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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Top 20 players of 2020: blameF (6)

blameF‘s ascent through the ranks was quite unlike the typical route you’d see a Danish player take to reach the top of the game. While others advanced by climbing the ladder of the sub-top scene in the country, where they encountered someone like Nicolai “⁠HUNDEN⁠” Petersen who helped them take the next step before making it to a team like North or Heroic, blameF didn’t get the opportunity to play alongside some of the key names in Denmark until he had already made a name for himself in 2018.

“I started out mostly playing with my friends. Especially Bjarke “⁠miNd⁠” Benjaminsen, who I played with in 1.6, has been a guy who’s been on all my former teams before I joined Great Danes. I always had a lot of respect for the game and treated it professionally to some extent even before I went pro. I remember that back then it was really hard for us to play any tournaments that would be featured on HLTV, so everytime we qualified for King Of Nordic me and my teammates were always so hyped to get the chance of having other people watching us and we would be going through defaults and some strats on all maps, even if we were just playing with different mix teams.

“A key part of my career has been how much support I have gotten from my family. They were watching all my matches even before I played HLTV matches and they were always invested and interested in how it was going. On top of that, they paid for all my expenses back when I didn’t have any money so I could pursue my dreams and only focus on development in Counter-Strike.”

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though. While playing with some more or less serious teams and mixteams, blameF was trying to grab the attention of some of the bigger names in his country but got denied a chance to move up at every turn, until he joined his first notable team, Great Danes.

“I never really knew many people from the Danish scene. I mostly only played with my friend miNd and a handful of other players, so I never really got to build that personal relationship with other players, which is very helpful when you are looking to get picked up by a better team because people will vouch for you and help you get opportunities. There were many times I saw roster changes happen on the Danish scene where I would think to myself that I don’t understand why they didn’t give me a chance, because I thought I was way better than the people they picked up.

I even remember before joining Great Danes personally writing to some of the IGLs who back then were some of the guys who developed a lot of talent on the Danish scene. I wrote to BERRY and he didn’t answer me. I wrote to haste and he told me he didn’t think I had enough experience, and I wrote to sycrone, who told me he saw potential in me but that it wasn’t my time yet. So then I ended up joining the project Great Danes, which was built a lot around me and I had a caller named alexsomfan who told me he would do anything to help me perform, so it was really a pleasure playing in a team who had a leader who believed in me at that time and was ready to sacrifice himself to make me play better.”

Like many other Danes, blameF got his first taste of LAN competition at Copenhagen Games in 2018

With them, he got to experience LAN competition in the BYOC qualifier for Copenhagen Games in 2018, where the Danish side most notably beat Mathieu “⁠Maniac⁠” Quiquerez‘s LDLC. Though Great Danes didn’t manage to qualify for the main tournament, that highlight victory against the francophone squad meant a lot to blameF, whose performances in that series put him into the community’s spotlight for the first time.

“The first time I realized I had some real potential was at the Copenhagen Games 2018, which was my first LAN tournament ever. I remember that 14 days before it started I told myself I wanted to prove some of the people who told me I was a cheater wrong and I started playing three hours of deathmatch/aim_botz a day to improve. I was very nervous, not only because I had to see how it was to play in a LAN environment, but also because it was the first time I would meet anyone in person from the gaming community and I didn’t really have the best reputation. But I ended up playing really well individually and we had some good upsets against some bigger teams as well.

“We beat LDLC 2-0 and I remember I was so happy that night, so when I came home at 4 AM I had to wake my mom up and tell her all about how we beat them. I couldn’t even sleep that night even though I knew we were playing a new match in a couple hours, there was so much adrenaline pumping through my body that I was shaking in my bed. This was also the first time I got some recognition on social media, I couldn’t believe all the nice messages I was receiving from people who thought we had done a good job.”

His individual displays started drawing some international attention then, and blameF signed with Epsilon just two months after his LAN debut at the home tournament, teaming up with his current Complexity coach, Jamie “⁠keita⁠” Hall, as well as some more experienced players like Kia “⁠Surreal⁠” Man and Joey “⁠CRUC1AL⁠” Steusel.

