Top 20 players of 2020: KSCERATO (18)

KSCERATO is one of the players who are part of the new wave of Brazilian talent. He has helped to spearhead the changing of the guard as the country’s most revered names have struggled to return to top form in recent years, resulting in an imperative need of a paradigm shift in the scene.

He discovered Counter-Strike in 2009, when he and his brother Kauan “⁠KNCERATO⁠” Cerato skipped school to play the game at a LAN house, and he spent the following years making his way through the ranks, playing several tournaments in his hometown of São Paulo, while keeping a close eye on the competitive scene in his country and abroad.

FURIA at the NSG Eastern Conference Championship in 2018

His first notable event was the the first edition of the r1seCup, in 2015, where his team, army5, also featuring Marcelo “⁠chelo⁠” Cespedes, were trounced in the group stage by Marcelo “⁠coldzera⁠” David’s Dexterity, who would go on to finish second to Gabriel “⁠FalleN⁠” Toledo’s Keyd. But KSCERATO would have to wait until 2018 to make his breakthrough: in January of that year, he was invited to join FURIA’s academy project alongside four other prospects, including Vinicius “⁠VINI⁠” Figueiredo, with both players being promoted to the main squad just weeks later.

“When I was approached by FURIA, they did not want me for the main team but for the academy squad. At the time, I was on a team that had a lot of potential and that I really believed in. However, it was an opportunity that I did not want to pass up. I knew I would have to prove myself and to show that I deserved that chance.”

The new FURIA team hit the ground running as they won the Aorus League 2018 Season 1 Finals in March, but they could not assert their dominance in Brazil. Losses to Sharks at the ESL Latin America League Season 1 Finals and to Não Tem Como in the ESL One Belo Horizonte South America Closed Qualifier — after wasting a map advantage — saw the team miss out on qualification for two international events. But the team did not stray from their path, qualifying for the Americas Minor on the second try and picking up a handful of domestic titles before flying out to Miami to chase the American Dream.

“Everything was completely different, there wasn’t as much air pollution as in the big city of São Paulo. I remember something that really explains the difference between the two regions: there were these sneakers that I had always wanted but that I could not afford to buy. With my salary, I was finally able to buy them and I felt like the happiest guy in the world. In terms of the competition, I felt that the level was the same [as in Brazil], but with more opportunities.”

The rest of the year wasn’t much to write home about. There were some small successes here and there — including a second place at the ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 Americas Regional Finals after beating Complexity and eUnited —, but also some painful reminders, such as a last-place finish at the Americas Minor, that the team still had plenty of areas upon which it could improve. Before the end of the year, FURIA also underwent their first roster change, replacing veteran Guilherme “⁠spacca⁠” Spacca with Rinaldo “⁠ableJ⁠” Moda Junior, another player straight out of the academy squad.

FURIA reached the title decider at the ECS Season 7 Finals in London

2019 was the breakout year for FURIA, who finally qualified for a Major after finishing in second place at the Americas Minor leading to IEM Katowice. However, it was not until the middle of the year that they began to be taken seriously by the established powers in the scene. With the summer season approaching, FURIA became the talk of the town as they reached the semi-finals at DreamHack Masters Dallas and the grand final at the ECS Season 7 Finals, stunning opponents and fans alike with their in-your-face pressure and chaotic style.

“We wanted to reach the playoffs in both tournaments. When we managed to get results that surpassed our expectations, we realised that nothing was impossible for us and that if we improved [even if just ] 1 percent, that would be the difference for the following tournaments.”

Without surprise, FURIA hit a brick wall in the following months, despite picking up titles from two minor competitions, the EMF CS:GO World Invitational and the Arctic Invitational. Henrique “⁠HEN1⁠” Teles was brought in to replace ableJ, with the team blowing hot and cold in the final months of the year as they tried to adapt their style of play to let the former Immortals and Luminosity AWPer flourish. KSCERATO almost made the cut in that year’s HLTV Top 20, a great achievement in itself for a player in his first full year in a major region.

“My goal was — and will always be — to be better than in the previous year, and since I’m on this list, it looks like I did it [laughs].

