2019 has been a good year for Indian Counter-Strike. We put the f0rsaken saga behind us and saw Indian players shine on the big stage. 2018 ended with the start of the redemption arc and we can safely say that 2019 saw us take a huge step towards legitimising the credentials of the Indian scene once again.
Old guards returned to claim the throne; new players sprung up to battle them and take their place atop the Indian CSGO ladder.
After our inaugural annual Rankings in 2018, we are back with the 2019 edition of the top CSGO players in India. Before we dive into it, let us clear out the major criteria our rankings are based on. The player must be an Indian and we will only consider their performance for the duration they were a part of the Indian CSGO scene.
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 might be overlooked.
25. Jit ‘tryst’ Duttachoudhury (2018 Ranking: N/A)
There were many players vying for the final two-three spots, one of them being tryst’s GoFigure teammate Dibyalok ‘shrood’ Goswami.
tryst though was part of the initial GoFigure team that was formed in Bangalore, which featured Sagnik ‘hellfightR’ Roy and was overall more consistent than his current teammate. The 17-year-old recorded just 6 <0.9 IR matches during 2019 as per Sostronk while working his way right from Starters to competing in the Masters Phase for the Winter Split, beating Entity in the decider for promotion/relegation.
GoFigure also made it all the way to the Taiwan Excellence Regional LAN, securing a top-six finish. They have now been picked up by Level Zero Esports.
tryst boasts raw firepower and could be the next breakout player from the region that has already produced the likes of Sabyasachi ‘antidote’ Bose, hellfightR and to an extent, Debanjan ‘DeathMaker’ Das.
24. Varun ‘Mast3r’ Menon (2018 Ranking: N/A)
The 22-year-old is one of the fresh faces that have managed to etch their name into the top tier of Indian CSGO scene. Mast3r was one of the more consistent names in 2019 and was influential in U Mumba Esports consolidating their position as a formidable force within the scene.
Mast3r averaged 1.07 IR over 2 LAN events – Taiwan Excellence LAN Cup and AMD Gameon as U Mumba grabbed both the events. The 22-year-old represented the region at the Taiwan Excellence LAN Finals. With new reinforcements being brought in by U Mumba, Mast3r is gunning to step up even further in 2020.
23. Harsh ‘HArsH’ Arora (2018 Ranking: N/A)
JHS have been knocking on the door for a long long time in the Indian CSGO scene. But, in 2019, they came through it, joined the big leagues and also showed they are not your flash-in-the-pan kind of team, keeping their spot in Masters.
One of the proponents of their success was Harsh ‘HArsH’ Arora. The 18-year-old showed his skills on the server as JHS qualified for the LAN finals of the Winter Split in ESL Premiership. Over 2019, JHS came close to qualifying for the Taiwan Excellence Finals, losing to eventual qualifiers U Mumba Esports and reached the Quarters of DreamHack Delhi Open Online Qualifiers, losing to U Mumba again.
HArsH averaged an IR of 1.17 in the Winter Split for JHS and an overall IR of 1.21 on LAN in big events in 2019. The 18-year-old is definitely one to watch out for in 2020.
22. Chinmay ‘Pok1’ Mehta (2018 Ranking: 14)
Pok1 has had a very disappointing 2019 that started off bright, with the former 2ez man reaching the Grand Final of the Winter Split in ESL Premiership, ultimately losing to Entity. But, what has transpired after has been a myriad of shuffles, inconsistent results and unfortunate circumstances.
Pok1 is now a part of Entity after the latest roster shuffle and has shown good form on the server, with the new lineup winning Challenger #1 of the Winter Split.
21. Sahil ‘pashasahil’ Pasha (2018 Ranking: 13)
The 19-year-old, unfortunately, could not continue the momentum gained from 2018 after a brilliant spell in Invictus. pashasahil joined Mammoth Gaming and while the team did struggle to an extent, they did reach the finals of AMD Gameon LAN event, ultimately losing to U Mumba Esports in the Grand Final.
After a brief hiatus, the 19-year-old has teamed up with the former 2ez trio Rahul ‘t1to’ Sridhar, Saharyar ‘BadMan’ Sheikh and Tejas ‘Rex’ Kotian under the banner of Phoenix Esports. The lineup has already earned their promotion to the Challengers and have won the Lower Bracket Finals of Challenger #1 as we write this.
