In the recent months there has been a heated debate over who is the best player in the world: Marcelo “coldzera” David or Nikola “NiKo” Kovač. Both are incredible talents who have risen up to be among the best players in the world, and many are arguing that they are indeed Nos. 1 and 2. There is no definitive answer and this is simply a look at the arguments for why both could be considered the world’s best.
Both players are incredibly diverse when it comes to their effective gun usage. They are both good on pistols, rifles and the AWP. The clear differential between them is pistols, where you have to concede that NiKo is the best deagle player in the world. On the other hand, Coldzera has a more consistent AWP style and is used more regularly in the tactics of SK, whereas NiKo brings it out in critical rounds to win games.
Both players have very strong game sense and both have played a variety of roles including entry, lurk and clutch. Both have a great sense of positioning on the map. NiKo is infamous for having incredibly slow sensitivity, yet he never gets caught out. Coldzera understands his position on the map and what kind of role he should play to maximize his team’s ability to win, which is why he’s also a great support player and one of the better flash grenade users in the game.
Overall, I’d call it a wash. Coldzera can play the support role better, making him arguably the better teammate, but NiKo has to carry harder, which means he’s putting himself in more difficult situations to win the round.
Coldzera is on the world’s best team, SK Gaming. They play a great loose style that is very much entrenched in Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo’s style that focuses on map control, map positioning and playing off your teammates. They have great players in all their roles and have great synergy between them all.
Mouz has been a fairly mediocre team. They make a lot of individual mistakes, their synergy was average, their mental issues are legendary and in pure consistency none of the players is very good at stringing together strong performances over a long period of time. This isn’t a team that should be getting anywhere close to the best teams of the world, except that NiKo is an exceptional talent.
Consistency vs. Carry level
Because of their difference in supporting cast, this means effectively two things. Coldzera will naturally play more games, as his team will always advance farther than NiKo’s. NiKo’s performances will always be more awe inspiring, as he is forcefully dragging a team to places it really has no right to be.
So because of the difference in teams, NiKo naturally has to have higher output, as his team lives or dies off of him almost all the time. On the other hand, Coldzera is putting in a lot of consistent work, which is of similar difficulty. That also means if either of them have a bad game (which rarely happens for both players), Coldzera’s team will still likely win, whereas NiKo’s team just dies.
Another factor to consider is the amount of pressure both players are put under. In Coldzera’s case, his team counts on him to come out with clutch and star performances in order to win tournaments. In NiKo’s case, he has to perform game in and game out for his team to go anywhere.
Perhaps the only knock on NiKo is that he crumbled under the pressure whenever his team finally got to a semifinals — a loss at ELEAGUE last week against VP. There he had a terrible performance and his team lost. Whereas Coldzera has been a rock ever since SK started winning majors, and even before that was generally a very good player.
This, of course, is mitigated a little bit, as this was NiKo’s first time getting to a stage that important, and the pressure usually gets to every player who first reaches that point. And you have to consider the difference in team composition as well, though Coldzera in that regard seems better than NiKo. Again, though, this was just one example, so not very much to go off of.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the argument for both players is that both are making history. In Coldzera’s case, his team can be counted among the greatest CS:GO lineups of all time to the point where you can only count the number of teams ahead of them by one hand. That he is the star player of such a lineup should speak volumes of how good he is, and they are nowhere near slowing down.
In NiKo’s case, he is the hardest carry of a weak team CS:GO had ever seen and his results with said team are unprecedented. Both are very much making records with their performances thus far and I find it hard to argue one way or another.
The arguments come down to this. Coldzera is both a star and a team player whereas NiKo has to be the superhard carry for his team. Coldzera has a better support cast than NiKo. NiKo has higher peaks whereas Coldzera’s consistency is incredible. NiKo had one hiccup under the pressure of the semifinals whereas Coldzera has proven he can perform no matter the pressure.
Both players are making history: Coldzera as the star of the world’s best team and NiKo as a star who has carried a team to places it had no right to reach. If you were looking for a definitive answer to who is the better player between Coldzera and NiKo, I don’t have one. Before the ESL One Cologne major I was certain it was NiKo. After the major, I thought it was Coldzera. After ELEAGUE, I thought it was NiKo again. That’s how close it is.
The differential between them is miniscule and I don’t believe there should be a consensus like when Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer was CS:GO’s best player. But what I can tell you is that this is one of the most interesting races in the world as one or two events is all that separates them from being the best and second best in the world.
Photos courtesy of HLTV.org