FURIA started 2020 on the wrong foot as they failed to qualify for IEM Katowice after finishing the closed qualifier — in which they had to play with Lucas “⁠LUCAS1⁠” Teles because of a delay with HEN1’s visa renewal — in 7th-8th place. With the Brazilian sniper back in tow, the team travelled to Anaheim for the Dreamhack Open stop, finishing runners-up to Gen.G — who would prove to be a tough nut to crack for Andrei “⁠arT⁠” Piovezan’s troops during the first half of the year. KSCERATO had the second-highest rating in the team in Anaheim, 1.21, and was top of the scoreboard in the grand final against the North Americans.

“Even though IEM Katowice was the big LAN event of the year, I did not feel bad about not qualifying because I know it was not the last one and that there will be plenty more for us to play. In Anaheim, the team as a whole played well, but I did not do my job well.”

FURIA kicked off the online season in style, with a third-placed finish in the North American division of ESL Pro League Season 11. This was the tournament in which KSCERATO came the closest to winning an MVP medal all year long as he came in third in the race behind Jonathan “⁠EliGE⁠” Jablonowski and Keith “⁠NAF⁠” Markovic. He was in stunning form in the group stage, with six 1.25+ rated maps, including a 2.08 rating in a close Inferno game against Liquid, but his numbers took a hit in the playoffs, in which he fluctuated between fantastic and frustrating.

KSCERATO was an EVP in his first three notable events

KSCERATO carried that form into the following two tournaments, ESL One: Road to Rio and DreamHack Masters Spring, as he picked up two more Exceptionally Valuable Players (EVP) mentions. He had a year-high 1.24 rating in the Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament, in which he was ranked first overall for KDD (+112) and deaths per round (0.54) as FURIA finished second to Gen.G after a flawless group stage and a 2-0 victory over Liquid in the semi-finals. He struggled to make his mark in the group stage of the DreamHack Masters tournament but stepped up in the playoffs with three 1.25+ rated maps to help the team pick up their first big title on North American soil.

“I cried, I’m an emotional guy… it was very gratifying to grow and to improve during this pandemic, which was – and still is – very hard for everyone. I felt grateful. At the start of the pandemic, we were worried about our families in Brazil, but as time went on, we were able to focus on the game despite our concerns.”

KSCERATO hit a rough patch of form as he posted his lowest numbers of the year while in North America. He averaged a 1.08 rating as FURIA finished third in the BLAST Premier Spring Americas and then sixth in cs_summit 6, in which he had a year-low 0.85 Impact. The poor campaign in the RMR tournament also saw the Brazilians exit the qualification zone for the Major, which at that point was still scheduled to take place later in the year in Brazil.

“To be honest, we were not worried [about not qualifying for the Major]. We were motivated because we would have other tournaments and we would have to perform, no matter what, to be at the Major.”

KSCERATO bounced back from that poor stretch as he helped FURIA to reach the semi-finals of ESL One Cologne North America with a team-high 1.16 rating, 8% higher than the squad’s average, putting in above-average ratings on seven of the nine maps that he played.

KSCERATO was key to FURIA’s ESL Pro League S12 success

By then, FURIA already had their eyes set on the trip to Europe, but they still managed to add two more titles to their collection to establish themselves as the dominant force in North America before the ultimate test of the year. KSCERATO was the third-best player in the team and had 65.0% of maps with above-average ratings in both ESL Pro League Season 12 and IEM New York. He was high on the list of candidates for the MVP in the first tournament, but he fell out of contention for a medal in the RMR tournament following a disappointing performance in the grand final against 100 Thieves (0.91 rating, with three out of four maps in the red).

“We were confident before going to Europe, but we knew it would not be easy to reach our goals. We needed some time to adapt.”

Unfortunately for FURIA, time was not on their side. Then ranked fourth in the world, the Brazilians were handed a painful reality check as they finished their BLAST Premier Fall Series group in last place after being dispatched by G2 and MIBR. The team still managed to make it through the BLAST Showdown stage, in which KSCERATO averaged a 1.20 rating, but not in a clean fashion as they were tested by, Liquid and even Isurus.

“It [the elimination from the BLAST Premier Fall Series] was painful, but it was an incentive and a reality check that we needed to keep grinding and learning from our mistakes.”

