In the current landscape of CS:GO, every tournament is up for grabs. There are two or three teams at every event that have a legitimate shot to take the title. Fnatic dominated during the entirety of 2016, and the first half of 2016 belonged to Luminosity/SK Gaming with their back to back major championships. After these long periods of dominance, the current level of parity is quite refreshing, especially with the ELEAGUE Major looming on the horizon.
If you look at the last seven international $250k+ tournaments, there have been seven different winners.
|EPL Season 4 Finals||Cloud9|
|EPICENTER 2016||Team Dignitas|
|ESL One: New York 2016||Natus Vincere|
|StarSeries Season 2||Ninjas in Pyjamas|
|ELEAGUE Season 1||Virtus.pro|
|ESL One: Cologne 2016||SK Gaming|
|ECS Season 1 Finals||G2 Esports|
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Looking at some of the more recent, smaller international tournaments, teams like Immortals, Astralis, and OpTic Gaming are on the rise. Regardless, many experts would put Virtus.pro at the top of the current pile, despite their inconsistent history.
Kings of the Hill
Early in the year, Virtus.pro struggled online and were failing to qualify for events. Now, Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski is back to being a top ten player. Many were calling for Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski to be removed during their period of struggle. He has since regained his form which gave the team a much higher skill cap.
Team Dignitas have finally overtaken Astralis as the best Danish team because their star combo of Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif and Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke are very formidable. Under the leadership of Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, the team is very balanced and can compete with anyone.
Many believed that SK Gaming was in a slump with rumors of roster changes looming. However, SK are back on the rise with Marcelo “coldzera” David regaining his form. Even in their “slump,” SK are constantly making semifinals and finals of tournaments. The team has begun improving their map pool and lose almost exclusively to other top tier teams.
Outside Looking In
Natus Vincere are probably the most skilled lineup led by the best player in the world, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. With Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev as their second and third stars, they can out frag anyone. However, Valve’s changes to the coaching rules seems to have crippled them tactically. They struggle to find ways to get all of their stars going at the same time.
With their recent form, Cloud9 and NiP are both tier one teams but they aren’t yet at the elite level. They have shown they can even win against the elites depending on the matchup. Cloud9 are too inconsistent to always be a threat but have shown that they can make deep runs. NiP looked very good, but they have questionably decided to reinsert Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi into the lineup.
The top of the CS:GO scene is the most crowded it’s ever been. It is nearly impossible to predict a winner at any tournament, which makes for a very exciting viewing experience. The ELEAGUE Major will be the most exciting tournament yet.