Team Ranking: February 2016
We have updated our Global Team Ranking—powered by EGB.com—for February 2016 and the highest echelon continues to hold steady ahead of the busy month of March.
February 2016 was the month when the much discussed lineup shakeups and latent rivalries of Europe and North America finally had a chance to play out on a larger arena, especially for the latter region.
We ultimately saw seven events transpire in the shortest month of the year: the Game Show Global eSports Cup, Assembly Winter 2016, Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals, ESL Expo Barcelona, Nordic Masters Season 2 finals, the Pantamera Challenge, and the MLG Columbus Main Qualifier.
The three most high profile of these, the GEC Cup, ESL Barcelona, and the MLG Main Qualifier, featured the highest density of teams that can be found among our top twenty and thus had the highest impact.
We should also mention that we have been busy coding and working on an entirely new ranking system, as Julien "topeiko" Hottias has stepped down from HLTV.org. The new system uses similar principles, but also will eventually include all teams listed on our site and also makes use of new math and coefficients for each subranking.
The victory in Barcelona continues to keep an untouchable nimbus around fnatic
The principles do remain the same however so 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 offline events in the last 3 months.
Each team is required to have a three-man core in order to retain their points and online results are included but have minimal effect (only affecting 'Form') at the top of the table 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.
Here is the current top 30 table as of March 1st, 2016, which goes more in-depth into the way points are distributed. You can see the lineup for each team by hovering over their name in the table.
Please note that the +/- gain on this table differs from our weekly rankings page, and is in relation to the ranking update of January 2016.
Top 30 Team Ranking Powered by EGB.com
*Hover over each team name for the full lineup.
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||1.14|
|Dennis "dennis" Edman||25||1.08|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||21||1.06|
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson||21||1.06|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||22||1.05|
All fnatic have done this month is hold a 7-1 record in ESL Pro League Season 3, demolish Astralis 3-0 in the Aftonbladet Fight Night #3, and win the ESL Expo in Barcelona, pocketing ~$34,800 in cash. Considering that is the sum of their match activity for the month, that is a pretty dominant record.
In Barcelona, fnatic was at times tested in close games against EnVyUs, gBots, and finally Astralis (the final two matches went 16-14 and 16-13), but time and time again the Swedish superteam have prevailed.
A memento mori for rival teams is elusively photographed
In some ways, the new era of fnatic's dominance is qualitatively more impressive than the NiP run of yore. Whereas back then saw most teams simply a league behind the Ninjas in terms of overall cohesion, firepower, and skill, today fnatic is grinding out event wins and victories via the battle-tested and serrated edges of their own battleaxes. Despite setbacks at nearly each event (i.e. close games or group stage defeats), they have seemingly never faltered to win in the end.
Part of this winning formula of course rests on the hindquarters of the CS:GO stallion that is olofmeister, but lately all five of the black-and-orange appareled team have been showing up to play good Counter-Strike.
IEM Katowice will kick off tomorrow and begin the rankings countdown for the month of March, but if all things hold their current course, expect the sails of fnatic to reach the offing first.
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||20||1.12|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||24||1.07|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||21||1.00|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||23||0.99|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||21||0.92|
EnVyUs benefit from their disastrous 7-8th place run at FACEIT S3 at DreamHack Winter 2015 disappearing after a three-month drain on their ranking and also from the fact that they did compete in February unlike Na`Vi and won the Game Show Global eSports Cup.
While we actually did not weigh the results of the Game Show Cup that heavily, nV were able to score best-of-three victories over CLG, Cloud9, dignitas (in the grand final), and most importantly, Astralis, to win the event.
EnVyUs take un petit saut to second place
However, viewers did see that the team lacked some of their former superiority as they lost to dignitas 0-2 in the group stages, dropped maps to CLG both times they faced off, and dropped a map to Astralis on the Frenchmen's way to winning the event.
