Below is a list of the most notable palyers of NetHack throughout its history.
78291 is a long-time holder of the top z-score on NAO. He achieved his dominance in a mere 7 months: his first NAO ascension took place on May 25, 2007 and his last on December 29, 2007. In July 2007, his output peaked at 52 ascensions per month (1.7 ascensions per day), quite likely a NetHack record. He totaled 234 ascensions in 2007, a record that still holds. It took years before his Z-score was surpassed by stth. Currently, after more than a decade of not playing NetHack, he is still at 6th place among Z-scores. He went on to play Dungeon Crawl where he was no less prolific (under nick N78291).
Adeon is the previous holder of the longest streak (of 29 3.4.3 games, eventually surpassed by Tariru) and fastest realtime ascension (1 hour 3 minutes). Achieved Best of 13 during the devnull tournament in 2009 and 2010. Once demonstrated an rng prediction attack on NAO, obtaining hundreds of wishes in a row from fountain quaffing. He is also the author of the Sheol branch in UnNetHack.
Berry is an extremely skilled player, capable of amazing consistency in his games. Arguably, his crowning achievement is a streak of 13 games in the /dev/null/nethack 2012 tournament. The games are not only a streak, but they ascend all NetHack roles and at the same time are all 64-bit MAXINT ascensions.
Current holder of a game-time speedrun record with a 2130 turn game.
Boudewijn Waijers played a part in compiling several of the spoilers for NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions that you can see today on this wiki, and is also known for playing a character by the name of Efembe, the Mad Polypiler around 1990 - his exploits with this character were one of the primary reasons that polypiling in later versions degrades objects. The character's name comes from Moria, where entering FMB at character creation would generate a male dwarven priest, which was one of Boudewijn's favorite characters to play. An archive of his personal site can be found here.
Luxidream is usually the player with the most ascensions whenever he participates in Junethack. Has some realtime speedruns clocking in at 1:01:54 (NetHack 4) and 1:10:52 (3.6.3). Thanks to 80 ascensions in Dynahack, plenty of vanilla NetHack ascensions, and an ascension or two in a wide variety of variants, Luxidream held the highest Z-score across all variants in 2020.
Maud is famed for his ground-breaking game-time speedruns. He has a number of sub-3K ascensions, the most outstanding being the bones-stuffed 2135 turn game from December 2010 and the 2251 turn bones-free ascension from October 2015.
nht, also playing as unnht, is a highly skilled player with a knack for very fast play, as documented by a slew of sub-10K wins, including a phenomenal 2185-turn win on NAO. In addition to vanilla NetHack, he has scored lot of wins in UnNetHack, including feats such as the Master Thief conduct. He also experiments with TAS runs, such as a 363-turn, 16-second UnNetHack win and a 235-turn AceHack win. Worth mentioning is also his first public NetHack Fourk ascension, which is still the speediest game for the variant with its 6428 turns. nht is also an accomplished Dungeon Crawl player.
pots164, who also plays under similar names such as post163, is known for ending most of their games by attempting to mount a horse, slipping, and dying. He has a particular tendency to try and die on turn 1 whenever possible - in their own words, they find the message it produces funny. Beyond that, he is generally a normal if inexperienced player.
stth is an extremely prolific player who was the first to surpass 78291 in Z-score and who held the #1 spot through 2017. He achieved an ultraextinctionist game, in which every kind of monster was killed 255 times, going so far as killing 38 mail demons (which normally go extinct after one kill). He's also notable for variant play, ascending most variants available for play. He scored the first dNetHack ascension and was usually the only one to ascend GruntHack and SporkHack during Junethack. He has around 600 ascensions as of 2020.
Tariru is the current holder of the longest-ever streak of 61 consecutive 3.6.0 ascensions, and a player who achieved more than 200 wins in the course of one year. His first ascension dates back to January 2012, but in mid-2014 he suddenly started churning ascensions at the rate 25 or more per month, peaking at 30 ascensions in December 2014. In the last few months of 2015 he slowed down considerably, but he still reached #1 on the multi-variant Z-score ladder. Apart from quantity, his other feats include long rows of non-vanilla ascensions, including an 11-game dNetHack streak and a 4-game DynaHack Elberethless streak (where the games were his first four DynaHack games). He has by far the most dNetHack wins. Moreover, starting in March 2018 he played several games of SLASH'EM Extended 2.1.7 and 2.2.2 on the hardfought.org server and ascended all of them on the first try, currently holding a 4-ascension streak with a 100% win rate. In Junethack 2018, Tariru ascended all 13 available variants, thereby getting the King of the World trophy; notably, he had no losses during the tournament at all, ascending each of the variants on the first try, some of which he had never played before.