CS:GO's Most Promising Players of 2020

Jun 25 2020 7 min read

Youngsters on the up and up are prevalent in CS:GO, but who are CS:GO's Most Promising Players of 2020?

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
Émile Zola

Emil Zola, a French writer, publicist, and politician, could hardly have imagined what the most promising sport in the 21st century would look like. Nevertheless, his phrase is fundamental and applicable to anything in life, regardless of an era - it is not enough to have talent, it needs to be developed.

At the end of 2019, competitive CS:GO had EPICENTER in Moscow. The brilliant ZywOo completed the calendar year with phenomenal success, receiving his fifth tournament MVP in addition to the champion's cup. In two weeks, HLTV.org placed the Frenchman at the top of the list as the best CS:GO player - and few can disagree with such a decision.

He deservedly earned the title of the best player of the tournament, and then — the year’s MVP. But the most interesting thing is that, at that time, he was just 19 years old.

“There's a lot of exciting prospects in CS right now, and some have already caught the attention of the viewers at home. ZywOo is probably the easiest pick, and with how good he is, it's easy to forget that he's only had 1 full year as a full-time player. He's a generational talent and someone who will leave his mark on CS history like few do”, — Halvor "vENdetta" Gulestøl, CS:GO ex-player and now talent has a solid opinion on who is now the most promising player on the stage.

But Mathieu is only the tip of the iceberg. A group of younger players with no less amazing potential had already lined up behind him. But before starting to list, let’s try to figure out how to develop these talents. It’s not possible to send the youths to a team and wait until they start kicking because of the business things, and Tier-3 teams are unlikely to want to turn into farm clubs for tops — esports has not grown and stabilized that much yet. Today, you can often see the “youngsters” line-ups, and this is becoming increasingly popular not only in CS:GO. Sometimes they achieve brilliant success, such as Gambit Youngsters, who defeated NAVI at WePlay! Clutch Island a couple of days ago. But will they be able to continue this success as time goes on?

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Halvor "vENdetta" Gulestøl

As cheesy as it sounds: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard".

Schools and special academies can help. For example, vENdetta is confident that such institutes can easily become a part of everyday CS:GO: “I think it would be beneficial to work out how a team like that is meant to work first. Do you put an age cap on the team? Is it down to the level of inexperience? Does the youth team have a set way of promoting players to their main team in a clear fashion?

I think it can be a great way to nurture and foster talented players who might be stuck in the loop of playing PUGs and picking up bad habits that don’t make you an overall good player. In order for these things to happen, it's important that they have a defined way of moving further with their careers within the organization and have solid guidance from more experienced people - so it really comes down to how good of a structure the entire project has to it is.”

But while there are not so many esports colleges, small-scale tournaments and qualifiers offer large clubs’ youth squads the ability to participate there and gain experience. “I think youth teams can make sense because many organisations have struggled to pick up the up and coming players in their regions because of how high buyouts have become - and having an academy team could help solve this issue.” - says Alex "Hawka" Hawkins, caster and analyst.

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Mykhailo "Kane" Blagin, former Virtus.pro player and now pro100 Academy coach, as well as an RU-broadcasting caster, agrees with the idea of youth teams. In his opinion, NAVI’s academy is a very good example, while the absence of youth leagues is not a big deal: “Young players follow the path of their new team and, with the right help from the organization, can get the necessary experience faster. In just a year and a half, they are able to turn into a combat-ready team with their own stars.”

Among the hundreds and even thousands of talents that splash around in the paddles of tournament platforms, the best ones need to be sifted. Hawka sees only two ways of scouting such players: “One option is to play FPL games and mix games with top pros and be recognised for your raw talent, aim and skill (such as Bymas and ropz) and then you have to 'learn on the job' as you start to play official games. The other option is the more traditional method of rising in the leagues and qualifiers with your team and being the standout player on your team. This also gives you the opportunity to become a more well-rounded player and learn skills such as teamplay as even teams ranked around 100th in the world can be able to get practice games against top teams in the world”. The second part is quite positive advice for those who doubt their abilities. You can do esports, but only hard work will lead you to top.

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Alex "Hawka" Hawkins

The most important aspect is work ethic - whether it's through grinding out hours in FPL or with your team you need to have the drive to become the best because the overall skill level is so high nowadays.

Kane is more severe. He believes that the amount of work done determines a true professional: “I would not put a stigma of being a talent on people, because all this can be surpassed by perseverance and determination. The first thing you pay attention to in our conditions is what the player did on his own for his development. Because we can help, but a person is always the creator of their success.”

While vENdetta believes that youngsters should be hardened by trials: “The first-hand experience, which is playing with or against them, or watching how they perform and make decisions versus better opponents in official matches.

Like any young prospect, there needs to be an environment for growth - nobody will be perfect at the first try, so allowing them to make mistakes and learn from it without the fear of instant penalties like benching or getting replaced is essential. Perhaps the most important aspect to bring everything else together is the correct mentality. As cheesy as it sounds: "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard". Showcasing an interest in learning, improving, and being able to be mature enough to take constructive criticism is necessary in order to get better, but not always easy to come to terms with at first - especially if you're mechanically strong which allows you to perform well in not-so-structured scenarios.”

At 19, being one of the two or three leading players in your discipline means being an exception. Of course, the five best players in the last three years do not exceed the average age of professional CS players which is about 24 years. In the same way, as an exception, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga and Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen appeared in these tops, who were just over 25 at the time of getting into the list of the best players. It turns out that the peak age begins just after 20 years, which means that we will only see Mathieu in his best years, while youngsters aged 16-19 can be considered “promising”.

So, together with Kane, vENdetta, and Hawka, we selected the most promising players in this age category who are worth following.

Player Age Team
Ilya "mONESY" Osipov 15 NAVI Junior
Aurimas "Bymas" Pipiras 16 FaZe
Robert "patsi" Isyanov 16 Espada
Owen "oBo" Schlatter 16 Complexity
David "frozen" Čerňanský 17 Mousesports
Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov 18 Gambit Youngsters
Miłosz "mhL" Knasiak 18 AGO
Nicolas "plopski" Gonzalez Zamora 18 NiP
Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen 18 ENCE
Martin "stavn" Lund 18 Heroic
Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin 18 Fnatic
Sergiy "DemQQ" Demchenko 19 Cr4zy
Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli 19 Dignitas

The list is determined by age, and not by potential - it is almost impossible to form such an opinion because only time will be able to show which of these guys will shine in a new era when s1mple will be writing his biography book. Each of them will have to bend the circumstances before reigning at the highest places of HLTV (well, or to find an escape in other disciplines).

It is worth noting that these players are already in close relations with large teams, so we can only wait for them to leave the incubators. And what about those people, whose dreams of joining a large tag’s family have not yet come true? The answer is simple and was repeatedly flashed in this text: work hard to be noticed even if you are greatly talented.

Moreover, you can watch some of the fellows from the list right at WePlay! Clutch Island — follow the broadcast, as the final matches are coming very soon.

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