We have updated our Global Team Ranking—powered by EGB.com—for January 2016 and the new year has brought plenty of changes following several high profile events.
The first month of 2016 has brought numerous ground-shaking developments within the CS:GO scene, particularly in regards to player and team acquisitions.
On the field of battle however, the month has been marked by two high profile tournaments: the $200,000 StarSeries XIV finals in Minsk, Belarus and the $100,000 DreamHack Open stop in Leipzig, Germany.
In addition, four $50,000 Minor tournaments have brought lesser known teams offline exposure and a chance to qualify for the MLG Columbus Main qualifier in February, while online qualification battles have continued to rage this month although the usual leagues have yet to commence.
HLTV.org's rankings expert Julien "topeiko" Hottias has updated the monthly Global Rankings as a result for January 2016.
As always, the rankings are based on teams' achievements over the past year (with severe decay in points throughout each month), recent form over the last 2 months, and performance at the last ten offline events.
That ranking is itself predicated around a three-man core each team is required to have in order to retain past points earned. Online matches and tournaments are included, but with a diminishing factor which means they cannot make a big difference among the top teams, and mainly serve to put new teams on the map.
We will always have a special page where you will be able to find the latest version of our ranking (which is updated weekly during busy months).
Here is the current top 30 table as of February 1st, 2016, which goes more in-depth into the way points are distributed. We have added ten new slots to reflect the scene's growth.
Please note that the +/- gain on this table differs from our weekly rankings page, and is in relation to the ranking update of December 2015.
Top 30 Team Ranking Powered by EGB.com
As is custom, we will now discuss the recent performances of the top fifteen teams, with reference to tournament placings, statistics, and the odd humorous photo caption or two.
|Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer||24||1.17|
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson||21||1.13|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||20||1.05|
|Dennis "dennis" Edman||25||1.04|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||22||1.03|
fnatic only popped up in January to visit the frigid lands of Belarus and win first place at the StarSeries XIV finals and thereby take home a $90,000 check.
While the Swedish powerhouse lost their opener to EnVyUs with a 0-2 score and therefore had to claw their way back through an elimination match against ex-Titan/now G2 (1-2), a decider match against the Danes of ?/now Astralis (1-2), a fairly easy quarter-finals against G2/now FaZe, and a very narrow semifinals against the red-hot Luminosity team (1-2) before finally dominating Na`Vi in the grand finals.
It was a grand final in which fnatic's newest addition dennis came into his own, going 42-18 with a 1.72 rating although the tournament as a whole saw the usual figure of olofmeister step into the foreground as the team's best, scoring a +45 kdd and 1.14 rating and overall being the event's MVP.
Analysts and pundits, including the author of this article, have sometimes questioned the feasability of this lineup to live up to the achievements of the Markus "pronax" Wallsten-led fnatic of 2015, mostly due to flusha's yet developing leading abilities and a lack of concrete roles for some of the team's players on certain maps.
However, the newfangled fnatic lineup has proven that it can work, and that it can win as the Swedish team are now four for four in event attendances and first place finishes and thus they continue to roost at the top of the CS:GO competitive pyramid.
2. Natus Vincere
|Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács||24||1.16|
|Egor "flamie" Vasilyev||18||1.14|
|Denis "seized" Kostin||21||0.98|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||28||0.95|
|Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev||28||0.93|
Propelled off the back of a historic spate of first or second place finishes that may have seemed unexpected for this lineup a year ago, Natus Vincere (or Na`Vi) have displaced EnVyUs as the second best team in the world.
After late 2015 runs that included second place finishes at DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2, NaVi's January saw them finish second place behind fnatic at the StarSeries XIV finals and win DreamHack Open Leipzig outright.
GuardiaN has his eye on the prize, and the prize could fund a $10,000 Dragon Lore
Like fnatic in Minsk, Zeus and his men struggled mightily to make the grand final of StarSeries XIV, as the team were put into extremely close series against ? and the old G2, as well as losing their group winners' match to Luminosity 0-2.
