With the ESWC grand-finals taking place in Montreal this July (9-12), I decided to take a look at all the invited and qualified teams for the event. The goal here is to try to rate each team in regards to each other and serve as a guide so you can better understand which teams are more likely to win and who you should be cheering for.
Ninjas In Pyjamas: Although still a top 5 team in the world, NiP has clearly lost the edge they seemed to hold for so long when CSGO was first released. More often than not relegated to 2nd place or last during the past few majors. Team manager Emil “Heaton” Christensen had to shake up a roster that had remained mostly the same over the past few years. Will new coach Joona “natu” Leppänen and sniper Aleksi “allu” Jalli be enough for NiP to retake its place as the world’s number 1 team?
EnvyUS: After last year’s defeat against Fnatic, EnvyUs (then known as Team LDLC) will definitely be in top form to take the world title. With Fnatic out of the picture for this year’s ESWC, they are the clear favorite to win the tournament. Arguably the best team in the world at the moment, the pressure will be high with all eyes looking in their direction.
Na’Vi: Ukrainian based Na’Vi have been surprising quite a few people this year. The addition of Egor “flamie” Vasilyev really shook up the team’s somewhat stagnant world ranking. Although they are still having issues defeating the top 5 teams, they have shown great promise and seem to be on their way to the top. If there main sniper Ladislav “Guardian” Kovacs is on point during the event, we might be in for some interesting upsets!
Titan: Inconsistency is the word best chosen to describe the French team Titan. Sometimes found easily dominating top 5 teams and other times getting completely run over by the same competitors. However, If the world’s best sniper Kenny “KennyS” Schrub brings his A-game over the weekend, anything is possible.
Cloud 9: Possibly the best North American team at the moment, Cloud 9 remains a bit of a mystery. With an almost dream team roster, they haven’t yet managed to build enough momentum to completely dominate the North American scene, which is what we should expect for a team like them. However, recent showings at the ESL ESEA tournament have given a lot of North Americans high hopes that this might be the moment where they will rise again! With the recent addition of america’s best sniper, Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, and entry fragger Ryan “Freakazoid” Abadir, we have have our fingers crossed that this could be THE team that can show the Europeans what NA CSGO is all about.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG): Probably the North American team with the highest potential to be successful, they just recently started to have a good showing against international teams. With recent victories against TSM and Fnatic, CLG will surely be pumped and confident to take over any challenge thrown upon them!
Luminosity: Luminosity will be out to prove that they can play with the big boys at this years ESWC. With disappointing international results, they will definitely need to step up their game if they want any chance to defeat the top teams in the world.
Team Liquid: Another North American wild card. On paper, Liquid has everything they need to be on par with Cloud 9 when it comes to raw talent. But something seems to be missing on their end to push them over that competitive edge. Is Adren’s leadership and prowess with the sniper rifle enough to lead them to victory during this ESWC?
SK Gaming: Finally back with a new CSGO roster, SK Gaming is returning to the scene with its first appearance since 2011. Hoping to start out with a bang, they’ve been slowly working their way up the world rankings, currently sitting in a top 30 position. They’ve been showing some promise over the last few weeks, here’s hoping they bring their A-game for ESWC!
FlipSid3 Tactics: FlipeSid3 have been struggling with inconsistency ever since the new iteration of the team. Individually, they are all great players, especially Ukrainian sniper Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who is easily one of the world’s best players. But the chemistry hasn’t set in yet for the quintet as international success has yet to arrive.
Renegades: The Australian boys have been doing very well for a rather unknown team before ESL One in 2014. Winning games against NiP, Fnatic and Flipside is something quite remarkable for an underdog team. They’re LAN presence is always something to look at as they bring a lot of energy and positivity to the events. (You need to do yourself a favor and go watch them play!)
Keyd Stars: This Brazilian team is turned many heads during this year’s first major event in Katowice. They managed to leave the group stage with a 2nd place finish versus well established teams Hellraisers and CLG Gaming. They even took one map over Polish powerhouse Virtus Pro during the playoffs to everyone’s surprise. They recently moved to North America to continue their intensive training and to participate in ESL ESEA Pro League. I for one am very excited to see them play with the big teams again.
Ze Pug Gods: Winners of the Canadian qualifiers, Ze Pug Godz are a completely new and unknown team going into a big international tournament. Having watched them play during the finals, I know that they have some good quality players, but whether or not they have the right strategies to defeat the best teams in the world remains to be seen. Best of luck to them!
Team LDLC-White: Not to be confused with last year’s 2nd place finish, this new LDLC roster is relatively new to the scene and brings mostly unknown player to the table. It will be interesting to see how well they can perform against international teams!
Bravado Gaming: Not much is known about this South African team apart from a less than stellar showing during Dreamhack Winter 2014. It will be interesting to see how much this team has grown in the past year. Hopefully we can expect some exciting new things from them!
QeeYou: Another rather unknown team from the Chinese qualifiers. It will be the first we see them on the main stage of a big event and I for one am excited to see the talent of these Chinese players.