A brilliant rifler that has proven he can be the star player in any team. 2020 could see pashasahil return to the upper echelons of the Indian CSGO scene.
20. Rohit ‘BondF’ Latke (2018 Ranking: N/A)
BondF finally got a chance to represent a big banner, with U Mumba Esports providing him the opportunity. And the 26-year-old grabbed it with both hands, proving to be a consistent performer on the server.
U Mumba Esports won the AMD Gameon LAN event in 2019 and the Taiwan Excellence LAN Cup, qualifying to represent the country at the Taiwan Excellence Finals in the process.
BondF averaged 1.05 over the two LAN events in India, with his team performances earning him the #21 spot.
19. Kiran ‘Rossi’ R. (2018 Ranking: N/A)
w1ngs took everyone by surprise and the core of the roster later joined BL4ZE Esports. Rossi was one of the players from the w1ngs lineup that caught everyone’s attention with his performances on the server.
Rossi has played the pseudo-support role well for BL4ZE and has stepped up when it matters. One of the highlights of 2019 for BL4ZE has been their qualification for WESG APAC Finals, with Rossi playing an important part, averaging 1.1 IR over 5 maps against the likes of Gaming Hub and Entity.
The 21-year-old will now be looking forward to a bigger and brighter 2020.
18. Ganesh ‘superk1d’ Gangadhar (2018 Ranking: N/A)
The 21-year-old had a breakout year in 2019 and has solidified his place in the upper echelons of Indian CSGO scene towards the end of the calendar year. Over the year, superk1d has shown improvement in his form and performances, proving perhaps, that it is taking him time to find his comfort level. But, his performance in WESG South Asia Qualifiers were an ominous sign that he is beginning to find his footing, with 1.31 IR over 5 maps as BL4ZE beat Entity and Gaming Hub to grab the first of two spots at WESG APAC Finals.
As far as his LAN performances are concerned, superk1d averaged 1.07 IR in 2019, a statistic we are sure will see an improvement going into the new year.
17. Ayush ‘astaRRR’ Deora (2018 Ranking: 17)
Another rather disappointing year for someone who was once regarded as the face of Indian Counter-Strike. astaRRR started the year well under Mammoth Gaming with a strong lineup to boot. But, results failed to transpire and frequent roster changes led to their demise.
The highlights of the year came during his stint at U Mumba Esports. astaRRR averaged a rating of 1.21 as U Mumba won the Taiwan Excellence LAN Cup to qualify for the finals. Their only other LAN appearance resulted in a win at AMD Gameon, with astaRRR again leading the way with 1.23 IR over 5 maps.
astaRRR has gone inactive now, with U Mumba Esports boasting a fresh lineup after the pickup of Ishpreet ‘HuNtR’ Singh and Vishal ‘haiVaan’ Sharma.
16. Abhay ‘_KnightRider’ Mulchandani (2018 Ranking: 20)
Honestly, the only reason this Delhi rising star is ranked so low is because of the lack of team accolades or ‘achievements’ in 2019. One of the most skilled players in India and one of the highest-rated players as well, _KnightRider knows how to cause destruction on the server all too well.
His overall official IR on Sostronk may have dipped from 1.39 to 1.35 in 2019. But, it can be attributed to facing the bigwigs of the Indian CSGO scene on a regular basis this year. Still, one of the best performing players in India, Abhay had a very good 2019.
_KnightRider qualified for the ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asian Regional Finals with District 9 and had a consistent presence in the ESL Masters, also qualifying for Taiwan Excellence LAN Cup in the process. Towards the end of 2019, Abhay decided to rebuild the God Particles roster, which means beginning from scratch in the Starters. It is still a surprise to see _KnightRider still not being picked up by a big organization, given his consistently impressive performances irrespective of the opposition.
15. Sagnik ‘hellfightR’ Roy (2018 Ranking: N/A)
Another kid from the block story from Kolkata, hellfightR has been in and around the scene from 2018, when he joined Ate gaming. The 21-year-old returned to Kolkata for a brief while only to be recruited by GoFigure. Things didn’t quite work out for the lineup but hellfightR did enough to get picked up by Global Esports.
