The creation of WePlay Academy League in 2021 was crucial for the CS:GO scene. Some of the best organizations in the world assembled academy rosters and all these players got to face one another on a LAN environment set by WePlay.
Thanks to the exposure they got from playing in the WePlay Academy Leagues, several youngsters made their way to first teams after playing some editions and showcasing their talent, or were transferred to other organizations so they could fulfill their dream of playing tier one Counter-Strike.
The list of CS:GO prospects is long, but we narrowed the list down to the best rookies that made the headlines this year.
The best CS:GO rookies of 2022
Elias “s1n” Stein made his way from BIG Academy to the first team during some of the most important events of the year. The 20-year-old German rifler temporarily replaced Josef “faveN” Baumann after the player break and helped BIG to qualify for IEM Rio Major. The newcomer did well in Brazil, having averaged a 1.07 rating on the Challengers Stage, according to HLTV. The Major was s1n’s first S-tier tournament on LAN and he did more than even his teammates were expecting.
Lucas “nqz” Soares left B4, a Brazilian team, in June 2022 to team up with the the South American team of 9z and has already written a beautiful story with them. The 17-year-old stepped into the big shoes of Luca “Luken” Nadotti and was one of their best players during the Americas RMR, helping 9z qualify for IEM Rio Major. Nqz enjoyed the support of the crowd during 9z’s campaign at the Major and left the tournament with a positive rating despite the South Americans’ early elimination in the Challengers Stage. There’s still room for nqz to develop and Brazilian teams will certainly keep an eye on him for a future upgrade.
18-year-old Danish talent Victor Staehr joined Sprout at the beginning of 2022 and quickly become one of the best players in the international team alongside Laurențiu “lauNX” Țârlea. Staehr helped Sprout qualify for the IEM Rio Major directly to the Legends Stage after a 3-0 showing in the Europe RMR and averaged a 1.0 rating in Rio, according to HLTV, despite the tough competition and Sprout’s underwhelming campaign. Astralis is reportedly after Staehr for 2022, but there has not been more news about this negotiation.
The German-Portuguese rifler Jon “JDC” de Castro was the second player from MOUZ NXT to be promoted to the main team, replacing the Major champion NBK- in March 2022. The 22-year-old struggled at first and couldn’t help MOUZ qualify for the PGL Antwerp Major. JDC’s game, however, grew in the second half of the season and so did MOUZ’s game as well. They not only traveled to the IEM Rio Major, but reached the semifinals of the event. If MOUZ gives enough time for JDC and the team to develop, they could become a serious contender in 2023.
Dorian “xertioN” Berman was the third player MOUZ promoted from MOUZ NXT. The young Israeli made the first team after the player break and had some notable showings, mainly at the IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage, which he finished with an outstanding 1.41 rating, according to HLTV. XertioN couldn’t replicate that form in the advanced stages of the competition but nonetheless, he looks like a rough diamond that can be polished. He’s in the right environment to learn the ropes of tier one CS:GO as he’s playing with two former teammates and his coach from the MOUZ NXT days.
Unlike some of his teammates from the MOUZ NXT days, the Polish in-game leader Kamil “siuhy” Szkaradek didn’t earn a promotion to the main squad of MOUZ. The 20-year-old moved to GamerLegion in September after winning four editions of WePlay Academy League between 2021 and 2022, and conducted GamerLegion to qualifying for the IEM Rio Major, eliminating the almighty G2 on their way to Brazil. Making the Major was quite an achievement for such a young captain as siuhy, especially because doesn’t have a big name other than the AWPer Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand in his squad. The expectation is that siuhy will do even better next year with more experience and more time for practice.
Pavel “s1ren” Ogloblin, a 20-year-old Russian rifler, helped Team Spirit improve as soon as he was promoted from Spirit Academy in February 2022. S1ren helped his team finish top four at the PGL Antwerp Major in quite a Cinderella run and achieved a similar result at the IEM Rio Major, where Spirit finished top eight. He’s one of the players worth keeping an eye on next year as the Spirit project looks as exciting as never.
The Hungarian dedicated sniper Ádám “torzsi” Torzsás played an important part in the organization’s restructuring for 2022 as he was the first star from MOUZ NXT to gain a shot in the first team. His flashy style of AWPing draw the attention of everybody at first, but later on, it seems that teams learned to play versus torzsi or he didn’t know how to adapt. Either way, he averaged a 1.10 rating this year according to HLTV, which is more than you can expect from a rookie playing tier one teams all the time. Handling the AWP is not an easy task and fans will expect torzsi to come alive when MOUZ need his firepower in big matches.
Ihor “w0nderful” Zhdanov is a recent addition to Spirit’s roster, having arrived in June after the organization sold its former AWPer degster to OG. The Ukrainian had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as degster was the star of the team, but that didn’t affect him at all. The 17-year-old Ukrainian had good ratings in all the tournaments he has attended with Spirit thus far, according to HLTV, and was their best player by far at the IEM Rio Major (1.20 rating in Legends Stage and Champions Stage), helping them reach the quarterfinals of the $1.25 million event.
What is with the CIS region producing high-quality AWPers all the time? After what m0NESY did in WePlay Academy League during 2021, everyone knew he would make the leap to tier one CS:GO in 2022. Instead of waiting for a shot with Natus Vincere, the Russian star joined G2 Esports to add even more firepower to the squad.
Unfortunately, all he accomplished in 2022 was a runner-up fnish at IEM Katowice, the first S-tier event of the year. G2 only got worse after that and even the arrivals of HooXi and jks after the player break weren’t enough to fix the team, as G2 ended up missing the IEM Rio Major. Despite all the ongoing chaos in the G2 camp, m0NESY averaged a 1.16 rating in 2022, according to HLTV, and we can only imagine what he’s capable of if the team gets better and give him better support to focus on his individual game.