Thorin's CSGO World Rankings - 10th March 2020 - Dexerto
CS:GO

Thorin’s CSGO World Rankings – 10th March 2020

Published: 10/Mar/2020 15:51 Updated: 1/May/2020 15:35

by Duncan "Thorin" Shields

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When I originally launched my CSGO 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 an 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 favorite 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.

10th December 2019 – 10th March 2020

Tournaments impacting the ranking (due to teams ranked attending):

  • Dec 12 – Dec 14 – BLAST Pro Series: Global Final 2019
  • Dec 12 – Dec 15 – cs_summit 5
  • Dec 17 – Dec 22 – EPICENTER 2019
  • Jan 24 – Jan 26 – DreamHack Open Leipzig [NEW]
  • Jan 31 – Feb 16 – BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 Regular Season [NEW]
  • Feb 01 – Feb 06 – ICE Challenge 2020 [NEW]
  • Feb 21 – Feb 23 – DreamHack Open Anaheim [NEW]
  • Feb 24 – Mar 01 – Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship [NEW]

B Class – Ranked but not top teams

10. 100 Thieves [jks, jkaem, Gratisfaction, Liazz and AZR] [-3]

Recent form:

  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (4th in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (5th-6th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Evil GeniusesG (IEM Katowice), Mousesports (IEM Katowice)

One map: N/A

Coming into 2020 100 Thieves seemed like a strong bet to retain a good ranking, due to their impressive consistency and strong fundamentals as a team. The abject failure of their BLAST Spring Series performance thus far put all of their eggs in the IEM basket, and a respectable but not elite run there means 100T drop all the way to the brink of leaving ranked status.  Series wins over EG and Mousesports, both top three ranked teams at the time, were key to ensuring the Aussies stuck around, with Heroic and some of the strong active tier 2 teams breathing down their next for this edition.

9. FaZe Clan [NiKo, coldzera, rain, olof and broky] [-1]

FaZe Clan at BLAST Pro Premier.

Recent form:

  • BLAST Pro Series: Global Final 2019 (4th)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (1st in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (7th-8th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Team Liquid (BLAST Spring), Team Liquid (BLAST Spring), NiP (BLAST Spring), Team Vitality (IEM Katowice)

One map: Team Liquid (BLAST Global), Na’Vi (IEM Katowice), Na’Vi (IEM Katowice)

NiKo and company turned their wack end to 2019 into a group phase win at Blast, besting Team Liquid in two sweeps, and managed a decent top-eight finish at IEM Katowice, losing only to winners Na’Vi in two close series. FaZe’s resume of ranked wins is big time for a team down at ninth, but they need some better tournament placings to vault up the rankings.

8. Evil Geniuses [CeRq, Brehze, ethan, tarik and stanislaw] [-6]

Tarik competing for Evil Geniuses.

Recent form:

  • EPICENTER 2019 (3rd-4th)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (3rd in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (9th-12th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Na’Vi (EPICENTER), 100 Thieves (BLAST Spring)

One map: Team Liquid (IEM Katowice), 100 Thieves (IEM Katowice)

Even bigger than 100 Thieves’ drop was that of EG, who went from second to eighth in one edition. The NA boys were underwhelming at Blast, beating only 100T in terms of ranked squads, and then followed that up with a weak IEM run. That EPICENTER top four held EG in place, otherwise, they wouldn’t even be a top 10 team right now. How far this team has fallen since they were claiming trophies in the latter quarter of 2019.

Based on how they are playing right now, EG don’t even get A Class status. That’s alarming for a team that was S Class only a few months ago.

A Class – Top teams, but not championship favorites

7. FNATIC [KRiMZ, brollan, JW, flusha and Golden] [-3]

Fnatic at IEM Katowice 2020.

Recent form:

  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (3rd-4th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Na’Vi (IEM Katowice), 100 Thieves (IEM Katowice)

One map: G2 Esports (IEM Katowice)

In terms of day-to-day play, there are at most three teams I’d take as better than FNATIC right now, but their inactivity has cost them. They skipped EPICENTER, didn’t play any Dreamhack Opens and were not given partner status for Blast. As such, everything was riding on IEM Katowice for the Swedes, but they showed again they are a world-class squad offline. Their only losses were to Astralis, ranked number one at the time, and a blazing hot G2. Add in that JW and the gang put series wins against Na’Vi, the eventual champions, and 100T, who are a stock dropping but a name nonetheless.

