It's my pleasure to present the fourth edition of my CS:GO World Rankings report for Dexerto, breaking down exactly where some of the best teams in the world currently stand.
When I originally launched my CS:GO World Rankings concept in 2014 there were no other attempts at a global ranking, regularly updated, of the world's top teams. Other rankings have since risen up and over time been tweaked to provide an accurate and reliable charting of the rise and fall of the many teams in the scene. What is lacking is an expert's eye, to adjust for factors point-based systems cannot address, and explanation of the various positions.
My rankings run over an exact three month span, extending back three months prior to the date they are published, and encapsulating all offline results within that time span. This allows for a sense of how good a team is to be established after they have had time to accomplish multiple placings, but without unduly letting teams who were fantastic many months ago hang on to top rankings when the game and time has moved on.
As well as placings, the value of which is determined by the prestige of the tournament and the quality of the opposition in attendance, the opponents a team beats counts to their ranking. Teams who defeat Top 10 opponents, with the higher ranked teams more valuable scalps to claim, help determine their overall ranking and break ties with other teams who have similar kinds of placings. Likewise, victories in Best-of-3 (Bo3) series are of more value than Bo1 results and a single map won in a series over teams of a similar level. Unlike past editions of my rankings, I will also list the victories teams have had over ranked opponents.
When a team changes players then past results are counted at a proportionally lower value, based on how many remaining players were present at that time.
The key approach which changes the nature of these rankings is the addition of a tier-based system as well, taking cues from the "class" vernacular of the StarCraft: Brood War community of the 2000s and recent rankings by Esports Kingdom. S class are the elite teams, who can be expected to win tournaments. A class are the teams below them, good and capable of competing with them but not expected to be the favourite at tournaments featuring all the teams. B class are the teams below both of the previous tiers, solid sides and capable of being ranked but not top teams.
The importance of this change is that it prevents situations where the scene, perhaps due to roster moves or a lull in form, has few elite sides and so a team finds themselves ranked fifth who likely will never win a big tournament. In other eras, perhaps even the fourth and fifth ranked teams are championship material. The class system will signify as much.
8th July - 10th October 2019
Tournaments impacting the ranking (due to teams ranked attending)
Bo3: FaZe (Starladder Berlin), G2 (Starladder Berlin), ENCE (Starladder Berlin)
Renegades have done nothing since the last edition of the rankings, but their top four at the major and three ranked series wins there keep them holding onto a ranking spot and in position to do something meaningful in the coming months. If the major was a fluke, or just poor play on the part of ENCE, then we can forget the story of the team from down under, but the circumstances of the summer, with visa issues plaguing their practice level, are no longer a concern, then they are a team I would see becoming a consistently ranked side.
Bo3: G2 (Starladder Berlin), EG (DH Malmo)
Bo1: North (Starladder Berlin), Vit (DH Malmo)
mouz are a time brimming with potential, both individually and in terms of how close they have played top ranked teams in the last few months, but their full breakthrough still hasn't come. Beating EG in a Bo3 on LAN was a big scalp to take, with the NA side having just won ESL One New York days before, but mouz couldn't convert that into a top four run of their own. For a team ranked this low, they have a nice enough set of placings and a better set of ranked wins than you would expect, but they still need more big placings if they want to climb these rankings.
Bo1: Vit (DH Malmo)
Na'Vi looks to have handled the transition from one IGL to another with much more grace than ENCE, but find themselves ranked below the Finns. The Russian majority Na'Vi squad passes the eye test and looks dangerous but their top four in Malmo wasn't quite strong enough to keep them high in the rankings and they lost their series wins from Cologne. Sadly, for Na'Vi, they weren't able to beat any teams in ranked play in Sweden, so their placing is a little hollow or naked.
A time primed for a strong run in the coming months, but not there yet. Na'Vi are a team, in contrast to AVANGAR, who look like they are destined to be A Class at a minimum, but don't have the ranking to earn that status right now.
DreamHack Masters Malmö (9th-12th)
Bo3: MiBR (IEM Chicago), Vitality (StarLadder Berlin)
Bo1: Vit (DH Malmo)
ENCE finished second to last at the weak BLAST Moscow event, failed to make top four at ESL NY despite having facing G2 using a stand-in twice and then went out of Malmo before even the top eight. Clearly, the transition phase from Aleksib to suNny has been very rough on the team, but they have can thank Aleksi one last time, because the runners-up finish and major top eight he helped them get previously are what keep them hanging on in the rankings and losing only two spot, for now.
ENCE's resume looks pretty weak, which is telling, and only a single map win vs. Vitality has been added post-Aleskib. Look for ENCE to lose their ranking entirely if they can't score a big placing in the coming months.
Bo3: Ast (DH Malmo), Vit (DH Malmo)
It might seem ridiculous that FNATIC's single tournament performance with their new line-up of winning Dreamhack Masters Malmo can launch then to nearly a top five spot immediately, but that's more a function of all of the roster moves turning the top 10 into a mess than FNATIC's performance overall. Winning an event with that many good teams in attendance is big time, but FNATIC's only ranked wins were the semi and final, which is telling of how much of a train-wreck the brackets became with some of the early eliminations. Nonetheless, FNATIC prevailed on home soil in incredible fashion and took the crown.
