We are closing in on the LAN finals of the second season of WePlay! Forge of Masters in CS:GO. The upcoming event will be running on November 15-17 in Kiev, being hosted in Concert-hall VDNG. There, eight teams from Europe and CIS are set to struggle for $100,000 of prize money. Among them, we can find both experienced players, as Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey, and up-and-coming talents of Counter-Strike.
In this article, we have gathered five players who you should follow at the tournament of WePlay! Esports. Three of them represent the European scene of CS:GO, while the other two come from the CIS region. The esportsmen, who we are going to mention, play for the following lineups: Team GamerLegion, Tricked Esport, Team Heretics, Winstrike Team, and Gambit Youngsters.
Abay "Hobbit" Khasenov
The champion of PGL Major Krakow 2017 is finally coming back to the professional CS:GO scene. We had waited for this moment for a half of a year. HObbit had escaped from the HellRaisers bench so that he could join Winstrike on a loan basis. As of now, the player from Kazakhstan has been competing under their tag for a bit more than a month. Now, it’s time for him to face his first serious challenge in this team, as they are going to participate in a LAN event.
On October 7, Winstrike Team has made some substantial changes in its CS:GO lineup, bringing in three new players, one of which turned out to be Abay. Beside him, the Russian organization signed Aidyn "KrizzeN" Turlybekov and Viktor Lack1 Boldyrev. However, after they had combined their forces, they had time only to compete in a few qualifiers.
Forge of Masters is their first international LAN with this roster. Before that, Winstrike Team participated in a qualifier for WESG 2019 in Kazakhstan, making it through the closed stage of the competition. Their final match against Syman Gaming was held offline, but there they lost to them with a 0-2 score.
Why do viewers have so much interest in HObbit? He was one of the best players in the world. While representing Gambit Esports, Khasenov won the CS:GO Major in Krakow and managed to make it into the Top 20 on HLTV in 2017, placing there 11th. Unfortunately, he had lost his form after Gambit began to struggle, and in HellRaisers, on the other hand, he also failed to reinvent his style of play. Now, it’s Winstrike’s turn. How much of progress has the 25 y.o. player made since joining this squad — we will be able to make first conclusions upon the completion of the WePlay championship.
William "draken" Sundin
The former sniper of Ninjas in Pyjamas and FNATIC is back in action: draken will play as a standin for Team GamerLegion at Forge of Masters. He will temporary replace Dennis "dennis" Edman, who has to miss this tournament due to unforeseen circumstances. As a result, GamerLegion secured services of an experienced and skilled individual, while William got a good chance to prove himself again.
The Swedish dragon has not represented any organization since this May. After leaving NiP, he continued playing with Team Ancient, but they could not find a sponsor and, eventually, split apart. However, the squad had really shown some promise, as they reached the final of DreamHack Open Summer 2019 and took part in the European Minor for StarLadder Major.
It’s worth mentioning that initially draken was going to be on the very first lineup of Team GamerLegion. Back then, he was in a mix called Uruguay3 (HS, ScreaM, Ex6TenZ, hampus), which, in the end, was picked up by the German organization. In order to fill the gap in the roster, they replaced him by a young talent, Tim "nawwk " Jonasson. It happened due to the fact that Sundin accepted the offer to stand in for NiP. After all, his expectation were not fulfilled, as they did not offer him a permanent spot in the team. He ended up being teamless and had to start from scratch again, joining the Team Ancient project.
The ascent of William to the top of the competitive scene started with Cringe Gods and Epsilon Esports. There, he proved himself as a player with great potential, so later Ninjas in Pyjamas invited him to their starting five. Over the years, he lost that thing that was firing up his individual level of play, and the reason for that could be NiP’s consistent struggles as a team. He did not manage to turn things around in FNATIC, so it led him to the state where it’s now hard for him to find a new home.
Back in September, draken himself said that he is waiting for a chance to prove his worth again. In a post on Twitter, he stated that he wants to continue playing Counter-Strike, being on the best team in the world. Team GamerLegion is an opportunity for him to demonstrate that the words that he said displayed his real intentions. If he wins the WePlay event or at least shows a notable individual performance, it will make it easier for him to find a new squad. It, in its turn, would help him to come closer to his endgame goal — to return to the upper echelon of Counter-Strike.
Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey
Right here we have one of the players that developed a strong name for themselves in the early years of Global Offensive. Even though that kioShiMa is a two-time world champions in CS:GO, he won his last LAN title two and a half years ago. To be honest, his career has really gone downhill. As of now, he plays on a lineup that does not even have a spot in the Top 30 of HLTV’s World Ranking, Team Heretics.
However, Fabien’s previous achievements keeps him relevant enough to still draw attention from the community. The fans are waiting, as they believe that he will eventually bounce back. Such hopes were expressed after he had linked up with Heretics. In this team, the experience of kioShiMa is surrounded by young players with good potential. Those are, for example, Lucas "Lucky" Chastang and David "devoduvek" Dobrosavljević. Wide audience should know them for their respective times in G2 Esports and Team LDLC.
For k1o, Forge of Masters is his debut tournament on LAN since he joined Team Heretics. In total, it will be his only fourth offline event in 2019. Prior to that, kioShiMa participated in iBUYPOWER Masters and IEM Katowice with Cloud9, and, seven months later, played as a standin for G2 at ESL One New York.
It is possible that Heretics are Fabien’s last chance to channel his career in the right direction. It’s highly unlikely that Europe’s finest teams, as Vitality or FaZe, would want to pick up a player who previously failed to deliver a good level of play on a tier-2 roster. The present is more important than the past: kioShiMa has to get back on track. It feels like everyone expects it from him. Why not to start with the WePlay competition?
Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen
Tricked Esport will be back in action on LAN for the first time since their triumph at V4 Future Sports Festival. They will be accompanied by the MVP of the aforementioned tournament in Hungary — Bubzkji. Lately, he has been showing good individual results, so there is a probability that he can lead his team to another trophy.
According to the current version of HLTV’s Ranking, Tricked is the third best team from Denmark, as they got ahead of a famous organization North. Their lineup consists of ambitious players who are led by the veteran of the scene Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen, while Andersen serves as the main source of its firepower. He has the highest KDR in the squad — 1.18 against Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen’s 1.14, who is closer to him than the others in terms of rating.
The first steps to recognition Bubzkji made with a team called Fragsters. He, however, was not the main star on that roster: this role belonged to Martin "stavn" Lund, who now represents the tag of Heroic. That did not stop him on his way to the highest level of competitive Counter-Strike, and there is probably more to come from the Danish talent. Such tournaments as WePlay! Forge of Masters should only help players like him in reaching new heights. Whether is he ready to carry on with his progress — we shall see in Kiev on November 15-17.
Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov
He has been playing Counter-Strike since he was a 6 y.o. kid. His style of play was inspired by Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Jesper "JW" Wecksell. The talks about his potential has been going around far beyond the CIS region. All those things fit the description of a star AWPer of Gambit Youngsters, Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov.
His first international success came at Copenhagen Games 2019, where he participated in a BYOC qualifier. While playing for Gambit YNG, he became the second-best player of this phase of the competition, averaging a 1.48 KDR. There, sh1ro demonstrated a phenomenal performance against GODSENT, which, at the time, had such players as znajder, pronax, Plopski, and disco doplan. He made almost 60 kills in two maps of a Best of 3 while competing against such big names of CS:GO. Five months later, he led his squad to the victory at MSI Gaming Arena 2019. At that event, he had a stunning 1.54 rating. It was his first international title, and the biggest sum of prize money he has ever earned during his career.
Now, this explosive sniper is set to appear at the WePlay tournament. There, from him we should expect aggressive plays with the Big Green, good highlights, and, what is he accustomed to, incredibly high statistics on HLTV. Even if Gambit Youngsters don’t make it far, it’s still expected that sh1ro will deliver a high-quality Counter-Strike.
That’s just how it should be. He is a "one for the future", as the HLTV article says. A few notable CIS personalities, among which Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy and Ivan "F_1N" Kochugov, have no doubt that sh1ro will be a star of this game. That’s why we recommend you to follow him while watching the stream of the event in Ukraine.