This year, has odds on HLTV’s Top 20 Players of the Year winner. If you’re unfamiliar with HLTV’s Top 20 Players of the Year, it’s exactly what it sounds like – every year the writers at HLTV vote on the Top 20 Players of the calendar year.

Their criteria for the list is based largely on individual statistics for each player. A player’s Rating, their impact, their performance in categories like multi-kills, clutches and multi-kills, their consistency, and their performance in big spots all factor in as well.

Things like out of server impact, in game leading, a player’s abilities to function as a glue guy are not considered, so don’t be surprised to see names like Gla1ve and Stanislaw outside of the top five.

So, first I’ll give you all the players odds, then we can break the discussion down into its more specific pieces. We’ll compare each of the front runners stats, performances in big tournaments, etc. Hopefully, by the end we’ll have figured out where the best value is for you to place your hard-earned dollars.

Player Odds
Device -200
ZywoOo +175
EliGE +700
S1mple +1800
Magisk +2900
NAF +4900
NiKo +10000
Brehze +15000

“Trophy" Rating

This is obviously the most cut and dry category, so we won’t spend much time here. Here’s each players Rating on LAN over 2019, and where they rank.

  • #1 s1mple 1.30
  • #2 ZywOo 1.27
  • #3 device 1.21
  • #5 EliGE 1.20
  • #6 NiKo 1.17
  • #7 NAF 1.16
  • #8 Magisk 1.14
  • #10 Brehze 1.13

Most of the guys in between the players I mentioned were either Tier Two guys like Jame, or small sample guys like huNter.

So, pretty obvious who holds the edge here. S1mple’s 1.30 LAN Rating over the course of a whole year is pretty absurd. That’s 129 maps, with a K/D of 1.43, against pretty high level competition. He really is an anomalous figure in CS:GO, posting the best LAN Rating in 2018 and 2019.

Beyond that is ZywOo, the biggest and arguably the only surprise on this list, at least from what we know at the beginning of 2019. He was hitting almost s1mple levels of absurdity, with a 1.31 K/D over 147 maps, which is a fairly significant increase in maps from s1mple’s 116.

After ZywOo the list takes a pretty significant decline in Rating. From ZywOo to the next on the list, device, there’s a .06 difference, which is the same as the difference between number three and number seven on the list. ZywOo and especially s1mple are the two big winners when we talk about Rating and how it should factor into this award.

Device is currently the front runner at -200, although he comes in at third on the Ratings list. In the most favorable terms to device, this gap can be explained by Astralis’ team structure. If you’ll take another look at the list, ZywOo has no teammates in the top 20, and s1mple has one. Device has three, Magisk, Xyp9x and Dupreeh all making appearances before you see another member of Na’Vi or Vitality. Astralis isn’t built to feed device in the same way that the other two’s teams are, which goes a long way in explaining the difference. Device’s teammates are of much higher quality, which tends to necessitate less severe carry jobs from the Dane.

EliGE also deserves a mention here. He’s sitting at 1.20, ever so slightly below device, and he has been the most consistent player on Liquid by a pretty wide margin this year. He was on a tear when Liquid hit their big winning streak in the Spring, and has continued monster numbers through their title drought.

Also, while we’re talking about it, let me throw each players best ratings streak out there, just for fun.


  • IEM Katowice – 1.29 over 11 maps
  • StarSeries Season 7 – 1.44 over 16 maps
  • BLAST Pro Miami – 1.18 over 5 maps
  • ESL Pro League Season 9 – 1.35 over 17 maps


  • cs_summit 4 – 1.33 Rating over 15 maps
  • DreamHack Masters Dallas – 1.22 over 7 maps
  • ECS Season 7 Finals – 1.44 over 7 maps
  • ESL One Cologne – 1.33 over 7 maps


  • ECS Season 7 Finals – 1.37 over 6 maps
  • EPL Season 9 Finals – 1.27 over 8 maps
  • ESL One Cologne – 1.08 over 7 maps
  • StarLadder Major Berlin – 1.26 over 13 maps


  • EPL Season 9 Finals – 1.32 over 12 maps
  • ESL One Cologne – 1.24 over 11 maps
  • BLAST Pro Los Angeles – 1.10 over 9 maps
  • IEM Chicago – 1.39 over 8 maps

At this point, we can cross off anyone that isn’t these four for the most part. You could make an argument for NiKo being in the running for now, but he won’t last very long. As far as who’s in the lead right now, the answer is obviously s1mple, although that’s also not likely to be the case for long.

“Trophy" Results

Another fairly easy category to talk about, results. While Counter Strike is a team game, and you can’t usually assign a tournament win to one single individual, tournament wins are still an important part of determining the best player in the world.

  • S1mple – 11 tournaments, 1 Grand Finals appearance, 1 tournament win
  • ZywOo – 11 tournaments, 4 Grand Finals appearances, 2 tournament wins
  • Device – 14 tournaments, 7 Grand Finals appearances, 5 tournament wins
  • EliGE – 16 tournaments, 10 Grand Finals appearances, 6 tournament wins

This category is why s1mple has the fourth worst odds, despite having the best Rating in the scene by a sizable margin. Na’Vi won StarSeries in April, which was an impressive win, but have been all but silent since then, without even a Grand Finals appearance to their name.

ZywOo’s resume is better than s1mple’s somehow, despite not having a top 25 teammate on his team. Vitality stole cs_summit from Liquid, beat out Furia at the ECS Season 7 Finals, and pushed Liquid and Fnatic in their other two Grand Finals appearances.

