Team Ranking: September 2019 and EPC winner
September marked the return to an action-packed schedule for CS:GO, with the Major concluding and a plethora of events taking place as things went back into full swing. The results from StarLadder Major Berlin, BLAST Pro Series Moscow, ESL One New York, and DreamHack Masters Malmö, as well as from a handful of smaller events, all had an impact on the rankings. Alongside new events happening, it is important to note that ESL One Cologne—the most important event aside from the Majors—, is no longer regarded in the Recent LANs category, which limited NiP and Vitality‘s rise in the ranking update, and cost Liquid some points.
fnatic’s Malmö victory sees them skyrocket in the rankings
Many teams also lost points this month due to roster changes, including four out of the top ten teams: fnatic, Vitality, ENCE, and Natus Vincere, with FURIA, FaZe and G2 all placed outside of that range after adding new players to their squads.
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 September 2, 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 September 2nd.
fnatic return to the elite
After the trophy lift on home soil, fnatic have jumped up to the fourth place in the rankings, climbing up from No.28, where they sat right after the roster change that followed their disappointing Minor campaign. With Robin “flusha” Rönnquist and Maikil “Golden” Selim back in the squad, fnatic had a slow start in Malmö, taking a beating against ENCE before edging out TYLOO 2-1. The Swedes managed to bounce back against a disorganized G2 before defeating FURIA to grab a place in the playoffs, where the really interesting part of their showing started.
In a domestic derby, fnatic looked anything but convincing, but still managed to edge out NiP 2-1 for the series. The performance they put in against Astralis was the shocking part, with a 2-0 victory against their neighbours putting them in the grand final, where their experience showed as they took down Vitality 2-1.
Bringing back flusha and Golden worked out perfectly for the Swedes
With a fourth place in the ranking, fnatic return to the elite for the first time in a while. The Swedes had a short stint as the fifth-best team in the world following second-place finishes at StarSeries i-League Season 7 and IEM Sydney earlier this year, but the last time they kept their place in the top 5 for a significant portion of time was in 2018, when they took titles at IEM Katowice 2018 and at the WESG 2017 Global Finals, fielding a roster very similar to the one they have now.
While fnatic‘s struggling form in the middle of the year will see them miss out on some invites moving forward, Golden and co. will have a chance to bolster their standings at ESL Pro League and the upcoming StarSeries i-League Season 8. Strong showings at both events are needed from the Swedes if they want to fend off the approaching teams such as Vitality and Natus Vincere, and to start closing the gap on the big three: Astralis, Liquid, and Evil Geniuses.
Liquid back to second
After a hot summer, Liquid cooled off towards the start of the fall. Over the course of September, the squad participated at the StarLadder Major, ESL One New York 2019 and the recently-concluded DreamHack Masters Malmö, none of which saw North America’s finest walk away with the expected gold medal. In addition to their LAN efforts, the squad participated in the first week of online play of ECS Season 8, falling short against Sharks in the semi-finals.
Liquid‘s recent dip in form was an unexpected turn of events, particularly in light of their previously mentioned summer season run, during which the team had knocked the ball out of the park, landing five consecutive LAN tournament titles in Dallas, Montpellier, Cologne, Los Angeles and Chicago. Struggles commenced at the StarLadder Major, where the team was projected to comfortably walk away with their first Major trophy. While the squad retained Legends status, a top-eight finish paled in comparison to their prior results, causing concern amongst pundits and fans alike.
Liquid have much work ahead of them to return to No.1
The team traveled to New York in looks to impress in front of their home crowd, but an iconic rematch with long-time nemeses Astralis went south, once more denying the American squad a shot at their former first-place glory. Rounding out their September performances was the recently-concluded DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019, a tournament that saw the team finish in 9-12th after being upset in two maps by Grayhound.
There is no contention in regards to whether Liquid are one of the strongest rosters around, irrespective as to what recent results may suggest. Individual talent has always been the shining light for the team, and coupled with the strategic component brought by tactical masterminds in Nick “nitr0” Cannella and Eric “adreN” Hoag, Liquid stand as one of the best to have ever done it. Circulating rumours of roster adjustments have been dispelled, suggesting a unified vision for the future of the team: one where the squad remains intact, ready to work on whichever aspects, in-game or out, it takes to regain composure and rise back to No.1.
AVANGAR soar in the ranking
Just a month has passed since AVANGAR finished their underdog story in Berlin, placing second to Astralis at the Major, but it seems almost like it was ages ago with how many tournaments have been played out since. Led by their star AWPer Dzhami “Jame” Ali, and inspired riflers Alexey “qikert” Golubev and Timur “buster” Tulepov, AVANGAR earned their silver medal by defeating big names such as Renegades, Liquid, Vitality, and G2. And the Kazakh squad didn’t stop at that, following the Major up with another success the next week, when they came back from an 0-2 start at BLAST Pro Series Moscow to qualify for the grand final, where they defeated forZe 2-0.
AVANGAR peaked at #3 in the rankings after recent achievements
A second place at a Major and a win at a $250,000 event saw AVANGAR not only establish themselves as the second-best CIS squad—a title they were fighting for with forZe for some time—, but take the number one spot as they leapfrogged Natus Vincere as well.
Troubles in the dominant CIS team, Natus Vincere, raised concerns surrounding AVANGAR‘s project, but the young Kazakh team will be sticking together no matter what. Holding their high ranking will be difficult due to the fact they did not receive invites to events such as ESL One New York or DreamHack Masters Malmö, which makes their results at the upcoming tournaments, StarSeries i-League Season 8 and the ECS Season 8 Finals, that more important.
FaZe out of the top 15 after three years
A team that finds itself at a low point is FaZe, who have dipped outside of the top 15 for the first time since they displayed massive improvements after adding Finn “karrigan” Andersen in November of 2016. Over almost three whole years, FaZe had been a stable top 10 team, at times even holding the #1 spot.
The drop comes as a result of poor showings at tournaments leading up to the Major and also in Berlin, as well as two roster changes that followed and cost FaZe a portion of their ranking points. At their first event since replacing Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Filip “NEO” Kubski with Marcelo “coldzera” David and Helvijs “broky” Saukants, FaZe looked uninspired, finishing 7-8th at ESL One New York after 2-0 losses to Evil Geniuses and OpTic.
NiKo’s team finds itself in a difficult position
Luckily for FaZe, they have a couple of events lined up at which they can show that they deserve a higher spot in the rankings, but they will have to earn that with wins at ESL Pro League and at a pretty stacked IEM Beijing. Should the super-star roster have a couple more uninspired showings, they get into the difficult position teams outside of the top find themselves, with an arduous task of battling the plethora of hungry tier 2 teams for a place at the big boys’ table.
ENCE sink to eighth
The Finnish squad joined the elite at the start of 2019 after an inspiring underdog run to a second-place finish at the IEM Katowice Major. That result saw ENCE get into the top 5 of the world rankings, a spot they held on to thanks to numerous high finishes and a win at BLAST Pro Series Madrid in May. Despite it being known that Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen would be departing the team following the StarLadder Major, the Finns had a respectable showing there as well, placing 5-8th. However, since Miikka “suNny” Kemppi officially entered the roster, things haven’t been so rosy.
ENCE bowed out of Malmö early, continuing a streak of poor results
The former mousesports player’s debut was at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, where ENCE finished fifth out of six teams, with the team then placing 5th-6th at the eight-team ESL One New York. Lastly, at DreamHack Masters Malmö, ENCE ended 9-12th following defeats to Vitality and FURIA. Overall, Aleksi “allu” Jalli and co. picked up just two BO1 victories, over fnatic and NiP, and one BO3 win over eUnited. While quite a few of their losses have been close, there is no hiding from the fact that their track record has been poor since the removal of their in-game leader.
These results see ENCE drop out of the top five for the first time since their rise to the elite, and with them not taking part in ESL Pro League nor attending events such as IEM Beijing, a bigger drop is to be expected. On the other hand, some time off from events is maybe what the team needs before attempting to bounce back to where they were before the roster change.
EPC Winner – Illuminar secure EPC Shooting Stars prize
Illuminar are the most improved team of September, having moved up from 49th to 24th in the world rankings. As a result, the team is eligible to redeem a seven-day bootcamp for six at the Kinguin Esports Performance Center (EPC), a premium esports bootcamp facility located in Warsaw, Poland, possible thanks to a partnership between HLTV.org and Kinguin.
innocent and co. are September’s EPC Shooting Stars prize winners
Over the course of September, the Polish squad was able to secure gold at the LAN finals of Games Clash Masters 2019 in Gdynia, Poland, where they took down AGO, FURIA and Aristocracy before besting Sprout in flawless fashion in the best-of-five grand final. Additionally, the team participated in a handful of online events including ESEA MDL Season 32 Europe and the European Champions Cup, albeit with results less fruitful than the ones during their outstanding LAN showing.