What a challenging year 2020 has been for competitive CS:GO. One after the other Counter-Strike faced challenges, a few out of its control due to the global pandemic while others because of the developer’s negligence which hurt the game dearly. But even in such trying times, the community witnessed moments of brilliance and the teams kept trying to be the best in the world.
With the year now coming to an end let’s take a look back at all the highs and lows of this journey that competitive CS:GO went through and what lies ahead as 2021 dawns upon us.
Summit1G Molotov Fail Voted As "Worst CS:GO Play of the Decade"
The year started off with Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar’s infamous Molotov fail being voted as the “Worst CS:GO Play of The Decade”.
What had started out as a troll Twitter poll in response to CS:GO’s voting for “Play of The Decade” quickly caught momentum with Summit1G’s burning Molotov fail against CLG at DreamHack Open Austin 2016 winning this poll by a surplus of 2%.
DickStacy Quits CS:GO
One of the most popular Australian CS:GO players Oliver "DickStacy" Tierney left Renegades while also announcing his retirement from the title. This was a big setback for the lineup as DickStacy had been competing with them for more than two years at the time, and they had together grown a lot as a unit.
Dignitas Returns To CS:GO
After more than a year of taking a break from competitive CS:GO the American esports organization Dignitas stepped back into the game on 21st January along with the legendary Ninjas in Pyjamas lineup. The roster consisted of Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, Richard “Xizt” Landstrom, Adam “friberg” Friberg, and Hakon “hallzerk” Fjaerli, as the fifth player to complete the roster.
Na’Vi Bench GuardiaN
The legendary Slovak AWPer Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs was benched in January by Na’Vi after a huge slump in their performance. He was replaced by Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy on the active roster. Unfortunately, GuardiaN still remains on the Na’Vi bench despite announcing his availability in September.
IEM Katowice 2020 - Last Major CS:GO LAN Tournament
IEM Katowice 2020 became the last big LAN CS:GO tournament as just a few days before the playoffs stage of the event their ‘mass event license’ was revoked due to the dynamic changes in the global health situation. The participating teams played the tournament in an empty Spodek Arena without any live audience, marking the end of LAN competitions for the rest of the year.
Na’Vi Wins Last LAN Tournament Of 2020
Na’Vi managed to win IEM Katowice 2020 which was the last LAN CS:GO tournament of the year. They might have lifted the trophy in front of an empty stadium but their grand final match against G2 Esports witnessed a peak viewership of more than 1 million viewers, making it the most viewed and one of the best CS:GO tournaments that took place this year.
CS:GO Breaches The 1 Million Mark
For the first time in its history CS:GO recorded a peak of more than a million players, as exactly 1,001,756 players were recorded playing the game simultaneously on 15th March. The game also witnessed an average of 563,676.3 concurrent players, setting a new record at that time.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Features Dev1ce & Olofmeister
Both Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz and Olof "olofmeister" Gustafsson were featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list within the category of ‘Sports & Games’. The two players added another feather to their cap among the plethora of achievements that they have already received for their heroics on the server.
Astralis Expand To A Six-Man Roster
After lots of speculations and rumours, Astralis expand to a six-man roster as they sign Patrick “es3tag” Hansen from Heroic. The controversy-ridden move marked the start of a trend which many other teams followed.
Jamppi Takes Legal Action Against Valve
18-year-old Finnish VAC banned player Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen takes legal action against Valve, suing them for € 268,092 while also demanding the removal of the life long ban which prevents him from participating in any Valve sponsored tournaments like the CS:GO Majors.
CS:GO Beats Dota 2’s Highest Peak Player Record
CS:GO beats the all-time peak concurrent player record of Dota 2 by a margin of about 6,000 users, as it attains a peak of more than 1.3 million players. Dota 2 had a peak of 1,291,328 concurrent players which it had achieved in 2016 but as CS:GO’s userbase kept growing at a strong pace it overtook the MOBA without any difficulties.
ENCE Sign VAC Banned Player Expanding To A Six-Man Roster
The Finnish esports organization signed a two-year deal with VAC banned player Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen, successfully expanding to a six-man roster just a few weeks after Astralis. Jamppi was set to replace Sami "xseveN" Laasanen on the roster for all non-Valve sponsored tournaments.
IEM Melbourne 2020 Postponed To 2021
Due to the global health situation ESL had to take a hard decision as they postponed IEM Melbourne from 2020 to 2021. An IEM tournament had taken place in Australia every year since 2017, but unfortunately the streak came to an end this year.
Astralis Expand To A Seven-Man Roster
The Danish organization signed the 23-year-old Jakob "JUGi" Hansen to further expand their roster into a seven player lineup. The reasoning behind this was to make it easier for other players to take rest and prevent burnout by constant rotation of their active lineup.
