With the CS:GO player break coming to an end and with the London major and Dreamhack Stockholm on the horizon, everyone’s eyes is on how these rosters will perform. Teams have had over a month to prepare for the next upcoming tournaments and we can expect to see teams coming in with new strategies, new grenades, and maybe even new boosts and exploits. While the past tournaments leading up to the major have been clean-cut results wise, if the past two majors have taught us anything is that any team is capable of surprises. So coming in to the CS:GO major, what are the top teams? The teams with the best results or the most upset potential?
Astralis (device, dupreeh, Magisk, Xyp9x, gla1ve)
Astralis have looked poised to take the upcoming major trophy for a few months now as they have proved again and again that they are not only the best team in the world, but the most consistent as well. They’re looking for revenge coming into this major after going out in groups at Boston and have won four premier tournaments since adding Magisk onto the squad. Their only recent losses have been a close 3-0 final to FaZe in IEM Sydney and a 2-1 upset by Na’Vi in Cologne. Their IGL, gla1ve, has set up Astralis for success and set themselves apart from their competition with a more tactical and sound approach to CS. Coming into the London major, they’re the clear favorites to take the trophy home. However, lower teams will be watching and reviewing demos ready to play against them when the time comes.
Na’Vi (s1mple, Zeus, Edward, electronic, flamie)
Na’Vi has looked like a deadly force in 2018. They’ve been able to find their groove playing around playing their star players and it’s not hard to see why. S1mple has been posting unreal numbers time and time again, being almost unarguably the best player in the world in his current form. He posted an insane 1.37 and 1.40 HLTV rating at Na’Vi’s two premier tournament wins this year, ESL One Cologne and Starseries. Electronic has also come into form, and boasts a 1.22 rating in 2018. While the roster started off poorly and was on the brink of collapse, they’ve been able to refine their play style and become a more consistent team. Coming into the major, their explosive style may be enough to give the CIS region their second major trophy.
FaZe (karrigan, GuardiaN, olofmeister, NiKo, rain)
The star-studded FaZe, on paper, looked to be the best team in the world skillwise. After their unfortunate upset by Cloud9 at the ELEAGUE major, this squad hasn’t shown the results that would be expected of players of their caliber. However, olofmeister had been missing events to family issues since March and has finally returned back to the roster. Still, FaZe had managed a win at IEM Sydney and Belo Horizonte with stand-ins, and with olof rejoining it might be just enough to give this roster the consistency and extra firepower that they needed. This European super team achieved a lot without their main roster and should be able to give any of the favorites a run for their money based on skill and experience among the players alone.
Team Liquid (nitr0, Twistzz, NAF, ELiGE, TACO)
Liquid has had consistent placings against the best teams in the world for since the addition of Steel and with TACO it hasn’t been any different. While the North American squad hasn’t been able to bring home any premier trophies, they managed to reach the finals of EPL season 7 and ELEAGUE Premier, losing only to Astralis. This Liquid roster has had a slow rise to the top in 2018 to become a consistent top-tier team, and there’s not reason to believe that this major will be any different. Liquid is looking to give NA its second-ever major trophy, but they might have to finally overcome Astralis first to take it all home.
MiBr (FalleN, coldzera, fer, Stewie2k, tarik)
Bringing back the legendary name of Made in Brazil is the legendary ex-SK roster. While they aren’t as dominant as they once were, with the addition of Stewie2k, Tarik, and YNK as couch, this roster is looking stacked with talent. The once dominant Brazilian lineup is possibly at the cusp of an American super team. With the language barrier between the Brazilian and American squad, this roster still has a lot of work on, and their achievements still leave a lot to be desired. Still, this roster has achieved consistent playoff spots and a win at the Zotac Cup Masters. They’ve had have had plenty of time during the player break to shine and refine their approach and we may very well see the players raising another trophy.