The expectation for FNATIC is to put up top-four finishes at EPL and the major and again regain an elite ranking.  Activity is the lifeblood of a good ranking.

6. Vitality [ZywOo, ALEX, apEX, shox and RpK] [-1]

ZyWOo competing for Vitality.

Recent form:

  • EPICENTER 2019 (1st)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (3rd in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (9th-12th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Na’Vi (EPICENTER), Mousesports (EPICENTER), Na’Vi (BLAST Spring), NiP (IEM Katowice)

One map: FaZe Clan (IEM Katowice)

Vitality have been wack in 2020, failing to get a top-two finish at Blast and coming nowhere close to the play-offs in Katowice. Luckily, their EPICENTER win is still good for some juice, but unluckily they just lost their IGL ALEX. There is a good chance ZywOo won’t be in a top 10 team by the next edition. Troubling times for the French scene.

5. Team Liquid [EliGE, Twistzz, NAF, nitr0 and Stewie] [+1]

Team liquid ahead of BLAST London.

Recent form:

  • BLAST Pro Series: Global Final 2019 (2nd)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (2nd in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (5th-6th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: FaZe Clan (BLAST Global), NiP (BLAST Global), NiP (BLAST Spring), Evil Geniuses (IEM Katowice)

One map: N/A

Team Liquid looked weak at Blast, but a favorable group ensured they still finished in second. Katowice was better, making a top six-run, but their only ranked win was against Evil Geniuses. TL look good, but far from a threat for titles right now. Amazingly, they move up a position, with so few Tier 1 tournaments to consider for this time window.

Any period after a break is rough since it means enforced down-time for a bunch of the teams. TL were a rare team who benefitted from the break, but they need to get motoring if they want to again challenge for the top spot.

4. G2 Esports [kennyS, huNter-, nexa, AmaNEk and JaCkz] [NEW]

Recent form:

  • cs_summit 5 (2nd)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (1st in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (2nd)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: 100 Thieves (BLAST Spring), 100 Thieves (IEM Katowice), Mousesports (IEM Katowice), Team Liquid (IEM Katowice), Fnatic (IEM Katowice)

One map: Mousesports x3 (cs_summit)

One of the revelations of 2020 has been G2.  Their international line-up looked to have completely stalled and failed as 2019 closed out, infamously highlighted by their inability to win the cs_summit title versus a Mousesports lacking both karrigan and woxic. Apparently maLeK- worked his magic, though, and G2 began 2020 with an electrifying Blast group win and then backed that up with a monster run to second place at IEM.

G2 have added so many ranked wins, spanning the top placed squads. KennyS looks like a top-five player in the world again, after years of absence from such status, and G2 is a line-up that few have been able to match in terms of fire-power.  They do have an EG feel to them, where poor fragging could have them failing to make any impact on a tournament, but right now they are one of the hottest teams in the entire world.  Given another strong performance I’ll bump them up into the S Class.

S Class – Elite Teams

3. Mousesports [karrigan, ropz, chrisJ, frozen and w0xic] [-]

Recent form:

  • cs_summit 5 (1st) [NaToSaphiX + Rejin two maps]
  • EPICENTER 2019 (2nd)
  • ICE Challenge (1st)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (7th-8th)

Bo5: Na’Vi (ICE)

Bo3: Evil Geniuses (EPICENTER), Evil Geniuses (EPICENTER)

One map: Team Vitality (EPICENTER), 100 Thieves (IEM Katowice)

Mouz won the ICE Challenge, which looks even more impressive now their Bo5 series win over Na’Vi makes them one of the few teams to have looked good against s1mple and his boys.  IEM was underwhelming, especially considering their relatively weaker group draw, on paper, and they didn’t get any series wins to add onto their now diminished resume. Mousesports deservedly went right up the rankings late last year, but 2020 is about earning it again and showing they are one of the best teams in the game. Sticking at third is cool, but rivals Astralis are right there for the taking with a good run of performances over the next two months.

Imagine a world in which karrigan was ranked ahead of both FaZe and Astralis.  That’s strong fodder for bragging!

2. Astralis [device, dupreeh, Magisk, Xyp9x and gla1ve] [-1]

Astralis at IEM Katowice 2020

Recent form:

  • BLAST Pro Series: Global Final 2019 (1st)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (4th in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (3rd-4th)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: NiP (BLAST Global), Team Liquid (BLAST Global), Team Vitality (IEM Katowice), Fnatic (IEM Katowice)

One map: Team Liquid (BLAST Global), Na’Vi (BLAST Spring)

It seemed as if it would be some time before anyone could dethrone Astralis, with the exception of Mouz winning a big title, but already they are gone from the top spot. A last-place finish in their BLAST group was highly unexpected, especially with a loss to coL, and their IEM run was halted at the semis by a Na’Vi who would not be denied. Astralis added series wins over Vitality and FNATIC, but they find themselves questioned as even champions, nevermind gunning for a second era they were threatening late in 2019.

