Blaze 'Draulon' Lengyel, January 19, 2017

Rising Stars: Robin 'ropz' Kool

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is defined by great moments, great matches and incredible plays at the highest level. While these memories come from the games between the world’s best players and teams, it is also of utmost importance that we pay attention to the lower tier scene where the future superstars of CS:GO are being molded. It is inevitable that some of the best players we know will one day retire, and when that happens, we need a fresh batch of players taking their place and pushing the scene forward.

The arrival of online services such as FaceIT’s FPL or ESEA’s Rank S brought about the opportunity for lesser known players to move up the ladder and get noticed by the community and professionals playing at a top level. It also allowed the more established players to scout potential talent for their team and see how well those young players can communicate and play in a more serious environment.

Today we will delve into the mysteries of the remote Estonian scene. Robin “ropz” Kool is a name that many stream viewers and FPL enthusiasts might be familiar with. The 17-year-old Estonian is able to go head to head with players such as GuardiaN and flusha in FPL and has gained the acknowledgment of many top players.

But who is Robin and where did he come from? Let’s take a look!

Humble Beginnings

Like most professional players, Robin was introduced to Counter-Strike at a very young age. At seven years old, his step-brother showed him 1.6, a game he plays even today for the kreedz (KZ) game mode. His attachment to the game slowly faded as 1.6 started to die out in 2012 and it was only two years later that he returned to Counter-Strike to play with Global Offensive.
On and off, Robin has a sum of near 10 years of Counter-Strike experience.

Interestingly enough, he wasn’t interested in pursuing a pro career until more recently. Around early 2015, he realized he both the potential and correct mindset to play at a professional level.

His conditions, however, were suboptimal, as he didn’t have a proper computer until last summer, and had to play on a rig that gave him an average of 100 FPS. Funnily enough, he was still able to perform much better than fellow semi-pro players. His competitiveness and desire to be better than others drove him.

In due time, the first cheating accusations were thrown his way, a rite that every rising player has to go through. However, his confidence didn’t waver. If he underperformed, he was his own biggest critic and pushed himself to become even better. While he doesn’t consider himself a professional player yet, he thinks that his consistency is exceptional and that is one of the reasons he was able to make a name for himself.

As such, he was able to qualify for FPL. One can see his dedication is genuine, as he fell short of qualifying for FPL four or five times before finally making it into the league.

Unleashing his potential

Right now, Robin is mostly known for his prowess in FPL. Something he describes as: 

“Amazing and weird at the same time. Weird in a way, that at one point I'm playing with my friends, just some regular pugs. Next thing I'm in FPL and for example s1mple is trying to talk and communicate with me and then I've sometimes questioned myself, is this really happening or am I dreaming?

Naturally one might ask about the offline results Robin has achieved. Online performances, while perhaps impressing, don’t carry as much weight as offline achievements.

Since Robin hasn’t had a lot of exposure to professional play yet, his arsenal of offline placements are limited to random local LANs he played at. His biggest offline event was the NEO Cup 2016 in Latvia, where he was matched up against Latvian and Lithuanian teams. Robin finished the event in second place with his team called “Pro Era” and was the highest rated player at the event, with a rating of 1.38 and an ADR of 101.8.

“He’s playing so good in FPL that if he plays like this in a team he would be Top 20 player next year.”

Robin is still on the search for a team to play in. He emphasized that he would prefer to play on an English speaking team given he speaks English quite well and sees more opportunities on going down such a path, as opposed to playing on an Estonian team, which are usually unable to stay together for a longer period of time.

While he feels like he is ready to join a new team, he is aiming for the very top. He sees no future in joining a team where he is the best player, as he believes it would be more fruitful to throw him into the deep waters right away and let him unleash his potential in the face of a challenge.

While qualifying for FPL, Robin had to play multiple roles such as awping, lurking or even calling for the team when necessary. He also mentioned playing as an awper for multiple Estonian teams, adding that skillset to his resumé as well. His versatility is a part of what makes him such an appealing prospect.

“I'm not sure he will be in the top 20 next year, but I do think he has potential to be there, he just needs some time and an opportunity.”

The future is still uncertain for Robin. As he is still a student, he would like to focus on school while building a name for himself in CS:GO. For now, he aims to join an international team competing at a top level, and attending a large scale offline event where he can prove that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

It's clear that Robin is very dedicated. Regular PUGs, official games or even if he is playing with friends, he doesn’t play a single match without preparing for it appropriately in advance. Such a mindset is highly valued in all tiers of professional play.

If you are interested in getting in touch with Robin, you can reach him on his Twitter at @ropzicle.

Special thanks to Robin for answering my questions and helping me write this spotlight on him.

Blaze 'Draulon' Lengyel

Blaze is a student who currently lives in Europe and has a great interest in Counter Strike and competitive games. He spends his time hitting the gym or working on various game dev projects where he has a role in management or 3D graphics. You can follow him on twitter @draulon