With yet another exciting year of Counter-Strike action slowly fading in the rearview mirror, it’s always fun to look back at the championship trophy lifters and their storylines. But before players can pose in front of hundreds of thousands of fans with a trophy in hand, they must prove to the world that they’re worthy of such a glorious moment.
Throughout the year, fans bear witness to the blood, sweat, and tears shed by professional CS:GO players. Whether it’s a quintet of underdogs winning a major or the world’s best unexpectedly going out in the group stage, a common theme remains evident in professional CS:GO—players have an insatiable thirst for the title of “champion.”
To satisfy their need, pros pull off the unthinkable. They create distinct moments in servers. They elicit reactions from casters. They cause a collective jaw-drop from fans.
After an action-packed year of premier tournaments, there are only a few highlights among many that will be memorable for the entire esport of Counter-Strike in the years to come. Here are the most iconic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive plays of 2017.
Xyp9x’s becomes the “clutch king” – The ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta
Do you ever wonder how Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth of Astralis gained a secondary alias as the “clutch king?” Xyp9x outsmarted Virtus Pro at the ELEAGUE Major in January to keep Astralis alive on his team’s map pick. If he lost that round, the grand finals would’ve easily gone in favor of VP 2-0. But instead, Astralis went on to win the major after taking map three Train 16-14. Højsleth also led that event in individual clutches with seven in the playoffs alone.
Dupreeh’s Deagle – IEM Katowice
Astralis’ Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann earned himself an incredible ace in Katowice, Poland that deserves recognition because of three factors: It was against a seemingly unstoppable FaZe Clan, it was during an anti-eco (pistols vs. rifles) round, and it was with a Desert Eagle (arguably the hardest gun in the game). Astralis defeated FaZe 3-1 in the grand finals of the IEM event, continuing their dominance in the first half of 2017. His ace was also nominated for esports play of the year.
Allu’s AWP ace – IEM Katowice
In the last map of the grand finals of Katowice 2017, FaZe Clan’s Aleksi “allu” Jalli answered Dupreeh’s ace with an impressive one of his own, especially because it was with an AWP. After getting two early picks against Astralis, allu fell back and waited for the second wave of Danish aggression. Despite being the sole defender of middle map Inferno, allu stood his ground, combined his frags with skillful shoulder peeks, and prompted a two syllable howl from caster Henry “HenryG” Greer—”ALLU!”
Shroud and N0thing win Overpass – ESL One Cologne
The end of an era for North American Counter-Strike came suddenly during the summer, as retired CS:GO veterans Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek made their last deep tournament run with Cloud9 in Cologne, Germany. They collectively completed three monumental clutches in map two Overpass of the team’s semifinal match win (2-0) against CIS powerhouse Natus Vincere. In the final moment of the match, n0thing ended the map 16-14 with a one-tap heard around the world and a bit of on-stage stripping. One month later, shroud voluntarily stepped down to a substitute position and n0thing was moved to the bench.
Dosia’s grenade – The PGL Major: Krakow
Gambit Esports’ Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov, otherwise known as the X God, etched himself into Counter-Strike history with a single piece of utility at the last major of 2017. Dosia, who knew that two Immortals players were saving their guns in pit, tossed a frag grenade from boiler to do economic damage to the Brazilian side. Dosia’s grenade put them to half health, causing them to die to the bomb explosion and lose two rifles in the process. Even though Gambit lost the round, those deaths prevented a tighter comeback from Immortals in map three of the major grand finals, which ended 16-10.
GuardiaN runs out of ammo – ESL Pro League Season Six Finals
When FaZe played SK Gaming in the grand final of the EPL Season Six Finals, map four Train went to overtime primarily because of Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács. At SK’s tournament point (15-12), GuardiaN went on a huge flank during the eco with a CZ-75, which is an automatic pistol that only provides 24 bullets per round. In the post-plant situation, he was left in a one-vs-two with only six bullets left to his name. After killing one, GuardiaN ran out of bullets, while Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo kept defusing inside a smoke. The star AWPer then drove his sapphire-colored knife into SK’s captain to keep FaZe’s tournament hopes alive. Despite the incredible impact of GuardiaN’s knife kill, FaZe eventually lost in overtime 19-16, giving SK their last championship win of the year.