Who Is North America’s Best Counter-Strike Team?
Whilst the whole competitive world of CS: GO has been thrown into disarray following the postponement of traditional LAN events and subsequent restructuring to regionalized online tournaments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, few of the communities have proven to be as volatile as North America.
Home to at least two of the world’s top five teams last year, 2020 has not been as kind to North American Counter-Strike so far. All of the leading sides in the region have struggled for form, with every major North American side dropping rankings in the latest updates from HLTV, but it has at least made for some pretty entertaining matches over the past three months or so. So, with so much unpredictability in the scene right now, who do we think is North America’s best CS side?
For the best part of six or seven months last year, Team Liquid were the undeniable best Counter-Strike team on the planet. Starting with IEM Sydney, they won six events on the bounce and, after their win at the prestigious ESL One Cologne event, broke the record for the fastest ever Intel Grand Slam in the game’s history.
They boast one of the most complete and star-studded rosters active in the game, with Elige, Twistzz, Naf, Stewie and Nitro all amongst the best in the world in their respective positions. It’s easy to imagine any of these players in some of the top teams from around the world, however missing out on the StarLadder Major that year seems to have sent them spiralling into a pretty prolonged period of inconsistencies and ever-decreasing levels of confidence.
They might be star-studded, but their win at Cologne in the summer of last year was the last time Team Liquid won anything serious of note.
Another NA side that can claim to have been one of, if not the, world’s best side at one point last year, Evil Geniuses were formed after the successful run to the semi-finals NRG had at the StarLadder Berlin Major. The roster were bought up and their good form continued on to ESL New York where they bested both Liquid and the legendary Astralis to the trophy.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the place for real money earning games, and EG veterans Tarik and Stanislaw are amongst some of the most long standing, high profile and wealthiest individuals still heavily active in its competitive calendar. Couple this experience with the support from Ethan, Brehze and Cerq and you pull together all the components needed, on paper at least, to become one of the world’s best sides. Time will tell whether EG really ends up hitting their potential however.
Out of all the sides on this list, Made In Brazil (MIBR) have been hit harder by the recent rankings than anyone else in North America. Dropping four places and only clinging onto their status as a top 20 team by the skin of their teeth, it’s fair to say the online era has not been the kindest to MIBR. Despite being the undeniable favorites with most fans and pundits, they lost the grand final of Flashpoint to MAD Lions and then embarked on a run of not even ranking at the North American Road to Rio, ESL Pro League Season 11 and NA’s DreamHack Spring Masters.
However, it’s important to remember that they’re still a side with three double Major Champions on their roster, all three of which still command a huge amount of respect within the scene. With such immense experience and winning know-how, you can never write off MIBR.