A lot of Counter-Strike tournaments took place through the course of 2019, each with their own unique tale to tell. But even amongst these, there were a few that stood out for a special reason, be it the viewership it got, the level of Counter-Strike played, telling of an underdog's fairy tale or maybe rewriting the history itself.
Taking on the task of finding the most outstanding tournaments of the year, here is a list of "Top 10 CS:GO Tournaments That Took Place in 2019".
10. ECS Season 8 - Finals
The latter of the two ECS tournaments that took place this year managed to grab similar traction from the community as the first one, but the competition witnessed in this season was spectacular, as we witnessed Astralis take down both the American giants NRG and Liquid to stand victorious in their home turf of Arlington.
The tournament received an average viewership of 78,636 with a peak of 196,003 during the finale between Astralis and Liquid. Both the ECS tournaments had almost similar stats, but the storyline attached to this tournaments along with the calibre of participating teams made it snatch the last spot from its predecessor.
9. StarSeries & i-League Season 7
The event took place in Shanghai but unlike IEM Beijing it did quite well with an average viewership of 77,885 and a peak of 243,561. The tournament which was won by Na’ Vi had some good competition to it and was sadly the only top-tier tournament this year that the Ukranian organization was able to win.
Offering a prize of $500,000 the tournament took place from 30th March - 7th April but the local teams could not do much damage bowing out early in the competition. It was a good tournament especially without the Chinese viewership numbers, which aren’t accessible. Hope to see tournaments that take place in Asia perform better.
8. IEM Chicago 2019
Just like ESL One, IEM events are also held multiple times a year and though three of them took place this year, only one of them could make it into our list. IEM Chicago 2019 was held from 18th - 21st July with a prize pool of $250,000 at United Center.
The event was marketed as the deciding ground to prove which region is better Americas or European, the marketing seemed to have really done the trick as the average viewership of the event was 97,270 with a peak of 245,372 observed during the finale between ENCE and Liquid.
Four teams from each region had competed in the event with the finals witnessing the most heavily supported teams go up against each other. Liquid stamped their victory, lifting the trophy to wild applause from the home crowd. Though IEM Sydney was still close to Chicago, IEM Beijing - the first IEM event to take place in Asia, failed to make a similar mark.
7. DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019
The second DreamHack Masters event of the year took place in Malmo, Sweden from 1st - 6th October offering a prize of $250,000 with 16 teams competing for it.
With Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas being the two Swedish sides amongst the 16 participating, the crowd was pretty hyped for the tournament. And as the event progressed it only got better as one of their hometown favourites Fnatic, impressed everyone with their solid performance, lifting the trophy in front of their home crowd and marking their return to the frontlines of CS:GO.
It was a big achievement for Fnatic as the event went on to achieve an average viewership of 126,176 along with a peak of 335,963 during the finals. While DreamHack is widely known for its esports festivals and its solidification of the lower tier circuit through DreamHack Open, they do a fine job when dealing with the top brass as well.
6. BLAST Pro Series: Miami 2019
When it comes to competitive counter-strike BLAST has come up with its own circuit called the “BLAST Pro Circuit”. This consists of several small tournaments that culminate with one mega-event, but instead of focussing completely on the competitive side of things, BLAST events follow an out-of-the-box format which makes it’s more entertaining and fun for the viewers.
The tournament in Miami took place from 12th - 13th April with $250,000 on the line. The tournament was really entertaining and due to its unique format witnessed FaZe walk away with the trophy, something the team had been missing out on since a long time.
BLAST is not only fun to watch, but its format shortens the duration of the tournament to just two days, giving them a decent engagement rate with Miami averaging out its viewership at 169,490 with a peak of 308,531 during the finale.
5. ESL One: New York 2019
Following the success in Cologne, the second ESL One tournament took place in New York from 26th - 29th September at Barclays Center, offering a prize of $200,000. The tournament was huge for the NA CS supporters as Evil Geniuses were marking their return to counter-strike with this event.
To everyone’s surprise, the ex-NRG roster which was signed by EG went on to hit Astralis hard in the finals, securing a victory in their very first outing under the EG banner. Even Liquid played really well, securing themselves a top-four finish.
[Also Read: Evil Geniuses - Learning from their Losses]
With both the NA teams doing so well in their own backyard and Astralis along with G2 pulling in the EU crowd, the tournament managed to reach a peak of 423,522 viewers while maintaining an average of 165, 409 viewers.
4. ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals
One of the better-established leagues that take place in counter-strike twice annually, returning with a new season every few months, the 10th Season of ESL Pro League which took place from 3rd - 8th Dec with $600,000 on the line witnessed mousesports rise up to the occasion and lift the trophy in Odense.
Mousesports had a point to prove in EPL Season 10 and they did it in style, fighting through the lower bracket and facing opponents who were preferred to win the event over them. The community was keenly following the tournament, which garnered an average viewership of 162,670 along with a peak of 369,117.
Though the tournament was plagued by a surprise drug test on mousesports followed by a crowd cheating incident, it was an exciting tournament which marked the comeback of mousesports to the top of counter-strike.
3. ESL One: Cologne 2019
Popularly known as the "Cathedral of Counter-Strike", the $300,000 tournament that took place in Cologne, Germany from 2nd - 7th July witnessed an average viewership of 242,260 along with a peak of 506,371 during the finals between Liquid and Vitality.
The tournament managed to sell out the entire LANXESS Arena once again this year, making this the third time in a row that all the seats have been sold out. This itself makes it one of the biggest counter-strike tournament that takes place in the world apart from the two Majors.
This year Cologne witnessed Team Liquid lift the trophy in front of the crowd, as the North American organization made history by winning the Intel Grand Slam Circuit Season 2 in record 63 days.
Cologne has always been a special place for counter-strike and with a million-dollar tournament already planned to take place there in 2020, everyone is looking forward to seeing if the arena will sell out once again this year.
2. StarLadder Berlin Major 2019
The second CS:GO Major of 2019 took place in Berlin, Germany at the famous Mercedez-Benz Arena from 23rd Aug to 8th Sep. The tournament witnessed a historic feat being achieved by Astralis, who claimed their third Major in a row and fourth overall, to hold the record for most CS:GO Majors won by a team in the history of counter-strike.
A remarkable performance by the Danes, along with the hard work put in by AVANGAR and Renegades to reach the top four made the overall experience of watching the Major really wonderful.
With an average viewership of 349,227 and a peak of 837,748, the tournament did well for itself. Why the Major was not able to cross the million mark threshold when it came to peak viewership, can be attributed to the various altercations that took place with StarLadder like, serving DMCA notices to various creators and hiring of poor in-game observers which led to the community raising their voice.
1. IEM Katowice Major 2019
One of the most successful CS:GO Majors of all time, the Katowice Major 2019 which took place from 13th Feb - 3rd March is the second most viewed Major of all time, right behind the FACEIT Major London that took place last year.
With 24 teams participating in the first Major of 2019, all the top teams were there to win a lions share of the $1 million prize pool. The competition was fierce and exciting, which witnessed an underdog Finnish team ENCE make its way all the top the grand finale.
The nail-biting finishes, flashy plays, 200 IQ moves and the galloping of a dark horse to the final stage of the tournament, were enough to secure the Major an average viewership of 393,647, with the finale between Astralis and ENCE witnessing a peak viewership of 1,205,103.
It was the most celebrated tournament of the year and one that had a lasting impact on us, giving us one of the most recognizable CS:GO Music Kits of all time “The Verkkars, EZ4ENCE”.
This was our list of the ten best Counter-Strike tournaments that took place in 2019. Do you think some other tournament could have made it onto the list? Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section below.