electronic had an atypical start compared to many players in his age range, as he didn’t climb up the ranks through pick-up games in systems such as FPL, and instead gained much of his early experience at LAN events in his hometown of Kazan, Russia. He started playing Counter-Strike 1.6 as early as 2010, at the age of 11, but after repeated losses at local tournaments, the youngster ended up taking a break from competition for several years, playing mostly custom maps.
“I think playing at LAN tournaments early on in my career had an impact on my composure during matches now.”
The youngster was scouted in 2015 by Aleksandr “toff” Shelop, a player he had met on KZ servers, and was brought on to Dmitry “hooch” Bogdanov’s ACES, a team in which he would go on to play his first notable offline event, the CIS LAN Championship. The tournament, held in Voronezh, was also where electronic played his first matches covered by HLTV. The then-16-year-old ended up with a 1.05 rating as his team finished third behind two well established squads, FlipSid3 and HellRaisers, despite being close to elimination after the first day of play.
After a falling out with hooch, electronic then moved on to the Belarussian team Evolution, in which he earned his first small salary. Not long afterwards, he and teammates Sergey “spaz” Skrypchik and Roman “CyberFocus” Dergach transferred to Rebels, the team with which electronic would play his first Minor, the StarLadder Regional Minor Championship CIS. He was the third highest-rated player at that event, with a 1.15 rating, in his team’s second-placed finish. He then played his second Minor, this time under the Empire banner, where he got a 1.09 rating and helped the squad reach second place to qualify for the ESL One Cologne 2016 Main Qualifier — electronic’s first LAN outside of the CIS region.
Empire then became a revolving door, with players coming and going, and the team was unable to find the stability needed to keep improving, going so far as to lose organizational backing. Despite the setback, electronic had already started to turn heads, and before long Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy offered the youngster a trial in one of the region’s best sides, FlipSid3, following the departure of Oleksandr “Shara” Hordieyev. electronic also joined back up with hooch briefly at the time to play with .Russia in the one-off WESG team, helping his national squad qualify for the World Finals thanks to a spectacular 1.33 rating at the EU & CIS Regional Finals.
electronic had several strong showings at DreamHack Open events in late 2016 and early 2017, quickly cementing his place in FlipSid3, with a highlight being a 1.35 rating at his first international LAN win, DreamHack Open Leipzig. He then accrued a 1.14 rating in the team’s last-place exit at the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta before carrying the team at the PGL Major’s Main Qualifier, boasting a 1.38 rating and pushing FlipSid3 over the line in the do-or-die match against Liquid for a spot at the Major. They then went out in the group stage at the main event, but electronic ended with a 1.15 rating nonetheless.
“The most important moment of my career before joining NAVI was the victory at DreamHack Open Leipzig 2017, as it was my first ever victory in the international scene. Sure, the tournament wasn’t the largest, but nonetheless, it was there that I realized that I can worthily compete with big players.”
By then Natus Vincere were interested in the services of the 17-year-old, at a time in which FlipSid3 were going through a period of low morale in the team, but a breakdown in the negotiations ended up with electronic remaining with his struggling side for several months until finally, at the end of the year, a deal was struck. NAVI won their first event with the new starting five, DreamHack Open Winter 2017, where electronic averaged a 1.17 rating.
Natus Vincere kicked off 2018 saving their ESL Pro League spot in the relegation stage and followed it up with a semi-final finish at the ELEAGUE Major in a year that would see the CIS squad once again become a true title contender. electronic rose to the challenge that year as NAVI won four tournaments, reached five finals, and made several other playoff runs. In all, electronic was named EVP an impressive nine times, and as one of the highest-rated players who put up great playoff performances and did heaps of damage all year long, he was named the fourth-best player in the world, entering the top 20 players of the year ranking in style for the first time.
NAVI slowed down in 2019, winning only one event, StarSeries i-League Season 7, where electronic showed incredible form with a 1.33 rating, but big changes were made halfway through the year as Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács returned to the team following Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko’s retirement. Reunited with their former AWPer, NAVI continued to struggle, while electronic wasn’t able to get as many individual accolades, picking up only three EVP awards. However, he was still one of the top performers of the year across the board, once again showing incredibly high peaks and strong performances in big matches to be named the sixth-best player of 2019.
