Another great year for counter-strike comes to an end as we reach the end of 2019. The year witnessed the rise of Team Liquid who went on to win the Intel Grand Slam Season 2 in a record 63 days, followed by Astralis making history by winning their third consecutive CS:GO Major and fourth overall.
We witnessed a huge player transfer season take place immediately after the Berlin Major. But this time, not only were the existing teams preparing their lineups for the coming season, instead, we also witnessed a lot of older organizations marking their return to the competitive circuit.
Here are some organizations that stepped into the world of counter-strike in 2019.
Also Read: Top 10 Shocking SEA Dota 2 Moments in 2019
Note: All the data and information used in the article has been taken from Liquipedia.
1. Evil Geniuses
It is not the first time that the American organization is testing the waters of the first-person shooter. EG used to have a counter-strike roster back in the 1.6 era which ran from 2007 to early 2012, after which they decided to pull the plug on its CS division.
Interestingly, EG did try to find its way back into counter-strike in 2015 by signing the GX roster, but due to most of its players receiving a lifetime ban from Valve tournaments for their alleged involvement in the North American match-fixing scandal, the deal fell through, stalling EG’s return.
The same year EG went on to win TI 5, cementing their name as the best Dota 2 team of 2015. The team faced huge success in Dota 2 over the years and wanted to achieve the same in other titles as well, once again prompting a comeback in the CS:GO circuit.
Image Courtesy: ESL One
This time they made a wise choice by targeting the second strongest North American lineup at the time, acquiring the NRG Esports roster in late September 2019. It turned out to be a fruitful investment for the North American organization, as the newly established EG lineup went on to secure a win in their debut tournament ESL One: New York 2019.
Also Read: Evil Geniuses - Learning from their Losses
They crashed hard at DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019, and then took a full 360 to win StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8, which saw them reach the top of the HLTV global rank list. Unfortunately, EG could not keep up their form, hitting a rough patch but not completely walking out of the park.
The boys in blue still stand as one of the top five teams in the world. The early success they earned is well within their grasp and can be a reality in 2020. They have been the best performers amongst all the teams that have made a comeback this year, and winning a major in 2020 is not impossible for them.
The complete EG roster is as follows,
- Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
- Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov
- Ethan "Ethan" Arnold
- Tarik "tarik" Celik
- Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz
- Chet "ImAPet" Singh [Coach]
Another North American organization that found its way back into counter-strike this year is 100Thieves. These guys took their sweet time to declare the roster, and while the community were discussing the many permutations and combinations of the still undisclosed lineup, it was a bit of disappointment when the organization announced the signing of the Renegades roster.
The organization had earlier stepped into counter-strike back in December 2017 by signing the Immortals lineup. But after an ugly Twitter argument between Vito ‘kNgV-’ Giuseppe and Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, which witnessed the former use ‘offensive and inappropriate’ language, he was removed from the team. This was shortly followed by the organization retreating from CS:GO without playing a single match.
But just a year later, 100Thieves are back in CS:GO, as they went on to place second in their debut tournament IEM Beijing 2019, followed by a 7th - 8th finish at ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals.
Image Courtesy: 100 Thieves
100Thieves have picked up a fine Australian roster, that has grown leaps and bounds over the course of 2019. Currently placed 6th on the global HLTV rank list, the Australian lineup who had placed 3rd - 4th at the Berlin Major under the Renegades banner, has already shown their potential. With proper training and some victories to bolster their morale, they can be one of the top three teams in 2020.
The complete 100Thieves roster is as follows,
- Aaron "AZR" Ward
- Justin "jks" Savage
- Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad
- Jay "Liazz" Tregillgas
- Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai
- Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunovi? [Coach]
3. OG CS:GO
Ever since the rumours had started to spread about the two-time TI winning Dota 2 organization OG, making its way into CS:GO, the community has showered them with tremendous love and support.
The community was so keen on knowing about the players that would play for the organization, that months before the team was even announced, the community had rightfully predicted their roster.
OG in contrast to the other teams that stepped into the circuit had signed players from various different lineups. The community was instantly in love with the organization, as they picked Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, the rejected captain of ENCE as their IGL. The whole team was built around him, with OG giving chance to Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski, an unheard and inexperienced AWPer to be a part of their team.
Image Courtesy: OG Dota 2
The mixed lineup played their debut tournament recently, achieving a 3rd - 4th finish at cs_summit 5. The roster is still not ready to enter the big league, they need a bit more time to come together as a team. On paper, they look solid but it will take time to translate it into reality.
Aleksib had pulled ENCE from an 88th ranked team to a top-five, without having a star-studded lineup to work with, and if all goes well he would be able to replicate the same success with OG as well.
