Which Teams Made a Breakthrough in Berlin | Biggest Winners of the StarLadder Major Berlin 2019

by in CS:GO | Sep, 13th 2019

Every Major has a few Cinderella stories, and StarLadder Berlin was no different. It pushed several teams a level above their usual form and portrayed them in the best of lights. Breakthrough performances are a crucial part of young teams’ development processes, enabling them to traverse the river called doubt and step up to the next level. That’s why, today, we’ll be talking about StarLadder Major breakthrough teams; breakthrough performers that etched their names on the grandest of CS:GO stages!

StarLadder Major Breakthrough Teams

Several names are worthy of being dubbed as StarLadder Major breakthrough teams. Five of them, to be more precise, four of which competed in the playoffs. I’m sure you won’t be surprised by my picks as they’re pretty logical.

Let’s check them out!



AVANGAR is the first name that comes to mind when discussing StarLadder Major breakthrough teams. After failing to reach the Champions Stage in Katowice (and it was a proper heartbreak against ENCE), AVANGAR finally had their breakthrough event and went all the way. Come to think of it, AVANGAR was in Berlin what ENCE was in Katowice. It’s as simple as that!

Jame and buster were the central figures in AVANGAR’s StarLadder Berlin Major success. Their prowess on both CT and T sides proved to be the deciding factors in a ton of crucial rounds. Yes, they ended up losing to Astralis in the grand finals, without putting up a decent fight, but their overall performance was still on par.

I had many doubts about CIS teams before the start of the New Challengers Stage. However, the first day brought in two massive shocks as CIS representatives took down the biggest favorites, Vitality, and NRG. AVANGAR’s success came later on, when they qualified for the Champions Stage by defeating Renegades, Liquid, and G2. Yep, you read that correctly, AVANGAR beat Team Liquid in a Bo1 on Overpass.

Perhaps an even bigger feat was AVANGAR stomping over Team Vitality in the quarterfinals, a huge upset no one could’ve predicted. Jame and buster were proper killing machines in that match, having over 120 kills in total, across all three maps.

AVANGAR will want to continue with their winning ways in Moscow where they’ll face off against top teams such as ENCE and NaVi. It’ll be tough as all teams will want AVANGAR scalp seeing as they’re the runners-up of the latest CS:GO Major Championship. Be that as it is, AVANGAR is undoubtedly the number one name as far as StarLadder Major breakthrough teams are concerned!


Renegades Logo

Next up, we have Renegades, a tricky Australian team that started their Major with two outright atrocious performances. Coming into this event, Renegades were among the Legends Stage underdogs. With awful performance in recent months and no hints of brilliance to be seen, many people thought they’d be a quick 0-3 elimination. I was among them, having Renegades in my Legends Stage pick ’em at the 0-3 spot.

They were 0-2 and set to play against DreamEaters coming off a terrific Challengers Stage performance and losing to Astralis and NaVi in the Legends Stage. I thought DE would sweep the floor with gratification and the boys.

Who would’ve thought, at that point with 0-2 on the scoreboard, that Renegades would somehow find their form, win three consecutive Bo3 games and then go on to beat ENCE in the quarterfinals?

Well, news flash, that’s what happened. That’s precisely what makes Renegades one of StarLadder Major breakthrough teams. They showed an impressive dose of tenacity, resilience, and sheer willpower. Perhaps not so much in their match against DreamEaters, but definitely against FaZe and ENCE. They were the superior side in both of those matches, asserting their dominance and wreaking havoc in enemy lines.

While there are rumors saying Renegades might not resign their roster, I believe it’s just a matter of time. The robust roster has plenty of experience as they played together for over a year. I’m not talking about their core base here, but their entire five-man roster. That means a lot, and could be one of the reasons behind such a splendid comeback in Berlin.


CR4ZY Logo

Yes, I’m from Croatia, and seeing CR4ZY show off such brilliant performances match in and match out brought shivers down my spine quite often. I followed them for quite a while and have to admit I didn’t expect such an excellent overall performance. I expected them to the Legends Stage, but seeing them take down the likes of NiP and FaZe, while taking maps away from Astralis and NaVi took me by surprise.