Gla1ve, Olofmeister, Xyp9x Take A Break From CS:GO
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, Olof "olofmeister" Gustafsson, and Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth took a break from competitive CS:GO due to burnout, prolonged fatigue and stress. While gla1ve had said that he would be back on the server after three months, the other two players went on an indefinite hiatus.
Valve Warns CS:GO Teams Over Ownership Conflict
Valve issued an ultimatum to seven CS:GO teams to resolve the conflicts of interest which were identified at ESL One: Road to Rio tournament within five months. Some of the teams involved were MIBR, FaZe Clan, Evil Geniuses, ENCE, and more.
BIG Wins DreamHack Masters Spring 2020: Europe
The German esports organization BIG won their first ‘tier-1’ CS:GO tournament of the year, DreamHack Masters Spring 2020. This was a dream run for BIG which marked the start of their short dominating journey during which they won several other tournaments ahead.
MIBR - Multiple Controversies
This was a rough month for MIBR as they landed in the middle of two controversies, the first one against FURIA and the second against Chaos Esports Club. The Brazilian CS:GO community also came under fire as most of them blindly supported MIBR, a team whose players were clearly in the wrong.
Flashpoint Calls Out CSPPA
Flashpoint slams CSPPA (Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association) on multiple counts of offences while refusing to pay them a previously set amount of $165,000 until all their concerns are resolved.
BIG Wins CS_Summit 6 Online: Europe
BIG continue their winning streak as they attain their second consecutive victory at cs_summit 6 Online: Europe which was a Major qualifier tournament. This was huge for the German organization as they went on to become the best team in the world following this victory.
Astralis Replaces JUGi With Bubzkji
Astralis replaces Jakob "JUGi" Hansen with the 22-year-old Danish rifler Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen, effectively maintaining a seven-man roster. They continue competing in the absence of gla1ve and Xyp9x which results in Astralis dropping out of the top ten after more than 3 years.
Nitr0 Leaves Team Liquid
The last remaining member of Team Liquid’s original starting CS:GO lineup Nick “nitr0” Cannella left the North American roster along with Counter-Strike, as he went on to join 100 Thieves’ Valorant roster.
Showmatch: Na’Vi 1.6 vs Na’Vi CS:GO
The old 1.6 lineup of Na’Vi went up against the new Na’Vi lineup which currently competes for the organization. The CS:GO community finally got to see the highly awaited faceoff between Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev and Yegor "markeloff" Markelov, with the new Na’Vi lineup walking away as the winners of this showmatch.
PashaBiceps Joins Team Liquid
The Polish Counter-Strike legend Jaroslaw "pashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski joined Team Liquid as a streamer which came off as a bit of surprise to everyone. The 32-year-old last played for a top-tier organization in December 2018 after which he took a backseat from the upper echelons of the circuit.
Mousesports Expands To A Six-Man Roster
The German organization also expanded to a six man roster following the addition of the 17-years-old Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras. A string of poor performances had forced mousesports to implement a change in their lineup.
Heroic Wins ESL One: Cologne 2020
Danish esports organization Heroic surprises everyone as they beat some of the best CS:GO teams in the world to secure a first place finish at one of the most competitive online tournaments of the year. The dark horses claimed victory at Cologne and rocketed to the top of the leaderboards as the best CS:GO team in the world.
Pansy Takes A Break From CS:GO
British CS:GO caster Lauren “Pansy” Scott announced her departure from CS:GO for the time being, turning her attention towards other esports titles like PUBG and Valorant. She mentioned that this was not the absolute end of her CS:GO career and that she might pop back if a fun opportunity comes her way.
Spectator Bug Exploit Hits CS:GO
One of the biggest cheating scandals to have ever hit CS:GO in the last five years was exposed by Michal Slowinski and Steve Dudenhoeffer during an investigation conducted by ESL. This exploit enabled a spectator to observe the live game from anywhere on the map by simply executing a combination of a few simple steps.
Three CS:GO coaches Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen, Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia, and Aleksandr "MechanoGun" Bogatiryev, were initially handed a ban by ESL.
ESIC Investigations - Spectator Bug & Match-Fixing
ESIC (Esports Integrity Commission) had a busy year from here on out as they were handling multiple investigations at the same time. They first announced that 15 potential match-fixing instances from the Mountain Dew League were being investigated by them, for which 7 Australian CS:GO players were handed a 12-month ban.
This was followed by another investigation into the ‘Spectator Bug Exploit’ scandal. A preliminary report exposed that a total of 37 coaches had used this exploit to gain an unfair advantage, who were handed bans for varying lengths of time.
HenryG Retires From Esports Commentary To Join Cloud9
British commentator and analyst Henry "HenryG" Greer announced his retirement as an esports talent, following which he joined Cloud9 as the General Manager of their CS:GO team. He took on the responsibility of rebuilding a new championship winning team for the North American organization titled ‘The Colossus’.
Rio Major Gets Cancelled
ESL together with Valve takes the hard decision of cancelling the Rio Major due to the pandemic, making 2020 the first year since 2013 when not even a single CS:GO Major took place in an entire calendar year.
