Team Spirit’s 17-year-old rifler, Danil “donk” Kryshkovets, has completed his first Tier 1 LAN and made waves around the Counter-Strike universe. Despite his inexperience, his aim shut down the best teams and players worldwide, helping Team Spirit win their first S-Tier tournament.
The Origins Of Danil “donk” Kryshkovets
In Counter-Strike, numerous established esports organizations such as Astralis, MOUZ, and Natus Vincere run academy team projects to scout unpolished gems (usually teenagers), training them in hopes of promoting these players to the main roster or selling them to other teams.
The young talent, donk, began his professional career playing for Team Spirit Academy. Like most academy rosters, Team Spirit Academy participated in online Tier 3 tournaments.
Simply put, he was putting up monstrous numbers. Though he isn’t playing against the best opponents, it’s pretty unnatural for a 16-year-old to perform this well.
Since these C-Tier events are held online, most competitors and fans assumed he was cheating. Seriously, if you look at his movements, awareness, and aim, it is not normal for anyone to be this good.
Getting His Chance At Team Spirit
Eventually, the main Team Spirit roster promoted donk, also bringing his Team Spirit Academy teammate, Myroslav “zont1x” Plakhotja, to the main roster.
— Team Spirit (@Team__Spirit) July 5, 2023
With Team Spirit being one of the most established esports organizations in the world, there would be no way they’d bring a hacker into their main team, so suspicions of donk cheating were decreased.
The questioned prodigy was putting up crazy statistics in his first few tournaments with the team, but then again, all of these tournaments were held online, so fans still doubted whether donk could perform like this on LAN.
Sure, Team Spirit won BetBoom DACHA, a $300,000 LAN tournament with donk, but the event was not played in front of a crowd and only had three notable competitors, Cloud9, Virtus.Pro, and Astralis. So, donk still hadn’t gotten the recognition he deserved.
VISA Issues Hold donk Back
Danil’s first offline S-Tier tournament was supposed to be the BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2024. Unfortunately, he and Boris “magixx” Vorobyev could not secure their VISAs in time, meaning they would miss the event.
Team Spirit fielded another academy player and their coach in the Spring Groups. Though they gave a decent showing, the Eastern European squad could not make it through.
Still, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Shortly after the BLAST event, Team Spirit would fly to Poland for IEM Katowice 2024 with the complete roster present.
Early Signs Of “GOAT” Level Performance
Unlike the top competitors in the tournament, Team Spirit had to begin their Katowice run from the Play-ins.
In donk’s first S-Tier offline match against Apeks, Team Spirit blew their opponents out of the water with a 13-0 victory. In this match, donk posted a 2.24 rating, which is absurd. The squad proceeded to defeat The MongolZ 2-0 to advance to the main event, with donk top-fragging in the server.
— Team Spirit (@Team__Spirit) February 1, 2024
Donk Passes The First Test
It was time for the Group Stage, where Team Spirit would face “real” opponents. Team Spirit’s first real opponent was Natus Vincere, where they took the series 2-1, losing a close 11-13 map on Anubis.
What we didn’t know was this would be the only map Team Spirit lost throughout the entire event. Across three maps, donk posted a rating of 1.49.
Donk’s K/D against Na’Vi:
- Ancient: 20-9
- Anubis (Lost): 20-19
- Mirage: 17-8
Next on donk’s hitlist was Complexity. Their AWPer, Håkon “hallzerk” Fjærli, mentioned that donk was a good player, but his teammate, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, was better than him, so they weren’t too scared.
Well, Complexity was quickly silenced with 13-5 and 13-3 scores to lose the series 0-2. Donk, once again, posted an absurd rating of 1.66.
Donk’s K/D against Complexity:
- Ancient: 22-9
- Overpass: 16-13
With the victory against Complexity, donk and Co. secured a spot in the Spodek Arena. They had one more match against FaZe Clan, with the winner skipping the Quarter Final and directly starting at the Semis.
Though he’s been trying to prove his worth already, donk really showed what he was made of in this series. Spirit could again win 2-0 against FaZe Clan, with donk posting an even higher rating of 1.83.
Averaging close to a 2.0 rating against the #2 team globally in your first S-Tier LAN tournament? That is really, really not normal.
Donk’s K/D against FaZe Clan:
- Mirage: 21-15
- Nuke: 27-9
Donk Makes Winning Katowice Look So Easy
The Russian youngster had to pass many tests to get the approval of Counter-Strike fans – not that he was trying to. However, the Katowice Playoffs would be the final test. This time, donk would play in front of thousands of fans. A situation like this would make most young players nervous and underperform.
The Semi Final match against the Falcons proved that donk wasn’t just an onliner. Team Spirit obliterated their opponents with map scores of 13-8 and 13-3. Donk finished the series with a rating of 1.64. Despite thousands of fans booing Team Spirit, he was destroying everyone on the server.
Donk’s K/D against Team Falcons:
- Anubis: 22-12
- Ancient: 14-11
Though donk has done everything to deserve to be recognized, fans still could not accept his performance since the Falcons weren’t looking too good. After what seems to be hundreds of tests, donk finally has the chance to prove to the world what he is capable of in the Grand Final match against the FaZe Clan.
Well, what can I say? We are living in donk’s world, and I’m all here for it. Team Spirit demolished FaZe Clan in the Grand Final, sweeping the Best of 5 series with a score of 3-0. FaZe did not stand a chance, with donk running into a bomb site first and taking everyone’s heads off in less than a second.
Donk’s K/D against FaZe Clan (Grand Final):
- Nuke: 32-14
- Mirage: 24-18
- Overpass: 26-8
THE SPRAYCONTROL 🤯
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) February 11, 2024
Danil posted his highest rating of the event in the Grand Final of all matches he could’ve done in: 1.93. For reference, donk ended the series with a K/D of 82-40.
A K/D ratio of 2 against the #2 ranked team in the Grand Final of his first LAN tournament? You really can’t make this up.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF IEM KATOWICE 2024. GGs @FaZeClan.
Can’t describe my feelings right now. Thanks everyone for support i really appreciate it. Love my team❤️
— donk1337 (@donk1337) February 11, 2024
As a result, donk had an average rating of 1.70 throughout the entire event, which ties the current “Big Event” record held by rifler Nikola “NiKo” Kovač in 2017. Deservedly, donk received the MVP award for IEM Katowice and took home the organizations first Tier-1 trophy while he was at it.
Is Donk The Real Deal?
I’ve been watching Counter-Strike since 2015, and sure, multiple players, notably Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, have posted insane performances like donk did in Katowice. However, we must remember that this kid just turned 17 last month, and this is his first time playing in front of a crowd.
The craziest thing is that the Counter-Strike community often calls out players like Benjamin “blameF” Bremer for “stat-padding” by “baiting” his teammates. However, donk is always the first to enter a bomb site, and he still gets multi-kill after multi-kill before dying. He is close to a 2 K/D every single game despite being the first person running in.
In many of these rounds where donk takes over, I’m just left thinking, “What are you even supposed to do against that?”
Additionally, the two players considered the greatest CS players of all time, s1mple and ZywOo, are AWPers. Since the two started claiming first and second places for the best player of the year, no rifler came close to taking the crown, with NiKo being the closest.
The last time a rifler was crowned number one player of the year was Marcelo “coldzera” David in 2017, before s1mple and ZywOo were on the rise.
I’ve had a pretty long career. But I’ve never seen anything like this…
— Peter Rasmussen (@dupreeh) February 11, 2024
Now, I think donk has already surpassed NiKo’s level. We have to remember that NiKo has been around the scene for nearly a decade, and donk is already looking like a better player with less than a month of playing against the top ten teams in the world.
Donk’s performance in Katowice could be a fluke, and people can assume he just had the tournament of his life. But, seeing the way he moves and shoots, I don’t think so.
If donk can replicate this performance in the next tournament, which I think he will have no trouble doing, we are really witnessing the best Counter-Strike player in the making.
I really wasn’t a donk believer; I thought he was a fraud. I expected donk to crack under pressure playing in front of a crowd and that he could only rake in those ratings playing online. However, I have been silenced and converted into a donk fan. Danil “donk” Kryshkovets is the real deal.
Header: Team Spirit