Once at Global Esports, there was no looking back for the Kolkata rifler. hellfightR played almost every big LAN that there was, including the ILG Major. There is room for improvement in terms of his performances at LAN events but he will get there. For now, the role he is playing seems to be the need of the hour in his lineup and it seems to be producing the desired results.
14. Vishal ‘haiVaan’ Sharma (2018 Ranking: 18)
After Optic India ceased to exist, haiVaan was immediately picked up by Ate gaming and the 26-year-old started the year well, reaching the LAN Finals of the Winter Split of ESL Premiership. In what was a brief period for him at Global Esports, haiVaan attended the ESL Masters Summer LAN Finals before finally winning the ESL Masters Lan Finals in the Fall Season with the Orgless Five stack.
haiVaan was also a part of the Orgless Five lineup that won the PGX One Plus LAN. The 26-year-old though, had a below-average year individually judging by the standards he had set in 2018, with an IR of 0.89 on LAN in 2019.
haiVaan has joined U Mumba Esports and it will be interesting to see whether he can regain his form going into 2020.
13. Jayanth ‘skillZ’ Ramesh (2018 Ranking: N/A)
It’s never easy to swap roles coming into a new team. But, skillZ sacrificed his own role to let the others play their game and take on the support role, which is often a thankless one, especially in the Indian Esports scene.
The team though, seem to appreciate his sacrifice and ability to adjust to the role, with Simar ‘psy’ Sethi praising the former w1ngs star for his willingness to help the team.
One could write about fairytale stories all they want. But, skillZ is one for the ages. Having entered the competitive CSGO scene in India in 2018 itself, skillZ made sure he grabbed eyeballs with his performances with the w1ngs roster before being picked up by Entity.
At Entity, skillZ reached heights budding players in India would envy. Not only did Entity bag the Mountain Dew Arena LAN and the ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asia Regional Finals, but also conjured up good runs in the Open Qualifiers for IEM Beijing 2019 and MSI MGA 2019.
skillZ averaged an IR of 1.04 in 2019 on LAN while going toe-to-toe with the best in India and Asia, to an extent. Jayanth is now inactive for the foreseeable future, with psy revealing that the player wanted to take a break.
12. Bhavin ‘HellRanger’ Kotwani (2018 Ranking: 10)
One of the most decorated IGLs of India in recent times, HellRanger attended almost every big LAN event in India, barring DreamHack Delhi, wherein Global Esports lost in the final of the Online Open Qualifiers to Lucid Dream.
HellRanger led Global Esports to success in the Winter Split at ESL Premiership to begin 2019 with a bang. Global Esports narrowly lost out to Orgless Five in the final of PGX One Plus LAN Finals and the Fall Finale of ESL Premiership. It was a year of narrow misses for Global Esports under HellRanger, with the team losing out to Entity in the Grand Finals of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asia Regionals.
HellRanger did manage to lead Global Esports to the Conquerors Insignia LAN, with a somewhat credible showing against ViCi Gaming.
11. Anuj ‘Amaterasu’ Sharma (2018 Ranking: 4)
Taking over the IGL reins from HellRanger towards the end of 2018, Amaterasu had a lot on his plate. But, come 2019, he has silenced all his doubters, maintaining his individual firepower while comfortably handling the IGL duties at Entity.
The Entity IGL averaged 0.96 IR over 2019 on LAN but his contribution towards Entity’s wins overshadowed the somewhat lacklustre individual rating. Entity won the Winter Split, qualified for ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia 2019 LAN Finals and overall, had a dominant 2019 under Amaterasu.
Entity have become a very adaptable team as far as strategies and counters are concerned and a major part of it is down to Amaterasu.
10. Rahul ‘t1to’ Savage (2018 Ranking: 11)
Another strong year for the former 2ez man. 2019 started well for t1to, with Global Esports qualifying for the LAN Finals of Cobx Masters and the Winter Split. Roster changes came into effect after the two events, with the new lineup continuing the tradition of qualifying for the LAN Finale of ESL Masters each split.
