Indian CSGO rose to prominence in 2018 and while there was a slight hiccup, *cough* forsaken *cough*, it is safe to say that 2018 has been the most happening year for India in the CSGO scene. Many legends of the scene took a back seat while new names became the toast of the nation.
We have compiled a list of 20 players, which include stars that held their own and a few names that surprised people positively.
Note: The statistics have been picked up from HLTV and Sostronk. There might be a few matches that did not find their place on either platform. Such matches were overlooked.
20. Abhay ‘KnightRider’ Mulchandani
A year where God Particles reinstated the presence of a Delhi team as a prominent challenger within the Indian circuit, Abhay Mulchandani rose to prominence as a player to be feared. Boasting an overall IR of 1.39 in Official matches, the Delhi-based star had already shown positive signs towards the end of 2017. But, 2018 saw KnightRider become the Ultimate Carry for God Particles, registering only 9 <0.9 IR matches in the entire calendar year.
God Particles made it to the Grand Final of Taiwan Excellence Gaming Cup INDIA before losing to Entity, where they had to forfeit a map due to Abhay falling ill.
The Delhi-based outfit made it to ESL INDIA Masters after starting 2018 in the Starter Cup. Their notable wins came against Invictus at the Taiwan Excellence LAN Finale and over ex-Optic India in ESL INDIA Challenger Stage. KnightRider is lauded for his raw firepower and it will be interesting to see how much he can improve in 2019.
19. Dipayan ‘Macho’ Das
Slaughter Rage Army is a team that has surprised many in 2018. And while it has truly been a team effort, with everyone contributing to the success, Dipayan Das added other feathers to his cap. Qualifying for the LAN Finals of ILG Cup Season 2 with Team Oh Bey, the diminutive youngster won the Bengaluru LAN in December, 2018.
While Slaughter Rage Army dominated the North-East Indian CSGO scene in 2018, Dipayan Das was consistent in a support-cum-lurk role. He and team captain The_Guru were also selected for the Optic tryouts initial session but decided against travelling to Bengaluru owing to personal commitments.
All in all, it was a good year for SRA and an even better one for Macho. The team decided against playing the Winter phase of ESL India after securing second place in the Fall Season and are likely to return in the new year.
18. Vishal ‘haiVaan’ Sharma
Not many expected Vishal Sharma to be in the Final Eight in the tryouts for Optic India. Ultimately, haiVaan was picked in the Final Five. The star was lauded for his communication skills, leadership and his versatility with the weaponry.
Initially picked as an IGL according to everyone, haiVaan also survived the arrival of yB, who replaced Formless in the active lineup. haiVaan struggled to put up numbers. But, he played the support role well, which is an underrated trait within the Indian scene.
haiVaan is yet to showcase his potential in Ate Gaming. But, as the player grows more comfortable in his new role, with his new teammates, we can expect better and consistent showings.
17. Ayush ‘Astarrr’ Deora
The quintessential face of Indian Counter-Strike, Ayush Deora had a mixed 2018. While he was inactive for good portions of the calendar, Astarrr lived up to the billing every time he made himself active within the Brutality lineup.
Despite Brutality’s struggles in 2018, Astarrr recorded just 5 <0.9 IR matches – none after July 15, which highlights just how ominous he was towards the second half of 2018. He did go inactive again. However, there are rumours that he is likely to return to the scene in a lineup that consists of MithilF, Manan and a couple of other renowned players. Here’s to hoping he does. Indian CSGO awaits the return of the mercurial star.
16. Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth
Another household name within the Indian CSGO scene, Ankit Panth’s rise off-the-server was astonishing. From getting a shoutout on Beyond the Numbers to recording a video with Faze Censor, AnkitPanth continued to push the boundaries and create a refreshing image of what a model Indian CSGO professional should be.
On the server though, he was inconsistent, with several negative IR maps against his name. Brutality did qualify for the Finale of the ESL INDIA Summer Phase, ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Indian Closed Qualifiers and the Dew Arena Finals.
