With recent roster moves and strange results in past tournaments, it’s a good time to check the temperature of the CS:GO scene and see who is on top and who is slowing down as the weather gets cold. We’ll be looking at the top 10 CS:GO Pro Teams to watch out for. Let’s GeT_RiGhT into the number 1 team.
1. Astralis, Denmark (dupreeh, dev1ce, Kjaerbye, gla1ve, xyp9x)
Astralis have finally made it to the top. Since Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca, over a year ago, the Danish superteam has been in a downwards spiral, not winning a single international tournament up until now. During the summer, they made a change, swapping out cajunb for rising star Kjaerbye with Dignitas. However, little changed in the team as Kjaerbye struggled to find his role, and Astralis continued to have poor results, putting up inadequate numbers in tournaments like ESL New York and the WESG European Finals. The final
However, little changed in the team as Kjaerbye struggled to find his role, and Astralis continued to have poor results, putting up inadequate numbers in tournaments like ESL New York and the WESG European Finals. The final Astralis that broke the camel’s back was a 10th place finish in the ESL Pro League, failing to qualify for the LAN Finals in Sao Paulo. Astralis swapped their in-game leader, karrigan, with Heroic fragger gla1ve. Gla1ve, who had stood in for the team before at ESL Cologne 2016, shifted into an IGL role on Astralis.
Immediately, they saw improved results. With a semifinals run and an impressive group stage in IEM Oakland and a 1st place finish in the “Group of death” at ELEAGUE, The Danes looked like they were finally back. Now with 2 straight finals placings under their belt at the ELEAGUE Season 2 Playoffs and the ECS Season 2 Playoffs, Astralis is on fire. Ever since Gla1ve’s arrival, every player on the team has stepped up their performance. Xyp9x and Kjaerbye both improved their average K/Ds significantly, and Dev1ce is showing the star power to an even greater effect than he had before. Astralis is looking tough to beat, and are favorites for the next major as well as the new year.
Ever since Gla1ve’s arrival, every player on the team has stepped up their performance. Xyp9x and Kjaerbye both improved their average K/Ds significantly, and Dev1ce is showing the star power to an even greater effect than he had before. Astralis is looking tough to beat, and are favorites for the next major as well as the new year.
2. OpTic, North America (RUSH, NAF-FLY, m1xwell, tarik, stanislaw)
No, this isn’t an OpTical illusion, OpTic really do have a CS:GO team that can challenge for the best in the world. Originally known as Conquest, OpTic looked like one of the fastest-rising North American CS:GO teams upon their pickup by the massive organization.
However, they continuously put up less than desirable results, always hovering around the top 3 of NA, but never managing to make much of a splash internationally or rise to the top domestically. The addition of M1xwell added some Spanish stardom to the spirited squad, but they continued to put up poor results. It wasn’t until the addition of tarik and removal of daps that OpTic really began to shine.
Since stanislaw moved to the IGL role as daps was cut, OpTic have made massive improvements, making 3 finals in the last 2 months (3 more than they ever made under daps). RUSH has become a star for the team, posting insane stats during their win at ELEAGUE. Although they were unable to defeat Astralis at the ECS S2 Finals, a qualification for the major at the LAN qualifier and a 2nd place finish t ECS make OpTic look like they’re going to be sticking around for a while.
3. SK Gaming, Brazil (fox, FalleN, TACO, fer, coldzera)
Since their victory at ESL Cologne 2016, SK have failed to win another tournament. They’ve come close many times, getting to at least the semifinals of every tournament they’ve attended since then, but for the former best team in the world who has won 2 majors this year, that wasn’t quite enough.
After another failed semis run at ELEAGUE, SK made the monumental decision to cut fnx due to internal issues and add Portuguese AWPer fox, as a stand-in. During this tournament SK made the even crazier decision to move fox to the main AWPing role, despite FalleN’s incredible prowess with the sniper for the past year as the main AWPer.
Although SK didn’t get the win they were hoping for, semifinals isn’t too bad for a team that just changed their long-time line of 5. If the team can mesh into their new roles, especially fox, then SK could make a run at a third straight major.