The complete OG roster is as follows,
- Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt
- Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen
- Valdemar "valde" Bjørn
- Issa "ISSAA" Murad
- Mateusz "mantuu" Wilczewski
4. Team Secret
It was a bit of a surprise to see Team Secret step into counter-strike, but then this was not the first time that an attempt has been made by them to come into CS:GO. Back in 2016, Team Secret had signed an all-female team who went by the name of WeRunThisPlace. The team enjoyed huge success until early 2017 after which they dropped really hard, witnessing Secret part ways with the lineup.
The European organization has once again returned, this time with a male lineup. But unlike their counterparts who have either signed known players or rosters from other notable organizations, Secret has signed players who have limited experience and haven’t competed in tier-one tournaments.
Image Courtesy: Team Secret
Secret seems to be interested in competing at a lower tier for now, learning and growing on its way to the higher tier tournaments. It seems to be a unique way of approaching something, as this is going to be painstakingly slow, with the team making a name for itself by winning local tournaments and playing through numerous open qualifiers in the hopes of making it to a big tournament.
The organization is not off to an ideal start, but it will be interesting to track this team and keep an eye out to measure how much they have transformed since its inception.
The complete Team Secret roster is as follows,
- Flatron "juanflatroo" Halimi
- Filip "tudsoN" Tudev
- Rigon "rigoN" Gashi
- Dionis "sinnopsyy" Budeci
- Guy "anarkez" Trachtman
5. Gen.G Esports
A lot of North American organizations seem to be interested in counter-strike, with Gen.G becoming the third organization to announce its roster. Earlier in December, Gen.G signed Cloud9’s trio of Timothy “autimatic” Ta, Damian “daps” Steele, and Kenneth “koosta” Suen to form its core lineup. They even went ahead and signed Chris “Elmapuddy” Tebbit as their head coach.
With two players still missing from its lineup, they signed Sam “s0m” Oh from Team Envy, with rumours doing the round that the organization might be interested in signing the best player from Asia, Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand as their fifth. Which became a reality as TYLOO recently announced the departure of BnTeT to Gen.G right after the Katowice Asia Open Qualifier.
Image Courtesy: Gen.G Esports
However, the absence of a fifth player didn't stop the team from going ahead and participating in tournaments. Using Hunter “SicK” Mims as a temporary stand-in, the team has managed to qualify for the North American Closed Qualifier for IEM World Championship 2019, through the second Open Qualifier.
Though the team has some great players in its lineup, it is still early to predict how well they would be doing in 2020 because they still haven't participated in a proper tournament.
The complete Gen.G Esports roster is as follows,
- Timothy "autimatic" Ta
- Damian "daps" Steele
- Kenneth "koosta" Suen
- Sam "s0m" Oh
- Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand
- Chris "Elmapuddy" Tebbit [Coach]
After more than a year of absence from competitive counter-strike, the Swedish organization resumed its operation in early September, after merging with The Final Tribe. The organization went on to acquire the services of the former SMASH Esports roster in mid-November, trying to claw its way up the ladder ever since.
Though the team was doing quite well for themselves back in 2018, cracks started to form in its lineup ever since Ninjas in Pyjamas bought their star player Dennis ‘dennis’ Edman, followed by Markus ‘pronax’ Wallsten joining Digital Chaos in May. GODSENT seized all operations in late June after its roster was bought out by Red Reserve earlier in the month.
Back into the circuit once again, GODSENT had a brilliant start as they won WePlay! Forge of Masters Season 2, going on to participate in more tier two tournaments, preparing themselves for a steep climb up the ladder.
Image Courtesy: GODSENT
Following their brilliant start, the organization has struggled to find victory with two top-four finishes at DreamHack Open Winter 2019 and DreamHack Open Sevilla 2019. The team who has a couple of big names in its roster just needs some time to collect its thoughts. They have the required experience and expertise to find their way into the big league, which they might be able to achieve in 2020.
The complete GODSENT roster is as follows,
- Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend
- Mikail "Maikelele" Bill
- Martin "STYKO" Styk
- Jesse "zehN" Linjala
- Pavle "maden" Boškovi?
- Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg [Coach]
These were some of the teams that have found their way back or stepped into the CS:GO circuit. While some have already established themselves capable enough to take on the best, the others will be trying to make it to the big league, while a few are just trying to establish themselves in the local circuit. It will be interesting to see how these teams fair in 2020.
Also Read: Is ZywOo the Best Player of 2019?
Do you think I missed out on any other team/organization that should have been on the list? Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section below.