“I got the offer from Epsilon in the transition of roster changes in Great Danes, and at the time Epsilon was a much more established team who could provide me with a higher salary and some experienced players. They were also invited to more tournaments and it was a better opportunity for me to show the world how good I could be. So when Keita (coach of Epsilon) contacted me, it didn’t take long before we started playing our first couple tournaments where one of them was the closed qualifier for the Europe Minor and we ended up beating Heroic, which was a great start.”

The team underwent several changes over the course of the next few months and didn’t accomplish much apart from taking down some known names every now and then, while blameF continued to impress on an individual level. One of those names was the team that would become his future home, Heroic, as the Dane ended up replacing Andreas “⁠MODDII⁠” Fridh there when the calendar turned to 2019.

“In the beginning of 2019, we were again in need of players in Epsilon and we couldn’t find any players who wanted to play with us. So when Peacemaker contacted me and told me that him and Erik (CEO of Heroic) wanted to have a talk with me I knew immediately this was the biggest chance I was gonna get in a long time. It was the first time I was part of a professional organisation and we started the team out by doing a bootcamp, where Heroic had three people from the organisation coming over from Sweden to Denmark to bootcamp with us, and it was very overwhelming for me that people would travel to different countries just to make sure we had everything we needed.

“So when we didn’t get the immediate results I was hoping for I was so embarrassed that I was letting not only my team but also my organisation down. But everyone assured me that they were just happy we were working hard, and the most important thing to them was progress, so I felt like I had all the backup I could get. I have to also say the amount of help and support I got from es3tag in the beginning of Heroic was extremely important for me to feel comfortable in the team. He gave me a lot of the roles he was playing on both T and CT sides and he never once made me feel like he was angry or annoyed by it. He was such a good teammate who always had my back and made me feel important to the team, even in the beginning when we barely knew each other. I think that was very important for me to get the instant feeling of joining a team who not only wanted me to come in and play all the leftover positions but actually made space for me to play my own game and learn from the more experienced players they had.”

blameF became an in-game leader in Heroic

blameF got to show off his worth at the highest level that year with the Danish team, averaging a 1.18 rating in his eight-month tenure with Heroic as he played at his first big events such as IEM Sydney, ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals, and ESL One Cologne, all the while becoming the in-game leader after several other players could not fulfill the role.

“There were some IGL problems in Heroic when I joined, we had three different IGLs in the first two weeks of practice (es3tag, friberg, and AcilioN). None of them really worked out, so we as a team ended up looking for a new IGL from another team, and after trialing NEO as the IGL for a couple matches, where people also weren’t very happy, I told peacemaker that if he ever wanted me to IGL I wouldn’t mind taking on the duty. I had had some past experience in the role, obviously not against tier one-two teams, but I told him I would be the hardest working IGL he ever had and I would be a humble IGL and listen to all the experience he could give me and all the tricks he could help me with. So that’s what happened.”

Before the year came to a close, blameF switched homes again and became the centerpiece of Jason Lake’s vision of the Juggernaut. The Great Dane joined Complexity alongside William “⁠RUSH⁠” Wierzba at a time when the Dallas-based organization still fielded the majority of their former roster and played out the rest of the year with them, but soon after the American core was gone as Valentin “⁠poizon⁠” Vasilev and Kristian “⁠k0nfig⁠” Wienecke rounded out the new lineup in preparation for 2020.

“Jason Lake did an amazing job with getting us new players in Complexity. It was obvious who we would get, as k0nfig was playing on a dead team and poizon was looking to get picked up as well, so finding the players wasn’t a problem, but more to actually buy them out of their contracts — or so I thought, at least. Jason told me he would get me those players and I think he closed both deals in literally a couple of days after telling me he would get them, which was very impressive considering how long it usually takes to negotiate contracts and buyouts, etc. I am always gonna be grateful for the chance Jason Lake gave me back then, he put a lot of faith in me, even before I proved much to show that I could be a world class player, and I hope to one day repay the trust he gave me back then by giving him the world class team he dreams of and deserves as a very passionate CEO.”