4. Virtus.Pro, Poland (Snax, byali, Pasha, TaZ, Neo)
Virtus.Pro is a bit of a difficult team to analyze. Their abysnmal online results and pickiness about the LANs they qualify for makes the number of recent LANs they’ve attended scarce. The LANs they do attend though, tend to go well for the long-time Virtus.Professionals.
With finals appearances at both ESL New York and EPICENTER: Moscow, Virtus.Pro haven’t been the best team in the world, but they’ve certainly been close. They’ve also been remarkably consistent, always putting in at least a good performance on LAN, if not necessarily a tournament-winning one.
A quarterfinals exit at ELEAGUE mars their record, but they remain one of the best teams in the world, especially in the area of communication, where their nearly 3 year tenure as a group of 5 gives them a significant advantage over most other teams.
5. FaZe Clan, Scandinavia (karrigan, K1oshiMa, rain, allu, aizy)
Joining OpTic in the top 5 is FaZe Clan, who have had a remarkably similar road to one of the best in the game to Astralis. FaZe was at its best under G2 at Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca, where they came within one round of making it to the finals, and every single member was absolutely on fire. Unfortunately for them, they went on to lose to the future tournament winners, EnVyUs.
Since that semifinals placing, the lineup has steadily gone downhill. They made a myriad of roster changes, getting rid of Dennis, Maikelele, fox, and jkaem on their long road to making a strong team. For most of the year, FaZe was in between rosters, always good enough to qualify for leagues and some of the bigger LANs, but never good enough to actually do well.
That is until karrigan joined the team. As mentioned previously, after many months of struggles, Astralis cut in-game leader karrigan for Gla1ve. Karrigan was picked up by FaZe Clan, and brought a tactical perspective to a team that had been dominated by fragging potential since its creation. Many criticized the move, saying that with karrigan they would lose much of their fragging potential. Fortunately for FaZe, he didn’t seem to
Fortunately for FaZe, he didn’t seem to care and led them to an impressive undefeated group stage at IEM Oakland after just a couple weeks together as a team. They went on to also make the semifinals of their next tournament, ELEAGUE, as well, with a strong upset over Virtus.Pro.
While FaZe haven’t quite been good enough to sneak into the finals yet, they look like they can finally manage it. For the first time since that historic run in Romania, they seem to know their roles quite well. They don’t have to rely on Rain to make a big performance every game, and they have support players like Kio to back up the pure fraggers. FaZe is a team to watch out for at the major.
6. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Sweden (GeT_RiGhT, F0rest, Xizt, friberg, pyth)
NiP have once again risen to be a top level team. After pyth’s hand injury many doubted whether he could come back as strong as he was during his early time with the Ninjas. He proved all the players wrong, getting right back into the action at IEM Oakland and earning his team their third LAN victory of the year. NiP looked like they could be the best team in the world.
However, since then, they have been unable to put up the same performances that they were able to on the West coast this November. At ELEAGUE they went out in the first round, and in a shocking display of iNiPtitude, they went out of the major qualifier to CIS team Vega Squadron, who they were heavily favored against. Once again NiP are put in a difficult position.
They have just enough good results to justify keeping the original 4 that make up the team, but they aren’t good enough to actually be the best. So, instead of improving, they will continue to be the same as they’ve always been. Maybe they’ll kick pyth and the cycle will repeat, but they won’t become the best. NiP is in desperate need of a change.
7. F.C. Kopenhagen, Denmark (RUBINO, MSL, K0nfig, cajunb, MagiskB0y)
In a surprise announcement, the players of Dignitas have chosen to leave the organization and are reported to be joining Danish football club F.C. Kopenhagen. Under a new organization, Dignitas will seek to improve on a couple of recent lackluster results. After the addition of Magiskb0y and cajunb to the team, Kopenhagen seemed to be on the up and up. In their first four tournaments after the change they made semifinals in all four of them.
At EPICENTER: Moscow, they finally managed to win a tournament, and looked poised to establish themselves as the new Danish superteam. Unfortunately for them, this was not the case. As Astralis finally K0nfigurated and began to rise, Kopenhagen fell, going out early in the EPL Season 4 Finals and Dreamhack Winter. Since their win in moscow, Kopenhagen have been unable to make it back to a semifinal.