The change in leadership seems to not have affected Happy, who can continue to enjoy the noncommittal life of "playing scrimmy" and then lurking around the map to pick up one Deags, although apEX has also been his usual mercurial self as of late.
nV do stand tall and proud in the ESL Pro League for now (at 4-2) and they also finished in fifth place at the ESL Barcelona Expo, however to be fair the team were a victim of the strange format as they played fnatic a total of three times (and took one of those maps).
Therefore, EnVyUs have edged up to take second place and now stand ready to challenge fnatic for first, which a win in Katowice would do well to help bolster.
3. Natus Vincere
|Egor "flamie" Vasilyev||18||1.15|
|Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács||24||1.15|
|Denis "seized" Kostin||21||0.98|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||28||0.94|
|Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev||28||0.93|
Natus Vincere actually did not play in offline competitions in February and seemingly laid back to relax after a victory at the DreamHack ZOWIE Open in Leipzig towards the end of January.
Perhaps such uninhibited leisure leads to unwise gambling and a slackening of skill as Na`Vi currently stand at 4-4 in the ESL Pro League, placing the currently third best team in the world below a number of other competitors.
Like a deer in headlights, Na`Vi froze in place in February
With a heavily stacked Group A awaiting them at IEM Katowice, Zeus and crew have a chance to take down their rivals and regain second or to slip up and possibly drop down to the usual 4-5th range they were inhabiting in late 2015.
|Nicolai "device" Reedtz||20||1.14|
|Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen||22||1.10|
|Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth||20||1.01|
|René "cajunb" Borg||26||1.01|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||25||0.94|
Astralis have to swallow bitter medicine and yet again contend with a fourth place ranking, as a team once billed as possibly being the best in the world has put up middling results since rebranding into their current partial player-owned organisation.
"The players on our team whose names start with d seem to love BDSM."
At the Game Show Cup, which once again was not counted too heavily in our rankings, Astralis were definite contenders to take gold but unfortunately matched up against EnVyUs in the semifinals as the French team were unable to top their own group. A close 2-1 series followed which went nV's way and the Danes had to contend with a third place finish over CLG.
The Danes have a strong 6-2 record in the ESL Pro League, but on the other hand were absolutely bodied by fnatic in the Aftonbladet Fight Night #3. This inability to match up against their erstwhile rivals is reflected in the finish of ESL Barcelona, where the two teams were the only two remaining but Astralis lost two close matches to settle for second place at the event.
Astralis are certainly not dropping off, but rather the team have entered a holding pattern around fourth place and for now are seeking answers that will move them ahead of their other competition.
|Marcelo "coldzera" David||21||1.27|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||24||1.17|
|Lincoln "fnx" Lau||26||1.10|
|Fernando "fer" Alvarenga||24||1.10|
|Epitacio "TACO" de Melo||21||0.89|
Luminosity not only mirror Natus Vincere in always somehow being in the Eastern European team's group at big events but also in the fact that they did not attend offline events in February.
coldzera helps get that cheddar like whatever (just not in February)
The Brazilian team hold a healthy 4-0 record in the ESL Pro League and they have also been spotted bootcamping well in advance of IEM Katowice, so all signs point to yet another strong performance this weekend from FalleN & crew.
For now however, they rest easy in the fifth place berth: a Brazilian team who dared to dream big and who now sit over legendary European figureheads such as NiP and Virtus.pro.
|Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye||17||1.17|
|Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke||18||1.13|
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||21||1.06|
|Jesper "TENZKI" Plougmann||21||0.95|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||21||0.92|
dignitas are the hottest prospect of 2016 so far, at least for teams above the top five.
Following a strong performance in Leipzig, the Danish-Norwegian team entered February with a performance at the Game Show Cup that saw them finish second, entirely new ground for MSL and crew.
The failure to qualify for the Major ended the month with a bitter aftertaste for dig
The high tide of this achievement was defeating a floundering EnVyUs 2-0 in the group stage, as CLG proved to be easy fare in the semifinal, and dignitas then could not handle the French giants in the grand final.
In ESL Barcelona, dignitas finished a decent fourth place, however it cannot be stated enough that the flippant format of that event writes down the maturity of the results in Spain.
