We break down the four groups for ESL One Cologne from a new angle – player headshot percentage – in order to help you choose how to place your player autograph stickers in Valve's new Player Pick'Em Challenge.
Last night Valve released the highly anticipated stickers for next week's ESL One Cologne 2015, surprising the community by also publishing player signature stickers and a new in-game Player Pick'Em Challenge.
In case you haven't familiarized yourself with the challenge yet, head over to the official announcement.
On day 1 of ESL One Cologne we are tasked with picking the player who will have the highest headshot percentage in each group, with the correct selection worth 6 points.
How is headshot percentage calculated?
In case you are not familiar with CS:GO statistics, headshot percentage most often refers to percentage of kills made with a headshot.
6 headshots out of 8 kills by a player in a match will equal a 75% headshot percentage.
Some stats also display it as a percentage of head-hits out of all shots that were fired by a player, but as Valve didn't specify that it is safe to assume that the more common HS-kill% will be used in the Pick'Em Challenge.
Who should you pick?
We will now go through the groups and list all players' career headshot percentage as well as their HS% in previous majors (where applicable) to give you a slight insight in who you could pick and who to avoid (such as AWPers) before you place your stickers.
In general the average HS% is around 44% and in each group there are between seven and nine players who would make good candidates based on that. However, you should also keep in mind that it's easier to get a high % with less kills, and it sometimes happens that players on the losing end finish with a higher HS% with a low amount of kills.
Furthermore, some of the players have been occasional AWPers (based on maps, changing of team roles) which reduces their career HS%, while they might end up not using the big green at this event (or vice versa).
One player from each team rounds up the top four of group A per their career HS%, with Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg on top despite his occasional AWP use.
Aaron "AZR" Ward actually has the highest % at the majors, having played in three group stages so far, and he falls into the category of those who could top the charts despite losing. Interestingly, his teammate Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill did exactly that at ESL One Katowice 2015 where he posted a 63% HS% from just 27 kills over two maps, good for second highest at the whole event.
Due to the circulating AWPing duties in TSM between Nicolai "device" Reedtz, Finn "karrigan" Andersen and even René "cajunb" Borg, the only real candidate from their team is Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen.
Inversely, in NiP anyone but Aleksi "allu" Jalli (who AWPs regularly) could and does stand out on a given day.
CLG seemingly has only one decent candidate in James "hazed" Cobb, but Tarik "tarik" Celik might also top the charts in a scenario where he doesn't use the AWP.
The one player that will curse Valve for choosing this stat for day 1 and thus see a lower amount of his signature stickers sold is CLG's Josh "jdm64" Marzano, who has the lowest career HS% of all players at the event due to his total dedication to AWPing.
Group B has five players with over 50% and it has the highest average HS% out of all the groups. That could have made it the most interesting one in the contest, but since it contains Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom it is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to top him in this particular race.
Benrlitom has been the absolute champion of the HS% stat from CS:GO's inception and no one has even come near his career average of 71.5% over the years.
He will likely be the most picked player in this challenge, justifiably so, but if you are feeling adventurous you could go for his teammate Håvard "rain" Nygaard who is also very efficient in this regard, especially at previous majors where he sports a 58.9% HS%.
EnVyUs' star aimers Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire would also be great choices in any other group and they are often seen topping our headshot-per-round charts at events, but again, it will be hard for anyone to outdo the Belgian headshot machine on this occasion.
One player stands out high above the rest in group C as well – Na`Vi's Egor "flamie" Vasilyev with 55.2% career HS%. But he isn't such a safe pick, especially considering his stats from the previous majors where he had below average HS% - albeit while playing for dAT and HellRaisers and losing in the group stages.
Oddly enough the highest HS% in fnatic belongs to Markus "pronax" Wallsten as their star duo of Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjerand Jesper "JW" Wecksell tends to use the AWP a lot, so picking anyone from the Swedish team will be risky.
eBettle's Damian "Furlan" Kislowski holds a solid percentage of 48.8% and could be a darkhorse, but he didn't stand out at the European LAN qualifier for ESL One Cologne in that regard, having only 43.6%.
Titan's Richard "shox" Papillon sits at a very good 49.3% career HS% despite almost 1/10th of his kills being made with the AWP, but even Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez could wind up on top in Titan in some scenario as he had 50% at the previous major.
9 of the 20 players in group D have above average career HS%, shared most with group B, but there isn't such an obvious pick here.
Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas leads the pack with 52% and is a solid candidate, just like Cloud9's Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert, and they were both among the top 3 in this stat at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals.
But if you want to look elsewhere, mousesports' Johannes "nex" Maget could actually be the best candidate from this group as he recently topped the HS% stats at two events – Gfinity Summer Masters 1 and CEVO Season 7 Finals.
His teammate Denis "denis" Howell was ranked 3rd recently at Acer Predator Masters S1 Finals – although his "success" hinges on not using the AWP - as was Timo "Spiidi" Richter at IEM Gamescom last week (but with just 48.5%).
Both Cloud9 and Virtus.pro have solid backup candidates in Mike "shroud" Grzesiek and Paweł "byali" Bieliński, while it could also happen that an Immunity player - for example Chris "emagine" Rowlands who was ranked 2nd in HS% at the Asian LAN qualifier with 48% - ends up on top due to a lower amount of kills scored overall.
While looking at the past stats won't provide you with a sure way of scoring those Pick'Em points – and there will only be three matches per group on day one (two teams will play only one match) which will make this mainly a guessing contest – we still hope this will help you make the picking part more interesting by giving you the chance to make an educated guess.
The Player Pick'Em challenge will have three more components to it on days 2-4 and we plan on posting similar articles about first kill and pistol stats at a later time.