Mousesports (chrisj, ropz, oskar, Snax, suNny)
This Mousesports roster has been an interesting experiment. With a blend of older and younger talent, this mix nationality team has had fantastic results, but never had the skill to push themselves to the next level. There’s a lot of question marks over the players in this roster. ChrisJ has turned out better than anyone could hope while taking over the IGL role and still playing a major fragging role. Ropz and suNny have turned out to be top tier talent and Oskar has of course been a star on the AWP. With the recent addition of Snax over Styko, it may be enough to push this roster to the next level. However, Snax hasn’t had the best year in Virtus Pro, but the change in environment may be enough to bring him back to form. The roster is also taking a FaZe-like approach, opting for raw firepower instead of a dedicated support player. This roster still has a lot of young talent to mold and has had plenty of time to do it. The major could be the time for this roster to finally prove their worth and assert themselves within the elite teams.
fnatic (JW, flusha, KRIMZ, draken, Xizt)
This once dominant roster has fallen in the heaps, going through Swedish talent to achieve attempt their former glory. With the removal of Golden from the lineup and Xizt taking the reigns as IGL, this roster has consistently gotten top 6 at premier tournaments and has more experience at the top than any other roster on this list. At their best, this roster is absolutely untouchable, proven by their sudden victory at IEM Katowice and even WESG. At their worst, they’re a consistent playoff team and a contender for any match against any top team. They may not be taking home every trophy like their past, but this roster is still relatively young and still has the talent to compete against any top team.
The Dark Horses
G2 (kennyS, shox, Ex6TenZ, bodyy, SmithZz)
The ex-French super team was nowhere near the level that was expected of them. Now, Ex6TenZ and SmithZz join in lieu of NBK and apEX, and what they lack in firepower they hope to make up in tactical prowess. While it has France’s two best players, kennyS and shox, they’ve chosen to pass up on the ex-EnVyUs talent and get rid of some of their best talent. Still, Ex6TenZ is legendary for his super tactical approach and in the past and finally gets his chance to prove himself again. If he’s able to get the best out of kennyS and shox like he has in the past, this team can go far. It’s a controversial team, to say the least, but they’ve had time during the player break to improve. While they’re not the strongest team on paper coming to the major, this new roster fields some scary talent and is a serious threat to any team.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (GeT_RiGhT, f0rest, Lekr0, REZ, dennis)
While the legendary NiP roster has definitely seen better days, this roster is no slouch. They finally broke their major curse and won the European Faceit minor to qualify for a spot in the challenger stage. With the kick of draken from the roster, this team lacks dedicated AWPer, an important part in most top teams in the current meta. However, they’ve enlisted on the talent of Lekr0, who played a crucial part in taking NiP to the major. While they may no longer be the famed roster of their past, the Ninjas have shown up with some of that NiP magic in the past. They may not be tournaments favorites, but with the legendary players and name, it’s hard to ever count the Ninjas out.
BIG (gob b, tabseN, tiziaN, nex, smooya)
BIG is a bit of a curiosity. They made a controversial quarterfinal run at the infamous PGL Krakow major and have shown up again in their home country in Cologne. There’s no doubt that the crowd will be backing Smooya and the team, giving them the famous home crowd advantage. Despite his age, gob b has proven that he still has the brains to IGL a top-tier Counter-Strike team and has formed a formidable squad from the remains of the German scene. While they may not have the big names or the legendary prestige of some other teams, this team has proven to be dangerous when they’re firing on all cylinders. With their 2nd place ranking at Cologne, BIG is looking hot coming into London with the home crowd on their side once again.
OpTic (k0nfig, gade, JUGi, cajunb, Snappi)
The Danish remains of North and Heroic have joined together to form a powerful roster. With the combined firepower of k0nfig and JUGi they have plenty of skill to take down opponents above their own ranking. Snappi has been given the chance to prove his leadership with some serious talent for the first time and could prove to be a dangerous in-game leader. While they haven’t had a lot of time in the spotlight after the exit of stanislaw and ShahZam, they add in more Danish talent possibly giving them more coherency without the English language barrier. This new OpTic roster has finally had plenty of time to gel together and are a dark horse to look out for during the London major.