A Local Russian Boy
His year long tenure on Flipsid3 and his recruitment by Na’Vi are but the latest chapters in a career that started in 2015, at the lower echelons of the Russian scene. It was Dmitry “hooch” Bogdanov, the successful 1.6 veteran, that first saw potential in electroNic.
“The first time I understood I could play at the pro level was when hooch asked me to join ACES. When I joined ACES I started playing against pro players and understood I could beat them, grow further and become a pro player myself.”
electroNic participated in his first offline event with them at the CIS LAN Championship, and there, he confirmed hooch’s hopes and proved his worth in this environment. Against a variety of opponents, notably Flipsid3 and the CIS version of HellRaisers, they placed third overall. electroNic went up against more experienced players and gave them a run for their money, even in his team’s rougher games.
This event marked the beginning of a career that would see electroNic stack an impressive personal record on LAN, with only a couple tournament performances with a below average rating. electroNic wouldn’t stay on ACES for long though, as he moved on to play for various mixes and teams, before joining Team Empire when the famous Russian organization stepped into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
This was the first extended period of stability for him, playing under their banner for half a year. It culminated in Empire’s success at the CIS Minor for the ESL One Cologne 2016 Major, where they booked a trip to the Major qualifier by placing second. Unfortunately, the next step proved too tough to handle, and it ended with an early exit. The team disbanded soon after, and electroNic spent the next few months playing for a mix called NokSuKao. Yet many in the scene knew he was destined for greater things, and electroNic was eventually signed by Flipsid3 Tactics. Everything had fallen into place for his explosion onto the international scene.
“I felt confident that I could reach the top even before [DreamHack Leipzig 2017]. This tournament however, there was an overwhelming feeling of understanding, that I could improve and become better everyday and with every tournament, that I could reach my potential. It really helped me understand that about myself.”
The Dream of Na`Vi
After winning DreamHack Leipzig 2017, Flipsid3 took part in the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta. From this event onward, electroNic carved a reputation for himself as an exceptional player, while his team struggled to follow him and maintain his level. Their match against FaZe at this Major foreshadowed what 2017 would look like for Flipsid3 and electroNic. Despite losing the match 9-16, he posted a *1.24 rating* [*HYPERLINK:* https://www.hltv.org/news/20695/introducing-rating-20] against some of the best players the scene could send in front of his crosshair, a performance that was far and away better than any of his teammates. The tale would replay itself at the Krakow Major, where electroNic tore through their opposition at the qualifier to drag Flipsid3 to yet another Major. Even though the team failed at the Major itself, electroNic made heads turn once again.
At this point it seemed clear that electroNic was a player with immense potential, and that the next act in his career was meant to take place on Na’Vi. At times it seemed inevitable, but at others it seemed unlikely. After a period of allegedly difficult negotiations, his tale eventually played out the way we all imagined. Na’Vi secured the services of electroNic to replace seized, and thus began the current chapter in the electrifying Russian’s story.
“I want to become the number one player in the world. I understood that my main goal, the first step towards that, was to get in Na’Vi first. Every player in the CIS region who set their goal to become the best wants to get in Na’Vi. Once I got there, I felt satisfaction with how I was growing as a player, and that I was doing well. I felt more confident when Na’Vi signed me. And now I feel that I can reach my goal of becoming the best.”
A Star in the Making
When one looks back at his journey so far, there seems to be little that seems purposeless or stagnant. There is logic in the way electroNic has navigated his career so far. If there is a spreadsheet with a list of all the requirements that must be ticked as a player ascends through the ranks of CIS Counter-Strike, electroNic would have aced the test. First, he has played under the leadership and mentorship of three of the greatest CIS leaders: hooch, Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy and now Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko. B1ad3 was particularly important to electroNic’s growth as he has been hailed as an excellent teacher of sorts, forming the next generation of players from the region.
“B1ad3 has a great ability to train people [...]. When I arrived in Flipsid3, I couldn’t understand what he was talking about, because his CS knowledge, his understanding of the game is so huge. For young players sometimes it’s unusual to think the way he does. But with time, and as I was developing my game, every time I played with him I gained a better understanding of the game and I think he’s helped me a lot to become who I am now.”
Second, he’s worked his way through all the echelons and situations in CIS Counter-Strike, starting with ACES in the local scene. Then, he transferred to Empire, a team that was entrenched in the second tier of the European scene. He’s even been through mixes and organization-less teams. When Flipsid3 recruited him, he was on the cusp of the Majors and the international stage. Finally, he’s now reached Na’Vi, the pinnacle of CIS Counter-Strike, and is competing at the highest level of the game.
Along the way, electroNic has displayed an impressive faculty to improve himself and raise his game to match his new competitive environment. The purpose, of course, is to regain his superiority. One could have thought that when he landed on Flipsid3 that he would be less impactful as a result of facing stronger opposition. Instead, electroNic upped his game. He matched his opponents when facing top teams, no matter how his squad fared in the encounters. He did it with an assuredness that has carried him to the top.
He attributes the success he’s experienced so far partly on that self-belief — that he can beat anyone on the server. More than that, however, he has faith in his ability to grow and improve, and that his elder teammates can show him how. Trusting one’s self is one thing, but to have the confidence that he can keep growing without bounds is what separates him from would-be stars that have imploded.
“You need to sacrifice a lot of things in your life, invest a lot of time, give up on studies, your education. But you have to understand that you need to sacrifice a lot to get to the next level, and only improvement will bring you success. You need to work hard and keep working.”
This spirit is visible in how electroNic approaches the game. He’s of the kind of player that would rather take a fight in the middle of a molotov than bail out or put it out. He goes for full sprays instead of picking players one at a time. He chooses the bold where others would prefer safety and minimize risk. It would be easy to dismiss it as careless or reckless play, but that is simply the way electroNic believes he can make a difference and progress the most. His accelerated growth is a result of always coming close to the fire — at times getting burnt — and learning about his limits.
So far, it’s difficult to see where those limits lie. He is landing those crazy sprays, and he is securing those trades while standing in the flames. In a way, it is quite troubling to think about for everyone else in Counter-Strike. When someone makes these risky plays work on a regular basis, is it right to evaluate these decisions as dangerous, instead of viable for the player?
In light of that style, one could expect a brazen, cocky player. Instead, he sits with a stillness that suggests a calm and quiet personality. Though there exists a contrast with his current teammate and predecessor as the faster rising CIS superstar, s1mple, electroNic remains a player focused on his game. Their similar goal — to be the best player in the world — unites rather than divides them, and electroNic understands that there is something to learn from all the successful players that he has and will encounter in his career.
“Every player helped me. Playing with hooch and B1ad3 was great, as they have an excellent understanding of the game. Playing with Edward and Zeus is comfortable as well, given their experience. But I don’t want to pick a specific player when it comes down to the help I received. Everyone has helped me to become who I am.”
When he drew the attention of Na’Vi and signed for the prestigious organization, it was an affirmation of his talent and his current place in the hierarchy of Counter-Strike. While that is already an achievement in and of itself, for electroNic it is but a milestone. Now that he’s on the most storied team in CIS Counter-Strike, he has to win.
Of course, he understands that this is the only way to accomplish his ultimate goal: to be the best he has to beat the best. Securing a trophy at DreamHack Winter 2017 under the black and yellow banner and placing top 4 at the ELEAGUE Major in Boston get him closer, but they are simply more steps to the top for electroNic. Now that he has grown accustomed to his environment and current team, electroNic will face greater challenges that have consumed others before him. As we’ve come to know by now, he doesn’t fear the flames.