Which Teams Could Dethrone The Mighty Astralis And Liquid?
Ever since 2017, Danish roster Astralis have been the dominant force in the world of Counter-Strike. Their recent win at the recent StarLadder Berlin Major was their fourth major title in the Counter-Strike world, beating the previously held record by Swedish side Fnatic and crowning them as the most successful side ever. Whilst the team had garnered a slightly negative reputation following their preferential selection of only participating in sponsored BLAST events, their return to form in time for a CS:GO major was the definition of a team that simply oozes class.
Similarly, Team Liquid’s rise to the top of the HLTV CS:GO rankings has been equally impressive. Since the turn of the year, there has hardly been a team with more consistency than the North American outfit. Wins at IEM Sydney and ESL One Cologne were particular highlights for Stewie2K, Twistzz and co. as they romped to their first ever INTEL Grand Slam.
With Astralis defeating Liquid at StarLadder, ending the North American side’s impressive unbeaten run on Vertigo in the process, an intense rivalry has been restored and the coming months of Counter-Strike should be fascinating to watch. Whilst these two teams are giants in their own right, is there anyone who can stand in their way?
A real surprise package in the world of competitive Counter-Strike, Avangar are a Kazakhstani org who were founded as late as 2017. Yet to really test the waters at the top of the Counter-Strike rankings, the team only brag a reasonably modest purse of $675,925 and are yet to point to any major triumphs so far. However, they have had a meteoric rise in recent times: stunning esports betting markets everywhere at the recent StarLadder Major and running Astralis all the way to the final, rising to fourth in the HLTV rankings in the process. It’ll be fascinating to see where the coming months take this talented young side in the Counter-Strike scene.
Widely seen as being the ‘best of the rest’ for some time now, NRG are a North American org with a cool $1,076,400 in prize winnings so far. Featuring talismanic players like Tarik and stanislaw, they have carved out a reputation as being fearless and aggressive in their plays, have seen their stock on the rise for the previous few months and even managed a 0-2 scalp against Astralis at the recent major. Out of all the competitors against the top two, NRG’s steady consistency in the latter stages of Counter-Strike’s recent competitions make them the smart pick for an upset.
- Team Vitality
Representing Western Europe in the Counter-Strike scene, Vitality are a French org currently ranked fifth on the latest HLTV rankings. Vitality are a strange team to try and gauge; whilst their talent is obvious for all to see, it is their inconsistency and proneness to a shock result that has consistently kept them off the top spots in Counter-Strike. A fantastic ESL One Cologne, in which Vitality player ZywhOo was named MVP of the tournament, looked to be a point to build on for Vitality, yet within a couple of months they were slumping to a shock defeat at StarLadder against Syman Gaming. The dramatic highs to lows seem to be part and parcel of Vitality’s set up at the moment, but there is no denying their talent at the end of the day.
Another team that’s hard to judge, but has experienced an astronomical rise in recent times, Renegades pulled off one of their biggest ever results in recent memory at the recent StarLadder major as they romped to a surprising 3rd-4th placed finish. Based out in Australia, Renegades’ form went from averaging a winrate of around 30-40% in April/May, to around 60-70% at the end of September. It truly is a stunning rise for a team that always seems to play with a smile on their face. One thing that might hold them back against the very top teams however is their records on maps such as Train, Vertigo and Overpass where their winrates drop down to 52%, 40% and a lowly 32% respectively.
Can Anyone Usurp Astralis Or Liquid Before The Next Major?
In short, probably not. Both Astralis and Liquid have set an absolutely huge benchmark, both for themselves and the scene on the whole, and there’s really not a whole lot to suggest anyone is even close to that level of professionalism, skill and consistency yet. Whilst Liquid still occupy the top spot on the rankings for now, another major win is sure to be the best bit of momentum Astralis could ask for in their quest to hunt their rivals down.
All the rest of us can do is just watch on and admire.