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Sh1ro’s Impressive Year

Nikhil Kalro

In January this year, star AWPer Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov promised to achieve higher and “more stable” results after grabbing a fourth spot debut on the HLTV Top 20 list. He walked the talk when he managed to achieve excellent results at the Funspark ULTI final, his very first CS:GO event in 2022. This helped sh1ro secure the MVP title in his very first event.

cloud9 sh1r0

Image Credit: PGL | Joao Ferreira

Since then, sh1ro has been a standout performer across different categories. But it wasn’t until his opening game against Complexity, where he posted a monstrous performance in Dust2 to close the series, that he truly made a mark. In performing the way he did, sh1ro mostly stood out because of his output and consistency by the time the grand finale was won.

That has just been the springboard for a more consistent run heading into the summer. Sh1ro has now showcased his versatility with a single pistol in an eco round of CS:GO, where the aim is to mostly inflict as much damage as possible or at least plant bombs for extra cash. Sh1ro proved it’s not just possible to defend but also win an eco if you can land a few headshots, like he had done so wonderfully in the Roobet Cup.

After Cloud9 were vanquished on Dust2 in their tournament opener, they were left to eco on the second round. They hit a roadblock when Complexity killed four C9 players, leaving sh1ro to come up with a rescue act, which he did clinically with a superb headshot on floppy. He ended the series with 67 kills and 31 deaths.

In their quarterfinals win over 9Z, sh1ro proved to be the single-biggest difference between victory and defeat. He finished the game with a +17 K/D difference, much more than any of his teammates. This surge isn’t sudden. This has been ongoing.

At last month’s IEM Dallas 2022, Sh1ro single-handedly kept C9 alive till the end. They wouldn’t have had a shot at the lower bracket quarterfinals if not for sh1ro, who pulled off an incredible 19-16 win over Ninjas in Pyjamas. When the game was evenly poised at 14-14 and NiP had a one-man advantage in the A bomb site, he came alive and displayed tremendous consistency to clinch the game, landing 33 kills in all.

The loss on Vertigo proved back-breaking for NiP, who also stumbled into an overpass. They won 11 rounds on defence and conceded just once on the T side before closing out the map 16-5, with sh1ro at the forefront of another strong performance on the map, finishing with 23 kills and 9 deaths.

Sh1ro is known for his passive AWPing play style, something that became a hallmark of his game at the IEM Katowice final against last year. He showcased tremendous patience and fortitude, recording just 39 deaths over four maps. On Dust 2, he was even more prolific, killed just four times. This impeccable consistency earned him the MVP award at the event.

Back towards the end of last year, Sh1ro spoke to about his practice rotations, as well as how he looks at handling clutch situations. “You see, I’m pretty confident with it, but I suppose there is no way I would be HLTV number one this year. Even five years ago I was dreaming of just getting in the top 20, I hope this year that will be so and I am happy about that. My main goal however is not these personal trophies, it is just winning the Major.

“There are plenty of times where people just don’t understand what to do, and in these extreme situations I try myself to figure out what to do, that’s why I will take the leadership and try to advise people. I’m not preparing for the clutches specifically, it is just a situational thing which leads me to this number. Frankly speaking most of them took place during the group stage, where honestly the level of teams were not as high as they could be. I just try to avoid the thought that I am playing on LAN. Of course I try to copy my movements and strats from practice, and I implemented that right here at this tournament.”

Sh1ro’s versatility makes him a sought after player. C9’s current roster is ranked fourth in the world. Over the past three months, sh1ro has racked up numbers at par with the best in the world. 

Until the start of the Roobet Cup, he averaged 0.77 kills per round, which is incredible by any stretch of the imagination, along with an overall rating of 1.27 as per HLTV. These are the kind of numbers that make it impossible to ignore his performances match after match.

At 20, the world is his oyster. An estimated market value of 1.4 million Euros isn’t outlandish by any means. It isn’t long before he becomes one of the biggest names on the transfer window.