In many people’s eyes, Coldzera is not one of the best CS:GO players in the world. Those people, depending on how you frame the argument, are entirely justified in their divisive stance. Coldzera is many things: prodigious, indomitable, masterful, ungodly intelligent and also, a baiter. He closes out the rounds for SK and demands a team-wide structure and playing philosophy built from himself up.
Just as there is no SK without Coldzera, very likely, there is no ‘best player in the world’ Coldzera without SK. Coldzera’s status as best CS:GO player largely relies on him climbing the shoulders of his teammates to get there.
On hltv’s top twenty players of 2017 ranking the top four players were: Coldzera (1), Niko (2), fer (3), and rain (4). S1mple is generally thought to have been put in the third spot, and the ‘holy trinity’ of CS:GO’s superstar discussion is generally centred on those names, Coldzera, Niko, and s1mple. For both rain and fer, this omission is the toll they pay.
Fer and rain will unfortunately forever struggle to break into this apex predator discussion. That’s not to say they won’t, but the odds are against them.
Fer and rain, on SK and FaZe respectively, both play as entry-fraggers. As an entry-fragger, their role is staggeringly difficult in its linearity: “win the opening duel and find us the foothold into the round.“ This job demands a skill-set and playing style that completely contrasts that of a superstar, round-closing ‘God’. Rain and fer set-up and enable others through sheer impact and explosiveness - looking to dominate in raw duels and scrappy rounds.
The entry-fraggers role is one that will always inspire inconsistency in this sense. To be a truly great entry, one has to devote themselves to the ever fickle religion of aim and superiority in duels. An entry has to be able to click a head under immense pressure and in constantly changing conditions. Mentality and nebulous factors like ‘momentum’ are key in fuelling the entry-fraggers success in these engagements.
As we’ve seen throughout history, the entry is often given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to poor stat-lines. Dupreeh, apEX, friberg, Edward and RUSH have all weathered the tumultuous lows of the position at some points in the career, some more-so than others. It’s widely recognised the difficulty of playing such a mechanically, and to a degree, psychologically labouring role. Inconsistent and widely-varied stats for entries is accepted as a norm.
Generally speaking, on player rankings, it’s very hard for entries to be slotted deep in the list for these reasons. The best players of all-time are considered the best because of their consistency. To perform at a world-class level in the pinnacle of competition month-to-month, not tournament-to-tournament, inspires awe and a characterisation as a ‘God’.
Fer and rain do not have the same deifying regular 1.2+ event ratings as any of the Gods. But they do have something equally as awe-inspiring. Consistent dominance as entries.
Both fer and rain have, until recently, managed to manifest tournament-to-tournament, near MVP-level performances for over a year. In many ways, this is actually more impressive than the likes of Coldzera or Niko doing the same. For while both the Bosnian and Brazilian round-closers are geared towards statistical stardom, fer and rain are forced to contend from a far more tumultuous position. They have both somehow managed to enter the realm of uncertainty and inconsistency and found a pay-streak of success. This speaks to a resolute mindset, unfathomable raw talent, and selfless focus within a team structure.
To most people though, more weight is put on winning the round rather than creating the opportunity to win one. Sure, both players might actually be fulfilling more mechanically demanding roles, but they don’t have to operate in that impossible career-defining moments as Niko or cold. While Niko and cold might ‘bait’, they do so for a reason.
Both players are the ones clutching out rounds and being forced to take the widely varied, separate strings of a round and tie them together into a win. Fer and rain are the best players in the world at creating win conditions and tools for their team to use, but they each have a player on their team who are better at converting these tools into rounds.
So, who is more important? The one who can create an opening in the round that gives you the foothold or the one who leaps from that foothold to find victory? One cannot exist without the other. If Cold didn’t have fer to find as many gaps in the enemy defence or turn a 1v3 into a 1v2 for him, then who knows how well cold could operate? Likewise, if rain didn’t have Niko to turn his big double-entries into a dominating post-plant multi-kill, then what good are the openings in the first place?
This is also what makes s1mple so contentious a figure. While Coldzera and Niko can always look to their star-entries, s1mple has created dominance amidst total chaos. Removed from comfort, seemingly in any system, in almost any role, and with any set of teammates, s1mple remains by-far the best player on the server. S1mple is an outlier amongst these other four names. He is an uncommon person amongst uncommon people.
S1mple can at once create the opening in the round with an AWP pick, find a rifle, spray down two players and then close with a clutch one-deag. He’s a swiss-army knife of impact. However, the difference between s1mple and everyone else is that he has no big results to claim. While he remains one the most incredible players of all-time, no roster has been able to put him in a comfort zone while maintaining the balance of the team.
Most people put this down to his teammates. S1mple is forced to carry inferior players and a different configuration of talent would lead to a lesser load to heave and a higher return on his skill. S1mple is yet to have his fer/rain. However, it might very well be that the resources s1mple requires to function at this level are too much for nearly any combination of players to handle. S1mple could be the so outstanding a star that not even the low function cost of a fer/rain could enable his skill.
Fer and rain will likely never enter the trifecta these Gods, but that’s not to say they should be left out of the conversation. Each pantheon that houses deities has to be built by someone. The symbiotic relationship of the builder and resident can’t be overlooked, and especially not underappreciated. So while s1mple will toil as the games most divisive superstar, and Niko and rain will continue to climb their shoulders, rain and fer will pay their toll as the entries. They won’t be in this conversation, but they’ll continue to rake in trophies and big results because of it.
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