Well, here we are again. Unfortunately, this task hasn’t gotten any easier. We are right on the cusp of several big events, which should give us a better idea of where the scene is. Until then we are going to try and hash this out as best we can.
I will be cheating a little bit this time by putting the teams in tiers. At this point in the year, I feel like grouping the teams will give us a better idea of where they are both individually and in comparison.
Most people in the scene are putting Liquid as their number one, which I can understand. They’ve had a monster 2019, with two big tournament wins and three big tournament second places since their untimely exit at IEM Katowice.
Liquid have managed to surpass my expectations after their roster change. At the time I said this was a high ceiling move, but it also had a solid chance of being a huge bust. There was no guarantee that these players could play together well, especially if none of the stars wanted to take a step back.
Luckily for them they managed to pull it together and figure out a balance that works for them. Stewie2k has taken a sizable leap back in his stats, and Twistzz has had to play a less prominent role in their system, but it’s hard to argue with when it’s working this well.
Astralis are one of the big reasons I chose to make this power ranking tier based. They’re exceedingly hard to place right now, with just a handful of games played in the last six months. I’m not ready to give up on them, especially with their pedigree from the last year. But after their bomb out at the ECS Finals, dropping a best of three to (the admittedly ascending) Brazilians of Furia.
Obviously they’re still Astralis, which means they still have some of the most potent individual players in the game, as well as a top five IGL. It’s incredibly difficult for me to ever count out a team that includes device, one of the most efficient and effective players of all time. Magisk is continuing to cement himself as one of the best player swaps in the last three years, and Xyp9x is obviously still Xyp9x.
Rust is something that needs to be taken into account when evaluating Astralis. They’ve been mostly absent from the scene for months now, with almost zero high level LAN practice since the Major.
ENCE tend to be the forgotten A tier team, as they haven’t actually won much. Instead, they’ve earned this top three placing with consistent wins over top tier teams, and by reliably pushing teams like Liquid to three maps in big best of threes.
Aleksib has proven that he isn’t just a serviceable IGL. ENCE has a system that can compete with the best of them, and it has been helping Allu and sergej put up absolutely monster numbers.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about ENCE, which I know I’ve talked about a ton, is the potential to pick up suNny from Mousesports’ bench. Replacing Aerial, who has been inconsistent throughout this run and has choked away several big finals, would be an immediate jump for this team in terms of firepower.
Na’Vi are another interesting situation. Three weeks ago I would’ve placed them in A tier, but since then they’ve made a roster move. That move has likely increased their ceiling, and may have made them a better team, but I don’t know if that’s the case yet and so I have to put them in B tier.
Replacing Edward is unlikely to make this team any worse. His good games were few and far between, and he was a disappointing member of a disappointing supporting cast. While he is a legend of the game, and should be respected and remembered as such, it’s more than overdue to change things up on Na’Vi.
Boombl4 is an interesting choice to replace Edward. He was the IGL of Winstrike team, as well as one of their better players statistically. While I am generally a fan of players transitioning from IGL to role player, as they tend to carry over above average clutch abilities and general game awareness, this seems like it might be the first step in replacing Zeus.
That’s all just conjecture though. In the short term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Na’Vi climb up the ranks.
Vitality shares a lot in common with Na’Vi in that they rely heavily on their star player. In fact, Vitality likely depends on ZywOo more than any other team with any other player in CS:GO right now. Couple that with their disappointingly inconsistent supporting cast and you have a team that is exceedingly difficult to place in a ranking like this.
ZywOo’s stats are so absurd, you wouldn’t believe me if I wasn’t paid to write about this stuff. He’s won two MVP awards this year, posted a LAN rating of 1.30 this year, and is absolutely dominant on the server. Watching him is always a treat, as I’m sure you’re aware.
Unfortunately, the rest of the team is not nearly as impressive. The biggest disappointment on the team is RPK, who provides little of value as a role player while posting a .96 LAN rating so far this year. Until ZywOo’s supporting cast picks up a little, or the team makes a change, Vitality are likely to stay stuck securely in B Tier.
Furia remind me of ENCE four months ago. While their styles of play are fairly divergent, both teams have experienced meteoric rises in recent memory, mostly on the shoulders of their incredible young talent. Yuurih and KSCERATO are two of the more exciting prospects in CS:GO right now, impressing consistently with wins over big opponents like Astralis and ENCE.
Their style of play right now is a little one dimensional, which may start to haunt them in the near future. They play aggressively in comparison to most teams in the modern meta, which worked well for them as an upset team. As the start to become mainstays of tier one competition, they’ll have to adapt in order to stay competitive.
Fnatic had an excellent start to the year. Back to back second places, pushing Liquid to a map five in a best of three grand finals, wins over high ranked opponents. Things looked bright for the Swedish core. Brollan was turning into a real first option, Krimz and JW were turning back the clock, everything was clicking.
Since IEM Sydney, however, they’ve fallen off. Losses to Renegades and BIG mar their resume, and relegate them to C Tier. I don’t doubt they’ll be able to round out their form on the way to the Major, but for now it’s not looking great. Perhaps they’ll pursue Dennis now that he’s a free agent, bolstering their firepower and taking another step towards the classic 2015 Fnatic lineup.
NRG are drawing me back in. I was high on them before and after the Katowice Major, which ended up being a mistake. They have a roster that can stack up against the best of them, with more firepower than Cold War Russia, but haven’t been able to put it together.
It seems as though their fortunes might be changing quickly. They poached Stanislaw from Complexity, which is a sizable upgrade. While daps was doing a solid job with this lineup, Stanislaw is one of the best NA IGLs in the past three years. If anyone in NA could turn this lineup into killers, it’s him. Watch for NRG to climb this Power Ranking over the next few months.
This team is still such a mess. They decided the best candidate to fill the IGL hole was NEO for some reason? While it’s hard to discount them in any given best of one, given the level of firepower on their roster, it’s equally hard to trust them in a series against pretty much anyone. It continues to look like the NiKo show, despite the addition of a real IGL, which isn’t good news for anyone.
This roster is a great foil to FaZe. North handled their search for a new IGL perfectly, letting Valde run the team and picking up JUGi from OpTic. The team has been functioning far more efficiently than they have since removing MSL. The difference between a cadian led North and a Valde led North is night and day, and goes to show how absolutely crucial a good IGL is when competing in Tier One.
These rankings will continue to change as we lead up to the Major in a few months, so make sure you’re checking in with us often.