EPL and the major will be a key turning point for the greatest line-up to ever play CS:GO.

1. Natus Vincere [s1mple, electronic, flamie, Boombl4 and Perfecto] [+8]

NaVi winning at IEM Katowice.

Recent form:

  • EPICENTER 2019 (5th-6th)
  • ICE Challenge (2nd)
  • BLAST Premier Spring Series Regular Season (1st in group)
  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship (1st)

Bo5: N/A

Bo3: Astralis (BLAST Spring), Team Vitality (BLAST Spring), FaZe (IEM Katowice), NiP (IEM Katowice), FaZe (IEM Katowice), Team Liquid (IEM Katowice), Astralis (IEM Katowice)

One map: Team Vitality (EPICENTER), Mousesports (ICE), Fnatic (IEM Katowice)

Climbing a wild eight spots to claim the first world number one ranking of s1mple’s career is the Na’Vi squad he was always seemingly destined to help live up to their motto – Born to win.  Na’Vi ended last year with one of the most powerful off switches in the game and GuardiaN dragging them down match-to-match. The addition of Perfecto has seen a knock-on effect which was taken the insane fragging the previous Na’Vi sometimes showed and made it seemingly a permanent factor in their matches.

Na’Vi’s failure to win the ICE Challenge wasn’t the end of the world, but their initial loss to Vitality at Blast was troubling, especially since they had to face Astralis in the lower bracket game.  From that second map of said series on, Na’Vi have never looked back. They went on to win the group, halting coL’s run, and then took over IEM to monster smash some of the best teams in the game.

Just look at the resume Na’Vi can boast.  Two series wins over Astralis, wins over the likes of FaZe, Vitality and Team Liquid to boot.  This is a Na’Vi that can not only help the best player in the world win trophies but perhaps even maintain this lofty spot atop the game.  Thrilling times for fans of the CIS powerhouse.


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.

CS:GO

BLAST’s director of operations on maintaining integrity with online CSGO

Published: 24/Nov/2020 15:23 Updated: 24/Nov/2020 15:33

by Adam Fitch

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“This time last year our rulebook and our whole setup were based on LAN events,” BLAST’s director of operations and production Andrew Haworth told Dexerto. “We hadn’t really done a huge amount of work on how that would be replicated in an online world.”

Earlier this year, with the global health situation emerging, governments all around the world were forced to reduce the feasibility of hosting events, and thus, they were moved online — halfway through a tournament, in some cases.

Prior to the restrictions, tournament organizer BLAST managed to host their first big competition of the year in February, impressing many and unknowingly hosting what would be one of the only prominent offline events in the 2020 Counter-Strike calendar. They didn’t have the same privilege later in the year, however, as limitations had yet to be permanently relaxed in many locations. Nonetheless, they went on with their plans to host the BLAST Premier Fall Series, albeit online.

Another layer of absurdity was added as a factor of hosting an event, and that was the revelation of a spectating bug that spanned multiple years. With the Esports Integrity Commission — a body devised to maintain the integrity of competitive gaming — issuing bans to dozens of coaches, integrity questions were more prominent than ever during an online era, no less, where it’s harder to monitor the activity of teams and their coaches.

BLAST Premier Fall Series 1
BLAST
Commentators Scrawny and launders arrived at the production location early to accommodate local restrictions.

Haworth’s background working on major music festivals and the Olympics Games means he’s no stranger to crafting contingency plans to put in place in case of a problem arising. Prior to hosting the Fall Series, they went through sessions of scenario testing with key department leads to devise numerous methods of still getting the job done.

Considering BLAST have deployed everything at their disposal to maintain competitive integrity within their events, Dexerto spoke with Haworth to see how they adapted their processes to move to a remote production while monitoring the gameplay itself both in and out of the server.

Going back to esports’ roots

“We were fairly lucky in the timing of the outbreak, we just finished our Spring Series in February and didn’t have another live event till the end of May,” he said. “Other tournament organizers didn’t and were thrown into that halfway through a show. We had a bit of time, purely by luck, to have a look at what we need to do for our Spring Showdown and our Spring Final.”

