CSGO

Thorin's CS:GO World Rankings, August 2021

Photo courtesy of ESL

While other rankings are based on strict points formulas, tweaked by those who design and maintain them, the philosophy of this ranking from the outset, when it was the first significant world ranking in the game, has always been to incorporate an expert's eye and explain each position qualitatively as well as quantitively. (Editor's note: Take a look back at rankings for May and June)

The basics:

  • Covers the previous three months, to the date.
  • Previously covered only LAN performances but, until the wide scale return of LAN competition, is now entirely online.
  • Only real tournaments and not individual qualifiers (i.e. Dreamhack Open qualifier) are counted.
  • Results are based on beating a team ranked top 10 at the time on a map or in a series.
  • "One map" results can be Best-of-1 (Bo1) or winning a map in a series.
  • Team changes result in a reduction in the weight of that result, though during this period I have decided not to punish teams utilising legitimate sixth men, as this has been a development in CS:GO.
  • The "Class" system, hailing back to Korean StarCraft: Brood War, helps characterise how strong the teams are beyond mere ranking number and victories.

Time span: 17th April 2020 - 17th August 2021

Tournaments (or tournament portions) impacting the ranking (due to teams ranked attending)

Apr 17 - May 05 Spring Sweet Spring #1 [Online]
Apr 19 - Apr 26 Funspark ULTI 2020 [Online]
Apr 29 - May 09 DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 [Online]
May 10 - Jun 02 Spring Sweet Spring #2 [Online]
May 10 - May 30 Flashpoint Season 3 [Online]
May 12 - May 30 EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 [Online]
May 20 - May 30 cs_summit 8 [Online]
Jun 03 - Jun 13 Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer [Online]
Jun 15 - Jun 20 BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 [Online] [NEW]
Jun 27 - Jul 04 StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 [Online] [NEW]
Jul 06 - Jul 18 Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne [NEW]

Aug 16 - Sep 12 ESL Pro League Season 14 [Online] [NEW]

Note: Since the player break ran for just under a month spanning the latter half of July and first half of August I have excluded that period from the three month span. IEM Cologne was played offline and thus results there have been weighted heavier than online results.

B Class - Ranked but not top teams

10. FaZe Clan [Twistzz, karrigan, broky, rain and olof] [NEW]

FaZe Clan CSGO
Photo courtesy of ESL

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (13th-16th) [Online] [coldzera].

Flashpoint Season 3 (13th-16th) [Online]

BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 (7th-8th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (3rd-4th)

Bo5:

Bo3: Vit (IEM Col), Heroic (IEM Col), GMB (IEM Col)

One map: G2 (FP3) [Online], Na'Vi (BLAST Spring) [Online], G2 (BLAST Spring) [Online]

After months of miserable close-but-no-cigar moments in FaZe, karrigan finally got the kind of performance he had been hoping for when the team arrived in Cologne to again put names like Twistzz and olof into LAN play. The Danish IGL showed us a vintage calling performance and managed to not only make the semi-finals, but also amass offline series wins over Vitality, Heroic and Gambit.

The latter, coupled with a big offline finish, push FaZe past teams with a more well rounded resume but not the same kind of LAN finish or as many impressive series wins.

Cologne was a thrilling hint at FaZe's potential, but EPL is online and the major could well be a different affair entirely. FaZe need some big performances soon or they can easily lose this tenuous grip on 10th.

9. Team Spirit [degster, mir, somedieyoung, magixx and chopper] [+1]

Team Spirit CSGO
Photo courtesy of Team Spirit

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (9th-12th) [Online]

Spring Sweet Spring #1 (5th-8th) [Online]

EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 (4th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (9th-12th) [Online]

StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 (3rd) [Online]

Pinnacle Cup II (1st) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (13th-16th)

Bo5:

Bo3: GMB (EPIC) [Online], Na'Vi (EPIC) [Online], VP (Star RMR) [Online]

One map: GMB (Pinn) [Online], G2 (BLAST Show) [Online], VP (EPIC) [Online], VP (IEM Sum) [Online], Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], Vit (IEM Col), Heroic (IEM Col)

IEM Summer was put in the rear view as Spirit finished third at the CIS RMR, above VP. They won the tier 2/3 Pinnacle Cup II and in Cologne managed to make the main event before being eliminated.

Spirit are a strange team to watch and rank. Masters of dust2, despite being so much shakier on seemingly any other match, they have a shot at an upset against a number of the world's best teams. Their impressive firepower has seem them beating the likes of Gambit, Na'Vi and VP in Bo3 series this year. They also have a pretty large resume of single map wins against ranked opponents.