2020 began early for the new Complexity, who remained in the United States in January to play in three qualifiers, for IEM Katowice, DreamHack Open Leipzig, and DreamHack Open Anaheim. They were only successful in the last as they finished third on the other two occasions, so the team’s first LAN showing together took place at the BLAST Premier Spring Series.

Despite their short existence, the brand new mixture impressed in their first European outing in London, beating Astralis and Vitality in convincing affairs to clinch the spot at the finals before they lost a somewhat meaningless first-place decider to Natus Vincere at the end. Meanwhile, blameF took the back seat view of some of his star teammates’ performances, though still putting in the numbers he needed to along the way.

“It was the best experience I had ever had at that point. It showed me that all the hard work we put in as a team had paid off, but we had a lot of mixed results online at the same time, as well, so we didn’t think that one tournament defined us or let it get to our heads. The most important thing it confirmed to me was that I was playing with some of the most skilled individuals in the world in poizon and k0nfig. I was blown away by their individual skill and their confidence and it made me view Counter-Strike a different way.”

The team couldn’t translate that success into online play, however, and failed to make it through the open stage of Europe Minor qualifiers ahead of their brief return to America for DreamHack Open Anaheim. The Californian event saw blameF‘s side make it to playoffs on the back of two confident wins over MIBR, and their campaign ended in the semi-finals after they lost a narrow three-map series to FURIA. That marked the end of LAN competition for Complexity before the pandemic struck in March, and the team soon moved to Europe long-term to be able to play at the biggest events.

Complexity couldn’t have imagined a better start to the season

The first few months of online play in the Old Continent didn’t go very well for blameF & co. in spite of the in-game leader putting in great numbers. The team was able to grab maps off some of the big teams and picked up a few series wins against teams lower in the rankings when they competed at ESL Pro League Season 11 and at ESL One: Road to Rio, but Complexity seemed to be missing the consistency to make deep runs and were eliminated from both events in the group stage. The results didn’t improve in time for DreamHack Masters Spring despite a great start at the tournament, featuring a couple of highlight performances from the Dane, including one of his best maps of the year against MAD Lions — a 2.03 rating on Vertigo.

“Fitting so many big names in a team has been a big challenge for me. When you have four players who are used to being the best guy in their old teams, it’s really hard to fit all of that into one team all of a sudden. I am very happy to get the chance to work with such a humble and experienced guy like RUSH, because he is the guy who makes all of this possible with him doing all the support, taking all leftover positions, buying all nades and being a hard entry in every single set strat. It is not an easy role to do, and it must be mentally draining when some people don’t realize that it’s people like him that makes the star players of the different teams in the world able to play the way they are. I hope one day people will give him the recognition he deserves.”

It wasn’t until after Complexity played five consecutive Home Sweet Home cups against teams outside of the top tier and won four of them to gain some confidence that the team finally clicked — at least for a time — in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals. blameF was perhaps at his best at the finals as he led Complexity in an undefeated run through the tournament’s upper bracket, taking down OG, Natus Vincere, and FaZe on the way to the grand final. Vitality seemed to have the best of them when the title decider saw the Frenchmen win Vertigo in a 16-2 affair, but blameF‘s side came back from the crushing opening loss to clinch their one and only title of 2020, with the in-game leader’s 1.68 rating making all the difference on the deciding Nuke.

“We had a lot of problems in my team. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. I was very unhappy with how some people viewed the game and the way people were approaching the game work-wise and we had so many clashes and discussions every single week that it kind of drained the team. That, on top of some bad results, put us in a very bad spot mentally. I think at one point the team just said ‘fuck it, let’s just go with blame’s vision of the team,’ and on top of that we agreed to play the Home Sweet Home cups to regain some confidence for the players in the team and after that it just started clicking.

