Team Ranking: March 2016
We have updated our Global Team Ranking—powered by EGB.com—for March 2016 and the winds of change have already begun to blow following Luminosity's win of the MLG Columbus Major.
Whereas the NCAA has its March Madness tournament that sees basketball teams from American universities duking it out to find a collegiate champion, CS:GO has the March Major. Our March ranking is very much influenced and dictated by the storylines and results of this Major, MLG Columbus, which marked a milestone for the game in many ways.
Aside from MLG Columbus, we also saw a fairly large event occur earlier in the month in the form of IEM Katowice and the $250,000+ event also had a definite impact on the rankings this month.
Finally, between IEM Katowice and MLG Columbus stood two tiny events: Counter Pit Season 2 finals and Copenhagen Games. Although the former featured some top ten teams, both had fairly minimal impact and mainly served to help us rank teams further down the list.
While not yet officially the world's best, Luminosity are an arm's reach away
Our team ranking is 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 April 5th, 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 February 2016.
Top 30 Team Ranking Powered by EGB.com
|7.||Ninjas in Pyjamas||111||89||35||235||+4|
*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||1.13|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||22||1.13|
|Dennis "dennis" Edman||25||1.09|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||21||1.09|
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson||21||1.04|
When fnatic walked away with the first place prize at IEM Katowice after defeating Luminosity in a 3-0 series that saw two maps go to overtime, many thought the Swedish team were perfectly poised to top off their streak of winning five events in a row with a Major gold medal at the end of the month.
Katowice was a return to pomp and circumstance for the Swedish team, with olofmeister returning in a triumph with a 1.30 rating at the event; his team did suffer a best-of-one loss to the Brazilians in the group stage and were taken to overtime numerous times but in the end fnatic were simply the most dominant outfit there.
cArn's boys could not put the cherry on top of the cake in Columbus
After trouncing FaZe in the decider match, the Swedish team went into the quarter-finals against their once-archrivals Astralis as clear favourites (flusha himself said his team only really feared the Brazilians and Ninjas in Pyjamas in our interview) and yet the Swedes were completely flattened and bowed out of the tournament in 5-8th place, an echo of their Major exit in Cluj-Napoca.
The quarter-final was notable in that not only olofmeister continued to underperform but KRIMZ (the John Little in the duo) had his worst map ever (4-19 on Cache) and it's a known fact about this team that when the former LGB duo are nowhere to be found in the server, winning chances become exponentially smaller.
Already at the event it was known that star olofmeister had a right arm injury (your writer witnessed him multiple times at the event shielding his hand inside of his pockets), but the seriousness of this injury was confirmed when the team recently dropped out of attending Malmö.
With no confirmed offline event attendance in April, fnatic look likely to relinquish their longstanding hold on first place in the coming month.
|Marcelo "coldzera" David||21||1.24|
|Fernando "fer" Alvarenga||24||1.14|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||24||1.14|
|Lincoln "fnx" Lau||26||1.08|
|Epitacio "TACO" de Melo||21||1.02|
Luminosity are the hottest property on the CS:GO market right now and their win of CS:GO's eighth Major in Columbus has rocketed them up three spots to a second place ranking.
The previous months had already seen the Brazilian team achieving numerous high placings and grand finals and this trend was continued earlier in March in Katowice where the Brazilian team played a phenomenal semifinal against Natus Vincere to make it into the grand final of the Polish event where they ultimately lost to fnatic.
In Columbus, FalleN and his men were unable to achieve revenge against the Swedes but did go through the Major with wins against MOUZ, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus.pro, Liquid, and finally Natus Vincere, the last team being their rival in the constant fight for second place.
While Fora Dilma may take some time back in Brazil, Luminosity gave their country another source of pride
However, talking about a fight for second place is outdated as we now see two definite trends taking place in the rankings. The first is an emergence of a clear elite, fnatic, Luminosity, Natus Vincere, and Astralis, with the other teams far below these titans in the ranking system.
The second phenomenon is that the second-fourth ranked teams are now within shooting distance of fnatic and none are more capable of snatching the throne than Luminosity (although all three will be in action in Malmö.
With coldzera playing like a second El Niño in 2016 and the rest of the team all stepping up to the plate when needed, you can expect the Brazilians to defend their newfound titles and prestige with equal tenacity.
3. Null element Natus Vincere
|Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács||24||1.14|
|Egor "flamie" Vasilyev||19||1.13|
|Denis "seized" Kostin||21||1.04|
|Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev||28||1.03|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||28||0.94|
Natus Vincere are not a heartbreak team, in fact the Russian-Ukrainian-Slovakian powerhouse are an extremely well-drilled and potent outfit that look nothing like the early struggles of the organisation when first entering CS:GO.
In a parallel universe with only a slightly different divergence number, we would have seen Na`Vi holding either the IEM Katowice or MLG Columbus trophy high above their heads at the time of this ranking update. Unfortunately, Sergey "starix" Ischuk's team have run into a major headache recently, namely Luminosity
seized and Zeus are spotted harvesting replacement hands for their AWPer
With an extremely grueling semifinal in Katowice and a less titillating but equally important grand final in Columbus against the Brazilians, Natus Vincere have found the one boulder that will not budge in their attempts to clinch a $250,000+ title in 2016 (their two wins this year have been under that amount).
Although Na`Vi are also in the contention for becoming the best team in the world, they may struggle in Sweden in the following weekend as star player GuardiaN is also affected by a wrist/arm injury (the nature is not exactly clear) and will have to miss the event.
On the other hand, both flamie and Edward were dominant at the Major (with 1.16 and 1.25 ratings respectively) and the team overall remain in contention for first place wherever they go and no matter how many times they may crumble on certain maps, i.e. Overpass in the grand final of the Major.
|Nicolai "device" Reedtz||20||1.17|
|Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen||23||1.11|
|René "cajunb" Borg||26||1.08|
|Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth||20||1.02|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||25||0.92|
For a time it became fashionable to talk about Astralis choking, and then it became fashionable to talk about talking about Astralis choking, and then it became fashionable to talk about how talking about Astralis choking was actually hackneyed and how the team were achieving steady results event-in and event-out.
The Danish team round out the current set of elite teams as the drop-off below them is frankly severe. And overall March was a good month for the team as they continued to throw in the kind of results that an elite team should deliver: 3-4th at IEM Katowice, 2nd at Counter Pit Season 2 finals, and 3-4th at MLG Columbus.
In Katowice, the team had a commanding group stage run and only met their match in fnatic in the semifinals and the Swedish team proved too hot to handle for all teams competing in the event that weekend.
dupreeh in silent contemplation of the Danish god of asphyxiation
The storyline from Counterpit and from the Major is different however as Natus Vincere have emerged as the new team that can dismantle the Danish dream to win a title.
Since the team were particularly styled on by Natus Vincere in the MLG Columbus semifinal, there is a sneaking suspicion here that there is a tactical or communication problem in the team that is blowing a circuit breaker just when full power is most needed. However, since we continue to see strong finishes from the team, we are going to need more data to be sure.
Astralis will also be in attendance at DreamHack Masters Malmö in about a week's time and will therefore provide us with a perfect opportunity to observe the team in another 16 team, $250,000 tournament. If they breeze through the group stages and quarter-finals, but then fall to Natus Vincere or Luminosity in the semifinals, then maybe some sort of Great Danish Choke is afoot.
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||28||0.97|
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||22||0.95|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas||29||0.89|
|Paweł "byali" Bieliński||21||0.88|
|Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski||27||0.83|
Following a prolonged online slump, Virtus.pro regain some of their lost ground and edge into fifth place due to a decent showing in March at offline events, particularly at the Major.
At IEM Katowice, the Polish team struggled to make it out of groups and were then beasted on by fnatic, showing that there was a clear difference between the Swedish team and some of their erstwhile rivals.
Papa will build you a playground where French dreams are demolished
Perhaps this close game in Croatia was an indication that the Poles had felt discounted and discredited for long enough, because this same fierceness in offline play re-emerged at the Major where Snax and his team outdueled G2 twice in the group stage (a painful loss to Na`Vi aside) and even gave Major champions Luminosity a serious run for their money in the quarter-finals.
Placing in the top eight is probably a "Mission Achieved" for TaZ & co.: they can sort out any deeper tactical or motivational issues in time for Malmö while sitting just outside of the elite. If there is ever a sweet spot for the core of this Polish team, it is in hovering at the fringe of the elite: you don't see the hungry bear coming until it has its jaws wrapped around your neck.
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||20||1.11|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||24||1.04|
|Timothée "DEVIL" Démolon||21||1.02|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||21||0.99|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||23||0.97|
It is said that the 19th century figure of the flâneur was well acquainted with the feeling of isolation, hopelessness, and anomie of his time: strolling past modernising cities with consumption-obsessed hordes, the flâneur, or "idling stroller," looked over everything with a detached and yet suffering eye.
It is possible that EnVyUs are cosplaying this semi-mythical figure with their recent trials and tribulations on the international stage.
NBK- has been called a kingmaker but building a new kingdom is another tale
The loss to NRG at the Counter Pit Season 2 finals was also fairly dicey but mainly served to show that the new addition DEVIL was yet uncomfortable with the spotlight cast on him and could not keep up with his teammates.
At MLG Columbus meanwhile, Envy became the first defending Major champion to exit in groups at the next Major, something which no team surely would like to set the "world first" distinction in. However, this time around, the French team's losses to CLG and Gambit had no clear scapegoat but were merely unprepared approaches to two team's who can easily tangle with nV's style of play.
Envy surely have learned the ways of the flâneur after dropping four spots in our ranking after sitting at second place last month; yet let us wait until after April and Malmö to decide if that month's showers may bring May flowers.
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||25||1.16|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||27||1.13|
|Adam "friberg" Friberg||24||0.99|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||25||0.98|
|Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi||22||0.94|
NiP had an offline debut with pyth in IEM Katowice and the result was as many had expected: the Swedish team finished 9-10th place with pyth underperforming in particular (some have taken to calling this phenomenon the "DEVIL effect").
Afterwards the Swedish team began to improve in their practice results according to many and they are also currently 14-2 in the ESL Pro League, virtually assuring their qualification for the finals of that league.
Imagine making the playoffs of the NBA with your coach as a stand-in
While online results certainly don't matter in the top ten of our ranking, this change was a small hint ahead of the Major of the team being quite capable of securing their 'Legends' spot again. At first however, many may have thought the feat an impossible one due to pyth's visa issues which forced the team to use coach Björn "THREAT" Pers as a stand-in.
Though GeT_RiGhT and teammates were no match for Natus Vincere in the quarter-finals, the Ninjas did the impossible with a stand-in and secured the top eight berth for the next Major. As a result of their efforts and due to team's around their range failing recently, they have risen four spots in our ranking.
|Richard "shox" Papillon||23||1.11|
|Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom||21||1.05|
|Cédric "RpK" Guipouy||26||1.01|
|Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux||27||0.98|
|Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans||25||0.96|
G2 had all of March to prepare for their one offline event: the MLG Columbus Major.
Unfortunately for the Belgian-French team, Group D was also perhaps the most challenging of the groups at the $1 million tournament and after a 16-1 demolition derby against Virtus.pro, Ex6TenZ had to take his men through the grind of first picking apart Cloud9 and then playing the Poles yet again in a decider match.
