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Highlights

#TBT: The most discussed headshot in CS:GO history

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With Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian beginning a comeback into CS:GO, I saw it suitable to to take a look at his — and maybe CS:GO's — most famous USP-S headshot.
It was in the quarter final stage at the biggest CS:GO tournament ever held. The score was 15-14 in LDLC's favor in the opening map against Virtus.pro. The Polish reigning Major champions' superstar Jarosław "pasha" Jarząbkowski had planted the bomb, waiting to challenge the fairly inexperienced Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian in a deciding 1vs1 duel. KQLY, with only 8 hp to spare, makes a risky move. Soon, the commentators, players, audience as well as Twitch chats would go mental.

The backstory

The third ever CS:GO Valve Major, ESL One Cologne, was held in Germany. It was the first edition of ESL's famous Cologne tournaments, and Gamescom was the event surrounding the 250 000 USD tournament.

The French team LDLC.com had upset their group. Not only did they crush London Conspiracy, who had both Håvard "rain" Nygaard as well as Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel in their team, but also defeated the group favorites in Na`Vi to advance to the playoffs. This gave the Frenchmen the higher seed for the playoffs, but it wouldn't matter as Virtus.pro, the reigning Major champions, placed second in a different group.

LDLC had Vincent "Happy" Cervoni, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire and Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, amongst others, in their team. These may be big names today, but they were by far the underdogs when facing the reigning Major champions. However, the Poles were in for a surprise.

apEX playing for LDLC at ESL One Cologne 2014.
apEX didn't always have the status he has today.

On the first map, Dust2, the Virtus.pro were pressured instantly. As defenders, they had troubles handling LDLC's charges, leading to the French team having a 8-7 lead once sides were switched. In the second half, it looked like Virtus.pro were finding their balance by taking a 14-11 lead. However, that wasn't enough, and LDLC turned the match around again. The score was 15-14 to the French squad, and that's when it happened.

The shot

Polish superstar Jarosław "pasha" Jarząbkowski had taken down two players in a 1vs3 situation, planted the bomb and only had the somewhat inexperienced Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian left to take the map to overtime. KQLY, with only 8hp to spare, make a risky maneuver. He decides to jump, with only his USP-S in hand, and manages to kill Jarząbkowski with one shot to the head. The shot decided the map, and LDLC then went on to win the following map, thereby eliminating Virtus.pro and securing a spot in the semis.

KQLY kisses Happy on the cheek after the win.
KQLY was so happy he began kissing Happy after the win.

LDLC didn't win the tournament, as they were eliminated by the eventual champions NiP Gaming with a 1-2 score, but the USP-S shot had already been edged into people's retinas. Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer's burning defuse got the Valve graffiti honor after the tournament, but back then, one could argue that this shot deserved one as well.

The accusations

It's no secret KQLY has been VAC banned since. He was shunned from the scene, and was barely heard of until he was presented as a tryout for Vexed Gaming. There's no question KQLY deserved a ban from Valve's Anti-Cheat, but what makes this USP-S shot so memorable, besides what I've written above, is also that it's been used as "proof" for KQLY having cheated in a professional offline tournament.

The purpose of this article is neither to accuse nor protect KQLY. The purpose is to tell the story behind a big moment in CS:GO. I'm not going to be the one deciding whether it's cheat or not, because that won't lead to anything. I also recommend others to avoid the subject, because there's only one person who knows for sure — and regardless of what the truth is, the answer to the question will always be the same.

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