You name a LAN Finals and t1to was present. t1to represented the country with the Global Esports roster at Conquerors Insignia in what was his final event with the organisation. Now a part of the Phoenix Esports lineup, t1to would look to improve upon his LAN form going into 2020, having averaged an IR of 0.93 over the year.
9. Tejas ‘Rexy’ Kotian (2018 Ranking: 9)
Rexy had an identical year, overall results and achievements wise compared to his long-term teammate t1to. The only difference between the two was that Rexy had a better record on LAN, boasting an average IR of 0.97 in 2019.
The Impact Rating, although in the sub1.00 region, is impressive considering his role in the lineups he was part of and the teams that he went up against in 2019. The Rexy-t1to brotherhood now continues at Phoenix Esports and it will be exciting to see just how far they can take this lineup.
8. Karan ‘Excali’ Mhaswadkar (2018 Ranking: 5)
Excali has petered off quite a bit from his Invictus days, becoming more of a role player at Entity. But, the Maharashtrian star was consistent enough for his team to dominate the scene for a good period in 2019.
While Excali averaged only 1.04 on LAN in 2019, he won the Mountain Dew Arena LAN and ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asia Regional Finals. WESG was a disappointing affair for Entity and Excali both, with the former Invictus star averaging just 0.89 as Entity finished last in the South Asian Qualifiers.
With a new lineup, Entity will be hoping Excali can step up and bring his old form back in 2020.
7. Agneya ‘Marzil’ Koushik (2018 Ranking: 1)
2019 was a mixed bag for Marzil. On one hand, the former Signify star became the go-to stand-in for big teams at events and on the other, Marzil joined a BL4ZE lineup that has only shown an upward trajectory in terms of their results.
Marzil has had quite a role reversal, going from the Nurtured to now becoming the Teacher or the leader figure in BL4ZE Esports for the likes of Rossi and superk1d, who will hope to follow in his footsteps.
Averaging a rating of 1.04 on LAN in 2019, the year was one of rebuild for Marzil, with the player winning ESL Masters Summer Phase with Signify before choosing not to stick with the stack after the organization pulled out. Instead, Marzil chose to team up with up-and-coming stars at BL4ZE Esports and by the end of the year, Marzil has established a lineup that have already shown their prowess in the Indian region and is set to test the Asian waters at WESG APAC Finals.
6. Norbu ‘Karam1L’ Tsering (2018 Ranking: N/A)
Karam1L has also had quite a rise from his Pune Five days, coming to Ate gaming and then finally joining Global Esports as the Primary AWPer of the side. Under the captaincy and leadership of HellRanger, Karam1L has blossomed from the streaky yet effective styled AWPer to a consistent and deadly one.
The 21-year-old was the star for Global Esports at PGX One Plus LAN, averaging 1.18 IR over 8 maps. In fact, Karam1L has had a very good year on LAN in 2019, boasting an IR of 1.1 over 3 LAN appearances in India. Karam1L also represented the country well at the Conquerors Insignia LAN Finals, with 1.07 IR over two maps against Chinese heavyweights and eventual winners ViCi Gaming.
The highlight of 2019 for Karam1L was his performance in a narrow losing cause at ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asia Regionals, with the AWPer averaging an IR of 1.35 over 7 maps.
While he was a tad bit inactive in the beginning of 2019, his performances and overall results over the rest of the year more than makes up for it. One to watch in 2020 definitely.
5. Ishpreet ‘HuNtR’ Singh (2018 Ranking: 2)
Ideally, HuNtR would have been ranked way higher. But, the hybrid star returned to the scene after a brief period on the sidelines, making Snooker his main focus for a while.
Once he returned though, there was no looking past the abundance of talent the 22-year-old possesses. HuNtR is one of the very few Indian players who make it all look a tad bit too easy and it’s no wonder he is hailed as one of the most mechanically gifted players of the country.
HuNtR averaged a rating of 1.13 on LAN in 2019, with his best coming at ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND South Asia Regional Qualifiers wherein he boasted an IR of 1.40 through the event.
HuNtR won PGX One Plus, ESL Masters Fall Season and represented the region with the Orgless Five stack at DreamHack Delhi. The 23-year-old is currently playing under the banner of U Mumba Esports.