The Ukrainian-Russian-Slovak team got their act together for the semifinals where they demolished EnVyUs in two maps thanks to GuardiaN and Edward but they were unable to put up a fight against fnatic in the grand final (a now recurring theme) and had to settle for second place in a stacked event. Interestingly, GuardiaN had the best statistics at the entire event with a 1.26 rating and a +75 kdd.
Despite being tested by Luminosity on two overtime maps in the grand final of DreamHack Open Leipzig, Na`Vi made knife's work of other teams at the German event and generally cruised to a first place finish with flamie delivering a MVP performance.
Na`Vi still appear prone to mid-game meltdowns and occasional deflationary pressures that see them outplayed on certain maps, however it is undeniable that this team are now firmly wedged into the elite core as they take second place on our Ranking for the first time ever.
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||20||1.11|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||24||1.09|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||22||1.00|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||21||0.99|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||21||0.93|
EnVyUs take a light tumble down from second place to third place, however they are unlike Humpty Dumpty in the nursery rhyme in that there is no evidence to suggest the team cannot be put back together again. If anything, they remain among that core of teams always contending to be in the top three.
An early January upset loss for EnVyUs was to their rivals of ? (now Astralis) in the online Red Dot Invitational finals, which were meant to be an offline event at first.
nV's sole offline event in January, the StarSeries XIV finals, was curiously something of a fortuitous attendance as the team filled in for the North American team Method, who were disintegrating and unable to attend the event themselves.
However, the Minsk attendance at first looked like it was in EnVyUs' pocket as the French team defeated both fnatic 2-0 and "?" 2-0 in the group stage to advance to the semifinals and appear poised for a gold medal if they kept up that level of play.
Unfortunately for EnVyUs, every team has a counter and the Frenchmen have struggled mightily against Na`Vi recently and it was this exact team that stopped their run short in the semifinal with a fairly solid 2-0 victory.
Losing to a strong rival brooks no disappointment however and nV still remain among the top three teams in the world. They will have a chance to build on their points this weekend at the Game Show Global eSports Cup in Lithuania.
|Nicolai "device" Reedtz||20||1.08|
|Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen||22||1.08|
|Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth||20||1.02|
|René "cajunb" Borg||26||0.99|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||25||0.96|
This Danish superteam spent the first half of the month retaining the name of questionmark or ? before they rebranded as Astralis, a new organisation using venture capital and co-owned by the players themselves.
As mentioned in the EnVyUs section, the Danes got off to a strong start in the Red Dot Invitational which they won and thus pocketed $25,000 for the road to Minsk, Belarus where the team went into a stacked Group B that included fnatic and EnVyUs.
? made quick work of the ex-Titan lineup but were then narrowly defeated by EnVyUs in the winners' match (losing the two map series 14-16 and 13-16) and then the Danes caved in the decider match against fnatic, losing 1-2 in a series where team star device faltered in particular.
Having to settle for a disappointing 5-6th place finish, ? then became known as Astralis and DreamHack Open Leipzig was the first event for the newly named and newly apparelled team.
Similar to how EnVyUs had dominated the group stage of SLTV XIV before bowing out in the semifinals, Astralis took down dignitas and mousesports (the latter in an overtime thriller) to reach the semifinals early, but they were then dismantled by the Brazilian samba train that was Luminosity across two maps and had to finish in 3-4th place (device notably had another weak series).
There is no cause to fret yet for the Danish talent, although their January could at best be described as "iffy." With the Game Show Global eSports Cup coming up this weekend, the team could gain back a lot of their diminished flair as the playing field will be relatively mild with only EnVyUs as another top five team at the event.
|Marcelo "coldzera" David||21||1.20|
|Fernando "fer" Alvarenga||24||1.14|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||24||1.13|
|Lincoln "fnx" Lau||26||1.10|
|Epitacio "TACO" de Melo||21||0.89|
The Brazilians are putting their doubters to rest and expanding the global scope of CS:GO with each tournament they attend and January saw them continue to perform extremely well: well enough to be able to climb two spots and steal fifth place away from Virtus.pro.
The Brazilians travelled far and wide to both Belarus and Germany and return back to the Western hemisphere with a 3-4th place finish at StarSeries XIV and a second place finish at DreamHack Open Leipzig under their belts. Event by event, the South American team continue to expose as shams the age-old North American excuses about travel, lack of a robust practice scene, and event fatigue by actually appearing at events and performing well.
