‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
This is a follow-up blog to the difficulty of analyzing and creating a model that can effectively rate players across the entirety of esports. In this blog, I’ll examine nominees from a few different esports games and analyze their achievements and tell you why I think s1mple is the player of the year. For the purposes of this ranking, I’ve only considered games that I have a reasonable amount of knowledge about, so that includes: CS:GO, Dota2, SC2, and Overwatch.
The criteria will be the achievements done within the 2018 year. From there, I look at consistency, peak consistency, peak performance, and the context of what they achieved. Also for the sake of not making this a 30k long dissertation, I’m not going to literally break down every run and contextualize every team/player that each person beat on this list.
In Dota2, the two players I think were above the rest for the year of 2018 are No[o]ne and fy. It’s hard to pick a single player from Virtus.Pro as they have been the most dominant team in the DPC circuit before TI8, but among them I think No[o]ne played the best and was the best mid laner all year. As for Fy, he is the star support player for PSG.LGD and he had an exceptional year as a 4 player. If we were counting the DPC circuit as one year (so from 2017-2018), I think No[o]ne wins it out as Fy didn’t come on strong until 2018 started. However as the timeset is for 2018 alone, I think Fy had both better consistency and peak consistency. Additionally, he performed far better at TI8 and while you can credit the meta to that, I still think even within the hands they were given, Fy performed better comparatively.
In SC2, the two names that pop out are Serral and Maru. While many consider Serral to be the player of the year in SC2, I think objectively speaking, Maru is. You can lineup the difficulty of players each have played and Maru will come out far ahead because he was playing in GSL the entire time. While Serral won Blizzcon and is in my opinion the best player in SC2 currently, to be the player of the year, you have to look at the entirety of the year’s results. Additionally, Maru’s style was essentially nerfed and he still continued to win regardless. Finally, one of the reasons I saw was that Serral was the first foreigner to win Blizzcon against the Koreans in 20 years. That’s a storyline, not an actual reason. It’s not as if he literally beat 20 years of Koreans from the very beginning including: Boxer, iloveoov, Flash, Jaedong, sAviOr, Bisu, Stork, Mvp, Nestea, Life, TaeJa, Rain, etc.
For Overwatch, the player I think was the best in the calendar year was JJoNak. JJoNak was exceptional in almost every category. He had incredible consistency, the best peak performances of any player in his role, and changed the entire way his role worked within the game of Overwatch. The only problem with JJoNak was that he and his team didn’t win the Overwatch League.
Now we come to s1mple. S1mple has done everything the other players have done, except more so. In my personal view as someone who has watched all of the games of all of the players assembled here, s1mple was better in consistency, peak consistency, and the volume of games that was required of him to play. He played more LAN games than any of his rivals and still delivered a top tier performance all year. This is something that none of the other players on this list can attest to.
When you compare him to the other top tier individual players from team games, he also has the caveat of the fact he played on Na`Vi. No[o]ne, Fy, and JJoNak were on some of the absolute best teams in the world when they achieved their success this year. In the case of Na`Vi, they were a bad team for the first few months of 2018 and were literally carried by s1mple’s performance. In terms of peak performance and requisite amount of work, no one on this list matched what s1mple had to do during that time.
While it’s hard to rate an individual player from a team game to a 1v1 game like SC2, I’ll go ahead and try anyway. CS:GO is a bigger scene and so that means more infrastructure, money, and players are pumped into that scene relative to SC2 by a wide margin. Of course that alone isn’t a case for s1mple winning the award in my eyes as I consider someone like Rapha to be as great as any player in any game despite coming from a game that has a smaller scene and game relative to the modern era. What makes s1mple exceptional is that for the beginning parts of the year, he was essentially playing with handicaps and succeeding at a level never before seen. On top of that, he is using a style of play that demands he takes high risk duels and succeed across a variety of different levels and situations with the most punishing gun in the game.
For someone to match that kind of achievement, they must be forced to fight in such a way where the odds are stacked against them. We’re talking about Faker in Worlds 2017 where he carried 4 dead bodies, Mvp against BL/infestor, or sAviOr against the entire might of KeSPA and the map makers level of challenge here. As none of the other players on this list have done anything at that level, I have to say that s1mple is the best PC player of the year.
*Disclaimer: VPEsports is a Washington State based esports news media company funded by VPGame.