But, their record at these LAN Events were discouraging, to say the least. Still, Brutality continues to remain as a strong force within the INDIAN Csgo scene. There have been a few changes to the lineup and it will be interesting to see how V3nom is able to push the envelope, both off-the-server and on it.
15. Bharat Kiran ‘ribbiz’ Reddy
Another player that is in the legends bracket, Bharat Kiran Reddy extended his legacy by getting his hands on the ESL INDIA Summer trophy. Ribbi was again consistent on the server and managed to recover from a dip in form in mid-2018.
Invictus had a poor showing at the Taiwan Excellence Cup LAN Finals. It will be interesting to see if ribbiz continues to be a part of the pro scene, having hinted at inactivity at the Summer LAN Finale LAN event.
14. Chinmay ‘Poki’ Mehta
2ez had a very iffy start to 2018, struggling to record consistent wins against top-tiered opposition. But, the second half was brilliant for the Mumbai-based outfit. Starting with a spirited performance in the Direct Invite Qualifiers of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND ASIA 2018 Indian Qualifiers, 2ez finished second at the Dew Arena Lan 2018.
Optic India’s disqualification saw 2ez go up against Slaughter Rage Army for the ESL INDIA Fall Season title, where 2ez came up trumps and secured a place in the ESL Pro League Season 8 Asia Closed Qualifiers.
Chinmay Mehta has been one of the cornerstones of 2ez’s success. In 2018, Poki was consistent for his side while not being as prolific as his teammates Rexy and t1to. Poki’s highlight was that he held his own against SEA opposition early on in 2018 during the Dreamhack Marseille Qualifier.
With Antidote added to the lineup, 2ez will now hope to make more of a mark in the SEA region. As for Poki, it’s just a battle to help your team and be consistent on the server at the same time.
13. Sahil ‘pashasahil’ Pasha
One of the main pillars behind Invictus and their success in the first half of 2018, pashasahil remained with the team after the departure of Huntr and Excali to Entity. While Invictus were unable to post satisfying results post-shuffle, pashasahil established himself as a worthy contender within the Indian Counter-Strike scene.
While he has not lit up the scene, he did not have a single <0.90 IR event in 2018, highlighting his ability to hold his own against any and all. A definite name to watch, the 18-year-old will be keen to enter the top 10 in 2019.
12. Simar ‘psy’ Sethi
On and off in 2018 due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Simar Sethi still showed glimpses of why he is so revered within the scene. Playing through the pain in the first half of 2018, the star awper lit up the ESL INDIA Summer LAN Finale with his ability on the server, ending the event with an IR of 1.31 over six maps.
The player then took a bit of a sabbatical to nurse his injury and came back with renewed vigour within the active lineup at Entity, winning the Taiwan Excellence Cup INDIA. His performance at Dreamhack Mumbai left a sweet-and-sour taste. While he did hold his own against other sides, his performances against the newly formed Signify and South African team Energy left a lot to talk about, with a few noticeable whiffs with the AWP.
Entity are just getting settled after the arrival of Dav and Solo. Psy himself would not be happy with his display in the matches mentioned above and is likely to hit the practice servers hard in 2019.
11. Rahul ‘t1toSavage’ Sridhar
Not as consistent as 2017, Rahul Sridhar still managed to put up a good showing in matches that mattered. One of the highlights was against Vici Gaming in the ESL Pro League Season 8 Asia Closed Qualifier, where he held his own.
There were numerous negative IR maps posted by t1to. But, he led 2ez amicably in the second half of 2018, with his team not only winning the ESL INDIA Fall Season but finishing second at the Dew Arena 2018 LAN Finals.
2ez have started the Winter Phase strongly, with just two losses posted in 8 matches and it will be interesting to see whether 2ez can manage to go up against Entity and Signify on a consistent basis.
10. Bhavin ‘HellRangeR’ Kotwani
Lauded as one of the best In-Game Leaders in India, 2018 saw a different side to the vocal star. Entity chose to hand the reins of IGL to Amaterasu and shift HellRanger in a support-cum-lurk role for a change of perspective.
And it seemed to have freed HellRanger to an extent, with Entity coming close to grabbing the ESL Summer Trophy. While they lost, thanks to an incredible comeback from Invictus, everyone in the crowd recognized the efforts of the Entity captain, especially on Nuke, where he dropped a 38-bomb.
