By Pavo Jurkic
January 9, 2020
With 2019 all wrapped up, it’s time to prepare ourselves for another chaotic, action-packed CSGO season! 2020 will be no different in terms of content. All the biggest CSGO event organizers are still there. Most of which already confirmed a bunch of top-tier events in 2020. Our biggest upcoming CSGO events in 2020 piece can serve as a guide for things to come.
If you’re still not done with thinking about some of the best CSGO esports moments of 2019, then perhaps this article helps.
As the title suggests, this piece is all about the best CSGO teams. The most successful CSGO teams of 2019, to be more precise. But how does one measure success? Well, there are plenty of ways to approach this, that’s for sure.
For starters, we should point out that this list isn’t exactly the most objective one out there. If it were purely objective, we’d have Astralis and Team Liquid as the greatest CSGO teams of 2019. But that’s kind of boring, don’t you agree? Instead, we opted for a more subjective approach based on three criteria explained below.
Additionally, it’s not a first-to-last type of list either. There are no numbers next to team names meaning they’re all equal as far as list placement goes.
First up – prize pool rewards. Team Liquid and Astralis are by far the best CSGO teams of 2019 in terms of prize pool rewards.
In total, Team Liquid won over $2.71 million in prize money in 2019 alone. Astralis, on the other hand, finished the year with just short of $2.16 million. If the Great Danes won Intel Grand Slam, they’d be the first team in the history of CSGO to win more than $3 million in a single season.
Consistency is the key to success. There’s no doubt about that. However, popularity plays a key role too. you don’t get there by being consistent but mediocre throughout the season. You get popularity by displaying excellent tenacity, wicked plays and unreal comebacks.
These days, we’re seeing more and more up-and-coming teams make breakthroughs by beating powerhouses in David & Goliath types of scenarios. CR4ZY and AVANGAR’s StarLadder Major endeavor serves as the perfect example.
In addition to popularity and prize rewards, there’s this thing called success, too. It’s difficult to measure and even more difficult to explain. For us, success is based on player branding, sponsorship deals and the amount of silverware won in 2019. It isn’t much, but it’s honest work.
Typically, business deals and acquisitions don’t go hand in hand with the best team lists. However, we have to make an exception because of Evil Geniuses.
In September 2019, EG bought NRG, a steady top-five contender in the CSGO sphere. Immediately after the acquisition, the roster went on a roll. They quickly rose to the first spot of HLTV.org world rankings, beating both Astralis and Team Liquid to it. If that’s not the perfect example of a good business deal, then I don’t know what is.
Here comes the actual list of the best CSGO teams in 2019! It features five top-tier sides that proved their worth throughout the year. Some of them were consistent, some had flashes of brilliance and some are listed just because they made a great business decision in a timely fashion.
So, let’s cut with the nonsense and jump straight to the action!
If there’s one team that needs special recognition for 2019, it’s the boys in blue – Team Liquid! EliGe, NAF and the company did the impossible. They took Astralis down from the No. 1 spot after more than a year straight. If that’s not a big enough accomplishment, Team Liquid also won seven notable trophies, as well as the special Intel Grand Slam Season 2 reward, a hefty $1 million going straight to the players’ pockets.
Everything started with their DreamHack Masters Dallas breakthrough. They defeated ENCE in the grand finals after a hectic battle across three maps. Liquid went on to win two more events. Both ended with a win against G2 in the grand finals. Fast forward another month or so, Team Liquid managed to win two additional events, establishing themselves as one of the best CSGO teams ever.
Unfortunately, they failed to make an impression in Berlin and fell as the year went on. Fall started knocking on the door. Team Liquid went to their usual spirit, losing two grand finals in the last two months of 2019. Unfortunately, I believe 2020 for Team Liquid will be nowhere near as successful as 2019.
Astralis had a rough patch of events shortly after the IEM Katowice Major. They were still considered as the best team out there. Still, with RFRSH Entertainment drama as well as speculations on Astralis rejecting other teams in favor of BPS, it became obvious they were going to fall in form sooner or later.
And it happened, it did. Astralis got dethroned with outright atrocious displays from May to July. In came the StarLadder Major Berlin. Astralis rose to the occasion, winning their third consecutive and fourth overall CSGO Major Championship.