Where would you rank CR4ZY in terms of StarLadder Major breakthrough teams? In my books, CR4ZY is right up there with AVANGAR. Even though Renegades had a better run, I’d say CR4ZY could’ve done that as well if they faced off against AVANGAR and G2 instead of Astralis, NaVi and Team Liquid. That’s all could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. There’s no room for that in CS:GO.

The Major is done and dusted, and CR4ZY failed to reach the Champions Stage. Tough luck – for such a young, developing team, reaching the Legends Stage should be quite the consolatory prize. After all, this means they have the Challengers Stage tickets for the upcoming early 2020 Major without having to go through the hassle of Minors.

Their teamwork was off the charts in most of their matchups, but it’s their individual brilliance that set them apart from others. HuNter, nexa, EspiranTo, and OttoNd… heck, even LETN1 – each of them has the fragging and clutch potential to decide crucial rounds. Best of all, they were pretty consistent in terms of showing off their abundant mechanical skills.

I’m looking forward to seeing CR4ZY play more matches on the top international levels, not just because I’m from Croatia, but because I can’t get enough of their unconventional plays, aggressive stance, and brilliant duels. They’re the epitome of a modern CS:GO team, and I expect great things from them cometh the next Major.


DreamEaters Logo

DreamEaters were an absolute sensation in Berlin. The team that barely made it through to the Challengers Stage via the 3rd place play-in, and the team that no one had any real expectations for. Despite all that, DE shocked the CS:GO world on the very first day by beating NRG and heading into the second round as a high seed.

Two days later, DE defeated their second top-five opponent, Vitality. Yes, they ended up losing against CR4ZY but still came back and dealt the eliminating blow to ForZe. The Legends Stage was always going to be tough for a team of their caliber, but they still performed to their standards. They did get eliminated without a single win, but it’s still safe to say Berlin was a successful campaign for Krad and the Russian boys.

Just like CR4ZY, we’ll be seeing DreamEaters on the next Major. They’ll have to dominate the Challengers Stage again, but with the dueling talent in Berlin, I think they’ll be a tough team to play against no matter the next Major’s location.


NRG Logo

Thanks to excellent Challengers and Legends Stage performances and semifinal finish, NRG is deservingly on the list of StarLadder Major breakthrough teams. The second-best team in the world (Astralis) is just behind Team Liquid thanks to their Major trophy, and NRG is following in their footstep on the domestic level. With such a splendid Major performance, NRG further established itself as the second-best NA team and will be looking to challenge Liquid’s dominance in the following months.

What was the key behind NRG’s superb performance in the two initial stages? Well, their map pool was pretty deep, performing exceptionally well on Train, Dust II, and Inferno. Yes, they beat Astralis on Nuke too, but I think of it as a one-off thing more than anything else.

CeRq and Brehze were on fire, leading their team to new heights with the likes of Tarik and Ethan doing fair bits of work too. Everything was done under Stanislaw’s supervision. The 25-year-old Canadian IGL dictated the tempo at all times, winning mind game after mind game and correctly positioning his team round in and round out.

Even if this result isn’t a significant breakthrough for NRG, seeing as they’re among the world’s best teams, then it’s a confirmation of Stanislaw’s IGL-ing skills. Peter “Stanislaw” Jarguz is on top of his game and is among the best IGLs on the new continent. That’s a fact!

Honorable Mentions

Astralis has to be pointed out here. I know, I know, they’re not a young team waiting to leave their mark on the scene. They are experienced veterans, often dubbed as the most excellent CS:GO team of all time. With that in mind, what sort of breakthrough could they have in Berlin?

Well, whether you like it or not, Berlin was Astralis’ breakthrough event for two reasons. First, they finally got back to their feet after a rough second quarter of 2019. Second, they defeated Team Liquid and announced their return to the top of the food chain. Team Liquid is still the number one team in the world, but it could all change by the end of the month, with ESL One New York looming large on the horizon.

Transfer Season is Open

For some people, post-Major weeks are more interesting than the Major itself. There’s a whole heap of players moving from one place to another, transfer rumors surfacing the world wide web and tingling our imaginations, and buyout allegations of all sorts. Poaching seems to be another burning issue, and my man Jake already has a video up focusing on that particular topic.


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