Best Counter-Strike players of 2023

Calum Patterson
best csgo cs2 player 2023

In a year split by the release of Counter-Strike 2, the best players in the world found themselves facing a new challenge. Combining the first half of the year in CS:GO, and the second half with CS2, these were the best Counter-Strike players of 2023.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finally came to an end this year. After more than a decade of majors, elite rosters, legendary moments and iconic plays, it is now all relegated to history.

The impending release of CS2 made for a strange start to the 2023 season, with some teams clearly checked out from grinding CS:GO, leading to some surprising results at even the biggest tournaments.

Vitality and FaZe dominated the year, with some G2 success sprinkled in, and it will be no surprise to see their stars feature here. This ranking will consider both tournament results as well as individual performances.

Here are our top five CS:GO and CS2 players of 2023.

Best CS:GO and CS2 players of 2023

5 – Ilya ‘m0NESY’ Osipov

G2 m0nesy

Multiple names could argue for 5th this year, and many of them are AWPers. But, for such a young player to be so crucial to a roster like G2 Esports, with NiKo and HuNter, and in such a vital role, m0NESY rarely shows any signs of being a relative rookie.

While fans will remember his flashy plays and clutches, his value is also in not trying to be the hero, knowing he can rely on his veteran teammates to secure rounds without risk-taking from the player with the most expensive gun.

m0NESY maintained a 1.17 HLTV rating on LAN, which included monster performances at IEM Cologne (1.34), where G2 lifted the trophy, and IEM Sydney (1.40). However, he did disappoint at the BLAST Paris Major, and played his part in G2’s shocking early exit at the hands of Fnatic, crashing out 12-14th.

In CS2, 18-year-old m0NESY’s ceiling is the sky.

4 – Robin ‘ropz’ Kool

ropz faze clan

FaZe Clan had a tough start to the year, maybe due to CS:GO burnout, but with CS2 on the horizon, ropz wasn’t taking anything for granted. He put in the hours, and his relentless pursuit to master the new game helped propel FaZe to three straight tournament wins.

Despite FaZe’s general inconsistency over the year, ropz was rarely a victim of it individually. FaZe may have crashed out of the Paris Major early too, but he still had a respectable showing.

If it wasn’t for the release of CS2, 2023 would have been a year to forget for the roster, but ropz made sure that he did all he could to close the year out strong. He has now lost his duo Twistzz, but frozen’s addition to the FaZe team is a tantalizing prospect, as another ex-MOUZ player joins the lineup.

3 – Lotan ‘Spinx’ Giladi

spinx vitality

When Spinx impressed the world of CS during his time on ENCE, it seemed a sure thing that he would become one of the world’s very best players. His move to Vitality was the perfect platform, and after some early teething trouble, 2023 was the year Spinx fulfilled the potential that had been clear to see.

With his teammate ZywOo often taking the MVP trophies, it can be hard for Spinx to get his flowers, but he has made sure no one is sleeping on him with elite fragging performances at the biggest tournaments of the year.

His 1.24 rating at the BLAST Paris Major was one of his highest of the year, showing that the big events are where he can shine, and Vitality can thank his performances for their eventual trophy lift. And, outside a one-off at Gamers8, Spinx maintained these high-impact performances all year. Another stellar showing at the BLAST Premier World Finals helped Vitality end the year as the team to beat.

If Vitality are to win the first Major of CS2, it will almost certainly be because Spinx turns up at the biggest moment once again.

2 – Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac

NiKo setting up PC at PGL Major stockholm CSGO

CS:GO’s best rifler missed his chance at a major for the final time this year, but his impact overall indicates it would be unfair to lay blame at his feet.

And, despite what would have been a crushing disappointment, NiKo didn’t let it affect his game. Among the top 5 rated players of the year, NiKo is the only one to not use an AWP primarily, showing once again why he is the game’s best-ever rifler.

G2 missed out on numerous trophies this year, that much is true, but did do the double of IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne, with NiKo always leading the server in both events. All that’s left now is for him to finally win a Major, albeit now in CS2.

1 – Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut

zywoo csgo vitality

Little more can be said about ZywOo that hasn’t been already, but at least with CS2 here we can look forward to the potential of the Frenchmen truly dominating a game, perhaps without the s1mple rivalry as it was in CS:GO.

ZywOo tops all the charts statistically, and it’s not even really close (his 1.28 HLTV rating is ahead of second-place dev1ce on 1.21). And, unlike some of his fellow high-rating players, his performances have actually resulted in trophies, including, of course, his first Major win, in front of a French crowd in Paris no less.

There is currently no contender for the throne that ZywOo sits comfortably upon, and closing out 2023 with another couple of trophies and MVP medals, 2024 might even eclipse anything he has done up to this point.

With s1mple out of the picture for the time being, there are a few AWPers who will be hoping to mount a challenge – m0NESY, shiro, dev1ce, SunPayus, broky, etc. – but until any of them can even come close to ZywOo’s impact, we’d expect this young phenom to be the best player of 2024 too. There’s no doubt about 2023 either.

Check out our top players of 2023 for Call of Duty and Valorant here.