4. Simar ‘psy’ Sethi (2018 Ranking: 12)
The quintessential Delhi boy returned to his old form in 2019, much thanks to the surgery for RSI and the rest that followed. A rejuvenated Psy took to the server hungrier than ever and the results followed.
psy had an IR of 1.17 at LAN events in 2019 and was the star for Entity as the organization retained their Mountain Dew LAN trophy while adding another feather to their cap by becoming the first Indian CSGO team to take a Bo3 series against a foreign team on Foreign land.
Entity won the Winter Split of ESL Premiership, retained the Mountain Dew Arena and ran Signify and Orgless Five close at PGX One Plus and ESL Masters Summer Phase. Their failure to qualify for the LAN finals of the Fall season, their last-placed finish at WESG South Asian Qualifiers and their subsequent relegation from the Masters perhaps had an affect on psy’s overall rating and hence, the ranking here.
To return from a career-threatening injury in such a style and with such swagger is something that embodies psy’s grit and spirit. On to an even better 2020?
3. Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant (2018 Ranking: 8)
Ace returned to the Indian competitive Esports scene with Signify and then continued to stick with the stack under Orgless Five. Ace was not a part of the Winter Split Masters but the rest of 2019 saw him impose himself on the server and on the Indian CSGO scene like never before.
Ace won the ESL Masters Summer Season with Signify and continued to stick with the stack, winning PGX One Plus LAN and the ESL Masters Fall Season as well. Ace averaged a rating of 1.18 on LAN over 2019. The 26-year-old has recently joined Entity and it will be interesting to see just how well the new Entity lineup fares in 2020.
2. Sabyasachi ‘antidote’ Bose (2018 Ranking: 3)
antidote has maintained his top 3 ranking from 2018 and with good reason. The Primary AWPer earned accolades for his performances post-Optic India, with Global Esports before moving to dominate with the Orgless Five stack. Now, back at Global Esports, antidote has already qualified to represent the country at WESG APAC Finals while also sitting atop the ESL INDIA Premiership Winter Split Masters Leaderboard.
The rifler-turned-Primary AWPer from Kolkata had an average IR of 1.17 on LAN in 2019. But, the achievements made sure he retained his top 3 ranking. antidote made it to the Cobx Masters LAN Finals and represented the region at DreamHack Delhi. Apart from that, the triumph at PGX One Plus LAN, the conquest of ESL Masters Summer and Fall Seasons along with the fact that he qualified for WESG APAC finals with Global Esports made sure he finished the year strong and in the top 3.
1. Debanjan ‘DeathMaker’ Das (2018 Ranking: 6)
What a period it has been for the hybrid star from Silchar, Assam. Undoubtedly one of the surprise packages of 2018 thanks to his performance under Signify, DeathMaker saw his stocks soar in 2019. Now regarded as one of the snappiest aimers in India, DeathMaker was part of the Orgless Five that managed to dominate the scene. But, he wasn’t Orgless for long, with Entity picking him up.
With Entity, DeathMaker retained the Mountain Dew Championship, which was his maiden Big LAN triumph in 2018. The 22-year-old represented India along with his Entity teammates at ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia 2019, becoming the first Indian lineup in CSGO to win a Bo3 LAN series against a ‘foreign’ team away from home.
There was no catching DeathMaker in 2019, who finished the year with a whopping 1.33 IR on LAN in 2019. The rating included his performance at DreamHack Delhi, ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia LAN Finals, Cobx Masters LAN Finals and more.
DeathMaker got his hand on almost every trophy there was in the Indian CSGO scene in 2019, winning the ESL Masters Summer and Fall Season, PGX One Plus LAN, Mountain Dew Arena, ILG Finals and ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND 2019 South Asia Qualifiers. The North-East Indian star finished DreamHack Delhi as the fourth highest rated player at the event, according to HLTV and was instrumental in Global Esports qualifying for WESG APAC finals.
It has been a jolly good year for DeathMaker, who only truly burst onto the scene towards the end of 2018, with his powerful performances for Signify at DreamHack Mumbai.
That concludes our rankings for 2019. We hope 2020 brings the Indian scene even more success and exposure. Here’s to a redemptive 2019 and a hopefully momentous 2020.