In a world first, two North American teams have earned a spot in the top 3 teams in the world. Separated by the four time Major winners Astralis, Liquid holds down first place while NRG bring up the rear in third.
Liquid went on a tear prior to the player break which saw them win six tier one events in a row to solidify their place the worlds best team. While they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the StarLadder Major by Astralis, it’ll take more than one event to dethrone them given their immense success over recent months.
NRG had been on the cusp over the last year but always seemed to fall short on the big stage. After electing to swap out long-time in-game leader Damian “daps” Steele for compLexity’s Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, it looks like the teams loving the breath of fresh air. The North American squad pulled out an amazing semifinals run at the Major looking stellar throughout before also falling at the hands of a resurgent looking Astralis.
While the pride and shock of having a North American side pick up the first spot may have started wearing off, a second team making a stand that high in the rankings really shows just how far Counter-Strike has come in the region.
Being the brunt of many jokes through the games history, North America has finally achieved a status that warrants respect internationally.
Prior to Cloud9’s run at the ELEAGUE Boston Major the region was still far behind in terms of rankings and trophies. Since then, however, we’ve seen Liquid rise to the top, NRG compete well internationally and other teams start to build up into real competitors on the international stage.
The narrative has changed and CS trophies are now found outside of Europe with North America and the CIS region showing their strengths. It’s anyone’s game and that’s the beauty of it.
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