Although they’ve come close many times, it seems like Kopenhagen is one of those unstable teams where everyone has to have a perfect play, for them to win. At EPICENTER, cajunb hit all of his shots, Magisk and K0nfig did even better than usual, and MSL and RUBINO were able to support them and step up in the few games that they didn’t.
Unfortunately, this is an ideal Kopenhagen. The inconsistencies of cajun and K0nfig don’t seem to have fixed themselves. As for right now, Kopenhagen are tapping on the glass, trying to crawl back into the circle of elite contenders every tournament. For now, they’ll have to settle in seventh place.
8. Natus Vincere, CIS (GuardiaN, Edward, flamie, seized, S1mple)
Natus Vincere are another difficult team to examine due to their lack of results. Shortly after the introduction of S1mple to the team, Natus Vincere looked like they were on top of the world. After they seized their first win since March at ESL New York, Na’Vi looked on top of the world. S1mple added a firepower to the team that they hadn’t exhibited since early in the year. The message was clear: Na’Vi were back, and S1mple was leading the charge.
They looked a little bit shakier at EPICENTER: Moscow, not making it to the finals, but a 3rd place finish at such a massive event was certainly nothing to sneeze at. As time went on, though, Na’Vi just seemed to decline further. At both ELEAGUE and the EPL Finals, they failed to make it out of their groups, finishing an unfortunate 10th in both cases.
Now, as w enter 2016, Na’Vi is perhaps the most perplexing team in the top 10. Without a single game in over a month, Natus Vincere could turn up at the ELEAGUE Major stronger than ever, or their issues could continue. Without inside access, it’s difficult to tell whether the team is an internal issue or just a lack of skill, but whatever the case, Na’Vi need to get it fixed by the ELEAGUE Major to have a chance against the new top teams that have emerged in the past month.
9. EnVyUs, France (NBK, Happy, kennyS, apEX, SIXER)
Are EnVyUs finally back? With wins in the Gfinity Cup, and semifinals appearances at Northern Arena and the ECS Season 2 Finals, the French legends finally look like they have at least some stability. That is not to say that there haven’t been poor tournaments. At ELEAGUE they looked lost, unable to beat even a team with stand-ins.
However, since the addition of SIXER, EnVy have gradually been looking better. KennyS is hitting ridiculous shots like he used to, Happy is at least contributing to the team, and SIXER has shown that he is a skilled pickup. With a qualification for the major under their belt, it will be interesting to see the future for nV. In their last two tournaments, they’ve looked like real contenders, but is that really the case? If I had to count on my hands the number of times that EnVyUs had let fans down, it would be quite difficult.
In their last two tournaments, they’ve looked like real contenders, but is that really the case? If I had to count on my hands the number of times that EnVyUs had let fans down, it would be quite difficult. Their choking ability isn’t exactly EnVyUs. But with a new lineup, they could certainly make a splash in 2017.
10. Cloud9, USA (Skadoodle, autimatic, shroud, Stewie2k, N0thing)
Ahh…Cloud9; North America’s most loved disappointment. Once again, Cloud9 have shown their remarkable ability to trick the entire CS:GO scene into thinking they’re good. After adding autimatic to the team, Cloud9 looked incredibly dangerous. Autimatic and fellow ferocious fragger Stewie2k autimatically clicked, forming a fierce formation of fantastic fan-pleasers that could take on Europe. They quickly started putting up positive results, placing 2nd at Dreamhack bucharest, and netting North America its first international win on LAN in nearly 2 years.
Soon however, things went downhill for the American team. Shroud and Skadoodle played very poorly in many of their international events, and C9 had disappointing showings at Dreamhack Winter and IEM Oakland. Despite this, fans remained unsurprisingly optimistic going into the major qualifier. In a shocking turn of events, tier 3 teams such as TyLoo and Hellraisers defeated Cloud9, sending them home and out of North America’s second major.
At this point, Cloud9 are facing a similar situation as NiP. They have the same problems that they’ve always had (Skadoodle’s inconsistency, Shroud’s failure to perform on LAN, etc.) but they have a tournament victory just close enough to justify their stubbornness with roster changes. Cloud9 remain one of the best in NA, but it will be difficult for them to compete on an international stage.