Natus Vincere brought on Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy for the 2020 season and started to get a feel for the new fifth at the BLAST Premier Spring Series. Despite losing the opener to Vitality, the CIS squad then beat Astralis, took revenge on the Frenchmen and defeated Complexity to top their group and secure a spot at the Spring Finals. NAVI remained in London for the ICE Challenge, and that’s where electronic started to take off, averaging a 1.36 rating, 1.55 impact rating and 98.5 ADR in the team’s second-place run to win his first career MVP despite his team losing the final to mousesports.
NAVI then traveled to Poland for IEM Katowice, the only Big LAN event of the year, and although electronic wasn’t quite as dominant, he managed a 1.12 rating as his team enjoyed a fantastic run that ended with them lifting the trophy in an empty Spodek Arena. The 22-year-old boasted a 1.23 playoff rating as he put in big performances in the semi-final stomp against Astralis and in the 3-0 grand final against G2, to secure his first EVP award.
“Most of us were acquainted with Perfecto before he joined, so the adaptation process was very easy for the whole team. We tuned onto the same wavelength pretty fast.
“My best memory of the year was of course IEM Katowice, even though there weren’t any viewers. At the time we had enough confidence to achieve the highest results.”
electronic got another 1.12 rating, this time at the first event after Counter-Strike had moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, across a gruelling 25 maps in ESL Pro League Season 11. The Russian rifler didn’t get an EVP in Natus Vincere’s fourth-place finish, his only notable event in the first half of the year in which he didn’t get an MVP or EVP, although he was still valuable in his team’s placing. NAVI then slipped up in one of the smaller events in which they competed in 2020, ESL One: Road to Rio – CIS, the first RMR event of the year, amid a general dip in performance by everybody on the team with the exception of Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
”I started feeling that some players had lost the required confidence that they had previously shown on LAN after transferring to online play. We made a lot of mistakes and we didn’t listen to each other during matches.”
Natus Vincere moved on from their blunder against local opposition and finished fourth in DreamHack Masters Spring, in which electronic was right back in full force with a 1.27 rating, 1.45 impact and 87,3 ADR, finishing with an above-average rating on every single map with exception of the first one in the opening victory against Vitality. Another fourth place followed, this time in the BLAST Premier Spring Europe Finals, and electronic was once again one of the engines of the team with a 1.18 rating and 1.28 impact, which earned him another EVP mention. The 22-year-old was the team’s best player in the opening match against NiP, with a 1.80 rating in two maps, and second behind s1mple in the lower bracket semi-final victory against G2. He was also the top performer in the team’s last match in the tournament, the lower bracket final loss to Vitality, with a 1.19 rating across the three maps.
Natus Vincere returned after the summer break with a victory against mousesports in their ESL One Cologne Europe opening match, in which electronic got a 1.26 rating, but the CIS squad then plummeted with two big losses to Complexity and NiP, not getting double digits in any of the four maps played and finishing in 9-12th place. electronic got his only below-average tournament rating of the year (0.96) at notable events.
“I would say ESL One Cologne was the lowest moment of the year. We bootcamped beforehand, we trained a lot, and we really wanted to win, but we didn’t even manage to exit the group stage in the end.
”If we’re honest, it was one of our worst results during the online period. After our loss, we had a conversation and we discussed our next steps. We learned a good lesson from it and we continued working.”
The CIS giants gave a much better account of themselves in the following tournament, ESL Pro League Season 12. The CIS squad finished in second place in the drawn-out tournament, in which they played 27 maps, falling in the grand final to Astralis. electronic was once again on point for his team with a 1.16 rating, which expanded to 1.23 in the playoffs, and after which he was awarded another EVP. electronic was particularly good in the last three matches in the tournament against Complexity, Heroic and Astralis, showing strong performances in the two victories and the lone defeat in the final.
electronic had dips in performance in another minor CIS event, IEM New York CIS, ending NAVI’s fourth-place run with a 1.06 rating, and in the BLAST Premier Fall Series group stage, in which he posted a 0.98 rating. He bounced right back after the lesser events and was again one of the driving factors in NAVI’s IEM Beijing-Haidian Europe success, however, as they went all the way to the final with victories against MAD Lions, Spirit, Astralis and G2 before falling short against Vitality. electronic finished the ESL event with a 1.15 rating and 80.6 ADR to secure yet another EVP award.