“We won BLAST Finals, and it was the period of my life where I have done the most anti-stratting ever. We would sit every night and go through every one of the opponent teams’ executes and figure out what spots you could sit in to not be blind or how many flashes there would come in each spot or where they lined up their grenades from so we could wallbang them and other stuff. It was a very proud moment to win BLAST. After that, we also played Pro League, where we continued our wins and won our first 4 opening matches including a 2-0 win against Astralis and qualified for the playoffs, and I felt like we finally cracked the code and were on our way to greatness. Unfortunately, oBo left us shortly after and we were forced to play with different stand-ins.”

blameF only just lost out in the race to the Most Valuable Player award to the omnipresent Mathieu “⁠ZywOo⁠” Herbaut and instead secured the first of a string of seven Exceptionally Valuable Player mentions, as Complexity‘s triumph at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals led to more playoff appearances in the latter half of 2020.

“My favorite memory has got to be winning BLAST Premier Spring. I had never won a big tournament before and we beat some very good teams on our way to the trophy. Also most new teams are not gonna win their first big final due to inexperience, but we did and that was very impressive for me.”

His second and third EVP mentions came at DreamHack Open Summer and at ESL One Cologne immediately after the summer break. Continuing his run of incredible form with 1.21 and 1.26 ratings at the two tournaments, blameF led his team to a semi-finals finish at the former and to the quarter-finals at the latter, with the rising Heroic squad putting an end to their campaigns on both occasions.

Another deep run was on the cards when the team entered ESL Pro League Season 12 with four consecutive wins in the group stage. The promising start helped them make the playoffs from the second place in their group, but then disaster struck as Owen “⁠oBo⁠” Schlatter decided to leave the team before the playoffs began and FaZe were forced to play the DreamHack Open Fall closed qualifier as well as the bracket stage of Pro League with coach keita, without much success.

“We were definitely hurt a lot by oBo leaving us. But more by the way he left us than the fact that he didn’t wanna stay in Europe anymore. He told us one night he wanted to go home and be with his family, and I remember me and my coach talking about how we respected a guy who was able to say that to his team and be honest about it. So we agreed to him playing for around two more weeks with us to finish Pro League and to play the closed qualifier for the RMR tournament, DreamHack Open Fall, with us, because that was our last chance to qualify for the Major, and also then we would have time to look for a new fifth.

“Unfortunately, I woke up the next day, on the day of the RMR tournament, to a message from oBo saying that he had gone to the airport and wasn’t gonna help us out with RMR or Pro League, and we were now in a situation where we were arguably gonna play the most important tournament of the year in two and a half hours and we didn’t know who our fifth was gonna be. We weren’t allowed to take in any stand-ins and were forced to play with our coach and ended up losing the tournament.”

The roster issues bled over into October as blameF briefly reunited with his former Heroic teammate Niels-Christian “⁠NaToSaphiX⁠” Sillassen in IEM New York. The team was surprisingly competitive at the tournament all things considered, as they clinched an opening win against G2 on the back of a carry performance from the in-game leader and went on to lose close encounters with Vitality and fnatic while blameF continued to carry the load. Despite not reaching the playoffs, the 23-year-old secured his fifth EVP mention at the IEM stop as one of the very best players of the tournament, appearing in several of the leaderboards with remarkable numbers like a 1.27 rating, 91.5 ADR, and 0.84 KPR — statistically his best showing of the year.

Although he had to give up some of his positions on the Terrorist side, the Dane maintained an impressive level after Complexity finally locked in their replacement for oBo, welcoming Justin “⁠jks⁠” Savage to the team ahead of the last five tournaments of 2020. Highlight series against fnatic and BIG, featuring a 2.21-rated map on Nuke against the Germans, at IEM Beijing-Haidan earned him yet another EVP while the team picked up another top-four placing at a highly competitive event, and he would add one more to his tally by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the new squad was still struggling with consistency issues as they were unable to qualify for the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, with Vitality and BIG standing in their way in the Series and the new Cloud9 ‘Colossus’ at the Showdown. Nonetheless, they still made one more playoff appearance at DreamHack Masters Winter, where blameF was awarded his seventh and last EVP after one more exceptional display, before the year ended on a sour note.

poizon was sidelined ahead of the IEM Global Challenge — and as it later turned out for the beginning of 2021, as well — because of an emergency surgery, and the team was forced to use a stand-in for the third time in a span of three months. Otto “⁠ottoNd⁠” Sihvo stepped into the team for their final outing of the year, which ended very quickly as Complexity ran into Vitality and Astralis and were eliminated early after two convincing losses to the tournament favorites. An underwhelming series against the Frenchmen meant blameF would record his only sub-par showing of the year at the IEM stop, putting an end to the long string of EVP-worthy performances.

