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Top 10 esports athletes of all time

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5 mins read

Today, esports is one of the largest industries. It is growing at a rapid rate and continues to explode every year. 

With millions of players across the world playing different games and titles, esports has become one of the most popular sports in the world today, especially since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Esports titles such as Counter-Strike, Dota 2, League of Legends, StarCraft, Overwatch, Valorant and Street Fighter are some of the most played games around the world.

In this article, I present to you my ten of the greatest esports athletes who have redefined their respective games and etched their name in esports history.

Also Read – Top 10 most popular eSports games in the world in 2022 

Faker

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is a South Korean League of Legends player and is hailed as the game’s greatest player of all time. 

Aside from the multiple records that Sang-hyeok holds, including being the first player to have won 500 games and played over 600 and 700 games, what has always set him apart is his incredible mechanical skill and versatility. Known for being comfortable playing Zed, Azie, Ahri, Ryze, Syndra and LeBlanc, Sang-hyeok puts up incredible numbers no matter what he plays with. He is also one of the two players who have won the League of Legends World Championship a record three times (2013, 2015 and 2016). 

After leaving SK Telecom in 2019, Sang-hyeok joined T1 where he currently isn’t just a player but also part owner of the organisation. 

Sang-hyeok has won every international tournament there is in League of Legends and is also the only esports player till date to feature on the cover of the ESPN Magazine. 

Flash

Lee “Flash” Young-ho is a South Korean StarCraft II and StarCraft: Brood War player. He spent almost the entirety of his professional career with the KT Rolster team from 2009 to 2015. 

One of the game’s finest defensive players, Young-ho has an incredible 70% win rate in every match-up and even held the No. 1 player spot for the longest time. 

Young-ho also holds the record for the most number of StarLeague wins and is regarded as the one of the few players who helped grow the game exponentially in South Korea. 

Also Read – Top 10 eSports organisations in the world

f0rest

Known as the greatest Counter-Strike player of all time, what sets Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg apart from the rest is his longevity and consistency. 

The Swede started off as one of Counter-Strike’s best and by 2010 had already built a reputation as one of the best in the game. One of the most versatile players to have ever played the game, f0rest was a part of the legendary Ninjas in Pyjamas roster that went on a record 87-map win streak. 

Despite having left NiP in 2020, f0rest is still playing at the highest level and putting up numbers to match the rest of the grid even at 34, showcasing his skill and commitment, especially given most professional Counter-Strike players generally see a dip in their performance post 30 years of age. 

Miracle-

Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi is a Jordanian-Polish professional Dota 2 player. Known for his extremely successful stint with Team Liquid, which saw him lift The International trophy, Miracle- is only one of two players who have won The International and two Valve Majors (Frankfurt Major and Manila Major). 

Miracle- was also the first-ever Dota 2 player to achieve a matchmaking rating of over 9000. He remains one of the most recognised names in the game.

moon 

Jang “moon” Jae-ho is a former Warcraft III and StarCraft II player. Regarded as the greatest Warcraft III player, moon has won it all. 

A double International Esports Federation, WCG, quadruple NGL-One, double PGL, double IEST, triple WC3L and quadruple WEG champion as well as triple KeSPA Warcraft III Player of the Year and nine-time MBC Game League champion, moon is simply Warcraft III royalty. 

While he might not be the most skillful player in Warcraft III history, moon‘s success makes him the sport’s most important player in the last two decades. 

Jaedong

If there is anyone who can challenge Flash for the title of the greatest StarCraft player, it’s Lee “Jaedong” Jae-dong. The former South Korean StarCraft: Brood War and StarCraft II player is one of the most successful players of the two titles with five OnGameNet StarLeague (OSL) and MBCGame StarCraft (MSL) League titles. 

Jaedong holds the record for the most prize money won in esports. He also holds the record for the longest winning-streak in the MSL — an incredible 11 wins. 

A three-time OSL, two-time MSL, World Cyber Games, WEC and ASUS ROG champion as well as two-time Player of the Year (by KeSPA), Jaedong’s legacy in StarCraft is untouched and will remain so. 

Fatal1ty

Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel is probably the most influential and important esports athlete to have come from the US. 

A former professional Quake and Painkiller player, Wendel has been one of the most influential first-person shooter (FPS) players of all time. Not only has he been successful in Quake and Painkiller but has also competed professionally in Counter-Strike and Call of Duty

With a stunning twelve championship titles to his name and four Cyberathlete Professional League awards with one World Cyber Game trophy, Wendel redefined gaming in the early 2000s. At one point of time, his total prize money won put him No. 2 on the list of prize money won in all of esports, behind only StarCraft player Jaedong

GeT_RiGhT

Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, along with f0rest, is regarded as one of the finest Counter-Strike players of all time. 

The Swede, who started off with Counter-Strike 1.6, was a part of the legendary Fnatic line-up in 2009 before switching to Ninjas in Pyjamas once Counter-Strike: Global Offensive arrived at the scene.

Along with f0rest, Alesund was a part of the iconic NiP roster that went 87-0 and mastered the art of “lurking”. A Major champion, two-time Player of the Year and ten-time MVP awardee, Alesund is right at the top of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive echelon. There aren’t many in the FPS world who haven’t heard of GeT_RiGhT. 

BoxeR

Lim “BoxeR” Yo-hwan is a former South Korean StarCraft player who is regarded as not only the greatest StarCraft player but also one of the all-time esports greats. 

During the late ‘90s and early 2000s, StarCraft was one of the most popular esport titles, and South Korea was the mecca for the game. Given the game’s popularity in the country, BoxeR was the region’s most iconic and recognised player. 

During the early 2000s, BoxeR was untouchable, winning tournament after tournament as he became an esports icon in the region. Very often, he has been compared with Michael Jordan and how he helped the game grow globally, like Jordan did with the NBA. 

The first ever player to win consecutive OSLs (Hanbitsoft 2001 and Coca-Cola 2001) and the first player to reach three back-to-back OSL finals, BoxerR currently also holds the record for most time spent at No.1 in the Korean e-Sports Player Association rankings. 

BoxeR is more than just a great StarCraft player; he is one of esports’ all-time greats. 

s1mple

Regarded as not only one of the greatest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players but also an all-time esports great, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is simply in a league of his own.

s1mple started his esports career as a prodigy in 2013 with LAN DODGERS at the age of 16 before getting his first big break in 2014 with HellRaisers. He had to wait until his stint on Team Liquid in 2016, though, for the world to take notice of him. s1mple moved from Team Liquid to Natus Vincere in August 2016, and there has been no looking back since for the Ukrainian. 

Ever since his move to Navi, apart from putting in inhumane performances in the server, s1mple has racked up a record 21 MVP awards, won one Major, an Intel Grand Slam trophy and has twice been crowned the best player of the year by HLTV along with two runner-up spots for the best player. 

Quite simply put, s1mple is not only a great CS:GO player but one of the all-time esports greats. He is still putting up unbelieveable numbers every match, and it doesn’t look like he will be stopping anytime soon. 

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