TOP 20 PLAYERS OF 2021: INTRODUCTION

TOP 20 PLAYERS OF 2021: INTRODUCTION

It’s that time of the year! The Top 20 players of 2021 ranking powered by GG BET is quickly approaching, this year with slight changes in the announcement schedule.

After a 2020 that left a sour taste in the mouth for many, over the last year we slowly returned to somewhat of a normalcy, witnessing plenty of LAN events from July on and even getting the chance to see teams play in front of large arena crowds at the PGL Major Stockholm and BLAST Premier Fall Final.

With 2021 done and dusted and the professional scene now enjoying a well-deserved winter break after a busy end to the season, HLTV.org is ready to look back at the past 12 months and crunch the numbers to find out who were the standout players of the year.

The popular Top 20 players ranking returns to help us recognize the players’ efforts that helped pave the way to their teams’ successes during the year. In 2021, we’re changing the schedule a little (more details on why later), as we’re kicking off the countdown on January 3 this time, with a player set to be announced every day at 21:00 up to the final trio, who will be revealed on January 22.

Other than that, you can look forward to the same kind of in-depth articles you know from previous iterations of the Top 20, delving into the players’ performances and asking the stars themselves about how their year has been in their point of view. Making a return will also be the “Bold Prediction by GG BET” segment, in which the players pick out a name from young up-and-comers who they think could burst onto the tier-one scene in the near future.

Top 20 players of 2021:

  1. Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  2. Mathieu “⁠ZywOo⁠” Herbaut
  3. Nikola “NiKo” Kovač
  4. Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov
  5. Russia Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov
  6. Abay “HObbit” Khasenov
  7. Denis “electroNic” Sharipov
  8. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis
  9. Valeriy “⁠b1t⁠” Vakhovskiy
  10. Russia Dzhami “⁠Jame⁠” Ali
  11. Denmark Nicolai “device” Reedtz
  12. Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač
  13. Denmark Benjamin “blameF” Bremer
  14. Keith “NAF” Markovic
  15. Brazil Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato
  16. Denmark Martin “stavn” Lund
  17. Canada Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken
  18. Estonia Robin “ropz” Kool
  19. United States Jonathan “⁠EliGE⁠” Jablonowski
  20. Latvia Helvijs “broky” Saukants

For those of you who like to try their hand at guessing the players in the ranking or just wonder about how it is made, here are a few crucial points to keep in mind:

  1. Statistics: The ranking is heavily based on the numbers, but looking at year-long ratings alone won’t tell you everything. Context is important, such as at which events players stood out and whether they performed when the stakes were highest in big playoff matches.
  2. Awards: If you followed the ranking in previous years, you’ll know MVPs and EVPs can make a difference. Not all accolades are born equal, however, as a big EVP (from a Major, for example) could mean more than MVP medals from smaller events.
  3. Sample size: This is a ranking of the best of the best. To make it into the top 20, players have to show their worth against the best teams on a regular basis. If they haven’t played at the top for long enough, the sample size is too small to judge.
  4. Consistency: One of the factors in judging the players’ year is their consistency, both from match to match and tournament to tournament. Although high enough peaks can make up for a lack of stability, occasional disappearances — especially in key moments and at the biggest tournaments — are likely to bring them down a notch.
  5. Recency bias: While it is natural for fans to remember more from recent times, we look at an entire year’s worth of performances when determining the ranking.