While esports, like most other sports, is fundamentally an entertainment product, the need for competitive integrity is essential. Fans tune in to watch the best players in the world face off against each other, and that’s no different during an era of online competition.

“If the fans don’t have faith in what we’re putting on if our broadcasters and sponsors don’t have faith in what we’re putting on, and the teams ultimately lose faith in it, then none of us can stand behind it proudly,” Haworth said. “So competitive integrity is in integral to what we do, none of us are arrogant enough to think that we’re perfect in that.

“There may be things that we’re doing now that we’ll review and determine haven’t worked quite as well or are not effective. Some of the things that we have done we want to ensure, while maintaining competitive integrity at all times, doesn’t affect the performance of play. We don’t want to be taking up computer performance for the matches because that isn’t going to gain the right tone with anybody.”

BLAST Premier Fall Series 2
BLAST
The venue had no players in sight, with only production staff and broadcast talent being present.

With a change in circumstance comes a need to change the parameters in which events are run, and that filters all the way down to the gameplay itself. BLAST saw the need to adapt their guidelines early in the year, when LAN events no longer seemed possible, so all of the teams were on the same page.

“The rulebook gets issued at the start of every season, we generally review it and update it after every event,” Haworth said. “We did less of that last year — I think we only made one or two slight revisions from Spring Series into Spring Showdown because the former was very much for a LAN. We also have our competitive integrity policy, which is broadly drawn out of the rulebook and is a short, sharp summary to articulate to what we do. That’s on our website. We’ve worked with experienced tournament officials that have worked with other tournament organizers and in other settings, it’s important to us that they can see elsewhere what has worked, and equally what hasn’t worked, so we can pick up best practices.”

From bad to worse

All partners of ESIC — including the likes of ESL and DreamHack — vow to enforce rulings decided upon by the commission, and that was no different for BLAST. The spectating exploit utilized by at least 37 coaches rocked the CS:GO community and certainly begged the question as to what tournament organizers are doing to ensure fair play is had at all times.

Moving online adds another layer of difficulty to constantly and accurately monitoring the matches played, especially considering tournament officials can’t be present to see how teams are operating with their own two eyes. BLAST believes they’ve reached the pinnacle of monitoring at this precise moment.

“Some of the measures we put in place aren’t perfect but they’re the best available solution we’ve found so far,” Haworth told Dexerto. “There are methods that we’re developing and evolving. We are confident that the measures we have in place currently are giving the desired result in not allowing anybody to manipulate the system or take advantage of it.

“From a coaching bug point of view, the player cams that we’ve put in place have been a really useful feature. That’s something that we looked at, to start with, as a broadcast feature that had some great context and depth. It grew into something that we now utilize to ensure we can see what players are doing.

“We’ve worked with players on camera angles, we have down-the-line shots, coaches have cameras on them and we listen to TeamSpeak for both a broadcast feature and in terms of integrity,” he continued. “The MOss system is far from perfect but it allows us to know what’s open on someone’s computer, there’s a report sent to us post-match with that information.

Moving forward in the face of adversity

Despite having what they believe is a solid solution to both playing online and safeguarding the integrity of the tournament, it would be understandable if a tournament organizer decided to postpone an event due to the recent exploit revelation and subsequent disciplinary rulings. Haworth ensured Dexerto, however, that that wasn’t an eventuality BLAST considered.

BLAST Spike Nations
BLAST
BLAST have undergone plenty of growth in 2020 so far despite the difficulties, expanding into new titles like Valorant and Dota 2.

“We’ve never really moved our date around. We put our 21 days in the international calendar [that’s shared by all CS:GO tournament organizers] in April this year to try and provide full transparency,” he said. “We worked on this straight after the Spring Final, there were a couple of bits that we thought we could include like the coach cams but there were also a couple of things that weren’t ready for the Fall Series. We played around with them but wasn’t sure if it would cause performance issues on players’ PCs so we didn’t want to risk it.”

There’s not the only difficulty in providing a fair and stable environment for the players, BLAST have plenty of staff that are needed to execute a full production. Having staff at home using personal internet lines isn’t the most confidence-inducing prospect, but the company has managed to execute a means of working that allows for maximum efficiency given the circumstances.

While online play, and the copious amount of events that are taking place, may not be ideal, esports has proven to be resilient in the face of extreme and unpredictable challenge. The Fall Series was revered by industry professionals and Counter-Strike fans alike, but it’s clear that BLAST are not resting on their laurels leading up to the next phase of the competition.