As the year went on, Astralis players started playing better and better. Despite lackluster finishes on ESL One New York and DreamHack Masters Malmo, The Great Danes came back to win IEM XIV Beijing, ECS S8 Finals and BLAST Pro Series Global Final. They could’ve taken ESL Pro League S10 too if it wasn’t for that tightly contested overtime against Mousesports on Train.
After checking out the crème de la crème of CSGO teams, let’s focus on those who’ve either made excellent business deals or had a few bright flashes throughout 2019. First up, let’s talk about Evil Geniuses. As mentioned earlier, Evil Geniuses bought NRG’s roster in September for roughly $3 million. In all honesty, it was a pretty sweet deal for a top-five team with spots on ESL Pro League and the upcoming Major.
But that’s not the reason why EG made it onto this list. The real reason is the rejuvenation of the roster. Before EG picked them up, Brehze and the boys were always up there with the best of them but never really played up to their potential. At times, they would choke in the crucial moments. They seemed helpless in terms of winning trophies.
In came EG. That all changed in a matter of months. Shortly after the buyout, Brehze and the boys went on to win ESL One New York and StarSeries Season 8. Apart from that, EG also had solid displays on ECS S8 Finals and EPICENTER 2019. They got eliminated in the semifinals in both events.
Mousesports was always up there with the best European teams. However, after they failed to qualify for the IEM Katowice Major, their performance raised red flags and in came roster alterations. Ropz and ChrisJ were the only survivors, with karrigan, woxic and frozen joining the lineup in March.
Their journey wasn’t off to a good start, but they managed to qualify for ESL Pro League S9 and win DreamHack Open Tours. Their first breakthrough in 2019 was ESL Pro League S9 Finals, where they got eliminated in the semifinals by Team Liquid.
After that, they went through another identity crisis but came back near the end of the year with several outstanding outings. Recently, they won the CSGO Asia Championships, ESL Pro League S10 Finals, cs_summit 5, and almost went all the way on EPICENTER 2019. Mouz is in a wicked form. I wouldn’t be surprised if 2020 sees them in an even better light!
No matter what, FaZe Clan’s CSGO roster manages to win in a single season. I have a feeling no one would be happy. Everyone would want more because FaZe Clan always comes packed with an absolute behemoth of a roster. The same goes for their current five-man spread. Led by NiKo and Coldzera, backed by plenty of experience and firepower in the background, FaZe Clan has the individual brilliance to take things to the next level. However, they just can’t make it work.
Ever since they lost that dreadful ELEAGUE Major finals to Cloud9, they weren’t playing up to their standards. It’s almost as if that shiny red and black FaZe jersey is cursed. Sure, they won two BLAST Pro Series events in 2019, but that’s as far as their trophies go. And, let’s face it, a team consisting of Coldzera, NiKo and Olofmeisrer, needs more.
FaZe should be a tenacious top-five contender, yet they always seem to struggle to clinch a spot in the top ten. Fingers crossed these players finally budge and make a better effort in 2020.
Before we wrap up our list of the best CSGO teams in 2019, let’s take another look at the most prominent teams and point a few of them out as honorable mentions. Going back to the StarLadder Berlin Major, two teams stand out as the biggest surprises, CR4ZY and AVANGAR.
Yes, I know Renegades were out there too. Still, I’m going with CR4ZY simply because they were total underdogs coming into the Challengers Stage. The almost went all the way, displaying excellent resilience against both Natus Vincere and Astralis.
Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see CR4ZY in the best of lights in Rio. Nexa and HuNter departed for G2. Their current lineup doesn’t look too good. Yes, they did win their first notable event with this new roster, but their consistency isn’t something to write home about.
As far as AVANGAR goes, not only have they reached the grand finals of the Berlin Major but also won BLAST Pro Series Moscow. Unsurprisingly, Jame lead his team with sick AWPing frags throughout both events.
Additionally, Vitality and Fnatic also deserve mention here. The Swedish side had a few good outings in 2019. Most notably, they won DreamHack Masters Malmo and placed second on ESL Pro League S10 Finals and StarSeries Season 8.
As for Vitality, 2019 was another stellar year for their top fragger, ZywOo. The French side won EPICENTER 2019, ECS S7 Finals, cs_summit 4 and Charleroi Esports. The latter two might not be top-tier events, but they’re still worth mentioning.