”it’s difficult to answer [why we couldn’t go all the way and win a title]. Everything went exceptionally well during our matches up until a certain point, after that something happened that I can’t really explain, it was as if it was a different NAVI.”
Natus Vincere once again got another fourth-placed finish, this time in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, the CIS team’s first tournament with Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy as a substitute in the newly-implemented six-man system. electronic ended the tournament with 100% of maps with 1.00+ ratings in the team’s four matches, which were wins against Astralis and FURIA and losses to Vitality and Astralis, this second bout against the Danes in the lower bracket final. The 22-year-old rifler ended the tournament with a 1.18 rating and the same impact rating, as well as an 85.2 ADR, and was awarded an EVP mention for the sixth time in 2020.
”I think that Valera [B1T] is a great player, but any substitution requires restructuring. We’re currently trying to find our optimal game on Inferno and I think we’ll be able to achieve it soon.”
Natus Vincere ended 2020 in the stacked eight-team IEM Global Challenge, the final tournament of the year, kicking the event off with two promising group stage wins against FURIA and Liquid, but they were once again stopped in their tracks by the team that had been foiling their runs all year long and that went on to claim the No.1 spot in the top teams of the year ranking, Astralis. electronic was awarded his seventh and last EVP of the year in NAVI’s 3rd-4th place effort, as he ended the tournament with a 1.13 rating, including a 1.24 rating in the lonely playoff match against Astralis, and a 1.18 impact rating.
“I think we had a pretty good year, and, yes, I think the team ranking is accurate. I have to give it to the Danes, they always demonstrate great form, and those matches were no exception.
“In 2021 I want our team to become number one and win as many big tournaments as possible.”
Why was electronic the fifth-best player of 2020?
electronic earned his place among the very best of 2020 by putting in superb performances in the best tournaments and in the biggest matches. His consistency was not on par with the other top seven players in the ranking (69% of maps with 1.00+ rating, which is still great compared to everyone else), and it led to his 1.14 rating being only 12th-highest. Despite that, he was still one of the best damage dealers (81.8 per round, sixth-highest) and one of the most impactful players (1.19 impact rating, eighth-best), the latter thanks to good opening kill numbers (0.13 per round, 12th-highest) as well as a high multi-kill frequency (18.5% of his rounds, 11th-best).
Like several other players whose overall numbers don’t do them justice, electronic performed better in the most competitive events. He took part in all eight Elite tournaments, in which he averaged the sixth-highest rating (1.15), earning a remarkable six EVPs. In addition to that, he had the MVP display at ICE Challenge and also the EVP from the BLAST Spring Europe Finals, making him the fourth-most decorated player of 2020, with eight awards from ten events.
”I always strive to train a lot, and this, specifically, is the key to success for any player.”
What made his awards even more impressive is that he earned them by improving his play in big matches, in which he averaged a 1.22 rating across 45 maps, the fourth highest of all players. What’s particularly impressive is that in all eight tournaments in which his team reached the top half (usually by going through the group stage, or on some occasions by making it through the first round or two of a bracket-only tournament), his numbers improved without exception. Another factor that showcases his ability to perform in the big moments was his 1.21 rating against top-5 teams, the fourth-highest overall. That is what ultimately gave him the edge over the other players that were in contention for a spot in the top-five but ultimately missed out, while his slightly worse consistency and lower floor prevented him from going any higher.
electronic‘s prediction of a player that could make this very list in the future is B1T, the 18-year-old NAVI Junior member that stepped in for the team in the BLAST Premier Finals and in the IEM Global Challenge in Inferno games, replacing Egor “flamie” Vasilyev.
“He’s a player with a lot of potential and if he continues working as he has, he will definitely be part of this list in the future.”
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: