We’ve updated our Global team ranking — powered by EGB.com — for December 2018.
December was far from being a normal month in terms of Counter-Strike action as it only had two Big Events due to the break during the holiday period. The first big competition was the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, where Astralis made history as they beat Liquid to secure the first Intel Grand Slam title and the $1 million cheque that came with it.
The Danish giants refused to rest on their laurels, though, and traveled to Portugal looking to end the year with another victory. At BLAST Pro Series Lisbon, Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's side topped the round-robin stage without dropping a single map before taking down Natus Vincere in a three-map final, adding another piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet.
Elsewhere, fnatic won the PLG Grand Slam, in Abu Dhabi, after beating G2 2-0 in the grand final to take home the bulk of the tournament's $100,000 prize pool. This was not the only medium-sized international event of December: Bucharest hosted an ESL Invitational, where AVANGAR reigned supreme over Vega Squadron, Mumbai had its own DreamHack tournament, where Bravado came out on top, and Dallas staged the ESEA MDL Season 29 Global Challenge, where 3DMAX were crowned champions.
Here's a summary of our ranking for new readers:
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.
Here is the current top 30 table as of January 7, 2019, which goes more in-depth into how the points are distributed – or you can check our special page, where you will be able to find the latest, weekly version of our ranking. 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 it is related to the ranking update of December 3, 2018.
Even without as many tournaments as a normal month, Decenber still saw plenty of changes in the top places, some of them motivated by roster changes. Here are some of the key takeaways from our December update:
The last eight weeks of the year were very quiet for FaZe, who could not qualify for the offline finals of either ECS or the ESL Pro League, thus missing out on a valuable opportunity to make up ground on the teams sitting above them in the ranking.
With only a handful of BLAST Pro Series Lisbon best-of-one games to show, FaZe have just five points in the "form" column, the least of any team currently in the top 30. To make matters worse, the team also lost a fair chunk of points after making a line-up change as Finn "karrigan" Andersen made way for Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev, who will be standing in for the team through the IEM Katowice Major.
However, all is not lost and there is no need for FaZe fans to panic: the team will be in action at the upcoming iBUYPOWER Masters, where they will be looking to gain some precious points to move up in the ranking, which would be a timely boost ahead of the Major.
A poor run of online form saw fnatic miss out on spots at the ECS and EPL Finals, but the Swedes still had reasons to smile at the turn of the year as they broke into the top 10 for the first time since September.
After a semi-final run at IEM Chicago, fnatic went into PLG Grand Slam as red-hot favorites, a tag they managed to live up to despite a few scares along the way. The campaign in Abu Dhabi ended a trophyless period that stretched back to the WESG World Finals and brought the team's first title since picking up Simon "twist" Eliasson and Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin.
fnatic have a busy month coming up as they will be competing at the iBUYPOWER Masters and at IEM Katowice, where they will be aiming to make the playoffs after giving a disappointing account of themselves at the previous Major, in London.
The Odense campaign saw the Australians move up to 13th in the ranking, their highest placing since June, when Noah "Nifty" Francis and Karlo "USTILO" Pivac were still on the roster. When Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai and Jay "liazz" Tregillgas were brought in, at the beginning of October, the team were at the foot of the top 30 table, but just three months later they are now very close to their historical peak position (10th).
Later this month, Renegades will be in attendance at the Asia Minor, where they will be looking to build on their recent success and claim a spot at the Major.
December saw two teams reach the top 30 for the very first time: Sharks and forZe. Both teams made deep runs at PLG Grand Slam, but the Brazilians had already given a good account of themselves at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, where they had sent North packing in a clean two-map series.
In Abu Dhabi, Sharks beat TYLOO 2-0 and took G2 all the way in the semi-finals, while the Russian side came close to eliminating eventual champions fnatic in the last-four stage after previously beating Richard "shox" Papillon's side, AVANGAR and INTZ, all in convincing fashion.
After spending the last couple of months at home, Sharks are set to return to Europe, and with no tournaments in sight, it will be almost impossible for them to retain their spot in the top 30. As for forZe, the Russian side, having failed to qualify for the CIS Minor, will have to make do with action in ESEA MDL and in the recently-announced LOOT.BET HotShot Series Season 1.