The decider match was fraught with emotion and went the long mile for both teams, some of whose very futures likely depended on the outcome, but in the end it was Virtus.pro who became Legends and left G2 in the dust.
They know me for my insta-meme mouse
G2 neither rise nor fall in our March ranking: they remain the gatekeeper for teams looking to advance upon the next echelon of CS:GO. They are a well-structured team with players such as shox and ScreaM who can pull off star-like displays of power.
Unfortunately for Ex6TenZ, especially since the veteran has recently been seen playing better Counter-Strike at offline events, he will have to wait yet another Major before trying to break the curse of not reaching top eight. Some good news for the team however is that they will now be attending Malmö in lieu of fnatic and can further attempt to reattain glory.
|Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev||18||1.20|
|Kenneth "koosta" Suen||19||1.13|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin||26||1.06|
|Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski||18||1.04|
|Nick "nitr0" Cannella||20||1.00|
However, since koosta is technically the team's official fifth player, this differential means that the team's semifinal achievement at the MLG Columbus Major (the second time a North American team has ever advanced that far in a Major) only distributes points to 4/5th of the roster. Thus they have only climbed six places in the team ranking as opposed to nine.
"Why not sixth Блять?"
It was a fairy-tale run for Liquid as well, with the North American team taking down FaZe and fnatic in the group stage to advance as first seed. In the playoffs, with easily the most support from the crowd of all teams competing (especially for the team's star s1mple), Liquid brought down countrymen CLG and nearly took the Major title away from Luminosity after taking match point on both maps.
The situation must be awkward in the Liquid camp as far the koosta/adreN matter is concerned, and like quite a few of these nascent storylines that the Major has created, we will see our answer in Malmö where Liquid will be playing with koosta.
However, those commentators who have jumped back on the GODren train should keep in mind that in the semifinals, we saw a dash of the old player who received so much criticism in the past: when the pressure was turned up to a maximum, unnecessary peeks and irregular movement returned.
|Nikola "NiKo" Kovač||19||1.22|
|Johannes "nex" Maget||23||1.06|
|Chris "chrisJ" de Jong||25||1.02|
|Timo "Spiidi" Richter||20||0.95|
|Denis "denis" Howell||21||0.90|
MOUZ drop one spot in our ranking due to the team's letdown in not being able to advance from groups at the Major.
Earlier in the month, we saw the German-Bosnian-Dutch team exit in the group stage of IEM Katowice in 7-8th place after several crushingly close games, namely an overtime loss to fnatic and a 14-16 loss to Luminosity.
"If we're talking buyouts, I plead the fifth."
The Polish event was one for the history books however as the team's Bosnian star notched up a 1.45 rating total, an astounding feat for a player on a team exiting in the group stage and marking him as the best rated player at the event.
This exact same pattern was in store for the team at MLG Columbus, where NiKo was the fourth highest rated player of the event (1.16) despite the team exiting in the group stage.
While MOUZ outgrinded FlipSid3 in the losers' match of their group (after an opening 13-16 loss to Luminosity), it was really in the decider match where the team came apart at the seams and lost to a Ninjas in Pyjamas lineup using a stand-in.
Luckily for the team, one good placing could move them up quite a few places as the 5-15 range has become quite narrow and Malmö could be the place to do so if NiKo keeps up his current performance.
|Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke||18||1.11|
|Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye||17||1.11|
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||22||1.06|
|Jesper "TENZKI" Plougmann||21||0.97|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||21||0.92|
The only offline event that Dignitas attended in March was Copenhagen Games and even there the Danish-Norwegian team failed to win and in fact finished in 5-8th place after losing to E-frag.net in the quarter-finals.
A team whose January and February results had marked them as hovering between the sixth-eighth best in the world range thus find themselves falling faster than an anvil in a plummet which began as soon as the team failed to qualify for the Major at the end of February.
