Team Ranking: January 2019 | HLTV.org
January welcomed Counter-Strike back to our screens, after December 2018 had hosted as few as two Big Events. Over the course of the month we witnessed four regional precursors to the IEM Katowice Major – the Europe, CIS, Americas and Asia Minors. Parallel to the Major circuit, two events took place in the United States, namely iBUYPOWER Masters and the recently-concluded ELEAGUE Invitational.
The regional Minors, coupled with their successor in the Minor Play-ins, decided the last ten participants for the New Challengers stage of the upcoming Katowice Major. Over in Los Angeles, we saw Liquid best Astralis in a best-of-three grand final of the iBUYPOWER Masters event, copping $100,000 as their first prize of the year. Not only was this an important event in the context of Liquid’s historical struggle against the Danes, but it also meant that the quintet reaffirmed their place in the rankings.
FaZe won the last event of the month, the ELEAGUE Invitational
The most recent event, which took place over in the Eastern state of Georgia, witnessed FaZe close out their second event of 2019 on a positive note, defeating Cloud9 2-1 in the grand final. The refreshed international mix, host to Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev, walked away with an $80,000 cash prize, as well as much-needed confidence ahead of the Major.
Here’s a summary of our ranking for new readers:
Our team ranking is based on teams’ achievements over the past year (with severe decay in points throughout each month), recent form over the last 2 months, and performance at offline events in the last 3 months.
Each team is required to have a three-man core in order to retain their points and online results are included but have minimal effect (only affecting ‘Form’) at the top of the table and mainly serve to put new teams on the map.
Below is the current top 30 table as of February 4, 2019, which goes more in-depth into how the points are distributed – or you can check our special page, where you will be able to find the latest, weekly version of our ranking. You can see the lineup for each team by hovering over their name in the table.
Please note that the +/- gain on this table differs from our weekly rankings page, and it is related to the ranking update of January 7.
With the amount of action that took place over January, we saw some shifts in the rankings, most of which happened as a result of successes at LAN events, specifically those mentioned above. Below are five key takeaways from January’s rankings shift:
Liquid reaffirm second place
The aqueous quintet exploded into 2019 with a victory at iBUYPOWER Masters, defeating arch-rivals Astralis in a best-of-three grand final. This was the North American roster’s first LAN victory against the Danes in the past three months, bolstering the team’s confidence going into the imminent Major.
Liquid regained #2 after their victory at iBUYPOWER Masters
In addition to providing the team with reassurance, the victory in Los Angeles meant that Liquid were able to re-establish themselves as the No.2 side in the world, knocking CIS representatives Natus Vincere into third. All parameters of the North American squad saw an increase, the most drastic of which expressed as an 88.5 point gain in form since the publishing of December’s rankings.
Liquid are now in the process of preparing for the LAN finals of the IEM Katowice Major, and, judging by their start to 2019, we may just see the team close the disparity between themselves and the reigning #1, Astralis.
FaZe leap into top 5
The international roster continue their ascent through the rankings despite a roster adjustment in the form of AdreN’s arrival. Contrary to their recent result, 2019 kicked off with a lacklustre performance at iBUYPOWER Masters, where the team was knocked out 1-2 in the group stage decider match by local representatives, Ghost.
NiKo’s leadership brought FaZe back into a top 5 position
The European mix was able to redeem itself shortly after, as a solid all-around performance at the ELEAGUE Invitational resulted in a victory over Cloud9 in the grand final, yielding Nikola “NiKo” Kovač‘s troops their first trophy of 2019, as well as a significant boost in our rankings.
In line with all other participants of the upcoming Major, FaZe are focused on preparatory efforts for one of the year’s most important events. Fully incorporating AdreN into the team’s system in time for the $1,000,000 event will be key if the squad aim to return to their once legendary status.
Cloud9 return to top 10
Despite an ascent from #14 to #8, January saw a mixed bag of results for the Cloud9 roster. The team’s first performance of 2019 was at the iBUYPOWER Masters event, where nothing outstanding was achieved. The team bombed out in the groups after sustaining losses to Astralis in the winners’ match and to fnatic in the decider series.
Cloud9 are on an upwards trajectory, up to #8 from #14
Much like FaZe, however, the American-majority mix made things right come showtime at the ELEAGUE Invitational. The team made it all the way through to the grand final before eventually losing the trophy to NiKo and co. This was the team’s first grand final since cs_summit 2, setting an improved pace in 2019.
Cloud9 are set to perform at the upcoming New Challengers stage of the IEM Katowice Major with ambitions to cop one of eight available spots at the New Legends stage.
mousesports collapse to #9
The once formidable collective of mousesports has descended to an annual low, as the roster failed to qualify for the IEM Katowice Major following a disappointing performance at the Europe Minor. The team fell apart in the group stage, in which Valiance proved to be their undoing as they were bested by the Serbians in both the opening and decider matches of Group A.
mousesports are in a state of calamity following failure at the Minor
The aftermath of the team’s failure at the Minor proved to be severe, as it subsequently emerged that two members in Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and Martin “STYKO” Styk would depart the starting roster, knocking the squad down to just three in Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný, Miikka “suNny” Kemppi and Robin “ropz” Kool.
For the time being, mousesports will be focusing on reconstruction efforts, looking to consolidate their roster with two new players, including an in-game leader. The team’s next LAN event will be the StarSeries i-League Season 7 finals, taking place in Shanghai, China on March 30 – April 7, leaving ample time for the organisation to produce a fully-functioning roster.
fnatic bounce back to #5
While not particularly eventful for the Swedish roster, January marked an important resurgence for fnatic, who were able to re-enter the top five for the first time since May 2018. A decent performance at iBUYPOWER Masters saw the Swedes make it into playoffs before being bested by eventual champions Liquid in the semi-finals.
fnatic are at a 6-month high, perched at #5 in the rankings
The general trajectory of the roster indicates improvement, with the Swedes having climbed 17 places since completing their line-up with Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin, little over three months ago.
Having secured top 11 at the FACEIT Major, fnatic now await the start of the New Challengers stage of IEM Katowice. Hopes are high for the Swedish roster to demonstrate a solid performance, aiming to once more experience the previously familiar feeling of playing at the main stage of a CS:GO Major.
Spirit, FURIA on the rise after the Minors
The Russian roster of Spirit has officially hit its highest peak since conception, leapfrogging an astonishing amount of rivals over the course of the past month. From #37 to #20, the team’s recent performance at the CIS Minor was a testament to their progressive growth. Beating fellow CIS representatives Gambit and Winstrike on their way, Spirit demonstrated that they cannot be taken lightly, securing a direct spot at the next Major.
DavCost and co. have reached their ranking peak post-CIS Minor
After crashing out of the previous Minor in last place, FURIA acquitted themselves much better this time around and cruised to second place at the tournament in Katowice, sealing qualification for the Major with a convincing victory over Envy. The Brazilians have gone up 28 places since the start of the year and will attend the Major with confidence running high and star players Yuri “yuurih” Santos and Kaike “kscerato” Cerato in stunning form.
Following the conclusion of the Minor, both teams participated in the WePlay! Lock and Load online tournament. There was not much separating the two sides, who played out an enticing overtime game against one another and bowed out of the tournament in the quarter-finals.