Team Ranking: April 2021
We have updated our Global team ranking for April 2021, which features a new No.1 team and plenty of changes across the top 30.
The biggest ranking changes in April were influenced by a handful of events, the most important of which being ESL Pro League Season 13. Not only was the $750,000 tournament crucial to Gambit's rise to the top and Heroic's ten-spot jump to second, but it also helped teams like ENCE and Endpoint stabilize in the top 30.
BLAST Premier Spring Showdown and FunSpark ULTI 2020 Europe Finals were surprisingly competitive — the first featuring seven top-10 teams and the latter two —, adding importance to high placings of G2 and BIG at the events.
Additionally, Elisa Invitational and the playoffs of ESEA Premier Season 36, as well as the cutthroat qualifiers for IEM Summer and Flashpoint 3, provided a lot of chances for teams in the lower part of the top 30 to prove their worth. SKADE, who reached a new peak at No. 20, are the squad that made the most of that opportunity.
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 two months, and performance in recent events in the last 3 months.
Each team is required to have a three-man core in order to retain their points. Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, online results, which previously had a minimal effect, now carry more weight as they are also included in the 'Achievements' and 'Recent Events' sub-categories.
Below is the current top 30 table as of May 3, 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 April 5.
Welcome the new No. 1, Gambit
Changes at the top have been brewing for a couple of months now following Gambit's triumphant IEM Katowice run at the end of February. Since then, Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov and company have only continued to impress as they have solidified their place as the undisputed best team in the world, all the while snatching the top spot away from none other than their biggest regional rivals, Natus Vincere.
Busy as ever, Gambit won ten out of 11 matches over four different tournaments in the past month. The beginning of April saw Gambit clinch another title in the Pinnacle Cup before they finished off their run in the ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs in second place, suffering their only loss in almost two months, to Heroic in the best-of-five title decider.
The Russian side managed to shake off the tough loss quickly and immediately returned to winning ways, beating Casper "cadiaN" Møller's squad to a spot at the BLAST Premier Spring Final in an exhilarating rematch from the Pro League grand final, and advancing to the DreamHack Masters Spring semi-finals undefeated following wins over Fiend, G2, and Natus Vincere.
Enter Heroic, the challengers to the throne
Gambit cannot afford to rest on their laurels, however, as they have their biggest rivals of the past month hot on their heels in second place. After six months of middling results, Heroic have managed to return to the top following the arrivals of their two newest members, Rasmus "sjuush" Beck and Ismail "refrezh" Ali. Johannes "b0RUP" Borup's and Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen's departures seemed like a sudden and perhaps even premature change at the time, but no one can argue with the results the moves have brought, as the new Heroic lineup has amassed a 15-1 match record (or 31-7 in maps, an 82% map win rate) in just two months.
cadiaN's men have also been the only team to be able to consistently challenge the No. 1 side lately, with the current map score between them and Gambit sitting at 4-4 following their encounters in the ESL Pro League grand final and the BLAST Premier Showdown semi-final, which has given the fans a new exciting rivalry to look forward to. Heroic might get the chance to strike back against the CIS-based team and usurp the throne as early as next week after they both came out on top of their respective groups, should the two meet once more in the DreamHack Masters Spring final.
Vitality in freefall
As foreshadowed in the ranking update article for March, Vitality's departure from the elite was just a matter of time. Not only did the French powerhouse bomb out of the group stage of ESL Pro League — the results of which only fully came into effect after the event's conclusion in April —, but they also exited the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown after one match, with a shocking loss to underdogs 9z.
Removing Cédric "RpK" Guipouy from the roster to make way for rookie Jayson "Kyojin" Nguyen Van didn't do any favors to their ranking either, as Vitality lost additional ranking points with the swap. Looking at the bright side, a 7-8th finish in the 22-year-old's debut event, DreamHack Masters Spring, was the French squad's best placing since January, giving hope that Vitality can soon put a stop to their atrocious run of form in 2021.
Getting back to the top 10 will be no easy task, though, as the gap to Complexity is significant and an abundance of teams are looking to bridge it. Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut's 1.53 rating from DreamHack Masters Spring confirms that the prodigy isn't going to fail Vitality any time soon, but is that alone going to be enough to fight off a Nicolai "device" Reedtz-powered Ninjas in Pyjamas, an ever-dangerous Spirit, and a fresh OG?
Spirit fail to hang with the big boys
The addition of Abdul "degster" Gasanov to an already exciting foundation of Spirit resulted in a spicy squad that raised eyebrows right after its debut in January. The 19-year-old AWPer seemingly provided exactly what the CIS team was missing, helping them win their first event together, DreamHack Open January Europe, and place top four in IEM Katowice 2021. But after a strong start, Spirit have failed to rise to the occasion in crucial matches, leaving their fans frustrated.
While Spirit's April was far from catastrophic, their only losses coming against top sides like G2, Gambit, and Virtus.pro, Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov and co. have failed to capitalize on their good results earlier in the year and show that they are here to stay. As an organization that isn't partnered with any of the major tournament circuits, opportunities to play premier events can be hard to come by - and Spirit will have to do better to capitalise on them in the future.
forZe and Dignitas show promise after changes
Once a mainstay in the top 30, FORZE lost their coveted spot in this group for the first time in over a year and a half in February (apart from a brief drop in late November 2020). A period of stagnancy saw them opt for roster changes — a rare sight when it comes to the Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov-led team, who for a time held the longest-standing five —, with Aleksandr "KENSI" Gurkin and Aleksandr "zorte" Zagodyrenko joining the team in lieu of Dmitriy "facecrack" Alekseyev and Bogdan "xsepower" Chernikov.
After a few weeks outside of the top, FORZE have reminded everyone that they shouldn't be forgotten amidst all the hype surrounding CIS teams with their run to third place in the FunSpark ULTI Europe Final. In the process of grabbing bronze in the $250,000 tournament , the Russian side defeated two top-ten teams — Virtus.pro and Complexity.
Dignitas have also shown sparks of life, proving that they could be more than just the borderline top-30 side that the Swedish-Norwegian squad had been since its inception. Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson's arrival has made all the difference for Dignitas, who have picked up wins against some serious competition, including the likes of Liquid and Evil Geniuses in the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown and FunSpark ULTI, reaching their highest-ever ranking at No. 23 in the process.
Milan "Striker" Švejda contributed to this story