Finally, the MLG Main Qualifier brought tragedy as dignitas entered the event as the highest ranked team attending and yet fell flat against both Renegades and Cloud9 to exit the tournament early and thus hold no chance of attending the Major.
Without slots at IEM Katowice or MLG Columbus therefore, dignitas are in serious danger of losing this distinction as sixth best team in the world come the end of March.
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||28||1.00|
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||22||0.87|
|Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski||27||0.86|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas||29||0.84|
|Paweł "byali" Bieliński||21||0.81|
dignitas moved up a slot over Virtus.pro, however this fact was more due to the Poles' horrendous form as of late as well as their last best result (a 3-4th finish at FACEIT Stage 3) falling out of the calculation.
Thought you'd never see this guy go 3-20 at an offline game? Think again.
Virtus.pro did not attend an offline event in February but the team's 1-11 record in the ESL Pro League is so beyond bad, it is egregiously awful. Such records normally summon to mind the likes of SKDC and PENTA in Pro League results, not a team who managed to win numerous events in 2015 and always challenged the top teams.
All eyes will be on Virtus.pro at IEM Katowice, to see whether the team have simply thrown in the towel on their Pro League qualification chances, or are disintegrating as a whole.
|Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom||21||1.06|
|Richard "shox" Papillon||23||1.05|
|Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux||27||1.00|
|Cédric "RpK" Guipouy||26||0.96|
|Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans||25||0.90|
The G2 organisation aptly signed ex-Titan on February 1st and the French-Belgian team then travelled to Vilnius where they finished 5-6th place (defeating Cloud9 twice, losing to Astralis in a close series, and then losing to CLG in the quarter-finals).
Such results were hardly stellar but they were a step up in form compared to Ex6TenZ & co.'s ennui in January, where they were smashed at StarSeries XIV with a 7-8th place finish (admittedly in a tough group).
In Barcelona meanwhile, G2 finished third place partially thanks to an "Alliance" system that saw them throw fellow Frenchmen of nV under the bus with a further notable result being a best-of-one defeat of Astralis.
G2 qualified for the Major with two close best-of-one games
Part of the team's climb is of course attributable to the fall of fairly inactive lineups such as FaZe and NiP, however G2 solidified their upward growth in the final weekend of February at the MLG Main Qualifier with victories over Tempo Storm and FlipSid3, putting a rowdy young upstart in their place and dispatching a consistently top 15 team, in other words.
It is hard to say if G2 can keep up this trend of growth and they will not be playing at this weekend's IEM Katowice. However, the team are into the Major unlike dignitas (who sit two spots above them) and have a whole month to prepare and try and do damage.
|Nikola "NiKo" Kovač||19||1.23|
|Johannes "nex" Maget||23||1.06|
|Chris "chrisJ" de Jong||25||1.02|
|Denis "denis" Howell||21||1.00|
|Timo "Spiidi" Richter||20||0.94|
A team mainly composed of Germans led by a nineteen-year-old Bosnian superstar who calls in English sounds like a recipe for disaster and yet it has somehow worked so far.
NiKo and his team had two event highlights in February: they won the Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals which had mostly tier two teams in attendance aside from mouz and they managed to qualify for MLG Columbus in two best-of-ones by taking down YP and HellRaisers, with the latter game getting close.
The big German teddy bear was a huge factor at the MLG Qualifier
mousesports have not fared well in the ESL Pro League so far as they sit at 1-3 but the team are among the many in the top fifteen who will also be competing this weekend at IEM Katowice.
|Håvard "rain" Nygaard||21||1.01|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||19||1.00|
|Mikail "Maikelele" Bill||24||0.98|
|Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad||22||0.94|
|Ricardo "fox" Pacheco||29||0.89|
All FaZe have done in February is win two online games against Virtus.pro, but then again who hasn't.
The pan-European team will debut in the relatively easier Group B this weekend at IEM Katowice and the world will get to inspect how the team have developed since they were last seen at DreamHack Leipzig finishing in 5-6th place.
For now, point decay has moved them down two spots.
