15 CSGO Majors later, which stand out?
By the end of the 2010’s, we’ve seen 15 CSGO Majors. Astralis have won four of them, fnatic three, and a bunch of other teams have won one; but looking back at Majors before the ones we remember so easily is a nostalgic rush that we’d love to indulge in.
The first Major was in Jönköping, with two Swedish sides in the final, fittingly. fnatic were far from the powerhouse they became, however, as they had schneider and Devilwalk playing for them at the time - but they still managed to take the final map 16-2 to beat their Swedish counterparts, NiP. The French team VeryGames made the semi-finals, with a roster nearly all of you can name off by heart - the ScreaM and shox duo is legendary at this point.
The other semi-finalists were compLexity, with seang@res, Hiko, semphis, n0thing and swag, which is partially sad to see such a decline of those players, and equally an indictment of the level of play at the time.
Other teams of note were the Danish teams, which included some of the players who are still at the top level today: dupreeh, device, xyp9x, aizy, Pimp (as an analyst nowadays), cadiaN and MSL all featured. The Golden Five were there, under the name Universal Soldiers, while NaVi had a team that in today’s terms could be kindly described as ‘lacking firepower’. starix, Zeus, ceh9, seized and kibaken would get chewed out nowadays.
After getting picked up by Virtus.pro, the Golden Five went on to win the next Major in Katowice, in their home country. Many of the same teams, and players, were there, and NiP once again lost in the final. Vox Eminor were the new boys on the block, but they were unceremoniously dumped out of Group B quite quickly. Still, it was SPUNJ and AZR’s first Major, and those two are still around today. SnypeR and topguN are less well known, while Havoc hasn’t been on a team for over a year.
NiP took on a new-look fnatic side in the first Major of 2014, and won their first Major in CSGO. A prime GeT_RiGhT was enough to turn the tides in favour of NiP, who won in Cologne. NiP nearly didn’t even get there - they needed a miracle to get past Cloud9 in the third map of the quarter-final.
Dignitas made top 4, with FeTiSh, dupreeh, aizy, device and xyp9x, and LDLC also made the semi-finals, with Happy and KQLY - remember him?
This Major also saw NaVi with GuardiaN, though they were disappointing, London Conspiracy with a Norwegian lineup including RUBINO and rain and Team Wolf. Wolf were an Indian team, whom are destined to be forgotten in the annals of history, though they did have kassad as their coach, who went on to coach Renegades and now 100 Thieves.
NiP made their fourth Major final in a row, and lost once again, against LDLC this time. Happy, shox, kioShiMa, SmithZz and NBK- brought home France’s first Major title. VP and NaVi were familiar names in the semi-finals, whilst Dignitas replaced aizy with cajunb and only made the quarter-finals this time around. C9 (shroud, n0thing, SEMPHIS, seang@res and Hiko) also were back, after a top 8 finish at Cologne, but failed to make an impact in Jönköping. How surprising.
myXMG had a Danish roster with HUNDEN, MSL and AcilioN, who are all now IGLs, and Bravado made South Africa’s first appearance at a Major in 2014.
There was another all-Swedish clash in the final of the 2015 Katowice Major, and once again, NiP lost in the ‘Klassikern’ against fnatic. VP and EnVyUs were semi-finalists - nothing too out of the ordinary there. This was, however, the first Major that we got to see FalleN and fer, as they made top 8 with Keyd Stars.
natu made an appearance with 3DMAX, a full Finnish roster, but were in a group with C9, VP and TSM - ex Dignitas - so never really had a chance. CLG somehow made the Major with ptr and hazed on the roster, and PENTA got through to the top 8 with a full German roster. kRYSTAL, Troubley, denis, Spiidi and nex was an actual Major Legend roster in 2015.
iBuyPower had been banned at this point, so the only other NA representative was C9 with ShahZam, and neither NA team did well at all. This was back when ‘NA CS’ was a meme instead of actually having two top 5 teams - the good old days.
fnatic took home their third Major by beating EnVyUs in the final of the Cologne 2015 Major, despite NBK-’s famous knife on flusha on Dust 2. This was the pronax-era fnatic, the unbeatable one who dominated the whole scene, so there was no shame in losing to them. Once again, TSM made top 4 but got no further, which was a famously common occurrence, with VP. NiP, with allu, at least didn’t lose in the final this time - only making top 8.
Zeus, seized, Edward, GuardiaN and flamie doesn’t sound all that inspiring nowadays, but it was enough to make quarter finals in 2015 - back when those players were actually half decent. Kinguin, the first edition of the international superteam, also got to top 8, with ScreaM, dennis, rain, fox and Maikelele. Again, that team wouldn’t be considered even close to a superteam any more, with only rain playing at the top level, but at the time this was a big deal.
FlipSid3 have quietly been at quite a lot of these Majors, and similarly, the roster of B1ad3, markeloff, bondik, DavCost and WorldEdit, strangely enough, didn’t make it through to the playoffs at any point.
C9, with fREAKAZOiD, and CLG were the NA representatives, while Australia had two teams for the first time. Vox Eminor had become Renegades, with yam and jks, while SnypeR, emagine, James, USTILO and Rickeh made up Team Immunity. This might’ve been a proud moment for Aussies, had they not won one game between them.
Cluj-Napoca in 2016 saw EnVyUs beat Natus Vincere, absolutely smashing them 16-5 on map two for the 2-0. G2 Esports made their mark in CSGO, picking up the Kinguin roster, and proving that international teams could be good by making it to the semi-finals. NiP were still hanging around, making the semi-finals for allu for the first time, with TSM, fnatic, LG (formerly Keyd Gaming, now with coldzera) and VP rounding off the top 8.
We got to see the first appearance of Team Liquid, as a third NA representative. All three went out as challengers, but it was an important step. We saw ELiGE, FugLy and nitr0 join Hiko and adreN in the early formation of an important team in NA’s history.
chrisj and NiKo’s side were the first non-full German mousesports team to get to a Major, though they eventually disappointed. Flipsid3 Tactics, suspiciously, were still there. Hanging on to relevance.
Luminosity won their first CSGO Major at MLG Columbus. They beat a NaVi side that had an injured GuardiaN, which took the shine off of one the best rags to riches stories CSGO has seen. Just a few Majors had gone by since the Brazilians had even shown up to events, and now they were the best team in the world - but GuardiaN’s wrist injury meant it wouldn’t be undisputed.
The two semi-finalists were Astralis and Team Liquid, which is a literary technique known as ‘foreshadowing’. This wasn’t the Team Liquid we’re used to now, though; this was the first attempt at s1mple carrying a mediocre team to the final. For the sake of the sanity of TL fans, we won’t go too in-depth into the double choke in the semi-final to lose 2-0 to LG, or the jumping double from cold on the B site of Mirage that made the comeback happen. No sir.
CLG were the odd-one-out in the top 8, but the addition of jdm64 over ptr was apparently enough for them to go a step further than before. Sweden was very much in the start of its decline, as both fnatic and NiP only made top 8, while Splyce and C9 made up four NA representatives.
FaZe bought the international line-up, and G2 bought the French one, and neither of them made top 8. As night follows day, Flipsid3 didn’t make top 8 but still got to the Major.
Luminosity became SK, but stayed as the best team in the world, winning ESL One Cologne in 2016. They once again 2-0’d Liquid, but this time in a much more convincing fashion, but this was the first full NA Major final (if you ignore the fact that SK moved there from Brazil, and Liquid’s best player was Ukrainian).
fnatic made semis, but NiP’s fall from grace meant that Sweden couldn’t be considered ‘back’. Instead, NiP were beaten out by Flipsid3 Tactics, who finally made top 8, before getting swept by eventual winners SK.
Gambit were able to make top 8 for the first time, with Hooch and Spaze; another CIS team that one could describe as lacking firepower. NaVi once again made top 8, but fell short as they were taken apart by s1mple for Team Liquid. Wonder what he’s up to now?
OpTic made the Major as an NA representative for the first time, with NAF, daps, stanislaw, mixwell and RUSH. Both French teams - G2 and EnVyUs - were awful, going out in last place, starting the decline of the French scene which is only now recovering fully, while the new FaZe Clan and NiKo’s mousesports continued to disappoint.
They say those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, so if you want to learn from this history lesson, remember that NA without s1mple is nothing, but s1mple without NA is also nothing. NiP are always the bridesmaid, rarely the bride, and Flipsid3, somehow, will always make it to a Major. Until they didn’t, obviously.
Images via ESL