2019 turned into a breakthrough year for CounterStrike Global Offensive so we at esportsnow decided to put together a list of who we felt were the top seven, stand-out performers in the CS GO ranks this year. CS GO had one of its best years this year, if not the best, and CS GO fans saw several teams have their moments in the spotlight, battling it out for supremacy at the top of pro CS GO.
Last year was a stand-out year in the CS GO ranks, but who stood out as the top performers in 2019? Here is a list of who we felt were the top seven CS GO teams over the last year.
No one single team was able to remain dominant throughout the whole season, like we have seen Astralis be in 2018, SK Gaming/Luminosity in 2016, and Fnatic in 2015. This was an exciting new experience for CS GO fans, making the season more interesting than a one horse race, even for those cheering for the smaller teams.
It’s always much more interesting when your not sure who is definitely going to win. Astralis were able to dominate many of the CS GO major events, but upsets happened more frequently at other tier-one events. This made 2019 arguably the most competitive time span of CS GO since its launch in 2012. So here are who we felt were the best CS GO teams of 2019.
Best squad selection: Aleksi “allu” Jalli, Jere “sergej” Jalo, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, Sami “xSeveN” Laasanen, and Jani “Aerial” Jussila
Notable championships: BLAST Pro Series Madrid
Runners-up: IEM Katowice Major, IEM Chicago, DreamHack Masters Dallas, and CS:GO Asia Championships
ENCE were a pleasant surprise in 2018. The all-Finnish lineup finished last year close to the CS GO ranks top 10. But who would’ve predicted the steller run ENCE had at the IEM Katowice Major in February? Ultimately the Finns lost to Astralis in the grand finals, but continued to show the same consistency throughout the early stages of the season.
ENCE broke Astralis’ 31-win streak on Nuke to win the BLAST Pro Series Madrid back in May and finishing runners-up in two other tournaments. Despite their good form last year, ENCE chose to replace in-game leader Aleksib with star rifler Miikka “suNny” Kemppi after the StarLadder Berlin Major in September. Since then, the team hasn’t shown the same consistency and groove that they did before the switch, however.
6) Team Vitality
Best squad selection: Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, and Alex McMeekin
Notable championships: cs_summit four and ECS season seven
Runners-up: ESL One Cologne and DreamHack Masters Malmö
ALEX’s addition to Vitality’s roster at the end of 2018 did wonders for their gameplay. He took over the in-game leadership for the T-sides and NBK- kept leading their CT-sides. It was a new meta in CS GO, proved effective since Vitality won one of the most coveted trophies of the circuit, the ECS season seven in June.
But rumour has it that because of all the success, egos also got bigger, destroying the squad’s chemistry after the StarLadder Berlin Major. Vitality decided to have one main voice leading the squad, ALEX, and benched NBK- and brought in G2’s former captain, Richard “shox” Papillon, just as a player. This roster move is yet to pay off, Shox was expected to become the team’s second star player behind ZywOo, who had a stunning 2019. So far, however, Vitality have only looked more inconsistent than before.
Best squad selection: Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Jesper “JW” Wecksell, Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson, Maikil “Golden” Selim, and Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin
Notable championships: DreamHack Masters Malmö
Runners-up: StarSeries i-League season seven, IEM Sydney, StarSeries i-League season eight, and ESL Pro League season 10
Fnatic had a terrible start to 2019. The three-time Major champions didn’t even qualify for the StarLadder Berlin Major in August which ultimately inspired a spark of change that many did not believe would pay off: bringing flusha and Golden back in September.
They won their first and only tournament of the year right after that change, the DreamHack Masters Malmö and the winning spirit instantly came back. Fnatic were painfully close to winning two more championships after that point. If the Swedes maintain this level in 2020, they will be a real contender to add more trophies to their cabinet.
Best squad selection: Finn “karrigan” Andersen, Robin “ropz” Kool, Özgur “woxic” Eker, Chris “chrisJ” de Jong, and David “frozen” Čerňanský
Notable championships: CS:GO Asia Championships, EPL season 10, and cs_summit five
Mousesports had a mediocre season for most of the year, but the international squad saved it just in time. They found themselves on the verge of being eliminated by TYLOO at the CS GO Asia Championships when every piece was finally put together.
Since then they’ve gone on to win three tournaments in a row between November and December, something a ‘weak team’ could just not do. Mousesports’ recent success should give them reason to begin 2020 with a lot of confidence. And if anyone thought that karrigan was just a washed-up leader, he’s once again built a top-five team from scratch.
3) Evil Geniuses
Best squad selection: Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov, Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, Tarik Celik, and Ethan Arnold
Notable championships: ESL One New York and StarSeries i-League season eight
EG’s season only started when they were bought by EG ahead of the ESL One New York in September and beat Astralis in a Bo5 grand final. EG went on to win the StarSeries i-League season eight, but they seemingly lost steam at the end of the year, failing to reach another grand final again. They did have a relatively tough calendar, however, since they attended two tournaments in China, which may have caused some burnout. You should expect EG to do better in the CS GO ranks in 2020 and they won’t have to carry the weight of never winning a major tournament this time.
2) Team Liquid
Best squad selection: Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, Keith “NAF” Markovic, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, and Nick “nitr0” Cannella
Notable championships: IEM Sydney, DreamHack Masters Dallas, EPL season nine, ESL One Cologne, BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, and IEM Chicago
Runners-up: BLAST Pro Series São Paulo, BLAST Pro Series Miami, ECS season eight, BLAST Pro Series Global Final
After a couple of runners-up finishes at BLAST events, Liquid finally broke their curse and won a major championship for the first time since the organisation entered the CS GO ranks back in 2015. And it wasn’t just one title. EliGE and crew won six consecutive CS GO tournaments in two months, the Intel Grand Slam and its $1 million prize, and dethroned Astralis, who held the no. 1 spot in HLTV’s world rankings for more than a year.
Although 2019 surely was an incredible year for TL and is by far the best campaign that a North American team has ever had, Liquid still don’t have a CS GO Major title. They missed the opportunity to crown their era at the StarLadder Berlin Major, letting Astralis come back to the top instead. With that said, 2020 is looking more optimistic than ever for Team Liquid and the North American region as a whole.
Best squad selection: Nicolai “device” Reedtz, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, Emil “Magisk” Reif, and Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth
Notable championships: IEM Katowice Major, BLAST Pro Series São Paulo, StarLadder Berlin Major, IEM Beijing, ECS season eight, BLAST Pro Series Global Final
Runners-up: BLAST Pro Series Madrid and ESL One New York
The Danish powerhouse did it again. They were the best CS GO team in 2019. This year wasn’t nearly as commanding as 2018 when they dominated almost the entire season, but in 2019, they won two Majors. There was a lack of titles between these Majors, though, and many thought that Liquid were going to be the best team in 2019.
Astralis fixed their issues and came back with new strategies to prove that they have better team play. What’s the limit for the Danes? They’re the only team to have won three Majors in a row (don’t forget about FACEIT London in 2018). It’d be absurd if they grabbed their fourth consecutive and fifth title. After these two years, Astralis is definitely one of the best organizations in esports.
This has been what we at esportsnow believe have been the seven top squads from the 2019 CS GO ranks and last season. We hope you enjoyed it and it brought back some exciting CS GO memories from throughout the year.
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