We will get to see MSL and his team in action at DreamHack Malmö: should the team bomb out early there, it could be the straw that broke the camel's back.
|Tarik "tarik" Celik||20||1.06|
|Josh "jdm64" Marzano||25||1.04|
|James "hazed" Cobb||26||0.97|
|Jacob "FugLy" Medina||21||0.94|
|Stephen "reltuC" Cutler||27||0.94|
While many surmised that a North American team would make the top eight of the Columbus Major, the guess seemed settled after Liquid managed to exit Group B in a spectacular fashion.
Few would have expected CLG to also be the little team that could and yet the American team has developed a "LAN-proven" sort of resilience that has allowed them to beat all sorts of European teams throughout this past year.
_oitering has never been cooler
In their group stage, CLG were powered by jdm64 (sixth best rated player at the Major) to a win over Envy and, following a winners' match loss to Astralis, the jdm64 & co. edged out the dark horse Gambit to reach top eight and enter the playoffs.
Although they were outgunned and outclassed by countrymen Liquid in the quarter-finals, CLG can take comfort in a berth at the next CS:GO Major and they will return to action in April in Malmö as well.
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||21||1.09|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||22||1.06|
|Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir||23||1.01|
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.00|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||25||0.94|
Of the three North American teams who always manage to compete in the Top 15 during good months and bad, it is Cloud9 who have received the short end of the stick this time around.
While you can't fault the team for a group draw that came down hardest on them of all the three NA teams, nor was it unexpected that they lost 9-16 to Natus Vincere in their opening game, it was the 3-16 loss to G2 that signalled it was back to the drawing board for n0thing & co.
The team will need to settle the issue of having a full-time coach, as opposed to Andrew "Irukandji" Timmerman who is only part-time, and they will also need to work on their map tactics overall (as a side note, Cloud9 should insta-ban Dust2 given how offline games on that map have played in the past few months).
Since they did not qualify for Malmö, it is very likely that C9 will fall outside the top 15 in a month's time.
14. Tempo Storm
|Henrique "HEN1" Teles||20||1.21|
|Ricardo "boltz" Prass||18||1.12|
|João "felps" Vasconcellos||19||1.08|
|Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles||20||0.99|
|Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves||19||0.96|
While this team has been dominating competition in ESEA Premier and other lower rung North American leagues for a long time already, it was at IEM Katowice that Tempo Storm (led by the prodigious HEN1) proved they were a world class talent.
A young champion in the making?
The team's run in Katowice included defeating Virtus.pro and Envy, playing Astralis to a fairly close map, and playing Natus Vincere in a very close quarter-final before ultimately bowing out in 5-6th place.
On one hand, this strong showing could be a kind of "Cloud 9 in Summer 2015" factor, as in when a recently reinvigorated team does well against all opponents before eventually being figured out. But on the other hand, if this team continues to have the kind of Brazilian discipline and firepower that it upholds, we could see two Brazilian teams in the top ten soon, especially since both will be playing in Malmö.
|Håvard "rain" Nygaard||21||1.04|
|Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad||22||0.96|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||19||0.94|
|Ricardo "fox" Pacheco||29||0.88|
After failing to advance out of their group at the Major, FaZe also have to contend with the fact that they have lost the brainchild behind their European roster in Mikail "Maikelele" Bill, who announced he was leaving the team over Twitter.
If Maikelele had stayed on the team, then FaZe would have fallen only three spots to rank #13, however the player's departure has accelerated the team's unraveling which only the signing of a well-meshed player and good results in April will be able to turn around.
For now though, FaZe will have to contend with being a struggling European team who can pull off the likes of a 7-8th place finish at IEM Katowice and a 9-12th finish at MLG Columbus.
You can also see which teams round up the Top 20 over at our dedicated team ranking page.
In addition, fans of any and all tournaments will be able to catch the $125,000 CEVO Gfinity Season 9 finals in London at the end of the month and the much smaller ~$9,600 AlienTech CS:GO finals in a couple of days.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter