Esports Awards 2022: Breaking down team, org, player and coach categories

by Brian Bencomo

The Esports Awards take place on Dec. 13 this year in Las Vegas. Over 30 categories are up for grabs, recognizing the best teams, casters, creatives and more within the esports industry. The finalists for each category have been revealed and fans can vote to help determine the winner. The fan vote will account for 25% of the weight for most categories, with a panel of experts comprising the other 75%.

At Nerd Street, we have had our finger on the pulse of some of the biggest esports events and storylines this year, with stories on many of the teams, players and coaches among the Esports Awards nominees. The following is a guide to shed some light on the finalists in the following seven categories:

  • Esports team of the year
  • Esports organization of the year
  • Esports coach of the year
  • Esports PC rookie of the year
  • Esports PC player of the year
  • Esports controller rookie of the year
  • Esports controller player of the year

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Below you will find a breakdown of each of these categories, highlighting the accomplishments of the nominees and links to Nerd Street’s coverage.

Esports team of the year

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • FaZe Clan (CS:GO)
  • Los Angeles Thieves (Call of Duty)
  • Team BDS (Rocket League)
  • Nova Esports (PUBG Mobile)
  • Natus Vincere (CS:GO)
  • Los Angeles Gladiators (Overwatch)
  • PSG.LGD (Dota)
  • T1 (League of Legends)

These teams are, for the most part, international champions in their respective games. If you’re looking to vote for a team that won their game’s season-ending championship tournament, look no further than LOUD, the Los Angeles Thieves, Team BDS and Nova Esports. In addition to their world championships, LA Thieves and Team BDS also each won a Major tournament over the course of the season. LOUD finished second at a major VALORANT tournament earlier in the season.

Read more: LA Thieves win Call of Duty Champs, prevent FaZe from going back-to-back

T1’s League of Legends team didn’t win any international titles but they were second at both the Mid-Season Invitational and League of Legends World Championship. They were champions of Korea’s LCK in the spring and second in the summer. Close doesn’t cut it, but they were three finals wins away from putting together one of the greatest seasons in League of Legends history.

There is no season-ending championship event in CS:GO, but Majors are the closest to world championships in CS:GO. FaZe Clan won the Antwerp Major and won two other prestigious international events -- IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne -- so there’s a very strong case for FaZe’s CS:GO team being the best team regardless of esport.

Esports organization of the year

Photo credit: Halo Championship Series

  • T1
  • 100 Thieves
  • FaZe Clan
  • LOUD
  • Team Liquid
  • G2 Esports
  • Cloud9
  • OpTic Gaming
  • Nova Esports
  • Evil Geniuses

Several of these orgs were international champions in more than one esport. FaZe Clan, OpTic Gaming and G2 Esports stand out. FaZe have won multiple international events in CS:GO and were the second-best Call of Duty team this year. Plus, they had a strong year in Rocket League. OpTic were champions in VALORANT, Halo and Call of Duty this year. G2 won a Rocket League Major and finished second at the RLCS World Championship, and their League of Legends team was the champion of Europe this spring and went to both international League of Legends tournaments this year.

Read more: The top 10 esports orgs in the world in 2022, so far

Cloud9, Team Liquid, FURIA, Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves also had very strong years with high-performing teams across multiple esports. For LOUD and T1, their success this year was mostly concentrated in one esport. LOUD had a breakout year in VALORANT, and T1 were excellent in League of Legends as usual. As for Nova Esports, they are a mainly mobile esports organization. Nova were champions in both PUBG and Wild Rift this year.

Esports coach of the year

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström (CS:GO)
  • Andrii “B1ad3” Horodenskyi (CS:GO)
  • Chet “Chet” Singh (VALORANT)
  • Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren (VALORANT)
  • Matthew “Satthew” Ackermann (Rocket League)
  • Théo “Mew” Ponzoni (Rocket League)
  • Zhang “xiao8” Ning (Dota)
  • Go “Score” Dong-bin (League of Legends)
  • Maxwell Alexander “Max Waldo” Waldo (League of Legends)
  • Diogo José “Jebuz” Fernandes de Jésus (Clash Royale)

Looking at the coaches on this list, there are two CS:GO coaches -- RobbaN and B1ad3. RobbaN is FaZe’s coach, and FaZe have been the best CS:GO team this year. B1ad3 is NAVI’s coach, and NAVI has been the second-best CS:GO team this year. RobbaN has undoubtedly done a great job getting FaZe to perform at such a high level this year. However, B1ad3 is probably more deserving of this award because NAVI, a Ukrainian organization with Russian players, have had to deal with external issues related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NAVi’s season could have easily gone off the rails, so NAVI’s coach probably deserves some credit for helping the team navigate through these issues and still getting the players to perform at a high level.

Chet and d00mbr0s are both VALORANT coaches. Both of their teams won international VALORANT events this year. Chet and OpTic won Masters: Reykjavík, and d00mbr0s and FPX won Masters: Copenhagen. Again, external issues are a factor in this case. FPX qualified for Masters: Reykjavík but weren’t able to travel to the event due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The team managed to travel to Copenhagen, and despite playing the first part of the tournament with a sub and getting knocked into the lower bracket early during the knockout round, FPX still managed to win. D00mbr0s certainly deserves credit for helping the team overcome the odds to win in Copenhagen and helping the team navigate the uncertainty regarding travel.

Read more: FunPlus Phoenix finish historic run to win VCT Masters: Copenhagen

This doesn’t mean the best coach is one who has helped their team overcome external factors to still perform at a high level. Satthew and Mew are coaches of two of the best Rocket League teams during the RLCS 2021-22 season. Mew and BDS were world champions. Satthew and G2 were world championship runners-up as well as Major champions. BDS were Major champions this season too, but Mew wasn’t their coach at the time -- he joined in April. Is Mew more deserving of this award because he helped lead BDS to a world championship? Or does Satthew deserve it more because he was with the team all season and they were consistently excellent throughout?

All of this is to illustrate that this is a very hard category to choose a winner because there are many deserving candidates for various reasons.

Esports PC rookie of the year

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov (CS:GO)
  • Felipe “Less” Basso (VALORANT)
  • Emir “Alfajer” Beder (VALORANT)
  • Jacob “valyn” Batio (VALORANT)
  • Joseph Joon “jojopyun” Pyun (League of Legends)
  • Huang “Wayward” Ren-Xing (League of Legends)
  • Ammar “ATF” Al-Assaf (Dota)
  • William “Spoit” Löfstedt (Rainbow Six)
  • Kim “ZEST” Hyun-Woo (Overwatch)

There are three VALORANT players in this category, so let’s start there. Less, Alfaer and valyn all made big impacts on their teams, but only Less can claim to be a world champion with LOUD, so he should probably get the edge among the VALORANT players.

Read more: Evil Geniuses’ Jojopyun showing off bright future for NA talent in the LCS

The three most notable players on this list are probably m0NESY, jojopyun and Spoit. M0NESY joined a high-profile G2 squad after developing his skills with NAVI Junior. In one of his first tournaments with G2, the team reached the final of IEM Katowice. Jojopyun was a highly touted amateur North American League of Legends player who immediately made an impact with Evil Geniuses not only with his play but with his bravado. With him on the team, EG won the LCS in the spring and made their first two international appearances at MSI and Worlds. His skill and trash talking made him a focal point of conversation in pro League of Legends throughout the year. Like M0NESY and jojopyun, Spoit also made a big impact on his team this year. Just two months after he joined the team in June, Rogue won the Berlin Major.

Esports PC player of the year

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker (VALORANT)
  • Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky (VALORANT)
  • Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken (CS:GO)
  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (CS:GO)
  • Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon (League of Legends)
  • Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu (League of Legends)
  • Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk (Dota)
  • Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida (Dota)
  • Jacob “HisWattson” McMillin (Apex Legends)
  • Jaime “Cyber” Ramos (Rainbow Six)
  • Cho “Maru” Seong-ju (Starcraft)

There are some amazing players in this list representing some of the biggest esports titles. Starting with CS:GO, you have two stars on two of the best CS:GO teams in the world. S1mple has long been regarded as the best CS:GO player in the world. In late 2021 he won his first Major, and he and NAVI have won the last three BLAST Finals: Fall Finals 2021, World Final 2021 and Spring Finals 2022. Twistzz became the first North American player to win a Major since Cloud9 won the Boston Major in 2018. He is the only North American player on the otherwise European FaZe Clan CS:GO team. In VALORANT, Shao won Masters: Copenhagen with FPX, and yay won Masters: Reykjavík with OpTic Gaming. Yay’s skill as a duelist wielding the operator gun is considered second to none in VALORANT.

Read more: Worlds 2022: The best players at each position

If we’re talking all time, Faker is the GOAT in League of Legends, but Chovy might be the most skilled League of Legends player right now. His stats are among the best in League of Legends Champions Korea, which is considered one of the two best leagues in the world. He had the best KDA among players who competed in at least 30 games in the LCK this spring, was second in KDA in the summer and had the top KDA in the summer playoffs as he and Gen.G won the LCK summer championship. Plus he was top 10 in KDA at the League of Legends World Championship as Gen.G reached the semifinals. Odoamne might not compare to Chovy in terms of skill, but as the vocal leader of Europe’s Rogue, he led the team to their first ever European championship this summer and the playoffs at Worlds. Rogue were the only Western team to reach the Worlds knockout stage.

Among the other nominees, Yatoro plays on Team Spirit, the team that won The International in October 2021 and one of the Dota Pro Circuit Majors this year. HisWattson was named MVP of Apex Legends’ ALGS Championship this summer despite not being on the winning team.

Esports controller rookie of the year

Photo credit: Psyonix

  • Amer “Pred” Zulbeari (Call of Duty)
  • Enzo “Seikoo” Grondein (Rocket League)
  • Axel “vatira” Touret (Rocket League)
  • Adam “Bound” Gray (Halo)
  • Emre “EmreYilmazz” Yilmaz (FIFA)
  • Matías “Scorpionprocs” Martínez (Mortal Kombat 11)
  • UMISHO (Guilty Gear Strive)

This category features a mixture of players who are on teams and some who compete as individuals in fighting games. Pred stands out because he won a Call of Duty League Major with the Seattle Surge and was named the MVP of that tournament. He also was on the CDL’s first-team all-star team.

Read more: Team BDS win RLCS 2021-22 World Championship

Seikoo and vatira were two of the best Rocket League players during the RLCS 2021-22 season. Seikoo won a world championship with Team BDS and was named MVP of the championship, while vatira was a Major champion with Moist Esports and defensive MVP of the tournament.

Scorpionprocs and UMISHO are both fighting game players who reached the pinnacle of their respective games this year by winning Evo. Scorpionpros was the Mortal Kombat 11 champion, while UMISHO was Guilty Gear champion.

Esports controller player of the year

Photo credit: Marv Watson / Red Bull

  • Kenneth “Kenny” Williams (Call of Duty)
  • McArthur “Cellium” Jovel (Call of Duty)
  • Enzo “Seikoo” Grondein (Rocket League)
  • Evan “M0nkey M00n” Rogez (Rocket League)
  • Yan “yanxnz” Xisto Nolasco (Rocket League)
  • Leonardo “MkLeo” López Pérez (Smash Ultimate)
  • Derek “iDom” Ruffin (Street Fighter V)
  • Matthew “FormaL” Piper (Halo)
  • Umut “Umut” Gültekin (FIFA)
  • Noyan “Genburten” Ozkose (Apex Legends)

This might be the hardest category to judge because of the mixture of team and individual players as well as the many impressive and unique accomplishments among this set of players.

First, is it possible that Seikoo is not only the best controller rookie but the best controller player, period? He not only won a world championship but was MVP of the tournament too. His impact on BDS is undeniable, as BDS looked a lot better after he joined during the RLCS spring split following a lackluster winter split. His teammate M0nkey M00n was with BDS all season, but Seikoo’s impact after joining should give him the edge.

Read more: Defending Capcom Cup champion iDom eager for a chance to reclaim his title

MkLeo is probably the best Smash Ultimate player of all time and he’s having another great year. His 2022 is filled with first- and second-place finishes, highlighted by winning Genesis 8 and the Ludwig Smash Invitational. IDom is one of the best Street Fighter V players, and his 2022 is filled with first-place finishes. The only times he hasn’t finished first this year were a fourth-place finish in an online Capcom Pro Tour event and a second-place finish at Evo.

Among the two Call of Duty players, Kenny won the Call of Duty League Championship for the first time in his career this year and was named MVP of the tournament. Cellium was named MVP of the season, and his Atlanta FaZe were the second-best team all year. The most unique accomplishment among the players on this list belongs to FormaL. He won the Halo world championship to become a world champion in two different esports: Call of Duty and Halo. He became only the second player ever to win world championships in both of those games.

Lead photo credit: Alexander Dumon / ESPAT

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