As such, welcome them back to the rankings and a pretty narrow ranking position, but one that becomes much stronger if they can add any big placings in the coming months. To think FNATIC would be anywhere close to top five this quickly is amazing in itself. The eye test still looks wacky, due to how crazy some of the plays that got them their title were, but they did beat Astralis in series play, so they deserve to be A Class for now.
Bo3: G2 (Starladder Berlin), Vit (Starladder Berlin)
Bo1: TL (Starladder Berlin), Na'Vi (Blast Moscow), ENCE (Blast Moscow)
When I had to rank AVANGAR last edition, by virtue of their epic major run, it was without the expectation of them staying in the rankings long, since I don't think they are anywhere close to a top 6-7 team in the game. What I perhaps had forgotten is not just that their ranking will last a few more months, but also that as teams who were strong from the summer lost their placings it would make AVANGAR's run even more valuable. Then they went and won Blast Moscow. Certainly, it was not a stacked event or one with much competition for the title, but AVANGAR won it and added a small to medium sized title to their resume.
As such, by the magic of the rankings, they find themselves ranked fifth. Somewhat reminiscient of FURIA, in as much as so many will expect them to fall quickly, but very respectable in the context of their careers nonetheless. I don't actually think they are an A Class team, so they are a rare case of someone whose resume boosts them past their overall level.
AVANGAR does lack big ranked wins, outside of the major, and that is where one should look in the coming months to see if they have any chance of retaining a ranking.
Bo3: mouz (Starladder Berlin), ENCE (DH Malmo), mouz (DH Malmo), Na'Vi (DH Malmo)
Bo1: North (Starladder Berlin), FaZe (Starladder Berlin)
The new look Vitality, with shox on board, impressed with their runners-up finish in Malmo, even hinting at winning the final itself. Their previous results are obviously reduced, due to the player change, but their placings and resume of ranked wins are still solid enough to hold them for now at fourth.
I did, however, remove S Class status from the team, as this squad needs to prove that against the best teams. Vitality picked up a bunch of ranked wins, but they were unconvincing against Astralis and losing to the new FNATIC is rough when you want eye test credit. Right now, there are only three clearly elite teams in Counter-Strike.
Bo5: Ast (ESL NY)
Bo3: FURIA (Minor), Ast (Starladder Berlin), FaZe (ESL NY), Ast (ESL NY)
Bo1: MiBR (Blast LA), TL (Starladder Berlin)
Evil Geniuses, as NRG are now known, retain the same spot despite winning a notable event title and beating Astralis twice to do so, even one time in a Bo5 final. That shows you how much their appalling last place finish in Malmo, jetlag acknowledged, hurt this squad. Even a play-off run there or a few more ranked wins would likely have boosted them to second or possibly even first in these rankings. Perhaps it is more fitting that they must prove it again, though. Beating Astralis is incredible, especially with the consistency they've managed to do it with, but there's more to being the best team in the world.
EG have a solid resume of placings and wins, especially some of the names on their list of wins, but their run for the top spot is still very much underway and not a done deal.
Bo5: ENCE (IEM Chicago)
Bo3: FaZe (Blast LA), G2 (IEM Chicago), Vit (IEM Chicago), North (Starladder Berlin), mouz (Starladder Berlin)
Bo1: NRG (Blast LA), MiBR (Blast LA), FaZe (Blast LA), Ast (ESL NY)
In past rankings, I've pointed out how unlikely it is for Team Liquid to be knocked off the top spot, but that's also because it seemed so implausible to imagine a result like Team Liquid going out of Dreamhack prior to even the play-offs. This Team Liquid squad were in every final minus the majors until ESL New York came alone. Even then, they could only be eliminated in the semi-final.
Had I composed this edition of the rankings at the beginning of this week it would have technically counted the ESL One Cologne final, which would have kept Liquid holding on narrowly to the top spot, since it's such a prestigious event and Liquid had such an insane resume of wins still. I think that would have been a very tenuous ranking, though, and so it made more sense to let them fall off and then recalculate.
Liquid adding a top four at New York is still nice, not least since they won a map off Astralis, but the rest of their play didn't have them scoring wins and their Dreamhack run was a complete bust not worth talking about. Liquid still have scary pieces, but they must return to their winning ways if they want to take the top spot again.
Bo3: TL (Starladder Berlin and ESL NY), NRG (Starladder Berlin), Vit (DH Malmo)
Bo1: G2 (Starladder Berlin), EG (ESL NY)
Astralis followed up their major victory with another series win over Team Liquid, but could not win ESL New York and were forced to settle for second place there. At Dreamhack they were the only one of the teams vying for the New York title who still came in strong, but even the Danes fell earlier than expected and could manage only a top four finish. This was one of the closest ever races for the top spot on my ranking, especially outside of really poor periods without clear strong teams.
There were arguments by which all three of Astralis, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses could have been at the top, but Astralis win out by virtue of their best win being at the major and ultimately the major does have to carry more weight than any other title. In this case, Astralis have a worse resume of ranked wins than the two main rivals for their spot, but a major title overcomes that, just. On the one hand, a welcome return of CS:GO's greatest ever team to the number one spot, but also a very precarious return. Much to be proven over the next few months, but who would have it any other way?
Most interesting to watch out for me will be the Astralis vs. Evil Geniuses match-ups, with EG having beaten them so many times recently.
A video featuring will becoming in a few days which summarises this top 10 and explains the placings in more detail and with more direct contrasts of teams competing for spots.
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