The life and times of NiKo – Part 2

after a commanding performance during the group stage, FaZe defeated themselves in the grand finals against Cloud9

NiKo was very close to winning his first Major trophy at ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018 (Image credit: ELEAGUE)

In Part 1 of our journey into the life and times of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, we talked about his personal life and early career. It is time now to go over his professional accolades and awards he earned with teams he represented.

To put things into perspective for you, Nikola played for two top-tier teams. In the beginning, the Bosnian rifler often switched rosters that were mostly tied to the Balkan region.

NiKo in mousesports

On May 4, 2015, Nikola was considered nothing more but a prospect. Truth be told, he was a long shot for mousesports (back in the day, the org had a very bad lineup and was unable to win anything).

Once he arrived, he did not know any German and it was hard for him to communicate with his teammates. However, his individual skill and aim did all the talking. It did not take long for him to go viral.

When it comes to accolades, there were barely any. Throughout 2015, the German esports organization was not able to win a single CS:GO tournament. But ultimately, perseverance paid off. In early 2016, NiKo and co. came out on top in the Acer Predator Masters Season 2. This was the first LAN event they won.

After that, mousesports also had a decent showing during the CEVO Professional Season 8 Finals where they finished 2nd.

Furthermore, ELEAGUE Season 1 was also a good event for Nikola. While the squad didn't win the ultimate prize, they had to be satisfied with the 3rd place there.

ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals was the last “big” event NiKo played with mouz. Despite putting an average rating of 1.15 on the board, it was simply not enough for them to rank higher than 3rd. Niko started looking around for a new home.

Proving his worth in FaZe

After a poor series of results, rumors became a reality. NiKo decided to leave mousesports in order to prove himself as the one of the best CS:GO players ever.

In February 2017, Nikola signed a fat contract with FaZe Clan. Back in the day, this was the most expensive deal in CS:GO history. FaZe had to invest over $450,000 in order to buy out Nikola from his current contract.

And it was worth it: the results were imminent. After finishing 2nd at IEM Katowice 2017, FaZe bounced back with a victory at the SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals.

They continued with incredible games and not so long after joining, NiKo finally had stable teammates around him. Trophies were coming one after another as FaZe won ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, ESL One New York and ECS Season 4 Finals.

But as you know, nothing lasts forever. Poor showings in several top events saw FaZe make roster changes. After that, another crazy series of results happened. But in the golden years, here are the events that FaZe won with the “superstar team”:

  • IEM Sydney 2018
  • ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018
  • EPICENTER 2018
  • ELEAGUE CS:GO Invitational 2019
  • BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019
  • BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2019

Despite winning quite a few events, both NiKo and FaZe Clan never won a single Major title. Sadly, this is the only trophy Nikola lacks. To make things even worse, he came dangerously close to winning one back in 2018.

ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 – NiKo’s biggest chance to win a CS:GO Major

There is no denying that ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 was the biggest chance for the Bosnian star to go all the way and win that one trophy he lacks.

After an excellent showing in The New Legends Stage (Group Stage), fans were expecting a lot from FaZe. In the playoffs, NiKo trashed his former team, mousesports, in order to book a ticket for the semifinals.

It seemed like no one could stop FaZe... except themselves. In the best CS:GO Major finals ever, FaZe took on Cloud9. Straight away, they won Cloud9’s map pick (Mirage).

The third and final map FaZe played against Cloud9 in the grand final of ELEAGUE Major 2018. (Video Credit: Cloud9 VODs)

After a solid showing, they did not do much on Overpass and C9 forced a decider. After some back-and-forth, Cloud9 tied the game and sent us to overtime. It is important to mention that FaZe had 4 rounds to seal the deal.

This was a real nail-biter of a match. In the second overtime, Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács was unable to clutch a 2v1 situation and FaZe, somehow, lost the game. The entire situation left Nikola in tears.

Nikola’s MVP awards

To be honest, Nikola hasn't quite won enough MVP awards, which is odd. His individual skill, movement and aim are out of this world. Unlike Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, who has 10 MVPs to his name, the Bosnian wunderkind is currently sitting at 6. Below, you can find the full list of his personal accolades.

Amongst 6 MVP awards NiKo won, BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019 was one of the best showings in his career

Nikola wins MVP award at BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019 (Image credit: BLAST Pro)

  • BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2019
  • BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019
  • EPICENTER 2018
  • ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018
  • ESL One New York 2017
  • SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals

But the future is still bright for the Bosnian. He might yet clutch another excellent aim and win himself a Major. Would you be rooting for him?

If you want to learn more about the best and brightest in esports, check out our other pieces in our Life and times series:


And as always, keep coming back to EarlyGame for the best from CS:GO, esports and gaming. Check out our fun videos and give us a shout on our YouTube channel!

Mario Jurić

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