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||25||1.26|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||27||1.13|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||25||0.98|
|Adam "friberg" Friberg||24||0.96|
|Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi||22||0.90|
NiP have taken a nosedive due to an increasing period of inactivity, although their past achievements in the last 12 months continue to prop them up above the drowning point.
The Swedish team, with their newfound addition pyth, hold a pretty solid 5-1 record in the ESL Pro League, but their real test will come this weekend where they are drawn in a stacked Group A at IEM Katowice.
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||21||1.10|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||22||1.03|
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.01|
|Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir||23||0.97|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||25||0.89|
The world saw Cloud9 with Stewie2K debut at an offline event in early February via the Game Show Global eSports Cup, and the world was generally disappointed. The team finished in 5-6th place, losing to G2 twice and only defeating the paltry Russian team Method (who were using stand-ins).
Stewie2k looked more comfortable in his play by the month's end
The team were further shamed by failing to qualify for IEM Katowice or DreamHack Masters Malmö, both times losing to Tempo Storm of Brazil as well as losing a final decider for the latter event to rivals CLG.
Skadoodle and his team hold their 12th place form however, as they went into the MLG Main Qualifier and following an early loss to Gambit, managed to take down favourites dignitas in a best-of-one and then survive a best-of-three battle against Renegades.
|Tarik "tarik" Celik||20||1.08|
|Josh "jdm64" Marzano||25||1.07|
|Stephen "reltuC" Cutler||27||1.01|
|James "hazed" Cobb||26||0.97|
|Jacob "FugLy" Medina||21||0.91|
CLG rocket back into the top 15 after a strong showing at the Game Show Cup and a successful qualification bid for the Major alongside their fellow North American brethren.
The team have clearly benefitted from the leading of Faruk "pita" Pita as well as the growing form of both jdm64 and tarik, with the former playing well in Vilnius and the latter on point in Columbus.
reltuC has also been developing into that rarest of players in North America: a formidable support. A successful qualification bid for DreamHack Masters Malmö didn't hurt either and thus CLG have enjoyed a three spot growth.
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||24||1.10|
|Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk||22||1.02|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||28||1.00|
|Oleksandr "Shara" Hordieyev||23||0.95|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||29||0.88|
FlipSid3 have had an off-and-on February. Not many remember them attending the Game Show Cup (they did) where they were dismantled and de_stroyed, having to contend with a 7-8th place finish.
The team reappeared in Krefeld, Germany for APM Season 2 and actually did quite well, finishing in second place after convincing victories over E-frag.net, HellRaisers, and CSGL. The fact that teammate markeloff had to leave before the grand final only further limits any damage caused from losing to mousesports in the end.
Shara stickers PogChamp
However, the Ukrainian team's greatest achievement in the month was perhaps qualifying for the next Major, as they survived a close loss to G2 in their group to play a decider match where they humiliated the rising threat of Tempo Storm. Newcomer Shara has also appeared to play strong Counter-Strike lately.
|Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev||18||1.21|
|Kenneth "koosta" Suen||19||1.18|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin||25||1.09|
|Nick "nitr0" Cannella||20||1.03|
|Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski||18||0.97|
Liquid hold onto their top fifteen spot despite nearly being supplanted by the rising fortunes of Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov's Gambit squad.
Unlike CLG and Cloud9, Liquid were not in attendance at the GEC Cup and only appeared at the end of the month to narrowly qualify for the Major, in a tournament where newest addition s1mple strongly underperformed.
The team will be forced to continue using Eric "adreN" Hoag for the time being (at the Major for example), however their fortunes should rise if they continue to play with all players not slacking (and especially when koosta begins to consistently play with the squad).
You can also see which teams round up the Top 20 over at our dedicated Team ranking page.
March 2016 begins with a massive event, the $250,000+ IEM Katowice, in which almost all of the teams in our top ten and a few beyond that will be taking part.
The month will go quiet afterwards, with only the Counter Pit Season 2 finals and Copenhagen Games taking place for second tier teams, and most teams will hibernate in anticipation of the MLG Columbus Major which will get under way on March 29.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter