Credit: PGL

NiKo: Slowly m0NESY will become the best player of G2

The Bosnian rifler sees his teammate as one of his toughest rivals to clinch the number 1 spot on HLTV’s Player of the Year list for the future.

The 2024 LAN season has been kicked off in Copenhagen with BLAST Spring Groups. Here G2 got off to a good start with a solid 2-0 win against Ninjas in Pyjamas. Once again it was the duo of Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov and Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač who were the driving force behind G2’s success with the Russian AWP’er flying high with an incredible 2.01 rating on the first map of Vertigo.

Perhaps a sign to come for the new season, where G2 will look to repeat the impressive wins at IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne in 2023. 18-year-old Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov was ranked 4th on HLTV’s list of the best players of 2023, while 26-year-old Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač came in second. But perhaps this will be the last year, where NiKo is ranked higher than his Russian teammate.

In Copenhagen before the start of BLAST Spring Groups, spoke with Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač about his second-place finish, and how he sees the possibility of him finally winning the award as the best player in the world after being placed in the top 5 six times.

- I was pretty close in 2017, where I had a real shot at winning it back then. It would be nice to win it, but it’s really hard with having ZywOo in the game and if s1mple comes back at his level. But I also think that slowly m0NESY will become the best player of G2. It’s only a matter of time.

“I’m maybe not a perfect role model“

When speaking about Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov, it is evident that NiKo has a great amount of respect for the young player, who in the world of Counter-Strike belongs to a different generation of players.

- I try to help him as much as I can. Not just inside the game, I think he doesn’t need that much, he has been pretty good since he joined, but I try to guide him outside of the game on some things. I’m maybe not a perfect role model, but I am trying to help him as much as I can with the experience that I have, NiKo explains.

This is the third season that Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov is playing with NiKo and G2 after he joined the team back in January 2022. He was named Rookie of the Year in his first year at the team which concluded with an MVP award for the BLAST World Finals win in 2022. Since then G2 also won IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne in 2023.

Can m0NESY top ZywOo in 2024?

With the dominance of Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut and Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev's hiatus from competitive Counter-Strike, it looks difficult to see anyone fighting the Frenchman for the award as the best player of 2024. But it might be worth keeping an eye on the development of G2’s young AWP’er according to his Bosnian teammate.

- I think his potential is unquestionable. Everyone can see what he is capable of. Iliya probably needs a little more time, but I think we can see his development. For two years now he has been in the top 7 and now top 4, so I don’t see him going backwards. He is going to keep growing and developing himself, so I see him becoming one of the best players for sure and probably contesting ZywOo and s1mple as well. It’s just a matter of time, NiKo says before pointing at some of m0NESY’s traits that can take him to the top. 

- He has everything you need. He has the work ethic as well. He just wants to grind the game all the time and wants to learn. He is also very hungry. He gets very emotional when he doesn’t win something he thinks he should, so he puts extra hours in as well. So, I do not doubt that he will get where he belongs, Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač concludes.

G2 will face the winner of Complexity vs NAVI in the next round of BLAST Premier Spring Groups.

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