Astralis has had an interesting year. They took some time off in the middle of the year, right when Liquid was catching fire, and returned to the scene triumphantly with their win at the Berlin Major. While I do have to ding them for ducking events like DH Masters Dallas and IEM Chicago, they make up for their weak mid-year attendance with their dominance in the early and late parts of the year, as well as their dominant record over Liquid (which we’ll talk more about later).

If we did mid-year top 20 lists, EliGE would have been number one without question. Liquid’s dominance from June to August is something we may never see again, with four international LAN wins in a row. Unfortunately for EliGE, his team dropped off a cliff after the Berlin Major, and has been struggling to reclaim it’s footing since.

As far as who won the marquee tournaments this year, Liquid is the winner. That is, if we count the Majors as regular tournaments. If we acknowledge that the Majors carry additional weight, which I think they do, Astralis probably takes the edge here.

This list is likely to be rather biased towards recency, as it’s hard not to penalize EliGE for Liquid dropping the ball on what was supposed to be NA’s era. For that reason, I’m going to give this category to device, although it’s close.

“Trophy" Defining moments

This is another category that’s going to lean towards Astralis, just by virtue of their Major wins. But let’s look past that for now, just for fun.

  • ZywOo’s defining moment this year is tough. He’s won four MVP awards this year, but his team only won two of those tournaments. Of those two, only one was really an S Tier LAN, because we can’t really count cs_summit. That leaves his win at the ECS Season 7 Finals, where they beat Furia in the Grand Finals. (Remember Furia? Good times.)

    ZywOo was Rated 1.81 over the two maps. Vitality held Furia to under 10 rounds on both maps, and his underlying stats were impressive (108 ADR, 93.3% KAST). Unfortunately, Furia is that impressive of a win, especially not with hindsight.

  • S1mple’s defining performance this year pretty much has to come at the StarSeries Season 7, as it’s the only tournament Na’Vi even made the Finals at, much less won.
  • Na’Vi handled Fnatic in a 3-0 victory, albeit allowing 34 rounds over the course of the best of five. S1mple’s stat line is significantly less impressive than ZywOo’s, with a 1.21 over the three maps. This was also the Xizt Fnatic, which was magnitudes less impressive than Golden’s Fnatic.
  • For EliGE, I’ll take IEM Chicago. Not only was it a decisive win over ENCE, who were one of the three best teams in the world at that point, it capped off a four tournament winning streak, and it was on his home soil.

    EliGE dominated the best of five. ENCE was held to five total rounds over the first two maps, although they managed 14 on the decider map. EliGE was Rated a 1.62 over the series, with a K/D of 73-38 and a 103 Rating.

    EliGE’s defining moment also has the bonus of being one of the most narratively convincing, or at least it was at the time. This win capped off a historic run for the NA dream team, it came on US soil, and they looked poised to sweep the Major to bring home NA’s second Major title.

    … of course, we know now that that wasn’t the case, but still.

  • For device, I think I’m going to do something a little different. Neither of the Major Grand Finals he competed in this year were terribly competitive, beating ENCE on their way up to top three, then dismantling AVANGAR in Berlin.

    Personally, I think the two best candidates for him are the Grand Finals of IEM Beijing, or the Quarter Finals of the Berlin Major.

    The Grand Finals of Beijing capped off one of the best tournaments in the history of CS:GO for device. Device had a 1.41 Rating in the Grand Finals, and a 1.43 over the course of the tournament. The Danes obliterated 100 Thieves in the Finals, who are still considered one of the five or so best teams in the world.

    The more convincing case is probably the Quarter finals of the Berlin Major. Liquid had stumbled in the group stage, but were still looked at as the prohibitive favorites. In fact, this best of three was one of the only times in the last two years that Astralis were underdogs, and they did not disappoint.


    Coming off a five tournament run, Liquid were systematically disassembled by the Danish juggernaut, primarily on the back of device’s AWP. He was Rated 1.45 over the two maps, with 48 kills to his name. While his ADR wasn’t the highest on the team, and he was outfragged by Magisk in the second map, this feels like the jewel on device’s crown. An all-star caliber performance to stop what people thought was the best team in the world in their tracks, at the marquee event in CS:GO, is a pretty good performance to point to when looking for the best player in the world.

“Trophy" Anything else?

Here are some little things that I think might factor into the discussion that don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories.

ZywOo is a rookie. His Tier One experience is really limited to this year, and I think that will make the committee reluctant to give him the number one spot. He has a very s1mple in 2018 case though, as his stats are pretty overwhelming, but I think that his relative lack of team success combined with his rookie status make him a long shot.

Liquid can’t beat Astralis. The lifetime record between the two teams is 48-18 in Astralis’ favor, with 4 overtimes. In fact, Liquid has just two best of three wins over Astralis this year, as compared to Astralis’ four. Astralis has 12 map wins this year to Liquid’s 8. I feel like it’s hard to justify EliGE being placed over device when he can’t consistently win series over his team.

We might all be tired of s1mple. S1mple (deservingly) won the number one spot last year, and hasn’t really done much better this year. While repeat number ones aren’t unheard of on this list (in fact it’s pretty common), I think the only way s1mple could have put together a convincing case is to overperform 2018 s1mple, which he hasn’t done in placements or Ratings.

And so, that leads me to the obvious conclusion. I think device is the only real choice here, which is reflected in the odds. If you want to be a little more adventurous, EliGE at +700 is good value. His team did have an incredibly dominant streak this year, and he has continued to perform at a world class level even through his team’s slump.

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