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When I originally launched my CS:GO World Rankings concept in 2014 there were no other attempts at a global ranking, regularly updated, of the world’s top teams. Other rankings have since risen up which have taken a similar approach, so I have rethought some of the surrounding concepts and designed a new approach. On the one hand, the ranking retains it’s numerical system, going from one down to 10, and on the other it simultaneously addresses the context of how strong a team is outside of the number attached to the name.

My rankings run over an exact three month span, extending back three months prior to the date they are published, and encapsulating all offline results within that time span. This allows for a sense of how good a team is to be established after they have had time to accomplish multiple placings, but without unduly letting teams who were fantastic many months ago hang on to top rankings when the game and time has moved on.

As well as placings, the value of which is determined by the prestige of the tournament and the quality of the opposition in attendance, the opponents a team beats counts to their ranking. Teams who defeat Top 10 opponents, with the higher ranked teams more valuable scalps to claim, help determine their overall ranking and break ties with other teams who have similar kinds of placings. Likewise, victories in Best-of-3 (Bo3) series are of more value than Bo1 results and a single map won in a series over teams of a similar level. Unlike past editions of my rankings, I will also list the victories teams have had over ranked opponents.

When a team changes players then past results are counted at a proportionally lower value, based on how many remaining players were present at that time.

The key approach which changes the nature of these rankings is the addition of a tier-based system as well, taking cues from the “class” vernacular of the StarCraft: Brood War community of the 2000s and recent rankings by Esports Kingdom. S class are the elite teams, who can be expected to win tournaments. A class are the teams below them, good and capable of competing with them but not expected to be the favourite at tournaments featuring all the teams. B class are the teams below both of the previous tiers, solid sides and capable of being ranked but not top teams.

The importance of this change is that it prevents situations where the scene, perhaps due to roster moves or a lull in form, has few elite sides and so a team finds themselves ranked fifth who likely will never win a big tournament. In other eras, perhaps even the fourth and fifth ranked teams are championship material. The class system will signify as much.

21st August – 21st November 2018

Tournaments impacting the ranking (due to teams ranked attending)

Aug 24 – 26, ZOTAC Cup Masters
Aug 29 – Sep 2, DreamHack Masters Stockholm
Sep 5 – 23, FACEIT Major: London
Sep 7 – 9, DreamHack Open Montreal
Sep 26 – 30, ESL One: New York
Sep 28 – 29, BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul
Sep 28 – 30, Games Clash Masters
Oct 7 – 14, StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6
Oct 23 – 28 EPICENTER [NEW]
Nov 2 – 3 BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen [NEW]
Nov 1 – 4 cs_summit 3 [NEW]
Nov 6 – 11 Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Chicago [NEW]

S Class – Elite Teams

Astralis win IEM Chicago (Credit: Helena Kristiansson)

1. Astralis [device, dupreeh, Magisk, Xyp9x and gla1ve] [-]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (2nd)
FACEIT Major: London (1st)
BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul (1st)
BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen (3rd)
IEM III Chicago (1st)

Bo5: TL (IEM)

Bo3: MiBR (DH Stock), FaZe (FACEIT), TL (FACEIT), Na`Vi (FACEIT), MiBR (Blast), North (IEM), mouz (IEM)

Bo1: North (DH Stock), North (DH Stock), Na`Vi (FACEIT), MiBR (FACEIT), MiBR (Blast), FaZe (Blast C), MiBR (Blast C)

Astralis seemingly wavered for a moment at Blast Copenhagen, where they lost maps to Na`Vi and NiP, and then in Chicago they legitimately got beaten straight up by FaZe and then taken to the limit by FNATIC. Nonetheless, they still took the IEM title and their resume is seemingly as strong as at any other time in the year, in terms of how far they are ahead and how many quality wins they have stacked up. Make no mistake: Astralis will end the year as number ones.

Na`Vi at ESL One Cologne 2018 (Credit: ESL)

2. Natus Vincere [s1mple, electronic, flamie, Edward and Zeus] [+1]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (5th-8th)
FACEIT Major: London (2nd)
ESL One: New York (5th-6th)
BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen (1st)
IEM III Chicago (13th-16th)

Bo3: NRG (DH Stock), BIG (FACEIT), MiBR (FACEIT), FNC (ESL NY), FaZe (EPIC), NiP (Blast C)

Bo1: FaZe (FACEIT), FNC (FACEIT), Astralis (Blast C), MiBR (Blast C), NiP (Blast C)

A strong runners-up finish at EPICENTER, prior to the final at least, and a win at a smaller tournament but with some good names there, put Na`Vi back into the top two. Their placings can be argued to be slightly weaker than Team Liquid’s, but Na`Vi’s collection of ranked wins pushes them past the North Americans. This is a very precarious second place ranking, due to the turnover in teams making finals over the last few months, so Na`Vi will need to defend their spot, especially as the major comes close to disappearing from sight.

Team Liquid head to the IEM Chicago stage (Credit: ESL)

3. Team Liquid [NAF, EliGE, Twistzz, TACO and nitr0] [-1]

Recent form:
FACEIT Major: London (3rd-4th)
ESL One: New York (2nd)
EPICENTER (3rd-4th)
IEM III Chicago (2nd)

Bo3: NRG (ESL NY), mouz (IEM), FaZe (IEM)

Bo1: Ast (FACEIT), mouz (ESL NY), mouz (ESL NY)

Team Liquid’s inability to win EPICENTER denied them a chance to get a ranked with, with only FaZe facing them who had any points to offer in that sense. In Chicago Team Liquid turned it on late to reach the final, inevitably losing to Astralis. Their resume of placings is dynamite, but the amount of wins, even best-of-1s, is lacking to cement TL behind Astralis.