Spirit's potential is tough to sniff out, but for now they remain a dangerous team with upset potential against more opponents than you might initially imagine.

8. Vitality [ZywOo, shox, misutaaa, apEX and Kyojin] [NEW]

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (7th-8th) [Online]

Flashpoint Season 3 (7th-8th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (3rd-4th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (9th-12th)

Bo5:

Bo3: BIG (DH Spring) [Online], GMB (IEM Sum) [Online], VP (IEM Sum) [Online]

One map: Na'Vi (IEM Col)

With ZywOo, by his standards, having some off games and the shuffle of a new name entering the team, few knew what to expect of Vitality. They had been one of 2020's elite teams but one of 2021's also rans. IEM Summer became to close the gap between the two runs, with a top four finish and wins over Gambit and VP in Bo3 series showing Vitality had life once more.

In Cologne they couldn't truly make an impact, but the overall placings and resume of wins is enough to again make Vitality a top 10 ranked team, for now at least. I suspect they will again enter the A Class of teams if they can continue recent form.

A Class - Top teams, but not championship favorites

7. Heroic [stavn, TeSeS, cadiaN, sjuush and refrezh] [-5]

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (3rd-4th) [Online]

Flashpoint Season 3 (4th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (9th-12th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (7th-8th)

Bo5:

Bo3: BIG (DH Spring) [Online], Ast (DH Spring) [Online], coL (FP3) [Online], Ast (FP3) [Online]

One map: Na'Vi (DH Spring) [Online], G2 (FP3) [Online]

Heroic dropping five spots down to seventh says it all about their last few months. They failed to make the BLAST finals and only managed a 9th-12th finish at IEM Summer. They did put in a solid performance in Cologne, but still remained far from the elite side that were contending with Gambit for the top spot earlier in the year and looked capable of beating any team in the game.

Heroic will need to do some good work in the coming months as they look to lose their two best finishes and will be relying on a Cologne run that was decent but not much more. They were once an S Class team, but now they find themselves quite clearly a step behind that kind of form.

6. Astralis [dupreeh, Magisk, gla1ve, Xyp9x and Bubzkji] [+1]

Astralis CSGO
Photo courtesy of ESL

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (5th-6th) [Online]

Flashpoint Season 3 (5th-6th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (9th-12th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (3rd-4th)

Bo5:

Bo3: coL (DH Spring) [Online], Heroic (IEM Col), VP (IEM Col)

One map: G2 (DH Spring) [Online], Na'Vi (IEM Col), G2 (IEM Col)

After a poor 9th-12th run at IEM Summer it seemed time to write Astralis off being a relevant top team entirely. That is until offline play returned. gla1ve put on a masterclass of calling and Astralis showed they had a little magic still left in the bottle. Along with a top four finish, they beat teams like Heroic and VP and took Na'Vi and G2, the eventual finalists, both close to being upset too.

It's tough to know if Astralis can really produce such performances again, especially with a new and massively inexperienced player (Lucky) to be integrated into the lineup, but it is certainly compelling to see what they have left with this group.

5. Virtus.pro [YEKINDAR, buster, Jame, qikert and SANJI] [+1]

VP CSGO
Photo courtesy of ESL

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (7th-8th) [Online]

EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 (2nd) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (5th-6th) [Online]

StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 (9th-10th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (5th-6th)

Bo5:

Bo3: Spirit (EPIC) [Online], NiP (IEM Sum), NiP (IEM Col), BIG (IEM Col)

One map: GMB (EPIC) [Online], Ast (IEM Col)

A playoff appearance at both IEMs, Cologne being a LAN placing, ensures the flunk at the CIS RMR didn't crush VP's ranking. This team has proven to remain a tricky opponent for some European sides and boasts a respectable resume. Some of their players are not quite the same force in the server, but VP can boast the ability to perform online and offline.

4. Ninjas in Pyjamas [device, plopski, REZ, hampus and LNZ] [+1]

NiP CSGO
Photo courtesy of ESL

Recent form:

Flashpoint Season 3 (2nd) [Online]

BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 (4th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (7th-8th) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (9th-12th)

Bo5:

Bo3: BIG (FP3) [Online], Heroic (FP3) [Online], G2 (FP3) [Online], BIG (BLAST Spring) [Online], Heroic (IEM Sum) [Online], mouz (IEM Col)

One map: G2 (FP3) [Online] [Online], VP (IEM Sum)

NiP are far from the dangerous side they initially looked with device, who has slumped himself, and their revolving door approach to their fifth player still has yet to prove fully effective. Still, NiP managed to steal a higher spot thanks to other teams, such as Heroic, losing big results from earlier in the year.