Fer, TACO, FalleN Part Ways With MIBR
After a whole year of poor performance the Brazilian core of Fer, TACO, and FalleN were let go off by MIBR. This was huge for the Brazilian scene as they witnessed the fall of the greatest Brazilian lineup to have ever represented the region.
Cloud9 Starts Building Its Colossus
Cloud9 with the signing of their captain Alex "ALEX" McMeekin started to rebuild their new CS:GO roster. HenryG took a unique approach of announcing the members of their new lineup as he made every deal signed by each player public knowledge. Cloud9 went on to complete their roster with the following players; Ricky “floppy” Kemery, William “mezii” Merriman, Ozgur “woxic” Eker, and Patrick “es3tag” Hansen.
Neymar Starts Streaming CS:GO On Twitch
One of the best football players in the world Neymar is a long known fan of the game who finally started his own Twitch channel ‘neymarjr’ where he mostly streamed CS:GO. Since then the Brazilian has gone viral multiple times for some of his gameplay clips and has also played in a show match with French and Brazilian pros.
Astralis Wins ESL Pro League Season 12
After a rough couple of months which consisted of many roster shuffles the Danish organization finally found some form of stability as they won ESL Pro League Season 12. This was their second big win of 2020 after having won ESL One: Road to Rio - Europe earlier in May.
100 Thieves Leave CS:GO
The transition to online CS:GO has been rough on the North American region as the competitive scene has slowly shifted towards Europe. This did not bode well for multiple organization who were reluctant to move to Europe and compete from there, one such organization was 100 Thieves who announced their departure from the title for the second time in its history.
Biggest Signing Of 2020 - G2 Esports Acquire NiKo
FaZe Clan’s star player Nikola "NiKo" Kovac was acquired by G2 Esports in what was labelled as ‘One of the biggest signings in CS:GO History’. He joined his cousin Nemanja "huNter-" Kovac on the G2 lineup which now looks like one of the strongest team in the world, at least on paper.
Court Outcome Favors Valve
The lawsuit filed by Jamppi against Valve reached a crucial outcome favoring the latter as the court issued a statement saying that “The District Court of Eastern Uusimaa has no jurisdiction and the action is therefore inadmissible”. Jamppi’s lawyer had shown interest to appeal this decision which might take some time due to the courts being congested at that moment.
Sergej Leaves ENCE To Serve In The Military
The 18-year-old Finnish rifler Jere "sergej" Salo decided to leave ENCE due to lack of motivation and instead decided to fulfill his military service duties. He had been competing with ENCE for more than two years before taking this decision, he will be starting his military service from January 2021.
SPUNJ, Michal, Steve Wins Esports Awards 2020
Australian CS:GO caster and analyst Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill won the award for ‘Esports Analyst of the Year’ at Esports Awards 2020. Despite the increased work load the 31-year-old has gone on to deliver a top-notch experience to all the viewers, keeping them thoroughly entertained.
Steve Dudenhoeffer and Michal “michau” Slowinski shared the ‘Panel’s Choice Award’ for putting in countless hours to preserve the integrity of competitive CS:GO. The two still continue to work along with ESIC in their ongoing investigations.
ESIC Addressed Stream Sniping Issue
ESIC issued a zero-tolerance policy against stream sniping as they reiterated the fact that it was a severely punishable offence, issuing guidelines for all the tournament organizers to maintain the integrity of competitive CS:GO.
Valve Released Operation Broken Fang
The highly anticipated tenth CS:GO operation ‘Broken Fang’ was finally released by Valve. It came just 249 days after the completion of the previous operation, bringing with it a plethora of unique content along with some tried and tested features. Overall the operation was quite successful and the community has been really enjoying it so far.
Zonic Wins At The Game Awards
Astralis head coach Danny "zonic" Sorensen was named as the ‘Best Esports Coach’ of 2020 despite Astralis not having the best year competitively. This was the second year in a row that he won this award and it came along with a bit of controversy as some did not believe he deserved it this year.
ENCE Controversy Surfaces
ENCE had to discuss a few things internally with its CS:GO roster after a controversy took place online involving Aleksi “allu” Jalli, Jere “sergej” Salo, Miikka “suNny” Kemppi, and Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen. This has resulted in suNny being benched as ENCE look forward to creating a new roster for the 2021 season.
Astralis Claims The Top Spot
A turbulent 2020 for Astralis comes to and end with the organization once again claiming the top spot as they finish the year with two consecutive victories at DreamHack Masters Winter 2020: Europe and IEM Global Challenge 2020.
This was the entire CS:GO year in review, a roller-coaster of a ride on the competitive side of things as the casual userbase constantly kept crossing a peak of 1 million concurrent players through 2020. The arrival of the 2021 season is being impatiently awaited by both the players and viewers as there is a chance that we might finally witness CS:GO returning to a LAN environment.