Esports

Top 10 esports organizations of the decade

by Scott Robertson
Riot Games

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As the decade comes to a close, we're looking at the top 10 esports organizations of the 2010s, and the accomplishments and achievements that helped them stand out above the rest.

The growth of esports has been incredible in 2010, and as the scene has grown, so too has the number of companies looking to leave their mark on this rising industry.

Some orgs have fallen off and disappeared, while others are doing just fine, but some have risen to unimaginable heights in the past 10 years. Here are the 10 orgs who have set the standard for esports, whether it be in CSGO, Call of Duty, League of Legends or even a variety of games.

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10. T1 (formerly SK Telecom T1)

Riot
Riot
T1 won three LoL Worlds titles this decade.

When it comes to League of Legends and Starcraft, no organization has quite dominated Korea, and perhaps the world, like T1.

Prior to finalizing their rebrand this year, SK Telecom T1 have been the shining example of LoL dominance this decade. In their five Worlds appearances, the worst finish they posted was 3rd/4th in 2019, and they won three over four years between 2013-2016. While many star players have donned that jersey, none have shone brighter than the iconic and unflinching Faker.

T1’s Starcraft players have been winning events since the beginning of the decade, even as the scene shifted from Starcraft I to II. While they no longer compete in Starcraft, the T1 organization is already setting its sights on new scenes to dominate, including Dota 2, Apex Legends, and Fortnite.

9. Natus Vincere

StarLadder
StarLadder
Natus Vincere have won titles in CSGO, Dota and Rainbow Six.

Natus Vincere have been a shining example of esports excellence in the CIS region. In the early years of the decade, during the Counter-Strike 1.6 era, the Ukrainian roster representing Na’Vi was one of the world’s best, and dominated 2010.

Since then, they’ve expanded their operations and built a winning culture around prolific stars across multiple esports titles. In CSGO, that star is s1mple and, although a Major eludes them (they came close at FACEIT London 2018), he has led Na’Vi to multiple championships, 

Earlier in the decade, their Dota 2 roster claimed the very first International, and appeared in the grand finals of the next two behind the iconic Dendi.

They also took home the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League Season 10 championship to close out the decade.

8. Astralis

ESL
ESL
Astralis have been the best CSGO team this decade.

The other teams in this list have achieved success across multiple esports titles, and while Astralis have only ever competed in Counter-Strike since 2016, their dominance in that scene is so spectacular that they can't be denied a spot in this list.

Astralis were formed from the core of the Team SoloMid CSGO roster, which they acquired from Dignitas. After adding in-game leader gla1ve and rounding out the roster with magisk, the familiar trio of dupreeh, xyp9x, and dev1ce emerged as a dominant force in Counter-Strike.

Astralis hold the record for most CSGO major victories at four, and have won the last three. They cruised to the first-ever Intel Grand Slam, and have become widely regarded as the best Counter-Strike team of all time.

7. Envy (formerly EnVyUs)

Activision
Activision
Envy won Cod Champs in 2016.

The Envy organization is known for its success in shooters, and they are maintaining their presence as franchising takes over.

Prior to moving its operations to North America, Envy’s French CSGO team had an impressive run in the middle part of the decade, when they were known as EnVyUs. From 2015 to 2017 they claimed titles at multiple events, and appeared in two straight Major grand finals in 2015, winning the second one at Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca.

Envy have been a mainstay in Call of Duty, Halo, and Overwatch. Their pre-OWL Overwatch team emerged as one of the scene’s best under the leadership of the late, great INTERNETHULK, before joining the league as the Dallas Fuel. They won multiple titles across numerous versions of Call of Duty as well, including a World Championship in 2016. They are still going, too, having joined the upcoming CDL as Dallas Empire.

6. OpTic Gaming

MLG
MLG
OpTic Gaming's CoD roster was the most popular in the world.

While today's OpTic looks drastically different from the one that was on top of the world, the impact of this legendary organization can't be denied.

OpTic was synonymous with the Call of Duty scene, and for good reason. They built stars within Call of Duty, not just by providing them an environment to win multiple championships, but by creating content around them that turned pro gamers into superstars. OpTic’s ability to compete in various shooter games, including Halo, CSGO, and Overwatch, and make good content around those rosters, was unparalleled.

While their lofty plans for expansion would backfire, what OpTic accomplished in CoD and other esports is more than enough to earn a spot on this list.

5. FaZe Clan

MLG
MLG
FaZe have enjoyed success in content creation as well as competitive gaming.