4. FaZe Clan [NiKo, GuardiaN, rain, olof and karrigan] [+4]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (5th-8th)
FACEIT Major: London (5th-8th)
ESL One: New York (7th-8th)
BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen (4th)
IEM III Chicago (3rd-4th)

Bo3: TL (EPIC), Na`Vi (EPIC), MiBR (IEM), Astralis (IEM)

Bo1: mouz (DH Stock), mouz (FACEIT), Na`Vi (Blast C), MiBR (Blast C), TL (IEM)

The story-line looked simple to criticise FaZe: that NiKo wouldn’t be able to get much more than perhaps quality production out of himself. Now there have been some games where that was the case, but recognise the number of quality wins and runs we’ve already seen under the Bosnian. Winning EPICENTER was no joke and the team looked strong right up until map two of the IEM semi-final. With a solid line-up of wins, FaZe not only leapt all the way up the rankings and into S Class status again, but they are not too far from challenging for that second spot.

A Class – Top teams, but not championship favourites

mouz at ESL NY (Credit: ESL)

5. mousesports [oskar, suNny, ropz, STYKO and chrisJ] [-1]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (3rd-4th) [Snax]
FACEIT Major: London (15th-16th) [Snax]
ESL One: New York (1st) [Snax]
StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6 (9th-11th) [Snax]
IEM III Chicago (5th-6th)

Bo5: TL (ESL NY)

Bo3: FaZe (DH Stock), FNC (ESL NY), NRG (ESL NY)

Bo1: North (DH Stock), TL (IEM)

mouz under STYKO only added a top six finish at IEM to their resume, but they had some solid placings with Snax. It says a lot about where the rankings are at right now in CS:GO that this is still enough to hold on to a top five spot, mainly due to the number of series wins they can boast. mouz can drop fast in these rankings, but the eye test suggests they are a good enough team to offset some of that in the coming months.

B Class – Ranked but not top teams

MiBR at EL (Credit: ELeague)

6. Made in Brazil [coldzera, fer, Stewie, tarik and FalleN] [-1]

Recent form:
ZOTAC Cup Masters (1st)
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (5th-8th)
FACEIT Major: London (3rd-4th)
BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul (2nd)
BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen (6th)
IEM III Chicago (9th-12th)

Bo3: mouz (DH Stock)

Bo1: mouz (FACEIT), FaZe (IEM), NRG (IEM)

MiBR are a team in trouble and their potential seems spent with this line-up, but for now they can live off their placings. Top four at the major goes a long way when teams below you are trying to claim wins of smaller tournaments as their best finish. What’s interesting is where MiBR could be in the next one to two months, when they’ll legitimately be in danger of dropping out of the rankings entirely.

NRG at Starladder S6 (Credit: Starladder)

7. NRG [CeRq, nahtE, Brehze, FugLy and daps] [-1]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (13th-16th)
ESL One: New York (3rd-4th)
StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6 (3rd-4th)
cs_summit 3 (1st)
IEM III Chicago (7th-8th)

Bo3: FaZe (ESL NY), North (SLTV), MiBR (IEM)

Bo1: Na`Vi (DH Stock), TL (ESL NY), North (SLTV)

NRG took care of business at cs_summit, but those were teams below the rankings. At IEM Chicago they were able to do what a lot of teams have done recently, taking ranked wins off MiBR, but aside from there they underwhelmed. NRG are a solid team, but this ranking not only represents the last few months but even seems apt for how good they are as a team. This is a team who too often makes their way past lower level opposition to fall apart against the big names.

NiP at Blast Pro Series (Credit: Blast)

8. Ninjas in Pyjamas [f0rest, dennis, REZ, lekr0 and GeT_RiGhT] [+2]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (3rd-4th)
FACEIT Major: London (9th-11th)
BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul (3rd)
BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen (2nd)


Bo1: NRG (DH Stock), mouz (FACEIT), MiBR (FACEIT), Ast (Blast C), MiBR (Blast C)

BLAST Pro Series events don’t have the format to yield many Bo3 ranked wins, but making the final of Copenhagen was still a decent result and goes along with NiP’s top four in Stockholm, which is still on the books. No series wins is big and when Dreamhack disappears NiP will have to do more than just lose close games against top teams.

cadiaN at StarSeries S6 (Credit: StarLadder)

9. North [valde, Kjaerbye, aizy, gade and cadiaN] [-2]

Recent form:
DreamHack Masters Stockholm (1st) [MSL, niko]
FACEIT Major: London (17th-19th) [MSL, niko]
StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6 (5th-8th)
IEM III Chicago (9th-12th)

Bo3: Ast (DH Stock), Na`Vi (DH Stock), mouz (DH Stock), Ast (DH Stock)

Bo1: NRG (IEM)

You could make a strong case North are the worst line-up in this ranking article and much of their accomplishments came off the back of results only sixty percent of the team accomplished, but one of those results was a win at a stacked international tournament nonetheless. Those results won’t last them much longer, but they mean a lot this far down in the rankings.

BIG’s epic run in Cologne (Credit: ESL)

10. BIG [tabseN, nex, smooya, tiziaN and gob b] [NEW]

Recent form:
FACEIT Major: London (5th-8th)
StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6 (5th-8th)
cs_summit 3 (3rd)
IEM III Chicago (9th-12th)

Bo3: Na`Vi (IEM)

Bo1: FaZe (FACEIT), mouz (SLTV), NRG (cs_summit)

Give BIG credit that after their Cinderella run at Cologne left the building they have again climbed back into the rankings. Sure, they still have yet to put together another big finish, but they have some play-off appearances, a decent placing at a smaller tournament and some quality wins on their resume, including a recent series win over Na`Vi!

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