KSCERATO earned his final EVP of the year in DreamHack Masters Spring, in which FURIA comfortably moved past North, G2 and Complexity before meeting their demise against the eventual champions, Astralis, in the last-four stage. He averaged a 1.19 rating – his highest during the final stretch of the season -, with only two under-1.0 maps, and was ranked first overall for deaths per round (0.51).

Things seemed to be back on track for FURIA, but then they hit another bump in the road as they were eliminated in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals in 5th-6th place. It was KSCERATO‘s worst tournament rating of the year in numerous metrics, including rating (0.99), ADR (70.3) and kills per round (0.60), and he posted above-average ratings in just half of the eight maps that he played. The Brazilians were unable to end the year on a positive note as they crashed out of the IEM Global Challenge following defeats to Natus Vincere and Liquid. But for KSCERATO, there were at least some reasons to smile as he was the team’s top performer with a 1.12 rating (10% higher than the team’s average), four clutches and 24.8% of deaths traded, his highest of the year.

“I believe CS in Europe will be more advanced and quicker than in North America. The teams in Europe pretty much face all sorts of styles between tier 1 and tier 3. In Europe, I believe we will need to adapt our style of play, knowing that we will be facing teams that are much better at reacting to what we do.

“I do not think that there is a best or worst memory in CS. Every moment should be a learning experience, even the toughest losses. When we lose a game, I do not think, ‘Ah, shit’, I think, ‘Next time I need to do this’.

Why was KSCERATO the 18th best player of 2020?

Looking at his numbers, KSCERATO was the 11th highest-rated player in 2020 (1.15) and had the eight-highest KDD (+518), largely because of his consistency on every level. He had 1.08+ ratings in 10 of the 11 notable events in which he competed, and finished 88% of his maps with ratings higher than 0.85 (fourth-highest overall), which means that he almost never had a bad map. He also ranked first in the world in terms of round consistency (75.3% KAST).

He was historically one of the hardest players to kill with just 0.58 deaths per round, which ranks him third of all time, behind Andreas “⁠Xyp9x⁠” Højsleth in 2018 and another player who made this HLTV Top 20.

KSCERATO boasted one of the lowest Deaths per Round ratio in the history of the game

KSCERATO was named an EVP in seven of his 11 tournaments, and played an important role in FURIA‘s main achievements with strong showings in DreamHack Masters Spring and ESL Pro League Season 12. He was also a solid performer in the playoff stages of those that we deemed Big Events, averaging a 1.14 rating in 17 maps. And while he didn’t face the highest caliber of opponents for the vast majority of the year, he still makes a strong case when we look at his numbers against the elite, with a 1.16 rating in 58 maps against top-10 teams and a 1.12 rating in 17 maps against top-5 sides.

In the end, two factors prevented him from ranking higher in this top 20: the lack of matches in the most competitive events of 2020 (just 15 maps in Elite events), and his low impact in the server as he lacked MVP-level performances and was joint-second lowest for Impact rating (1.03) among the Top 20 players.

Bold Prediction

KSCERATO named three players when asked about rising talents that fans shouldn’t overlook. The first one was Paytyn “⁠junior⁠” Johnson, who has been linked with a spot in FURIA. He also praised former TeamOne member Bruno “⁠b4rtiN⁠” Câmara, who is expected to be part of the new project that Ricardo “⁠dead⁠” Sinigaglia is building, and NAVI Youth’s 15-year-old Ilya “⁠m0NESY⁠” Osipov.

United States Paytyn “⁠junior⁠” Johnson:

“I have faced him sometimes and he is very good. He is an AWPer with a lot of impact. I believe that, if he plays more tournaments, he can make the top 20 next year.”

Brazil Bruno “⁠b4rtiN⁠” Câmara:

“He’s a great guy and very dedicated.”

Russia Ilya “⁠m0NESY⁠” Osipov:

“He’s very good but still lacks experience.”

Stay tuned to our Top 20 players of 2020 ranking and take a look at the Introduction article to learn more about how the players were selected. This year’s ranking is supported by:

Xtrfy – Built on experience
GG.BET – Online betting and odds on sport and esports

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