Team Ranking: August 2019 and EPC winner
We have updated our global team ranking—powered by EGB.com—for August 2019, and announced the winner of this month's EPC Shooting Stars prize.
August is the slowest month on the calendar in Counter-Strike, marked by all top teams taking a break during the summer. Late in the month, the Major marked the beginning of the second tournament season of the year with the New Challengers Stage and New Legends Stage having already been played out and only eight teams left in contention. The first part of the Major, the New Challengers Stage, has been counted fully in the ranking update, but only the "form" subsection has been affected by the New Legends Stage as the ranking won't fully reflect what happened during the last two stages of the event until everything is said and done in Berlin.
The other major disruptor in the ranking has been the market movement that comes after the first half of the year, although with the Major currently still underway many teams will be making changes after a champion has been crowned at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, on Sunday.
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.
Below is the current top 30 table as of September 2, 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 August 5.
Liquid and Vitality remain on top
Liquid and Vitality still hold on to the No.1 and No.2 positions, respectively, despite shaky starts at the Major. The North American side, who posted one of the most impressive runs in Counter-Strike history last season by finishing first or second at all of the LAN events they played with the exception of the IEM Katowice Major, where they went out to ENCE in the quarter-finals, are still miles ahead in the rankings. They are followed by one of the biggest breakout teams from last season, Vitality, who have been holding that spot since June and have been playing at the Major since the New Challengers Stage.
Liquid’s return to competition after reaching the summit has been a rocky one: without the New Challengers Stage to warm up, the No.1 team in the world fell to a 1-2 record in the Swiss group stage before turning things around. Their opening victory against CR4ZY was followed by losses to NRG and AVANGAR, but series wins against North and mousesports helped them secure a spot in the playoffs. Now, Liquid will face the previous reigning team, Astralis, in a high-stakes match in the quarter-finals.
Vitality started out with a loss to Syman in the New Challengers Stage, followed by a victory over INTZ and another loss to another CIS team DreamEaters. Victories over HellRaisers and Grayhound finally put them into the New Legends Stage as the engine started to get greased, and it was quite a different affair for Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut and company from there as they went up 2-0 with victories over FaZe and North, only losing to ENCE before advancing to the playoffs with a two-map victory over mousesports.
ENCE move past Astralis ahead of roster change
ENCE returned to the spotlight shortly before the start of the Major with the announcement of Miikka "suNny" Kemppi's signing. Replacing Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen, many wondered how that would affect the Finns ahead of their run in Berlin, but so far it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. Having made the final in Katowice, ENCE went straight into the New Legends Stage unencumbered by the fact that they are just returning from the player break without any officials played in the New Challengers Stage. The Finns, who had made the IEM Chicago final before the break, went 3-0 to qualify for the Major playoffs with victories over AVANGAR, MIBR, and Vitality. ENCE still managed to overcome Astralis in the rankings despite their second-place finish at DreamHack Masters Dallas expiring this week, in part thanks to their spectacular run of form in Berlin so far.
Astralis dipped in form hard after being one of the most dominant teams in Counter-Strike history in 2018. Last season seemed to be hit-or-miss for the Danes, who looked like a shadow of their former selves, although Astralis are now looking to become the first team to three-peat at a Major and have shown up in fine form in Berlin, winning matches against DreamEaters, G2, and CR4ZY, while only giving up one series to the red-hot NRG—now in hot pursuit of the Danes with fewer than 20 points separating the two teams.
NiP, FaZe and fnatic dip in the table
NiP had a disappointing run in Berlin with Maikil "Golden" Selim standing in for Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora, going out in last place with losses to MIBR, CR4ZY and North. NiP have been falling in the rankings - partly due to losing points in their last roster change, partly due to the instability that has been created - and have gone from just outside of the top 10 in the last update, when they were 11th, to 14th. They will need to start posting good results this season with Plopski to try and get Swedish Counter-Strike back in the top 10, but who knows whether more changes are on the horizon for the team?
The other Swedish top team, fnatic, also took a dive in the rankings, going from 15th to 19th place. The renewal going on in Sweden hurt this lineup in the rankings since they cut two players after being eliminated from the Europe Minor and missed the event currently going on in Berlin. With only the core of Jesper "JW" Wecksell, Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson and Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin left, whenever the Swedes sign two new players they will be looking at a steep incline to get back to the top.
Like many teams at the Major, FaZe are caught in the middle of a whirlwind, as it is expected that the European combine will be making changes soon, something the early exit from the Berlin Major could help expedite. Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and company fell to eighth place, down from sixth last month, a bad look for the team which was exacerbated by their three straight matches lost in Berlin to Vitality, CR4ZY and Renegades following an opening victory against mousesports.
AVANGAR return to the top 20
After adding Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev in what is now a distant June, AVANGAR initially experienced growing pains, unable to fully realise the potential of the firepower-laden roster. The Kazakhstani squad was unable to showcase its capabilities online, let alone in a LAN environment, but their recent performances are a testimony to incredible growth and the establishment of a direction. Over the course of August, the team managed to qualify for the CIS Play-in for BLAST Pro Series Moscow, placed top four at the CIS Esports Pro Championships, and, most importantly, secured Legends status at the ongoing StarLadder Major.
While the progression from the New Challengers Stage could be argued to have been a given for the team, defeating the likes of Renegades, Liquid and G2 on their way to top eight of the StarLadder Major is a massive sign of improvement, considering the team's results in lower-tier tournaments mere months ago. Whether the quintet will be able to continue this performance, only time will tell, but over the course of the Major, AVANGAR have definitely exceeded all expectations, and with further development stand to continue to climb the world rankings.
CR4ZY show gradual ascent
One of the main storylines in Berlin was CR4ZY's tournament run as they advanced to the very final round of the New Legends Stage before coming up short against seasoned veterans Natus Vincere for a spot in the top eight of the Major. While Legends status was not achieved, the squad proved their capabilities and assumed their rightful place in the limelight off the back of this showing. Public attention was not the only thing the squad received as they hopped up two places in the ranking to 14th.
The structure and individual capabilities demonstrated by the CR4ZY squad in recent weeks speak to how far the team has come. From the closed qualifier for the Europe Minor to very nearly making the Legends cut, CR4ZY are well on track to evolving into a top European, under the condition they address the mistakes and shortcomings that were seen in Berlin. If these criteria are met and they manage to fend off interest from other organisations in their players, we very well may see the team creep into the top ten of our list, dethroning some of the more established names.
DreamEaters secure EPC Shooting Stars prize
DreamEaters are the most improved team of August, leaping from 39th to 20th in the world rankings. As such, the team is eligible to redeem a seven-day bootcamp for six people at the Kinguin Esports Performance Center (EPC), a premier esports bootcamp facility located in Warsaw, Poland, made possible by a partnership between HLTV.org and Kinguin.
The Russian roster demonstrated unprecedented results at the Berlin Major, surpassing both CIS rivals and international teams that were considered heavy favourites against them. This showing led to a top-16 finish for the team in not only their first Major but effectively the roster's only sixth-ever LAN performance.