In terms of their players, January was the month of FalleN and coldzera as both the leader and the main fragger dominated the ratings for their team and delivered numerous good performances across Luminosity's runs at both events.
There is no reason to suggest that Luminosity cannot continue their miraculous climb to the top as well, as they have defeated all of the teams above them on offline maps (and aside from fnatic, in best-of-three series as well).
|Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski||27||1.11|
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||28||1.02|
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||22||1.00|
|Paweł "byali" Bieliński||21||0.98|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas||29||0.88|
The Poles of Virtus.pro are the most struggling team in our Top 30 as they have lost the most points and fall out of the top five. Although partially the result of the team's inactivity in December and only one event attendance in January, their overall performance has no doubt dropped off in recent times as well.
NEO and his men only had to attend DreamHack Open Leipzig in January where, after a 5-16 loss to mousesports in their opener, they fell to dignitas in the Group A elimination match with a 1-2 score (which included a third map thriller on de_cbble).
While they showed signs of warming up to the usual Virtus.pro style of offline play towards the end of the series against dignitas, this warm-up came too little, too late and saw the Poles exit the tournament in a fairly humbling 7-8th place.
Any danger of falling to seventh place however is still quite remote as the difference between 6 and 7 is a fair share and would require serious performances from the teams below VP and an even stronger drop-off in February for the Poles.
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||27||1.15|
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||25||1.12|
|Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi||22||1.01|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||24||0.95|
|Adam "friberg" Friberg||24||0.94|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||19||1.05|
|Håvard "rain" Nygaard||21||1.03|
|Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad||21||0.98|
|Mikail "Maikelele" Bill||24||0.97|
|Ricardo "fox" Pacheco||29||0.95|
FaZe retain their eighth place spot, despite underdoing an organisation change that did not see the lineup itself affected. However, fairly weak performances at both StarSeries XIV and DreamHack Open Leipzig, both of which the team attended, have cost them some points.
In Minsk, FaZe (who were then still called G2) finished in 5-6th place and their sole achievement was surviving a narrow scare against Chinese team CyberZen and perhaps taking Na`Vi to a very close series where jkaem and fox performed and the rest of the team struggled.
In their matches against Luminosity (the opener) and fnatic (the quarter-finals) on the other hand, Maikelele's team were simply blown out of the water.
At DreamHack Open Leipzig, FaZe again finished in 5-6th place despite a promising opening best-of-one victory against Luminosity (16-9) that then transitioned into 0-2 losses to both Na`Vi and Luminosity to send the European superstar-mix out of the tournament.
While such finishes don't live up to the Majors semifinals finish that the core of this team achieved last year, FaZe were able to show that they can take maps off of teams ranked above them in January and thus hold steady at eighth place.
|Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye||17||1.17|
|Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke||18||1.11|
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||21||1.07|
|Jesper "TENZKI" Plougmann||21||0.98|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||21||0.89|
dignitas leapfrog four spots from 13th place in the world to ninth place, taking advantage of both a very strong 3-4th place run at DreamHack Open Leipzig and the steady decline of North American teams who did not attend international events in January.
After losing their opener in Leipzig against Astralis 9-16, dignitas took down Virtus.pro 2-1 in the group decider and mousesports 2-0 in the quarter-finals before finally succumbing to a superior Na`Vi in the semifinals. Kjaerbye, who struggled at offline events in 2015, was the second best player of the tournament with a 1.21 rating and +40 kdd, a true breakout performance for the 17-year-old.
With successful qualification bids for the Game Show Global eSports Cup and the ESL Expo in Barcelona, as well as plans to attend the MLG Columbus Main qualifier, February could see this team rise even further in the rankings.
|Nikola "NiKo" Kovač||18||1.19|
|Chris "chrisJ" de Jong||25||1.04|
|Timo "Spiidi" Richter||20||1.00|
|Johannes "nex" Maget||23||0.98|
|Denis "denis" Howell||21||0.93|
mousesports move up a spot in our ranking and breach the top ten, part of a larger effort that sees European teams force out the two North American teams who were situated in the top ten last month: Liquid and Cloud9.
