Image: michael gilday/ mashable

His infectious smile is gone as he walks out of the ELeague studio, carrying his keyboard, mouse and rolled-up mousepad across the hallway into FlipSid3 Tactics’ practice room. A black, zipped-up sweatshirt encompasses his dark-gray jersey with the name MARKELOFF in bold white letters arching across its back.

Professional Counter-Strike player Yegor “Markeloff” Markelov and the rest of his team is out of the ELeague tournament after being handled by Renegades in the first round of the last chance qualifiers. Eight squads vied for the top two spots to make it into the playoffs, and FlipSid3 was the first one out.

But one loss doesn’t mean FlipSid3 is out of the running for the year. There’s no real season in professional Counter-Strike ; after the team flies back to Ukraine and Russia, they’ll keep practicing for the next tournament.

But Markeloff has already proven himself to be one of the greatest Counter-Strike players of all time.

A Counter-Strike career

At 28 years old, Markeloff is a Counter-Strike veteran and has been playing competitively for over 10 years.

“I started played with my brother, who started to play Counter-Strike competitively, ” Markeloff said. “I wanted to be like him and be the best.”

His first international tournament was in Moscow in 2005, coming in fifth place with Ukrainian team DTS Gaming. This was during the Counter-Strike 1.6 era, which was the last version of the original CS game.

In 2010 he was voted the top Counter-Strike player in the world by HLTV, one of the most prominent CS news sites and communities around.

With his team Natus Vincere, more commonly known as Na’Vi, Markeloff demonstrated himself to be the best AWPer of the era, predominating teams with his swift sniping abilities, taking championship after championship.

Since the community switched over to the latest CS game in 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive , Markeloff has been playing around with other positions.

“I wanted people to recollect me as not just an AWPer”

“I stepped out from the AWP because I wanted people to remember me as not only an AWPer, ” Markeloff told. “I tried different positions like B holder and A holder, but on this squad, this( lurker) posture fits me the best.”

As a lurker, he tends to split off from his squad, trying to flank foes and divide their defense.

He still plays well, but FlipSid3 hasn’t managed to come together as a whole. The team haven’t placed consistently in tournaments since the switch to CS: GO .

Outside FlipSid3

While Counter-Strike will always be his main game, Markeloff said he also plays Dota 2 with friends from time to time, although not competitively.

Markeloff sometimes logs into his other account and plays CS by himself.

“My teammates once kicked me from a game because even my teammates guessed I was cheating, ” he told. “I was like ‘what the fuck guys, I’m winning you a game, why are you kicking me? ‘”

He’s so good, people can’t even believe it.

“I still feel really confident in myself that I can[ play ], ” Markeloff said, waving off the idea of retirement. “I’m pretty sure that I’ll stay in esports, because this is what I love. This is my passion since childhood.”

ELeague is owned by Turner Broadcasting, which also is an investor in Mashable .

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