“It has not been jks’ fault that we haven’t had the results at the end of the year that we were hoping for. jks has worked hard and tried to help the team, but we have been in such an unstable and unhealthy environment for the past couple of months that it has been hard to even have time to talk about mistakes or how we wanna play because each tournament we had to play with a new player. Since oBo left us, we played with keita, NaToSaphiX, jks, ottoNd, and now JUGi.”

Why was blameF the sixth best player of 2020?

blameF showed an incredibly high floor level and consistency in 2020, finishing nine out of eleven notable events with at least a 1.19 rating, in seven of which he was awarded an Exceptionally Valuable Player mention while in the other two he was a strong Valuable Player. Throughout the year, he scored some remarkable numbers, with some of the most notable being 82.3 ADR (fifth most), 73.7% KAST (sixth most), and 0.59 DPR (fifth fewest). His ability to stay alive also ties into his undeniable talent in clutching, as he won 71 1vsX situations last year (sixth most). When adjusted for rounds played, he even has a case to be named the best clutch player of the year due to averaging one 1vsX situation won every 53 rounds — more frequently than anyone else.

“I think I changed a lot as a player in 2020. Lurking/clutching was never my preferred role, but playing with players like RUSH, k0nfig, and poizon, who all really like to be aggressive, it kinda made sense that I took on the lurking role on the team. And after almost a full year of doing that role, I think it just became very natural for me to have that extra overview, cutting rotations and listening to information by calling from the other side of the map than where that pack is always kinda give me an advantage in my clutch situations, because I usually have better information than the player I’m against. Also, I am not and never really have been a highlight player, I always go for the secure kills and never take any unnecessary risk, which I think is important to have as a guy who just needs one or two kills to win the rounds.”

blameF was also above average in almost every other category, as well, which made him one of the most complete players of 2020. He scored 0.73 KPR (15th most) and 0.12 opening kills per round (19th most) — which, together with his clutching ability, helped the Dane record a 1.15 impact rating (15th highest) — as well as 21.9 support damage per round (tenth most) and 6.8 utility damage per round (seventh most). On top of that, he remained consistent no matter which side he played on with a 1.15 T side rating (seventh highest) and a 1.22 CT side rating (sixth highest). All of that helped blameF record the fifth-highest 1.19 rating, a number that stays the same when looking at only the Elite-level events and ranks fourth highest among all players.

“I am really satisfied with 2020, it was a great year. I think peaking at top five as a team was the highlight, I felt like I was part of something that was working really well and when we started to get into the habit of even being the favourite when we were playing top teams, it made me so proud. I never worked as hard before as I did in 2020 and I do feel like it paid off.”

In the end, the remarkably high floor level and number of great events were more than enough to secure him the sixth position, although that was as high as he could get given his noticeably lower sample size at the biggest events and in their playoffs especially. blameF recorded only 20 playoff maps at big events, and even though his 1.13 rating there was impressive overall, it was the lowest among the top seven players of the ranking.

“My goal for 2021 is to peak at some point throughout the year at number one with Complexity.”

Bold prediction

blameF opted for an original prediction, tipping 20-year-old Shuaib “⁠D0cC⁠” Ahmad, a former Defusekids member, to become a top player, under the condition that he gets the right in-game leader to utilize him.

Netherlands Shuaib “⁠D0cC⁠” Ahmad

“I have to say D0cC. I think mechanically speaking he can compete with the very best in the world and if he got a chance with an experienced caller who would invest some time in finding the best way to use D0cC, he could become a top player.”

Stay tuned to our Top 20 players of 2020 ranking and take a look at the Introduction article to learn more about how the players were selected. This year’s ranking is supported by:

Xtrfy – Built on experience
GG.BET – Online betting and odds on sport and esports

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