Can Fnatic Dominate the Scene Once More?
I’m sure that every CS:GO fan remembers the glory days of Fnatic. In 2015, the team had a formidable season and won 5 important titles. Nowadays it doesn’t seem that spectacular, given that Astralis won more than 10 of them on their best season. But back in 2015, there were fewer opportunities for CS:GO teams and Fnatic was a very dominant champion under those circumstances. In this article, I will take a look at the best 5 teams in CS:GO at the moment and try to answer a simple question: can Fnatic be the dominant force it once was under the current professional climate?
The Best Teams in CS:GO
An easy way to pick the best CS:GO players and teams would be to look at the global rankings. However, that top 5 is not entirely accurate, as we don’t know yet if G2 Esports can truly maintain its spot. The results they got at BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 (1st place) and IEM XIV World Championship (2nd) may not be sustainable and reflective of their real skill-level relative to the other competitors. One argument in favor of this statement is their recent performance at ESL Pro League Season 11, where they didn’t even survive the Group Stage, finishing 4th in Group C and 10th – 12th overall.
Based on all the data we have, the best 5 teams in CS:GO at this moment are Fnatic, mousesports, Natus Vincere, Astralis, and Team Liquid. Among them, Fnatic recently proved that it might just be the strongest, at least for now.
After they replaced Edward and Zeus, Na’Vi started to look like a contender for the best team in the world. GuardiaN’s transfer did not work out, but the organization still managed to find two talented players elsewhere. First they brought in Boombl4, who had played for QBF and Winstrike for a total of almost two years, and his transfer quickly proved to be a good thing for the team. And then they found Perfecto, who had been honing his skills for more than a year with Syman Gaming. Both of these players are around 20 years old, so their growth potential is enormous. No doubt, Na’Vi didn’t pay that much to bring them on board, because they weren’t superstars.
In this new formula, Na’Vi climbed all the way to the number one position in the global rankings, playing in 3 Grand Finals this year: ICE Challenge 2020 (2nd place), BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 (1st place) and IEM XIV World Championship (1st place). At the recent ESL Pro League Season 11 Europe, Na’Vi finished 4th and got defeated by Fnatic (0 – 2), which then went on to win the whole event. Na’Vi also lost against mousesports, which then finished 2nd. Based on these results, I’d say that the CIS team is still in the top 3, although it’s hard to determine where.
This is another team that made big roster changes one year ago and has since reached its peak. In the last 6 months, mousesports played in 5 Grand Finals and won 4 of them. This is a clear indicator that karrigan has successfully turned his squad into an elite unit. Arguably, mousesports has never been stronger than it is right now. They did have a decent year in 2018, when they finished in the top 4 and top 6 and a lot of important tournaments, but the organization only started to win big events after the massive roster changes and especially, after karrigan joined as the IGL.
At the recent ESL Pro League Season 11 Europe, mousesports finished 2nd after a close Grand Final against Fnatic (2 – 3). This match clearly showcased their strengths and proved that they are now a top 5 team as well.
Astralis has been at the top of the rankings table for two years. For almost two thirds of that time, they were the best team in the world. Nowadays there are several opponents that can take them down in a Bo3, but you still have to assume that Astralis is at a high enough level to play against anyone and win. Their only problem is that they can’t seem to reach their ceiling as easily as before. Or who knows? Maybe the competition is getting better at countering their strategies. In any case, Astralis is highly consistent, even though they no longer win events except from time to time.
Just like Astralis, Liquid’s been near the top for two years. The North American organization had many Grand Finals during this time and managed to win around a dozen different titles, including the one at ESL Pro League Season 11 North America. Based on that result and everything else they’ve accomplished with this roster, it’s clear that Team Liquid is a top 5 team at this point.
And last, we have Fnatic, a team that managed to defeat 4 monsters at the recent ESL Pro League Season 11 Europe: FaZe Clan, mousesports (twice), Na’Vi and Astralis. They won the title by truly facing and beating everyone that matters. This begs the question: are they really that good? And in my opinion they are.
But now a different problem emerges: can they sustain the motivation to train hard and stay ahead of everyone else? Because as you might imagine, the other teams will 100% study their game frame by frame over the next few weeks, in order to determine how they managed to do it. And if they aren’t upgrading their tactics and strategies, they may not be able to repeat this exceptional performance.
One thing that makes me optimistic is the fact that both Liquid and Astralis succeeded in using the same methodology for a long time before being forced to change. Given how dominant Fnatic was at ESL Pro League, it’s likely that they’re sufficiently far ahead of most of the other teams that they will keep on getting top results.
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