The year that will soon be behind us was extremely turbulent when it comes to CS:GO esports. Na’Vi failed to retain the throne, and neither did FaZe Clan who rose to the top after them. As the year came to an end, the question arose more and more often whether there is even one best team in the world at the moment, and when we look at the whole picture, the conclusion is clear that there is none at the moment. However, we can look at which teams have improved the most in the past 12 months, and which have regressed compared to the start of the year.
Natus Vincere held the convincing first place in the HLTV ranking on January 3, 2022 with a maximum of 1,000 points. more than double that of runner-up Gambit. It seemed as if nothing could stop the awakened beast, but just two months later, the war in Ukraine began, which continues today, and which left unfathomable consequences both on the entire planet and on the best CS:GO team in the world at that time, which at that time consisted of two players in addition to Ukraine including superstar Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and three players from Russia.
S1mple and teammates enter tournaments completely deconcentrated at the start of the year, and then there are further complications after IGL Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov was removed from the team. After that, Na’Vi did not recover until the end of the year, they managed to maintain a high position, but they did not have the strength to reassert themselves as a leading CS:GO force and end the year in sixth place.
Then the second team of the world Gambit meanwhile moved to Cloud9 as they were prevented from participating in tournaments representing an esports organization from Ukraine. Cloud9 was one of the main favorites for the title at the IEM Rio Major where they bowed out in the finals of the competition, and they end the year in ninth place and with rumors of changes in the team at the start of 2023.
Vitality and G2 Esports had a completely different turn of the year, and although it seemed that Vitality would be more successful, in the end it was G2 who managed to regain the high position by winning the last major tournament of the year, ending their four-year championship streak.
This year, G2 replaced all players except the Kovač brothers, relying on the legends of our esports scene. With the arrival of manager Petar “Pec” Marković, G2 manages to achieve its greatest success when it was least expected of them, and restore the fans’ faith in the team, which was seriously shaken after G2 did not qualify for the Major in Brazil.
With their triumph at the BLAST Premier World Finals 2022, G2 managed to climb one place and finish the year in third position, right behind the teams Heroic and Outsiders, the vice-champions and champions of the IEM Rio Major, while Vitality fell to the tenth position due to a series of insufficiently good results. although on paper this squad should be ranked much higher.
In fifth place at the beginning of the year was Heroic, one of, if not the most pleasant surprise of the year. The arrival of Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard in June revived the team that reached the finals of the IEM Rio Major, where despite being the favorite they lost in the finals to the Outsiders. Although this defeat hurt the Heroic players a lot, they didn’t fall mentally after it, but instead sighed in the best possible way and won the final of the fall BLAST tournament in Copenhagen in front of the home crowd.
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A big drop was experienced by Ninjas in Pajamas, who fell from sixth to 16th position at the end of the year. For a long time, NiP has not been able to cope with the best teams in the world, which is why they regularly miss out on a high ranking in the biggest tournaments. On the other hand, the players representing Virtus.pro, who are forced to play most of this year as Outsiders, despite the loss of the team’s main star, managed to create a sensation and win the IEM Rio Major, which allowed them to climb from seventh to second place. when we compare the beginning and end of the year.
The Outsiders did not manage to continue with a good game and are eliminated at the start of the BLAST World Finals, so if they want to maintain a high ranking next year, they will have to play much better in the following tournaments.
The great tragedy of 2022 is also Astralis, who started the year in eighth place, only to end it in 18th place, on the verge of dropping out of the top 20. Fortunately for Astralis, as partner teams of the leading competitions, they have a much easier job of collecting points, but neither it won’t mean much to them unless they find a way to play as a “real” team. Next year they will start with a new player, Christian “Buzz” Andersen, but we will not see them at IEM Katowice 2023, as they failed to secure participation in the competition.
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Brazil’s FURIA climbed two places and now occupy the eighth position, primarily thanks to their great success at the Rio Major where they managed to knock down Na’Vi and secure a top 4 ranking, while ninth-placed Entropiq no longer has its own CS:GO team.
FaZe Clan occupied the 11th position at the beginning of the year, before experiencing a dizzying rise that was crowned with the PGL Antwerp Major title, but they also experienced a drop in form in the second part of the season, falling from the first place they held to fifth position.
It should also be noted that Fnatic managed to stay on the same level, and advance by one place from 12th to 11th position, although they ended the year with three new players, and are still trying to stabilize and build synergy.
ENCE, for which Pavle “maden” Bošković performs, started the year and finished in 14th position, but it should be noted that at one point they really played as a top 5 team in the world, which briefly affected their ranking.
IEM Katowice 2023 starts on January 31 and will last until February 12, when we will see how the teams have prepared for the new year and the new challenges ahead.
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The top 10 teams in the world in the first week of 2022 on the HLTV ranking list:
4. G2 Esports
6. Ninjas in Pajamas
The top 10 teams in the world in the last week of 2022 on the HLTV ranking list:
2. Outsiders (Virtus.pro)
3. G2 Esports
4. Team Liquid
5. FaZe Member
9. Cloud9 (formerly Gambit)
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