2020 will be a forgettable year for many, but it was a breakout one for Grim
2020 will forever have an asterisk attached to it in the eyes of many due to COVID-19 leading to the majority of the year's events being played out online. Regardless of where the action took place, however, you can't argue with the statistics, and of all the players who tallied at least 100 maps in 2020, Michael "Grim" Wince came out on top. His 1.22 rating across 226 maps edged out former Chaos member Erick "Xeppaa" Bach (1.18) and his Liquid teammate Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski (1.17) to take his place atop the North American throne.
Grim joined Liquid in August following a successful tenure with Triumph that saw him post mind-boggling performances like his 64 kills in a quintuple-overtime loss to MiBR. He has continued to perform since joining the team, averaging a 1.09 rating for them against some of the best opposition in the world.
Grim's ascendance to the top of this list is just one example of the changing of the guard in North American Counter Strike, as EliGE, Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte, Gage "Infinite" Green, and Austin "Cooper-" Abadir are the only players to return from the 2019 editions. EliGE and Brehze were first and fourth on last year's offline list, while Infinite and Cooper- were third and tenth on the online version, respectively.
Last year the offline top ten list would have been comprised of the entire Liquid and Evil Geniuses teams, however Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov was excluded from consideration due to hailing from Bulgaria. As a result, Damian "daps" Steele managed to sneak into the list at tenth as a member of Gen.G. Fast forward to 2020, there are just three players total from Evil Geniuses and Liquid on this year's list and what is left of Gen.G's roster is sitting on their transfer list. What a difference a year makes.
As previously mentioned Xeppaa was this year's runner up after averaging a 1.18 rating and his ex-Chaos teammate Nathan "leaf" Orf finished seventh with a 1.14 rating. Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro averaged a 1.15 rating while he plied his trade for Swole Patrol and Ze Pug Godz, pulling him even with Infinite and Brehze in a tie for fourth.
Kaitlin "Keiti" Boop, who just topped our Dust2.us December player rankings for Mythic, finished even in a four-way tie for eighth with Cooper-, Josh "oSee" Ohm, and Paytyn "Junior" Johnson after averaging a 1.13 rating throughout the year. oSee is now playing for Extra Salt and Junior was just tabbed by Complexity's Justin "jks" Savage as his "bold prediction" for future success in the HLTV Top 20 players of 2020 segment.
The other reason that 2020 will be burned into the minds of the CS:GO faithful in North America is that this was the year that lack of organizational support in the tier two scene came to a head. Five of the eleven players on this list have either no organizational backing, are considering switching to VALORANT, or have already done so.
But it hasn't been all doom and gloom, as newly-minted organization Extra Salt picked up ex-Cloud9 and oSee earlier this month, while Swedish organization High Coast signed ex-New England Whalers earlier this week. There is still a plethora of talent to find for the organizations willing to invest, it is just a matter of getting creative to find interested parties.
As we head into 2021 there are reasons for optimis, such as new talent rising like GGPR's Victor "v1c" T., potential new looks for established rosters like Liquid with the rumored addition of Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, perhaps more of the aforementioned new investors, and with the development of COVID vaccines hopefully a return to LAN play.
Here's to a new year with the game we all love.