NiP are a pretty shaky fourth place team in terms of current form and what they did in Cologne. At this point in the rankings and below had a lot of varied placings and meant a lot of nit-picking to figure out who was better. I expect NiP to drop from this placing to the bottom of the top 10 as the months go on, unless a big roster move is made. The other teams chasing them have simply looked better in the server.

Considering the teams NiP beats and loses to it makes sense they mark the cut off line before we reach the S Class teams.

S Class - Elite Teams

3. G2 Esports [NiKo, huNter-, nexa, AmaNEk and JaCkz] [+1]

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (3rd-4th) [Online]

Flashpoint Season 3 (3rd) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (3rd-4th) [Online]

BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 (3rd) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (2nd)

Bo5:

Bo3: Heroic (FP3) [Online], BIG (IEM Col), GMB (IEM Col), Ast (IEM Col)

One map: GMB (DH Spring) [Online], BIG (BLAST Spring) [Online], Na'Vi (BLAST Spring) [Online]

G2 continued to amass top four finishes online, at IEM Summer and BLAST Spring Finals, but also continue to lose to Gambit and fail to make the final of events. When we moved offline they were a beneficiary of the transition, finally scoring a series win over Gambit and making their first final with NiKo.

G2 were on the cusp of being champions previously but they firmly move into the elite category now and many will await this last period running up and into the major to determine if G2 came actually win trophies or the team still needs another roster move. They won't be overtaking Gambit or Na'Vi any time soon, but the possibility of winning events outright certainly makes G2 a more interesting affair to follow.

2. Gambit Esports [sh1r0, Ax1Le, interz, nafany and Hobbit] [-1]

Gambit CSGO
Photo courtesy of Gambit

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (2nd) [Online]

EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 (1st) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer (1st) [Online]

BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 (1st) [Online]

StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 (2nd) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (5th-6th)

Bo5: VP (EPIC) [Online]

Bo3: G2 (DH Spring) [Online], Na'Vi (DH Spring) [Online], G2 (DH Spring) [Online], Spirit (EPIC) [Online], Ast (IEM Summer) [Online], Na'Vi (BLAST Spring) [Online], Na'Vi (BLAST Spring) [Online], Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], mouz (IEM Col), NiP (IEM Col), G2 (IEM Summer) [Online]

One map: Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], Na'Vi (Star RMR) [Online], G2 (IEM Col)

When we were playing online it looked implausible to imagine Gambit losing the top spot. They too consistently beat Na'Vi, and they always beat G2. Thus, even when they lost events they seemed a lock for a top finish. Indeed, since the last edition of the rankings Gambit won IEM Summer, BLAST Spring and finished second at the Starladder CIS RMR. Unfortunately for them, failure to crack the elite placings in Cologne, at the first LAN of 2021, means they just lost their first place.

Make no mistake, Gambit are still an elite team and right now would even be a good bet to retake the lead. Their play in Cologne also showed that they may have some adaptation to make offline but their best players are already very good offline even lacking some experience.

1. Natus Vincere [s1mple, electronic, Boombl4, Perfecto and B1T] [+2]

Recent form:

DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 (1st) [Online]

EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 (5th-6th) [Online]

BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 (2nd) [Online]

StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 (1st) [Online]

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Cologne (1st)

Bo5: GMB (DH Spring) [Online], GMB (Star RMR) [Online], G2 (IEM Col)

Bo3: VP (DH Spring) [Online], FURIA (DH Spring) [Online], Heroic (DH Spring) [Online], GMB (EPIC) [Online], BIG (BLAST Spring) [Online], G2 (BLAST Spring) [Online], Vit (IEM Col), Ast (IEM Col)

One map: GMB (DH Spring) [Online], GMB (BLAST Spring) [Online], GMB (Star RMR) [Online], GMB (Star RMR) [Online]

Na'Vi missing IEM Summer looked to be a blow to their rankings chase after Gambit, as their CIS rivals won the event and continued to remain the world No. 1, but it shows how much of a tear s1mple and company have been on since then that they still managed to sneak the top spot in my rankings.

Na'Vi finished runners-up at BLAST, won the stacked CIS RMR and then impressed everyone by going offline and taking down the prestigious IEM Cologne title. Gambit has the placings to match Na'Vi and even more ranked series wins, but Na'Vi having three Bo5 ranked series wins and two over Gambit themselves, coupled with winning an offline title, tipped the balance in their favour.

Any Na'Vi fan knows it's hard to bank on consistency from the team, and Perfecto and B1T did seem to overperform individually, but who doesn't want to dream of s1mple being a part of a dominant world number one team? That the major is a few months away only makes that vision more tempting.

The rankings will return next month.