This article represents my own opinions. Feel free to start a healthy discussion in the comments if your views differ from mine. You can find him on facebook and twitter.
2ez Gaming had been lurking for too long in the shadows; this year, they stepped into the limelight. The team has had a meteoric rise since the start of the year and have come a long way since then. Rex has been a major chunk of 2ez’s firepower. Rex might not always have top fragged for 2ez, but he stepped up whenever the team needed him to. His impeccable aim and tapping skills have earned him a spot on the leaderboard. He could have had a championship to his name, but he got close enough and finished as the runner up at both the Fall and Winter Season finales of the ESL India Premiership.
Last year’s Rank – N.A
Antidote is one the finest AWPers in the country. After having a short stint with Eternal Esports, the Kolkata based player found his place back in his hometown with JMD Gaming. Even though JMD Gaming may not have a stellar list of achievements to show off this year; we need to keep in mind that the team was on a downward slope, and the addition of antidote to the roster revived the team back from the dead. He has hard carried the team almost every time and made life difficult for every other expert sniper in the country.
Last year’s rank – 3rd
Amaterasu never disappointed us this year. He seldom had matches where he couldn’t get his groove on and has had decent performances throughout the year. But there were times when a demon inside him awoke and went on a bloodthirsty rampage, racking up headshots like an absolute madman. Moments like these were jaw-dropping and have booked him a slot on our leaderboard. Even Sudhen ‘bleh’ Wahengbum claims that Amaterasu is the best player in the country at the moment. Along with the rest of his teammates from Entity, Amaterasu is all set to take 2018 by storm.
Last year's rank - N.A
Excali was very proficient with his AK47 this year. The entire first half of the year was dominated by Entity and Excali has played a major role in this. He has been the most consistent fragger of the team; providing the best possible support to his teammates as well as stepping up whenever his team needed him to carry. He had some insane clutches to his name, especially in the Indian Qualifier of Zowie eXTREMESLAND, that helped his team get the chance to fly to Shanghai. Even on foreign soil, Excali performed well under pressure and showed us that he has the potential to take on Asia’s best. His absence from last year's list was owing to multiple spells of inactivity. This year though, he gave us several good glimpses of why you should fear him.
Last year’s ranking - N.A
Last year’s ranking - 1st
Watching Marzil's explosive playstyle is the Indian CS GO equivalent of watching a Michael Bay movie! He can wield the AK47 just as well as the AWP, and is proficient with them both. He started the year on the underdog team TradeMarc Gaming. While tMg managed to stay somewhat on the top in the first half of the year, they had no titles to their name. This changed in ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Indian Qualifier where he manhandled his opponents and gave them hell. He parted ways with tMg on a high note after their victory at the Taiwan Excellence CS:GO Cup. Though his teammates were some of the most skilled players in the scene, they were tied down by their professional commitments and the team could never give it their all. Marzil is now a part of Entity’s new roster and is surrounded with the country’s finest; and has already claimed an ESL India Premiership trophy. Can’t wait to see him in action in the year ahead!
Last year’s ranking - N.A
No list is complete without him. Ace once again showed us that experience matters a lot! The Ace-Excali duo is a prime example of a successful CS GO partnership. The synergy between these two players is exemplary and was the force that established the dominance of their team all throughout the year. Combined with Ribbi’s lurking, it is not hard to see why they are so dominant. The best part about Ace is how well he understands his teammates which allows him to play to their strengths and cover up for their shortcomings. It's one of the many reasons why he's always among a top-tier Indian squad. Aside from complete and utter domination of the Indian CS:GO scene, he can also be proud of the fact that they were able to win a map on the international stage, something which this country hasn’t seen in a long time.
The #1 team in the country was in trouble when their star sniper Psy stepped down due to injury. They needed someone to fill in those big shoes, and Hunter surprisingly fit in just right. He was very consistent and contributed greatly to the squad’s success. He played exceptionally well with the AWP and pulled off some insane frags even with the assault weapons. Aside from being a major factor in the firepower department, he even took up the role of the IGL well and guided the team down a path of unstoppable dominance.
Last year’s Rank – 10th
His name suits him well. If there was one person who has been through hell and has clawed his way back to the top, it's got to be HellrangeR. He started his year under the Eternal Esports banner and while they had some great moments initially, they were eventually overshadowed by the unstoppable Entity juggernaut. He had a pretty good run in most tournaments. But all hell broke loose when Entity’s roster was suddenly acquired by Eternal overnight and he was let go. At rock bottom, with no way to go but up, opportunity shined upon him in the form of the ASUS ROG Masters where he represented India internationally under the banner of Mammoth Gaming. Later on, that lineup was picked up by Entity to form a new super-team. Now, he has surrounded himself with dynamic, skilled young blood, and this new roster looks very promising. I have always regarded him to be the finest Indian IGL, and now that he has like-minded teammates with him, I can be almost sure that he is set to dominate the scene in the year coming up ahead.
Last year’s rank – 3rd
We saved the best for the last. The most dominant team in the country had AstaRR to thank for their entry frags. While we must give the Ace, Excali and HuntR the credit they deserve for the success of the squad; it was AstaRR that made them a terrifying force. I said this earlier and I will say it again, AstaRR is not human. His aim is on another level from all his Indian counterparts. Against some of Asia’s best in Shanghai, AstaRR was the only one who performed exceptionally well in all matches, even when his teammates were struggling to get a grip on the game. Had he continued to play, his squad would have continued to dominate the country. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Not too long ago, AstaRR declared that he will be stepping down from competitive Counter-Strike. The loss of the strongest aimer in the country will surely leave his squad vulnerable. It is only fitting that we give him the proper sendoff he deserves – at the top of this list!
Last year’s rank – 2nd
Honourable MentionsHere's to the players who were unable to make it to top 10, but won our hearts anyway.
Now, just because he isn’t included in the top 10 doesn't mean we get to write Ribbi off! He is an excellent lurker and deserves to be on this list just as much as his teammates. It’s just too bad that the ‘top 11 players of Indian CS:GO’ doesn't quite have the same ring to it. His performance was only overshadowed by that of his teammates.
Mantr1 has been at the helm of 2ez ever since it was founded. Even though he isn’t with them anymore; he was the IGL of the team when they were at their peak this year. It can be safely said that the rise of 2ez would not have been possible without him.
Expect action-packed matches as these three teams go at each other, while also trying their best to keep the Indian flag flying high in the Asian scene.
I have only one word to describe Indian CS GO in 2018 - FIERCE
Player photographs were sourced from ESL India