‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
This is an ongoing series, where I try to model what I’d do if I was to model the MVP award. You can read part one about criteria here. In this one, I’d like to give a concrete example of how I use my criteria. The example I’ve chosen is IEM Katowice 2018. This was the tournament where Fnatic won in epic fashion over FaZe in a finals that went all five maps.
I’ll quickly go over the criteria once again:
- Player with the highest consistent performance
- Contextualizing the player’s role within the team’s overarching strategy and comparing them to each other
- Contextualizing the opponents they played against along the way
- Breaking down the value of each match
The three MVP nominees for my money in this tournament were: KRIMZ, flusha, and NiKo. All three had a great tournament overall. Both of their teams got to the finals and all of them were incredibly consistent through the tournament. While I’d generally break down their exact numbers and values, I’ll skip that here as it’s far too in depth for what I want to use as a basic example. For now take my word that they were fairly close to each other with NiKo and KRIMZ a bit above flusha for most of the tournament.
Next we’ll contextualize each player’s role in their team and comparing them against each other. Both KRIMZ and NiKo are the polarizing players of their squads. They are the primary win conditions for both their teams and that is why both teams play around their strengths. In comparison, flusha is a role player within Fnatic. As for comparing the teams, I’d say that while Fnatic had two MVP nominees, that FaZe is man-for-man a better team. So within this criteria, KRIMZ is rated the highest, NiKo second, and flusha a close third.
Next we come to comparing their roads. Fnatic in this tournament played and beat: Heroic, G2, FaZe, Liquid, and then FaZe again in the finals. FaZe played and beat Order, North, Cloud9, and Astralis. This is where it gets tricky as we now have to contextualize where each team was at. I’d tier the tournament as follows:
SK, Cloud9, Liquid, Astralis, Fnatic
Heroic, G2, North, Cloud9
Thus Fnatic beat: two B-tier teams, two S-tier teams, and one A-tier team. For FaZe they beat a C-tier team, two B-tier teams, and one A-tier team. In the context of the scene at the time, S-tier isn’t that much further up from A-tier like it is now with Astralis, so that is something to keep in mind. Overall, this part favors Fnatic so in that sense, KRIMZ equalizes or gets ahead of NiKo here while flusha catches up to NiKo.
The final part is breaking down value. There are multiple ways to do this, so for this article I’ll just focus on the context of the match itself. In FaZe’s run there was potential for them to be eliminated in the quarterfinals by Cloud9 as the game went to three maps with the third going to double overtime. In all three maps, NiKo put in a winning effort on the first, nearly carried them through the second, and certainly carried them in the third. In that sense, NiKo’s performance here was emphatic. Going into the finals, I thought he was going to be the MVP of the event.
As for Fnatic, they were fairly strong throughout the tournament. I’d say the moment they faced most danger prior to the finals was against Liquid in the semifinals. If Liquid had won Inferno (which was a close map), the series could have gone to cobblestone and from there Liquid could have won it there and taken the series. The critical map in that series then was Inferno and on Inferno, I’d say the critical player that carried Fnatic through that map was actually Flusha, though KRIMZ wasn’t far behind.
So lets compare the MVP nominees before the final starts. NiKo is ahead because of the final piece of criteria I mentioned, the value of the matches. Flusha is behind him as while he carried for Fnatic in the Liquid match, that was only one map compared to NiKo’s three. KRIMZ is slightly behind Flusha as I don’t think he was quite as good as Flusha in that particular Inferno map. Thus NiKo was at the forefront of the MVP race up to that point.
Then we get to the finals. In the finals I’d evaluate their performance as thus. KRIMZ was somewhere between good to very good. NiKo was great. Flusha became a literal god on the fifth map. This was how the finals played out scorewise:
Cache: FaZe 16-5
Inferno: 20-22 Fnatic
Overpass: 7-16 Fnatic
Mirage: 16-11 Mirage
Train: 17-19 Fnatic
In terms of map pool, FaZe were far better equipped to win this entire series. I’d say they could have won it 3-0. If I had to break down this series, there are two critical maps that decided the finals: Inferno, Overpass, and Train. On Inferno it could have gone either way and in that map KRIMZ and Flusha outperformed NiKo on an individual basis. Then we come to Train. Final game, final map. On this map, Flusha’s impact cannot be understated. It isn’t an over exaggeration to say that he hard carried Fnatic to the victory on this map with the double aces nearing the end of the half in what looked like a dead game. So if we look at this final piece of criteria, I’d say that Flusha won out over both KRIMZ and NiKo here.
Then we make a summation of all the criteria I’ve listed. All three were fairly close in terms of consistent performance with NiKo and KRIMZ being slightly ahead of flusha for most of the tournament. In terms of importance of roles, NiKo and KRIMZ were ahead of Flusha. In terms of difficulty of path run, KRIMZ and flusha were ahead of NiKo. In terms of contextual value done by each of the players, Flusha ended up winning hands down as he was critical in the two most important maps of Fnatic’s run. NiKo was second because of his heroics in saving FaZe in Cloud9 and having a great finals. KRIMZ had a good finals, critically showing up on inferno for the team, but it wasn’t enough to match either NiKo or Flusha.
So even though flusha was losing the MVP race for most of the tournament to NiKo and KRIMZ, his stellar performance on the most valuable maps were enough to bump him equal to NiKo and KRIMZ. So here is the question, who was the MVP?
KRIMZ was the polarizing player with very strong consistency throughout the tournament. NiKo had equal or higher consistency and more value matches up to the finals. Flusha was a equally consistent, but was in a less polarized role. On the flipside, he had the most value matches of all the nominees with a pure godlike performance on the fifth map of the finals.
That is an incredibly hard choice given the criteria I outlined. This is also the reason why I specifically chose this tournament as there isn’t a clear obvious answer. It comes down to what combination of factors you favor the most. Personally, I believe that high level of consistency and being the polarizing player are more critical. However, I went with Flusha as my MVP because the performance he put up in the most critical games of the tournament allowed him to supercede the other criteria that favored both KRIMZ and NiKo.
Another reason I chose this particular tournament was because I also think this is the exception to my rule. As I said, I favor the high level consistency the polarizing player, so I almost always favor the star player when the other MVP nominee happens to be a supporting player on the same team. However in this case, Flusha was so insane in that fifth game, that I had to acknowledge that he was the exception to my rule.
So basically, for a non-star player to win the MVP over their star player from me, they’d have to do what Flusha did at this tournament. Now that I’ve showed an example, in the next blog, I’ll explain how I decode value in CS:GO.