Na’Vi’s peculiar prodigy: Denis “electronic” Sharipov
A delve into the often overlooked half of Counter-Strike’s number one duo and why I believe his best may be yet to come.
Following his triumph at PGL’s Krakow Major, Zeus’ surprising return to a yellow jersey came coupled with heavy intimation that Natus Vincere was sorting after electronic to round out their new look side. With mediocre results defining Na’Vi’s next few months they finally pulled the trigger on this long overdue acquisition as electronic was transferred over from Flipsid3. Within a matter of weeks, the Russian showcased his promised potential as Na’Vi took victory amongst DreamHack Winter 17’s second string field.
Wind forward to the present and recent months have hosted Astralis raising Global Offensive’s bar through setting new standards of clinical execution and disciplined teamwork. However, within Counter-Strike’s elite flight one side stands opposed to this methodical philosophy: endowed with an insatiable lust to snap the opposing economy, unrestrictive Terrorist positioning to present their opponents different looks and the raw mechanical supremacy originating from their superstar duo defines Na’Vi as a difficult beast to tame. Although his excellence was obscured by a shadow that could be no bigger 2018 has witnessed electronic blossoming into a force that can no longer be ignored, for his performances are vital to this monster’s unrest.
Switching on a dime
There is no doubt that electronic is one of the most mechanically talented players on the planet; frequently showcasing his extraordinary flair and deadly precision the Russian is a huge asset for Na’Vi on the pistol rounds. Complementing his dextrous proficiency electronic’s cognisance for probable positioning of opponents in tandem with immaculate crosshair placement grants him sensational success in both finding opening kills and utilising the information to systematically trade out his teammate’s deaths. Few players in modern Counter-Strike harness the underlying ability to thrive in as many Terrorist roles as this Russian with Na’Vi laying claim to an embarrassment of riches as s1mple is a similar rarity.
In contrast to how most teams deploy their star players electronic’s Terrorist spots vary enormously across the attributes required to excel in them. The Russian’s ability to alternate from cautious and methodical play to aggressiveness and imposing his raw skill sets himself apart from almost every other player in modern Counter-Strike. Through relishing the opportunity to isolate favourable duels electronic thrives in pressuring the defense from Dust2’s mid and short areas, yet jump onto Overpass and the Russian displays great poise. Scarcely overextending whilst taking map control alongside possessing a great knowledge of early aggressions and playmaking opportunities he is rarely surprised by the boost positions on Overpass’ B site. The versatility within electronic’s wheelhouse is a luxury for Na’Vi and the majority of his success outside of rehearsed executes comes as a product of his own strengths opposed to resources being funneled into him.
Through occupying unconventional angles whilst defending electronic embraces playing outside the norm into catching opponents off guard. His unpredictability on CT side of Overpass was among the driving factors towards the Russian mix beating out SK (now MIBR) at WESG earlier this year. However, in a similar vein to the variation in his Terrorist default positions the same trend continues on the defensive side. Whilst his Overpass and Mirage spots allow plenty of freedom in positioning and playmaking opportunities, Dust2 restrains electronic to being B site anchor and Inferno to guarding A sites apartments regularly from pit or balcony, incredibly though, electronic seamlessly morphs his style between maps playing all of his spots up to a world class standard.
A distinguishing trait between electronic and the vast majority of players who also succeed in playing methodically is his ability and audacity to throw in hyper aggressive moves, on both sides of the maps sometimes off only a favourable spawn electronic is daring enough to launch himself into dangerous waters and take on high stakes duels. A particular standout was on Train’s CT side versus mousesports in ELEAGUE Premier’s recent group stage, here electronic aggressively pushed up B site’s ramp alongside only deliberately poor smoke to mask his intentions, catching all of mouz unprepared he showcased incredible spray transfer to snatch up four kills in a matter of seconds. With heads in their hands the Russian left his opponents struggling to comprehend that such an outplay was even possible.
Embodying the philosophy of his team on the Terrorist side electronic shows zero hesitation in aggressing behind entries or suspected openings ascertained from information communicated across the map. Whereas some sides look to group and execute clinically as a team in advantageous scenarios the rest of Na’Vi alongside electronic seizes the moment, in trusting the skill and teamwork of the players to trade out isolated players Na’Vi looks to secure the round before their opponents pull off reactive information plays or gamble into a fourtunate rotation and bring the round back from the unfavourable situation.
A ceiling undefined
The double-edged sword of Na’Vi’s style condones them to inconsistency relative to the scence’s more systematic teams, nevertheless their volatility and individual explosiveness originating from s1mple and electronic grants them a peak level that few other sides are capable of ascending to. From f0rest and GeT_RiGhT’s imperious reign over the early landscape, to KRIMZ and olof’s bedrock of our game’s greatest lineup, many of Global Offensive’s greatest sides are defined by the era’s dominant duo. However, despite Astralis’ current supremacy the “Double D’s” do not lay claim to Counter-Strike’s top pairing for that accolade rests between the hands of s1mple and electronic.
Although some of electronic’s individual characteristics are unconventional the truly perplexing aspect to the Russian’s game is Na’Vi’s unorthodox utilisation of him. Should the future see electronic gifted more uniformity across his Terrorist spots alongside leave from anchoring duty on the Counter-Terrorist side into positions that intrinsically allow more freedom in movement and utility usage he will likely flourish further. With two of 2018’s biggest events in DreamHack Stockholm and especially FACEIT’s London Major featuring extremely stacked fields it will be a tough task for the CIS team just to retain their number two ranking. As for electronic individually, currently residing within the conversation of Counter-Strike’s top five players is already a feat only a select few ever achieve, but for the Russian this is simply his next hurdle, since electronic’s peak is yet to come.
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