Attending DreamHack Open Leipzig as the German invite team, mousesports lived up to the burden of being hometown favourites with a stunning 16-5 demolition of Virtus.pro in the team's opener.
The German team then gave Astralis a scare by sending them into overtime before ultimately losing 19-22, and then they ultimately fell short in the quarter-finals against dignitas to lose 0-2 and bow out in 5-6th place.
The team showed glimmers of potential however, reminiscent of their strong run during the CEVO Season 8 finals, and appear poised to continue to move up in the list.
|Richard "shox" Papillon||23||1.04|
|Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom||21||1.04|
|Cédric "RpK" Guipouy||26||0.94|
|Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux||27||0.93|
|Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans||25||0.82|
Officially G2 Esports as of today, the ex-Titan team only attended the StarSeries XIV finals in January where they lost games to ? and fnatic (taking one map off the latter team) to finish in 7-8th place at the event.
Considering how heavily stacked Group B was in Minsk, the result was expected and a map taken off the world's best team plus a successful Game Show qualification bid that saw them take down NiP have together given the new G2 team a slight nudge up in the rankings, moving them from 12th to 11th place.
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||21||1.13|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||22||1.09|
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.04|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||25||1.03|
|Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir||23||0.96|
Signing the upcoming and yet unproven talent of Stewie2K at the beginning of January, Cloud9 were busy moving into a new team house in the California area and meshing as a team and played zero maps in January. As a result, point decay sees them drop three spots to 12th place.
With an upcoming attendance this weekend at the Game Show Global eSports Cup, the North American team will have a chance to salvage some of these points in a group stage that includes Astralis, Method, and G2.
|Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev||18||1.31|
|Nick "nitr0" Cannella||20||1.12|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin||25||1.06|
|Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski||18||1.03|
|Eric "adreN" Hoag||25||0.98|
Very similar to Cloud9, Liquid have signed a new fifth in Ukrainian prodigy s1mple and spent the month meshing as a team and preparing to bring s1mple over Stateside to play in North America. As a result of zero games in January, they suffer point decay and drop three spots.
Unlike Cloud9 however, Liquid will not attend the Game Show finals in Lithuania and thus will have to wait quite awhile longer (the MLG Columbus Main qualifier at the end of February) to recover those lost points.
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||24||1.11|
|Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk||22||1.03|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||27||1.01|
|Oleksandr "Shara" Hordieyev||23||0.98|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||29||0.88|
markeloff's FlipSid3 move up three spots with a rather humorous three point gain, which is more indicative of several teams below them sinking into the abyss (such as Renegades and CLG).
The Ukrainian-Russian team added Shara to their lineup in December and only played in the DreamHack Leipzig closed qualifiers online, where they defeated Aleksi "allu" Jalli's ENCE but narrowly lost to SK in the qualification match for the offline event.
|Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan||22||1.12|
|Keith "NAF" Markovic||18||1.10|
|Will "RUSH" Wierzba||21||1.07|
|Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz||21||0.98|
|Damian "daps" Steele||22||0.89|
Despite losing a light amount of points, OpTic gain one spot in the ranking and sneak into our top 15. The Canadian-American team won the ELEAGUE Road to Vegas over CSGOLounge (a minor and notable offline feat) but at the actual Americas Minor they fell flat against SPLYCE in the semifinal.
To make matters worse, OpTic lost to Winterfox 1-2 in the Last Chance NA qualifiers for the MLG Columbus Main qualifier and thus have no chance to attend the first Major of 2016.
We have also updated our graph showing the evolution of teams' points throughout 2015 and into 2016.
You can also see which teams round up the Top 20 over at our dedicated Team ranking page and we continue to expand and improve the list over time.
February 2016 will see several large events take place such as the upcoming $200,000 Game Show Global eSports Cup and the ~$81,000 ESL Expo in Barcelona, in addition to a few smaller events that will likely be limited to European teams.
Most importantly, the end of the month will see the MLG Columbus Main qualifier transpire to determine the Eight 'Challengers' who will meet the 'Legends' in the Major and this event will likely have a massive impact on future Rankings for teams that succeed.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter