NiKo
Nikola Kovac 
Bosnia and Herzegovina
FaZe Clan
Dominated SK in 2-0 win
May 20, 2018
NiKo posted a team-leading 46/26 KD on Friday in a 2-0 series win over SK Gaming in the quarterfinals at the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals in Dallas.
ANALYSIS
NiKo looked rock solid from start to finish in the 2-0 series win over SK Gaming, with a smooth 7-0 start on the defensive side of Overpass. SK managed to pick up a handful of rounds in the first half but NiKo kept things to a minimum for SK for a 10-5 half. The second half saw NiKo pick up the second pistol but SK rallied back with eight rounds to bring the deficit to a minimum but NiKo kept his composure to seal the deal for a 16-13 win and a series lead. NiKo continued his reign on Mirage where the offense picked up a massive 13-2 lead at the half. A slow start in the second half saw SK pick up three but FaZe rallied back with three of their own to take the series for a semifinal spot on Saturday.
Field day through two
April 22, 2018
NiKo posted a 42/28 KD on Friday in a 2-0 series win over Team EnVyUs in the Group A decider match at DreamHack Masters Marseille.
ANALYSIS
NiKo had a rather slow start to the Group A decider on Train as he trailed the CT's of nV for the majority of the half. The start was highly contested after giving up the pistol and the eco round but managed to end the half with two in a row for an 8-7 half. Another slow start came his way in the second half as nV took control of the T-side to win five in a row, but he eventually helped break EnVyUs' economy to come back and steal the series lead 16-14, posting a 23/21 KD and an 89.0 ADR. He pressed on into Overpass on the T-side to advance the first half with a 7-1 lead, thanks to his Round 8 triple entry kill on the B-bombsite. EnVyUs were unable to respond and the end result came with NiKo securing the 2-0 series win to the quarterfinal.
Falls hard in the winners' match
April 21, 2018
NiKo posted a 55/40 KD on Thursday in a 2-0 loss to Cloud9 in the Group A winners' match at DreamHack Masters Marseille.
ANALYSIS
The winners' match kicked off on Overpass where NiKo had a rather slow start on the CT-side. Trailing Cloud9 for the most part, NiKo finally got the rounds needed to reduce the deficit, winning the remaining four rounds for a 9-6 half. The second half still remained in control by Cloud9 who reached map point but NiKo kept the FaZe alive with a 1-vs-2 clutch in Round 23. Unfortunately, NiKo's efforts couldn't get his team to force overtime in the 16-13 loss. The series shifted to Mirage where NiKo encountered a contested start on the CT-side, which eventually turned into another 9-6 first half for Cloud9. The second half looked better for NiKo as the rounds went back and forth resulting in a Round 19 tiebreaker from NiKo's triple kill to deny the retake on the A-bombsite. The two teams traded rounds as NiKo came close to evening the series but fell short with a 2-0 loss.
Secures Cache in opener
April 18, 2018
NiKo went 21/7 on Wednesday in a 16-1 win over Team EnVyUs in Group A at DreamHack Masters Marseille.
ANALYSIS
The group stage began on Cache where NiKo opened up with a huge quad kill hold on the A-bombsite to secure the pistol. NiKo went on to help secure the following anti-ecos, but once EnVyUs got on their buy round the streak stopped at three rounds. However, NiKo and co. made sure not to give EnVyUs any room as the team went on to pick up a 14-1 half before sealing their win with the remaining two in the second half, thanks to NiKo's team-leading 138.6 ADR and a 2.06 rating.
Dismal performance on Overpass
April 15, 2018
NiKo posted a 32/31 KD on Wednesday in the 1-1 split against Fnatic in Week 6 of ESL Pro League Season 7.
ANALYSIS
The series began on Inferno where NiKo and his team marched through the first half to dominate on the CT-side for the 10-5 lead going into the second. Despite Fnatic's three-round come back, NiKo sniped down three on the B-bombsite entry to secure the first round in the second half. From there, it was all FaZe as NiKo finally secured the series lead, thanks to his triple kill in the 1-vs-1 to claim the win, posting a team-leading 26/14 KD and 108.0 ADR along the way. The series shifted to Overpass where NiKo has seen better performances come from his T-side as he was only able to help secure three rounds in the first half. Down 12-3, NiKo struggled through the second half as he only picked up a 5/17 KD and 40.7 ADR in the 16-5 loss.
Life saver on Cache
April 12, 2018
NiKo posted a firm 49/30 KD on Tuesday in a 2-0 win over HellRaisers in Week 6 of ESL Pro League Season 7.
ANALYSIS
NiKo easily got the job done through the first half of Mirage, following his two teammates through the leaderboards to help take the first half 11-4. His entries and post-plant holds made all the difference through the first half, and he did the same in the second half, this time for the CT-side, en route for a 16-7 win. A rather quiet Mirage was quickly replaced with a stellar performance on Cache from NiKo, despite the highly contested halves, he led his team with a victory, thanks to his team-leading 33/18 KD and 118.8 ADR to clinch the sweep.
Falls short when his team needs him most
January 28, 2018
NiKo couldn't step up when his team needed him to in the ELEAGUE Major: Boston grand finals, finishing with a 64/70 KD in FaZe Clan's 2-1 loss to Cloud9.
ANALYSIS
NiKo is widely regarded as the best player in the world at the moment. Watching this series alone, you wouldn't have believed that fact. With FaZe Clan trading blows back and forth with Cloud9 over the course of three games and almost 100 rounds, this was truly NiKo's time to shine. The fact that he was playing in his first Major grand final clearly showed, however. While he did manage to find plenty of clutches, he simply waited a bit too long to show up and couldn't bring much consistency to this series. Over the first two games of the series, he tallied just a 28/43 KD. He led the team with a 28/28 KD in the final game, but it was GuardiaN coming up with clutch after clutch in that game to try and keep this team in the hunt. NiKo will certainly use this moment to build and come back stronger, but for now, he'll have to live with the sting of defeat.
Unable to hold for the win
December 17, 2017
NiKo posted a firm 21/20 KD on Friday in the 16-13 loss to Astralis at the ECS Season 4 Finals.
ANALYSIS
NiKo ripped through the defense of Astralis in the early rounds to get the entry-kills and post-plant holds to take the 3-0 lead. However, Astralis contested to even the score 3-3 and eventually take the lead as NiKo opened up the A-bombsite with a triple to secure the 4-3 lead. NiKo then struggled to get past the defense after a few failed attempts on the A-bombsite to give Astralis the lead. He then found a few round wins by holding the post-plant to settle for an 8-7 half. NiKo continued in the second half with a firm hold on the B-bombsite to pick up a few rounds but nothing more as his performance began to trail off in the late rounds to take the loss.
Lifts team in win over Liquid
December 17, 2017
NiKo went 40/16 on Friday in the 16-12 win over Team Liquid at the ECS Season 4 Finals.
ANALYSIS
NiKo kicked off Mirage with a 2-0 deficit from Liquid, however, his Round 3 quad entry-kill on the A-bombsite earn the team its first win. NiKo then helped get the entry-kills needed for the early bomb plants to help economically and take the 4-3 lead late. Unfortunately, Liquid had a stout defense against FaZe as NiKo struggled to close rounds to help his team. Although he finally closed the half on a good note with a quad kill on the A-bombsite entry to take the 9-6 deficit. With a pistol round loss, NiKo came right back to help hold the line for three straight. He then broke the tie in Round 21 by crippling the offense of Liquid with a triple kill hold on the A-bombsite. Both teams contested the economy for each team was on edge, but NiKo saved the round with a quad kill to secure the 13-11 lead to eventually take Mirage, posting a monster 136.3 ADR.
Missing during key moments in loss
December 10, 2017
NiKo went 76/82 on Sunday in a 3-1 loss to SK Gaming in the grand finals of ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals.
ANALYSIS
NiKo started strong on the offensive side of Inferno to pick up a clean 6-1 lead. However, SK contested to even the score but NiKo come out on top in the force buys to help edge the first half with an 8-7 score. The force buys seems to work for NiKo, who picked up a 3-0 start on defense and eventually claimed Inferno with the 16-13 win. NiKo struggled against the pressuring aggressiveness of SK on Overpass, unable to shake his opponents in the second half for an even series. His performance began to get worse as his offensive side on Mirage went missing in the first half with only one kill to register. The second half aggression didn't go as planned as SK shutdown the come back to take the series lead 2-1. SK started perfect on Train but NiKo came up with some incredible individual plays to help his team edge the 8-7 half. NiKo then contributed to the overtime push but ended with only one round won in the 19-16 series loss.
