Rookie of the Year Watch 2021: Early Edition

Insight (1.12 overall K/D)

Insight: 1.12 overall K/D (#4 in CDL), a Major event win, and the top SnD player in Stage 2

Insight is the leader in our early Rookie of the Year (ROY) watch. After adding Insight to the starting lineup, Ultra went from placing top 8 in the Stage 1 Major to winning the Stage 2 Major in stunning fashion. In the process, Ultra dethroned what many believed to be a nascent dynasty-in-the-making in Atlanta FaZe. Insight’s individual play over the past month has not gone unnoticed.

One major factor for why the Ultra were able to pull off upset after upset and win the major was their 7-1 SnD run throughout the major. Insight’s 1.56 SnD K/D is currently #1 in the CDL. He also leads the league in SnD kills per round and is fourth in first blood percentage. Ultra was a solid SnD team, but adding Insight transformed them into a top SnD tier team. In a best-of-nine series with four SnD maps, the adage “SnDs win championships” held up.

Aside from his SnD dominance, Insight also has the #2 Hardpoint K/D since entering the league. His proficiency with an AR in Hardpoints has given the Ultra a competitive map pool. Despite close losses in many Checkmate HP’s, Ultra still feel strongly about the map, and was able to close out FaZe on the map in the grand finals. They have also improved their Raid HP as well, a map they had previously struggled to close out on. Both these maps rely on a strong AR presence as they have long lines of sight and Insight has proven that he can compete with the best AR’s in the world on those maps.  

Despite having only a 0.90 K/D in Control, it is still one of Insight’s best game modes, especially on Raid. Ultra went 4-1 on Raid Control during the Major, and even though CleanX stole the show against FaZe on that map in the Grand Finals, Ultra’s strong defensive B holds are largely due to Insight’s presence. In Stage 1, Ultra had a 2-6 map count in Control (25% win rate), and in Stage 2, they boasted a much improved 8-4 map count in Control (67% win rate).

On Raid, Insight often positions himself behind the tree outside of kitchen and watches the push out of A. He has stopped countless pushes from that angle. He can then transition to cut out or kitchen when needed. Playing in that position cuts off a push from the back and allows him to watch the front push as well.

At the beginning of Stage 2, many were skeptical of the decision to bench Methodz and start Insight. Methodz had performed well individually, with a 1.04 overall K/D. However, as mentioned previously in the article written about the roster change, this move was done to improve the team’s chemistry. Clearly, Insight has had a positive effect on the team chemistry. In addition to his standout individual performances, his introduction also improved the other players’ performances on the team. With all of that in mind, and his Stage 2 win, Insight is our early favorite for ROY. If he is able to keep up his production, and pick up another chip or two on the way, he will be well on his way to earning the title of top rookie.

Standy (1.06 overall K/D)

Standy came into RØKKR after a week where they went 0-6 in map count and were desperate for a change. In a previous Breaking Point article, I detailed some of the team’s pacing woes. The fast-paced aggression that Standy plays with also allowed Priestahh to run a role he was much more comfortable in. The RØKKR went from a top ten placement in the Stage 1 Major to a fourth place finish at the Stage 2 Major. In many of the maps, Standy looked like the best player on the team, and he had a significant impact in RØKKR’s quick turnaround.

Considering his aggressive, ratty playstyle, the fact that Standy is above a 1.0 K/D across all three game modes is astounding. He has the third highest SnD K/D (1.23), which is key since the RØKKR were a solid Search team before the change and remained a top Search team afterwards. Standy’s ability to pick up two-pieces and consecutive kills makes him a hard player to trade regardless of the game mode.

His immediate impact took the CDL by surprise as he had one of the best debuts in Call of Duty history with a 1.52 overall K/D against OpTic Chicago. He hasn’t slowed down from there, but sometimes his aggression can be problematic. He once had 40 deaths in a Control map during the stage in a victory, and once again burned close to 40 Control lives against the Ultra in a loss in the Stage 2 Major . If he is remaining above a 1.0 in the game mode, his aggression may be warranted, but it can also be a sign that he must slow down, adjust to his team, and work together with his teammates.

With how well Standy has played individually and how much better the team looks as a result, the RØKKR were able to secure the first seed coming out of Group B. They now have the potential to win the Stage 3 Major if they can start closing out maps and series convincingly. The incredibly fast revival of the RØKKR team and his top notch individual performances has Standy as one of the top two candidates in our early ROY watch.

Diamondcon (1.01 overall K/D)

After winning North American Challenger Champs in Modern Warfare, Diamondcon was one of the top amateur AR players. He looked strong once again in the new title and was added to the New York Subliners Academy team. With ZooMaa retiring from an injury and HyDra stuck in Europe at the beginning of the season, Diamondcon got the opportunity to start right away for NYSL.

NYSL surprised many by placing third in the Stage 1 Major. With little practice as a team, Diamondcon consistently impressed onlookers, especially in SnD. He was able to keep up with Clay and they formed a dominant AR duo that ran unchecked on Checkmate. Diamondcon’s performances pushed him ahead as our leader for ROY in Stage 1.

Lately, however, NYSL have struggled, placing top 8 in the Stage 2 Major without winning a single map. The team’s SnD has fallen apart, and they are no longer closing out the tight maps they were winning in Stage 1. Diamondcon maintains above a 1.0 K/D in every game mode and has been one of the more consistent players on a team riddled with consistency issues. Despite this, his impact in Stage 1 cannot be overlooked.

PaulEhx (1.01 overall K/D)

PaulEhx started the year red hot with 4 straight Challenger Cup wins on WestR. He looked like one of the best Krig players in Challengers and was poised for a CDL spot. He got his chance on the London Royal Ravens after London failed to win a single match in Stage 1. He came in as a breath of fresh air, helping the Ravens kick off Stage 2 with consecutive wins over LAG (3-0), and the LA Thieves (3-1), where he was a standout player.

Like other rookies on this list, Paul’s SnD dominance was immediately apparent, and his addition helped to completely turn the team around. PaulEhx’s 1.22 SnD K/D is fourth in the league. One hallmark of Paul’s game is his ability to pick up close range kills using an AR.

Despite the hot start, the team lost their next four matches in a row. Paul had some poor maps and showed signs of inconsistency throughout those losses. The team as a whole struggled to keep up in slaying. London finished top 10 in the Stage 2 Major.

If London can find a consistent footing, it will likely be on the back of Paul’s play and his ability to take over in SnD. They showed great strides from Stage 1, but until they place much higher as a team, Paul is on the outside looking in.

Comments (2)

  1. GJ Mr Polk

  2. A shame that a rookie of the year candidate (Diamondcon) is no longer playing in the CDL. This year has been a bust in terms of the front office decisions of some organizations this year.

Leave a Reply