BhavinKotwani has improved his on-the-server ratings a lot after being relieved of IGL duties. While he would want to forget the games against Signify and Energy at Dreamhack Mumbai, HellRanger has proven that he is much more than an able IGL and it will be interesting to see how he can continue to improve himself in terms of firepower in 2019.
9. Tejas ‘Rexy’ Kotian
Undoubtedly the star for 2ez in 2018, Tejas Kotian showed he is ready to take on Asian opposition now, with a credible performance in the Dreamhack Marseille Qualifiers in early 2018, boasting an IR of 1.28 for the event.
Rexy’sperformances on LAN was also a huge positive. Not only did he post a positive rating in what was a brutal defeat to Invictus in the semi-finals of ESL INDIA Summer Phase, but he also had a fair showing on the server at the Dew Arena Lan, finishing the event with an IR of 1.09.
Overall, Rexy had just one <1 IR event in 2018 –a 0.99 rating against Vici Gaming in the ESL Pro League 2018 Asia Closed Qualifiers. A positive year for TejasKotian, who will look to push on in 2019.
8. Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant
Honestly, Ace is probably #1 on my personal list and perhaps, overall as well. But, technicality restricts his ranking. Ideally, Ace has achieved the most of any Indian CSGO player in 2018, joining XCN and showing that Indian players can be attractive recruits for other Asian powerhouses.
Colossal performances for XCN were followed by a brilliant debut for Signify at Dreamhack Mumbai, his first Indian LAN event in 2018. Ace also posted incredible numbers for Signify playing in the Starter Cup and Challenger Stage of ESL INDIA Winter Phase under the tag Placeholder.
All in all, Ace is likely to move up the rankings in 2019 as he plays more events in India. If it was down to ranking the Best Indian CSGO Players, Ace would have probably been at the top alongside Havok. But, as the rankings relate to the Best CSGO players in India, it would only make sense if we prioritise the players who made it count while being a part of the Indian CSGO ecosystem.
7. Lukas ‘yb’ Groning
Everyone craves for class German engineering. So when Optic India brought in yb to aid their cause, despite a few skeptics, there was a hope that the player, who was once associated with the Indian CS Source scene, would be able to improve Optic India.
While almost the entirety of the team’s achievements have been overshadowed and maligned by Forsaken being caught with cheats, no one can overlook the improvement that yb had brought in. So much so that Marzil intended to stick with his IGL in search of a new team post-Optic India.
Signify put their trust in the German and it has paid dividends so far, with the team posting perhaps the most successful result of any Indian team since Wolf’s appearance in the Major. Signify dismantled Bravado and while they lost ultimately to them in the Grand Final, their display sparked a debate that perhaps, Indian Counter-Strike is not as far behind other regions as people make it out to be.
Individually speaking, yb wasn’t the brightest of the bunch. But, he came in clutch with crucial kills while his in-game calling made sure he was contributing more to his team’s cause. The aim for 2019 is perhaps to put Signify on the map in the Asian and international scene and yb will be a key cog in it.
6. Sunny ‘DeathMaker’ Das
Everybody is talking about the diminutive versatile star from North-East India after his performance for Signify at Dreamhack Mumbai. But, what people tend to miss is that Sunny Das has been in and around the top scene the entirety of 2018.
Starting the year with Ate Gaming, DeathMaker impressed despite disappointing results overall. He was then given a chance at Entity gaming, which he grabbed with both hands, winning his first big event at Dew Arena.
He was then released by Entity gaming. But, DeathMaker continued to impress, landing the ILG Cup Season 2 title with Team Oh Bey. Given a chance by Signify, Sunny Das hit the servers with a point to prove; to prove that he can go head-to-head with the who’s who in terms of raw firepower.
Finishing the event with an IR of 1.27, DeathMaker has proven that he is ready to be included in the talk for the best Indian CSGO players. Perhaps, in 2019, he can do a bit more and enter the top 5. A player to watch.
Head over to the next page to unveil the top five!