CS:GO players in the world right now.
Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev – Natus Vincere
For what seems like an eternity within the scene, ‘s1mple’ has been the definitive answer to any question related to the world’s best. Hailing from Ukraine, the twenty-one year old plys his trade for an increasingly middle of the road Natus Vincere side. His exploits for the black and yellow outfit have helped propel this otherwise underachieving side into quarters and even semi-finals at times.
S1mple has made a name for himself with his outrageous moments of skill, stealing rounds away from his opponents by calling upon his ability to produce the clutch moments that matter the most. He averages 0.85 kills a round and currently sits at 73% for how often he is contributing something to a Natus Vincere round, proving his ability and the subsequent reliance his side have on him. S1mple was named at the world’s best CS:GO player in 2018 and continues to wow audiences with every event he attends, we only hope that he ends up with the amount of trophies he truly deserves.
Jacky ‘Stewie2k’ Yip – Team Liquid
If you’re looking to see the true effect a world class player can have on a side, look no further than Stewie2k. Team Liquid had been a team that were struggling for form on the fringes of competitive Counter-Strike, rarely denting the later stages of competitions, when Stewie2k transferred to the North American side from Brazilian roster MiBr.
Fast forward less than a year, and Stewie2k is now the star player in the no.1 ranked side in the world. The 21 year old has helped revolutionise Team Liquid on their path to world domination, averaging 0.67 kills per round and contributing to 71% of all rounds. So far this 2019, Stewie2k and Liquid have triumphed at IEM Sydney, IEM Chicago, ESL One Cologne and Dreamhack Masters Dallas, netting a cool $1 million bonus in the form of an Intel Grand Slam.
Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz – Astralis
Whilst on the subject of the best players turning around the fortunes of underperforming sides, is there a better story in the world of Counter-Strike than that of dev1ce and Astralis? Joining a side that had garnered an unhealthy reputation for choking in the big occasions, dev1ce would prove to be the vital cog missing from the Astralis machine. Having been voted in the top five players in the world three years running, dev1ce can now claim to be the leading light in the most successful Counter-Strike team of all time.
Now 24 and with four major titles to his name, dev1ce averages 0.76 kills per round and contributes to about 71% of Astralis’ rounds. His calm head and understanding for the game have constantly proven to be the difference in the tight, tough matchups that Astralis now dominate. Having gone through a bit of a blip at the start of the year, dev1ce and Astralis are well and truly back on top.
Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut – Team Vitality
French side Team Vitality have been something of a surprise package for the Esports scene this year. Whilst always a respectable side, they shot themselves into everyone’s attention by toppling the mighty Astralis and running Liquid all the way in a tense finale at ESL One Cologne, earlier this year. The man voted the MVP of the entire tournament was Vitality’s very own ZywOo.
The 18 year old wonderkid continued onto new heights following the conclusion of ESL One Cologne, marking himself out as the best player in Vitality and rising to the very top of the HLTV Counter-Strike rankings. Skilled with both AWP and rifle, he averages a 73% contribution rate during a round and boasts a whopping 0.82 kills per round.
Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David – FaZe Clan
Sometimes the best way of proving your greatness within a game is to demonstrate said greatness in a team that is seriously underperforming. That has been the tactic of Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David during his time with Brazillian side MiBr. Fiery and controversial, the 24 year old has been a staple in the competitive Counter-Strike scene for years now and brings together everything great about the game in the way he plays.
Named the MVP in several tournaments across the previous couple of years, coldzera was named the best player of the year twice between 2016 and 2017. Whilst his recent time with MiBr coincided with a serious downturn in form for the Brazillian org, coldzera continued to perform admirably; he continues to average 0.78 kills per round and contributes to roughly 74% of the rounds he plays.