The best CS:GO plays of 2016

...and one of the worst.

Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson/ESL
Competitive gaming in 2016

Over the course of Christmas and New Year, PC Gamer Pro will be exploring the moments that defined all of the biggest competitive games in 2016. Check back every day for another look back at this exciting, vibrant and growing aspect of PC gaming.

2015 had its fair share of spectacular moments, but this year has seen the combination of individual skill with copious amounts of luck taken to whole new heights. From airborne multikills to superb finales, here are some of this year’s standout moments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Death has wings

If this year left you feeling cold, that could only be a good sign: as Luminosity Gaming’s Marcelo 'coldzera' David demonstrated. In the first half of this year, LG (now SK Gaming) were carving a path through the best teams in the world. Running into Team Liquid in the semifinals of the MLG Columbus Major, they hit a bit of a bump. At 15-9 down, coldzera was the sole line of defence standing between Liquid and Mirage’s B-bombsite. As it turned out, he was all the defence LG needed.

Landing a jumping double-kill noscope is an unlikely prospect at the best of times, but for coldzera to pull it off and another two kills to save match point at a Major? Phenomenal. The blow proved too much for Liquid, who went on to lose the game in overtime. The full final can be found here.

The event has since been immortalized on the map with artwork of a winged AWP. You can find it tucked in by the van on the B-bombsite. Coldzera was such a fan of the piece that he commissioned a tattoo artist to recreate it.

Simple sniping

The AWP sniper rifle is Counter-Strike’s most iconic gun, recognisable instantly by its thunderous boom. If you think yourself an expert, however, let Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev enlighten you with some less conventional uses.

Left in a 1v1 with his opponent holed up in Dust2’s B-bombsite, s1mple throws both caution and his AWP to the wind in an audacious play. By hurling a massive gun over the wall, his opponent is distracted just long enough for s1mple to push in and take the round with a pistol.

S1mple is no stranger to making bold plays and, clearly envious of coldzera’s success, he couldn’t help but pull of his own spectacular noscope kills. Taking an aggressive 1v2 fight, Simple drops from Heaven on Cache’s B-bombsite, sniper in hand. Hitting one player on the way down, he then follows up with an absurd unscoped shot on the remaining terrorist. Map creator FMPONE was quick to mock up some artistic graffiti for the level, a change since added by Valve. Matching coldzera, s1mple had the work tattooed onto his arm.

The best grand final: Luminosity Gaming vs. G2, ESL Pro League Season 3 

The best grand final: Luminosity Gaming vs. G2, ESL Pro League Season 3
The ESL Pro League Season 3 Grand Final hosted Brazilians Luminosity against the French G2 in a sublime five match finale. Taking place in May, LG were still riding high off their MLG Colombus Major victory. G2—after barely scraping through qualification— produced an underdog tale for the books, dominating the group stage before besting Fnatic in the semifinals. The final heralded one of the best series in years.

Map five honoured Inferno with a fitting send off before its removal and eventual rework by Valve. Despite the map holding a heavy CT-bias, the two teams traded round after round in a brutal slugfest each half. Both sides so evenly matched, it took a heart-stopping overtime finish to establish a champion. Best of five series are extremely rare these days in CS, and the ESL Pro League proved just how much of a spectacle they can offer. If you’d like to start from the beginning, game one can be found here.

A first for North America: Cloud9 win the ESL Pro League 

Following the brilliant performance of SK Gaming, the standard of competition in North America (NA) has been driven to new heights. Everyone from Team Liquid to CLG has had their moment to shine, but none quite managed to capitalise on a large international win. Fortunately, when America needed a saviour, old favourites Cloud9 stepped up to the mantle. Ousting the defending champions SK gaming 2-1, they became the first NA team to win the ESL Pro League and claim the greater share of the $600,000 prize pool.

A recent acquisition for C9, Timothy "autimatic" Ta gave an exemplary account, rising to the challenge time after time to dismantle SK. Following C9’s success, OpTic Gaming have taken the ELEAGUE Season 2 crown, increasing NA’s foothold on the international circuit. With a foot firmly in the door, the American fanbase can anticipate an exciting year to come.

Fail of the year

For every success in CS there will always be an accompanying failure, and some provide far more entertainment than others. Topping the list this year could be no other than Splyce’s stand-in, Jaryd "summit1g" Lazar. At match point, 15-12, summit is left in a tense 1v1 against CLG’s FugLy. After a short exchange, FugLy falls and Summit needs only defuse the bomb to claim victory.  With the match all but over, the production cut to Splyce’s booth in time to see the team erupt with an outburst of confusion and hilarity. Cut back to the game and we find summit has somehow died, earning CLG the round...

Oh dear. Elated in victory, summit runs over his own molotov, taking a staggering 40 damage to kill himself.  Adding insult to injury, CLG then went on to recover the match, beating Splyce in overtime 19-16. He may be a successful streamer, but summit is also likely to be the only player who managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The full match is available here.

Unusual entertainment

2016 also saw a number of bizarre occurrences play out:

Running on RNG

2016 has also seen interest in CS rise in the Eastern market, with China’s Tyloo asserting themselves on the international stage by knocking world champions Luminosity Gaming out of the Dreamhack Masters Malmo. Making their way into the quarterfinals, Tyloo were met by the might of NaVi. At 12-8 down, Tyloo attacked Inferno’s B-bombsite, producing an incredibly unconventional and unquestionably lucky AK headshot to take secure the plant.

Jumping over the first set of boxes, Hui "DD" Wu annihilates Navi’s AWPer with a single shot. Likely just looking for positional information, DD rolled the dice and came out on top, though NaVi would later take the match. The full game can be found here.

Moments like this are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon, but the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major is just around the corner in 2017. Pitting the top teams against each other for a million dollar prize pool, CS fans will soon witness what the best of the best can be expected to achieve in the coming year. 

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