The FaZe organization has built one of, if not the most impressive brands in all of esports. What started as essentially a YouTube channel dedicated to Call of Duty highlights has transformed into a global brand that is as much a lifestyle as it is a competitive esports organization.

FaZe Clan have been competitive as well. They’ve won multiple events in Call of Duty since they began competing in 2012, and will participate in the inaugural Call of Duty League as Atlanta FaZe.

Their success has branched out into other titles as well. Their CSGO roster has won numerous trophies since joining the scene in 2017, and their current roster looks like it could be one of  the world’s best in the next decade, too. They also house one of the biggest and most impressive Fortnite rosters in the world.

4. G2 Esports

Riot Games
Riot Games
G2 were brilliant in LoL in 2019.

G2 are well known for having championship pedigree in a variety of esports. They’ve won championships across Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Rainbow Six Siege during the past decade, and have been consistent across those scenes as well as others.

Their CSGO division has been competitive since its 2015 inception, having won multiple events with various forms of mostly French rosters. They signed a Rainbow Six Siege team in 2018, and that roster immediately started chaining together trophy wins, resulting in a world championship at the Six Invitational 2019.

Their LoL squad has dominated the recent history of European League of Legends. They’ve won six of the past eight EU LCS/LEC splits, and have performed better and better at each Worlds. Their 2019 roster was considered one of the best rosters ever, and, having won both regional splits and MSI, they were one Worlds series win away from the perfect year.

3. Team Liquid

Riot Games
Riot Games
Team Liquid have won championships in many different esports.

In a recent piece posted to the Player’s Lobby, Liquid owner Steve ‘Liquid112' Archanet said he has always done things “the Liquid Way”. Plenty of teams should consider adopting that way for themselves, as the North American organization has racked up multiple championships across various esports.

Liquid began as a Starcraft clan and community site, and from humble beginnings, rose to global status through expansions and mergers. They also set high expectations for their pro players across all the esports they compete in.

Liquid have fielded championship-caliber rosters and players in an unprecedented number of different esports – League of Legends, CSGO, Dota 2, Starcraft, Super Smash Bros., and more.

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2. Fnatic

ESL
ESL
Fnatic won two ESL One titles in 2015.

Fnatic were founded in the UK, but they are a global brand which has enjoyed great success in League of Legends and CSGO this decade.

They entered League of Legends in 2011, and have been a big name in the European scene since, claiming seven European LCS splits and making history as the first-ever winners of Worlds in 2011.

Fnatic made their name with an all-Swedish roster in Counter-Strike, starting with Source in 2004, before moving onto 1.6. However, they became truly dominant in CSGO this decade, winning their first major in 2013 and following it up with victories at ESL One Katowice and ESL One Cologne.

After a temporary lull, it looks like Fnatic are resurgent again in CSGO, winning Dreamhack Masters Malmo in 2019 and finishing second at ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals.

Fnatic fields teams and players across multiple titles to this day, but it was the championship pedigree that they established in Counter-Strike and LoL that was essential to building one of the biggest esports brands in Europe.

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1. Cloud9 

ELEAGUE
ELEAGUE
Cloud9 won the ELeague Boston Major in 2018.

Like many of the great North American brands, C9 got their start in League of Legends, when former TSM manager Jack Etienne became owner of the organization and reacquired the former NomNom roster from Quantic Gaming.

The roster of Balls, Meteos, Hai, Sneaky, and LemonNation became the foundation of a beloved American esports franchise, and the Sneaky Lemon Balls trio became the kind of meme material that Cloud 9 would become famous for.

Cloud 9 have appeared at every LoL Worlds since their inception, and have won two LCS splits and four North American Regional Finals. They’ve also won titles in numerous other esports, including a CSGO Major and an Overwatch League title via subsidiary London Spitfire.

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Honorable mentions

It was tremendously difficult to narrow a list down to 10, so these organizations unfortunately just missed the cut, but are still worthy of an honorable mention.

  • Team SoloMid – A staple of North American League of Legends with a collection of NA LCS titles in their cabinet.
  • Virtus.Pro – A Polish powerhouse of an esports organization that has fielded legendary rosters in CSGO and Dota 2.
  • Evil Geniuses – A legendary North American organization synonymous with success in Dota 2 and R6 Siege. Ended 2019 on a high note with a long-awaited return to both LoL and CSGO.
  • NRG Esports – Ended the decade with an absolutely stellar 2019. Semi-finals at the CSGO Berlin Major, Overwatch League Season 2 champions with SF Shock, and a Rocket League World Championship along with plenty of other accomplishments.