Once again in the finals
December 9, 2017
NiKo went 43/26 on Saturday to blank Fnatic 2-0 in the semifinals of ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals.
ANALYSIS
NiKo finally broke free from Fnatic late in the first half of the defense to take the 9-6 lead. He then started the second half by tapping down three to secure the second pistol round, which turned into an offensive dominance to win seven out of eight rounds to take Mirage 16-7. NiKo contested early on Overpass as both teams traded rounds in the first half until NiKo broke the defense of Fnatic with a quick double to deny the retake in Round 14. Taking the 8-7 lead, NiKo saved the second anti-eco with a triple entry-kill on the A-bombsite. His defenses then took over for the remainder of the half as NiKo posted a 96.9 ADR in the 16-10 win on Overpass, advancing to the grand final.
Couldn't break out in OT
December 9, 2017
NiKo posted a 23/27 KD on Tuesday with a 19-15 loss to Fnatic in the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals.
ANALYSIS
NiKo got off to a quick 2-0 start in the defense of Inferno but Fnatic brought the score right back with four straight on the least-favored offense. However, NiKo regained control of the map with a stern hold on the B-bombsite as well as a quick rotation to bail the A-bombsite from a post-plant hold to even the 4-4 score. Both teams traded rounds as NiKo did what he could do to hold off the aggressive offense of FaZe, which turned into a two-round lead before taking the 8-7 half. A smooth start in the second half quickly turned into a trade of rounds once again, although Fnatic broke the economy and took map point advantage 15-11. NiKo had a little economy but the entry-kills allowed his team to get the much-needed bomb plant to reset the Fnatic economy. Forcing overtime, NiKo couldn't transfer his momentum into the extra rounds as Fnatic picked up the 19-15 win.
Leads FaZe to big win
December 6, 2017
NiKo put together a 21/10 KD in FaZe Clan's 16-5 win over Astralis on Day 2 of the ESL Pro League Finals.
ANALYSIS
It's hard to talk about FaZe Clan and not mention NiKo, and this game was no exception. He continues to be at the forefront of this multifaceted attack from FaZe, this time finishing at the top of just about every stat category in the match. He led in kills (21), damage (105 ADR), assists (6), and rating (1.72). It's a bit astonishing the high level of play that NiKo is able to bring game in and game out. With the rest of his team showing up to make some big plays along with him, FaZe could be in for a fruitful trip to Odense.
Couldn't overcome the veterans
November 19, 2017
NiKo posted a 97/75 KD in the 3-2 loss on Sunday against the Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand finals of IEM Oakland.
ANALYSIS
In Game 1 of the grand finals, NiKo got the entry-kills but some rounds wouldn't transfer over into wins. After a frustrating first half, NiKo went into the second half with a deficit that never went positive as his individual plays weren't enough to take Game 1. NiKo went into Inferno with confidence as he picked up a team-leading 101.5 ADR in the 16-7 win. A smooth start to Train really got the ball rolling in Game 3 but NiP rallied back to steal the lead late. However, the second half was nothing for the offense of NiKo could do to help the team win more than three rounds to go down 2-1 in the series. Luckily, NiKo's playing grounds of Overpass were lined up for an easy win, despite his low number in frags with a 16/11 KD and 67.5 ADR in the 16-6 win, forcing Game 5 on Cache. The first half of Cache was tight early on but NiKo couldn't muscle to hold off the offense for a 9-6 deficit.
Silences OpTic in win
November 15, 2017
NiKo posted a 16/8 KD on Tuesday in a 16-3 win over OpTic Gaming in Group B of IEM Oakland.
ANALYSIS
NiKo started the best-of-one series with a quad entry kill on the A-bombsite to secure the pistol round. He then picked up two more rounds before OpTic got on the board, but that didn't phase him as he pounced on the defense to win seven consecutive rounds and take the 10-1 lead. NiKo consistently picked up an entry kill as more rounds would go his way for a 12-3 lead at the half. Going into the second half, NiKo cruised past the OpTic offense despite everything his opponents could throw at him. After sweeping the second half by four rounds, NiKo would conclude the game with a 79.7 ADR in the 16-3 win.
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