With the first ever $1,000,000 major tournament 3 weeks away, and a load of tournaments finished, it’s time to take a look at where the elite teams stand with each other and what we’ve seen from them so far. This list is less of a ranking than a review of how these teams have been performing the past month.
Coached by vuggo and lead by 5 world-class players, Fnatic continues to dominate the game for what seems like forever. Since the addition of Dennis, Fnatic has achieved first place in their last 6 tournaments and have also won 73 maps out of 95 total (76.8% win rate). Their success first started after a disappointing performance at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015. Two weeks later, Pronax left the team and Dennis came in to fill his shoes. After his addition, Fnatic won 1st place at the FaceIt 2015 Stage 3 Finals, Fragbite Masters 5, ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals, StarSeries XIV Finals, ESL Expo Barcelona, and Intel Extreme Masters X. From those 6 tournaments, Fnatic has collected $456,099, which is more money than what some of the top teams make in a year.
Fnatic’s success has been nothing but an all-around team effort, but of course, you can’t deny that Olofmeister has been the face of the team for quite some time now. 3 months ago I did an article on him being Counter-Strike’s superstar, and to no surprise, he undoubtedly still holds that title. Just take a look at his ratings from his past events: 1.30 at IEM Katowice 2016, 1.17 at ESL Barcelona, 1.14 at StarSeries XIV Finals, 1.17 at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals, 1.13 at Fragbite Masters Season 5 Finals, and 1.35 at the FaceIt 2015 Stage 3 Finals. Extraordinary and mind boggling, no one knows how he manages to stay so consistent. To make Fnatic even more powerful, they hold 4 other world-class players in Dennis, Flusha, JW, and KRIMZ.
No one has found a way to stop Fnatic, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be finding one any time soon. Fnatic is easily the best team in the world at the moment, and the only thing you can do right now is to move out of the way and let them pass.
#2 Natus Vincere
After their successful 2nd place finish at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015, Natus Vincere took off running and never looked back. Since then, Natus Vincere has won 1st place at IEM Masters X San Jose and DreamHack Leipzig 2016, 2nd place at ESL ESEA Pro League S2 Finals, and 3rd place at IEM Masters X World Championship.
In 2016 so far, Natus Vincere has lost 14 maps out of 37 total maps, so they started out the new year with a62% win rate. The team has been lead by (arguably) the world’s best AWPer, GuardiaN, and an explosive rifler, Flamie. When one doesn’t perform, the other steps up. During IEM Katowice 2015, GuardiaN did not have his best performance. Flamie needed to step up and provide the firepower that they were missing. During the event, Flamie had a 1.27 rating over 10 maps. He only had a negative rating on 1 map, which was against Fnatic.
Natus Vincere hasn’t won 1st place at every single tournament like Fnatic, but they’ve been consistently having good results. Since November 17th, 2015, Natus Vincere has placed top 3-4 or higher at every single tournament they’ve played in so far. Sure, they probably would have liked to win a few more grand finals, but being consistent runner ups isn’t so bad, especially when you’re talking about $200,000 tournaments.
#3 Luminosity Gaming
Luminosity has yet to win 1st place at a premier event, but they are inching closer and closer at every tournament. Since their 2nd place result at the FaceIt Stage 3 Finals, Luminosity hasn’t slowed down a bit. They’ve won 2nd place at IEM Masters X World Championship, 2nd place at DreamHack Leipzig, and 3-4th at the StarSeries XIV Finals.
Luminosity also had a really great start to IEM Katowice 2016. They won their group with a near flawless performance, only losing to NiP and finishing with 4 wins and 1 loss. They then 2-0’d Natus Vincere in semi’s, but lost to Fnatic in the grand finals after 2 extremely close maps. Luminosity plays a fast pace, aggressive style that is hard to master. But with the type of talent that is on Luminosity, they’ve managed to make it work. The team is built around strong individual players and a strong passion for the game, their hard work has been noticed by the rest of the world.
The curse of Astralis has lived on for over a year now. No matter how good they look, or how weak their opponents seem, Astralis just cannot win quarter-finals or semi-finals. At IEM Masters X World Championship, they placed 3-4th after a devastating loss to Fnatic, at ESL Expo Barcelona they placed 2nd, at the Global eSports Cup they placed 3rd, and at DreamHack Leipzig 2016 they placed 3-4th. Overall, not that bad, but when you actually watch these guys’ games, they are incredibly frustrating. No matter how well they’ve played, they always find a way to lose it in the quarter-finals for some strange reason. However, despite their weird curse, Astralis still has better performances than a lot of the current teams right now.
Astralis’ key player has always been device. He’s one of their most consistent players and is an important fragger for the team. From his last 15 matches, device has had a 1.21 rating, only dropping below 1.00 in 2 of the matches.
If Astralis can find a way to overcome their curse of underperforming in quarter-finals, they can easily go back to the golden days where they were the 2nd best in the world.
Dignitas had a poor showing at the MLG qualifiers and failed to qualify for the major; however, they still have had some fantastic results from this year so far. Dignitas placed 2nd at the Global eSports Cup, 3-4th atDreamHack Leipzig, and 4th at ESL Barcelona. Dignitas basically went from being a “mediocre” team to being a team that has the potential to place well at international events.
k0nfig and Kjaerbye have taken the spotlight on the team as their explosive performances have been noticed. Both are still young and have lots of room to develop, so the potential is massive for this team.
CS:GO Teams on the Rise
Tempo Storm has managed to put themselves on a path similar to their Brazilian counterparts, Luminosity. They absolutely destroyed the North American teams to qualify for DreamHack Malmo, and also won the qualifier for IEM. Then at IEM, Tempo Storm finished 2nd in their group over EnVyUs, FaZe, and VirtusPro. Their only two losses were against FaZe and Astralis, and their wins were against EnVyUs, VirtusPro, and E-Frag. They also nearly defeated Na’Vi in a close 1-2 series, and as a result, they were were eliminated in the quarter-finals; however, they left the tournament satisfied, knowing that they accomplished something that not many people expected from them. Tempo Storm still has room to develop, and from what we’ve seen so far from them, the possibility of them becoming a top tier team is very real
Splyce went from being a mediocre North American team that no one really cared about to a team that is about to get their own stickers in the game. We literally only saw 2 maps from Splyce that were of any significance, but those 2 maps qualified them for a $1,000,000 major tournament. When it mattered the most, at the LAN to qualify for a major, Splyce beat one of North America’s best teams, CLG, and destroyed Vexed 16-7 to win their group with a fast 2-0. Even though we haven’t seen much from Splyce, they brought us a lot of energy and their experience at the major should definitely improve them.
EnVyUs would have been placed at 5th for Dignitas’ spot, but their recent roster change has disqualified them from a mention as a current top team, since technically we haven’t seen anything yet from their new roster. FaZe hasn’t been accomplishing much but 5th-6th place results, and the same goes for G2.