It’s been an interesting couple months in Counter Strike. Due to the whole Blastralis controversy, the last few international tournaments have been played sans Astralis, which makes evaluating the top five even harder than it usually is. But, we press forward, on into the breach, to do the unthinkable – rank the best teams in CS:GO.
If you are new to CS:GO betting, this power ranking is a good place to start, as well as our How to Bet on Esports page.
The Danes aren’t looking so hot right now. They skipped out on StarSeries and IEM Sydney, which went to Na’Vi and Liquid respectively. The only tournaments they’ve attended since winning the Major, which they won in absolutely dominating fashion by the way, are BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo, Miami, and Madrid, of which they lost the latter two. Not really a resume that screams best in the world.
Despite all of that, I’m still putting them as a provisional first place. No team has beaten Astralis in a big international LAN, one with a real group stage and multiple best of threes. It does feel a little silly that I’m not penalizing Astralis for essentially dodging StarSeries and Sydney, but I also wouldn’t feel right about putting them any lower than first. They’ll be attending Cologne, the EPL Finals, and the ECS Finals in the next couple months, after which we’ll see if they’re still the number one team in the world.
I really don’t feel like any of the next three teams deserve the number two spot. I’m giving it to Liquid because of their pedigree, but I don’t feel great about it. Two second place finishes at BLAST Pro events and a win at Sydney, where they struggled to overcome a ragtag Fnatic aren’t exactly great results. Unfortunately, since the Major, competition has been pretty thin. That’s another reason Astralis has hung on to the number one spot, there have only been two big tournaments since the Major.
It also still feels like Liquid have another level they can hit, more so than ENCE and Na’Vi. It still doesn’t feel like Stewie is fully integrated into the team, and I think that there is still potential there. If they can unlock Major MVP Stewie without giving anything up in terms of EliGE and NAF’s performance, this team could get even better very fast.
ENCE are the team that I’m most excited for as a fan. During the Grand Finals of BLAST Pro Madrid, Aerial seemed to take a huge step up, and performed like the second/first option that he was always supposed to be. With that extra firepower, ENCE were able to end Astralis’ win streak on Nuke, and put them away 2-0 to take the tournament.
It’s far too early to tell if Aerial’s performance will be sustainable, but it is certainly encouraging to see him come away with an MVP. ENCE rely heavily on Aerial and xseven having big games to push the Finns over the top, as sergej and allu don’t usually have enough in the tank to carry ENCE all by themselves. Aerial was likely playing for his job in Madrid, as I wrote before the tournament – the shadow of suNny continues to loom over ENCE. That’s the big question for this team moving forward, is do they make a roster change? Picking up suNny is an obvious route to what should be instant improvement, but is the chemistry on ENCE worth keeping the players they have now?
Na’Vi’s resume is even more questionable than that of ENCE and Liquid. They’ve played three tournaments since the Major, StarSeries which they won over Fnatic, and two BLAST Pro tournaments where they lost in the group stage. Their run at StarSeries include BO3 wins over BIG, NiP, NRG, ENCE, Renegades, and Fnatic, which is nothing to sneeze at. But they followed that excellent performance with two duds, which isn’t encouraging.
Na’Vi looks to me like a team that’s hurtling towards a roster change. Flamie just isn’t cutting it on this team, and Na’Vi need to pick up a new talent, like someone from Spirit or something. I’m also not sure how much longer Zeus is sticking around. My guess would be through the next Major, but who knows?
Fnatic have turned into the new Liquid, picking up consecutive second place finishes at the last two tournaments since the Major. This is a big step for them, after their years of running in place on the treadmill of mediocrity. They look good, Brollan is turning into a real star, and KRIMZ is having a very real resurgence, playing like his old self again.
The biggest surprise with this team is that Xizt isn’t as washed up as we all thought he was. After getting the boot from NiP, I figured he’d spend his days mentoring Sweden’s tier two, bvut instead he’s still out competing in championship contention. Good for him.
The other Swedish team is making a run too, on the backs of a surging f0rest. The aging star has brought his game back to the glory days, and he has helped push NiP back into relevance in the top tier, along with teammates dennis and REZ.
The ninjas still have plenty of potential left to unlock, dependent on coaxing a little bit more out of dennis. He was one of the best players alive when Fnatic made their run back in the day, and if he could manage to turn the clock back like f0rest did, there’s no telling how much damage this team could do.
Times are tough for the Brazilians. This roster has completely failed to live up to the hype, with their best win probably being a 2-0 over Fnatic at IEM Sydney. That’s really not good, especially when you remember this is supposed to be a team with championship aspirations, which are clearly not going to be fulfilled anytime soon. A roster change for FalleN and co. is likely coming, although I couldn’t tell you what they’re going to do.
FaZe have finally landed on an IGL it seems, signing NEO of Golden Five fame to be their new IGL, replacing Adren as their fifth and NiKo as their tactical mastermind. This is probably as good a move as they could have made, seeing as how the free agent market is almost perpetually at a loss for tier one IGLs.