A look back on how each team has performed this year and where they now rank
2019 has been a whirlwind of a year, 2 majors for Astralis and an Intel Grand Slam for Liquid later; what has changed in the past year based on HLTV’s rankings?
1. Astralis → 1st
Well, that was fun while it lasted. While Astralis did fall off of their lofty perch briefly, they will end 2019 almost exactly where they started it. The roster is exactly the same, and they’ve added another Major title or two to an already stacked trophy cabinet. The BLAST Pro Series debacle took the shine off, sure, but they’ve recovered about as well as possible.
2. Natus Vincere → 10th
Very few people thought removing Edward would have a negative effect on the team, but NaVi’s drop off has been pretty severe. Boombl4 has been a useful addition, but the retirement of Zeus ended up wasting a lot of time for NaVi. They had a dead roster for several events, and then their replacement was GuardiaN, who has been, at best, lacklustre.
Once NaVi have a settled, hungry roster, they might be back up in the top five. electronic and s1mple is more than enough, as long as they don’t have too much deadweight to carry.
3. Team Liquid → 3rd
Another year of near misses took its toll on Team Liquid, who ended up in third place again. This year they loved second place so much, they decided to become second best in North America. If not on the rankings, in our hearts.
Though they made a move to bring in Stewie2k, and were, at one point, the number one team in the world, it was all for nought - once Astralis got past their BLAST- induced funk, they blew Liquid away, as they had so many times before. They’re becoming a bit like Liverpool FC - we’re sure *next year* will be their year.
4. MiBR --> 14th
One might argue MiBR were fortunate to finish fourth last year, but they certainly were worse this year. They’ve barely shown flashes of being a top team, never mind a good consistent level. The loss of coldzera wasn’t the death sentence some might have imagined, but it did hasten their demise somewhat, as they weren’t all that alive to begin with.
The recent addition of meyern may breathe life back into the Brazilians, but the truth is that the once great core is tired. No longer do the names of FalleN, fer and... well, TACO was never particularly scary, but you get the point - no longer do those names strike fear in the hearts of their opponents.
Where did it all go wrong? Nobody is quite sure. It just seems like they’re just not very good anymore, but it’s hard to count them out entirely. We still believe.
5. mousesports → 4th
It’s weird to think that after everything that has happened to mouz, they’ve stayed at a relatively similar level. At this point last year, they had suNny, oskar, and STYKO, and they’ve all been replaced - yet mouz stay challenging around the top and, occasionally, at least recently, winning events. This despite replacing players à la Borussia Dortmund or Atletico Madrid. It’s mightily impressive.
6. FaZe → 7th
FaZe only had four players when they were 6th last year, and now, with a full five (you can add your own jokes here) they’re down one place. Time will tell whether the loss of GuardiaN and karrigan will be blessings in disguise, but, so far, karrigan has been impressive away from the supposed stars of FaZe, while coldzera has been underwhelming.
It’s pretty obvious where FaZe went wrong - they lost faith in their decorated IGL in order to allow a guy who was an unimpressive IGL on mouz to lead the team,and doubled down on star power. That said, karrigan’s results at the end of his tenure weren’t great, and maybe FaZe needed a change - but probably not this one.
7. NiP → 9th
GeT_RiGhT and dennis have left the organisation, and rumours suggest that f0rest might also leave in the near future, but NiP still exist and are still just above mediocre. It’s a different, fresher, more exciting roster, but the same flattering-to-deceive performance. Twist and Plopski have big shoes to fill. It’s not gone all wrong for NiP, but nothing has gone particularly brilliantly either. At least people have forgotten about that Fifflaren stuff - that’s good news, right?
8. NRG → Now EG, 5th
NRG’s removal of daps was considered by many to be a mistake, but the addition of stanislaw has so far been a revelation. Swapping FugLy for tarik has been relatively immaterial inside the server, but tarik is, by all accounts, a good communicator and good for team spirit. It’s pretty much all gone right for now - evil geniuses, and 2020 looks like it might finally be their - and NA’s - year.
9. fnatic → 2nd
fnatic had a real revival this year, with the re-acquisition of Golden and flusha, they went from a team who could maybe challenge the top 5 on a good day, or go out of WESG 16-0 to AGO on a bad one, to a team who are legitimate contenders for titles. KRIMZ is back, Brollan has become a genuine superstar, and flusha is the same exact player he always was.
It all went right for them when they picked up Golden, the player many people suggested they should never have cut in the first place. Sometimes, the public opinion is right, as it turns out.
10. North → 19th (Will move up soon)
Ah, North. They cut cadiaN after some disappointing performances, and then valde’s departure, which eventually led to a team without a recognised in-game leader. They’ve been struggling since valde left (and they were pretty middle-of-the-road before that), until DreamHack Sevilla.
An encouraging performance saw them take the trophy back to Denmark and, though it wasn’t a tier one tournament, the biggest journeys start with a single, small step. For North, winning a tournament like that is at least a sign that they are better than the tier two teams.
2019 was pretty similar to 2018 for North - just without that one big trophy. There’s no ‘where did it all go wrong’ here - because it hasn’t gone that far away from last year.
Read more on North.
Main image credit: Starladder