NAVI on top, FaZe return to relevance in July Team Ranking
We have updated our Global Team Ranking for July 2021, the month that saw the return of tier-one Counter-Strike to LAN.
Coming on the back of IEM Cologne and in the middle of the official tournament break, this month's ranking is rather unique. Although we only witnessed about two weeks of tier-one action in July, plenty of key moves took place all over the top 30, and a couple of teams made massive strides that deserve attention.
As the biggest event of the year so far and the first to take place on LAN in nearly a year and a half, IEM Cologne far outweighed everything else that took place early in the month. The $1 million event produced staggering results, with some teams being able to surprise after capitalizing on the "LAN buff," while others fell short of the mark and couldn't replicate the form they had shown online.
The impact? A new name at the top, a legendary team's return to relevance, and a leap from Down Under.
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 August 2, 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 July 5.
NAVI steal the top spot with back-to-back titles
Natus Vincere had played second fiddle to their biggest regional rivals, Gambit, for most of 2021, but in July they finally turned things around with consecutive titles at StarLadder CIS RMR and at IEM Cologne.
The second Regional Major Ranking tournament of the year saw the two rivals clash three times in just four days, with Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev & co. still struggling to get over the line in the first two attempts before they broke the streak the third time around. A comeback from a 0-2 deficit in the title decider served as a massive confidence boost and a sign of things to come from Natus Vincere as well as from s1mple himself, who played a stellar tournament as always and hit some incredible peaks to secure the MVP medal.
The CIS squad was in action in Germany just a few days later and quelled initial signs of a slow start in their return to LAN competition, turning around map deficits against Renegades and Vitality to secure first place in their group without too many issues. Gambit didn't stand in their way in the playoffs this time, but Natus Vincere went on to brush aside FaZe, the team that had eliminated Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov's side, and clinched the second trophy of the month after a much closer repeat of the 2020 IEM Katowice final against G2.
FaZe come back from the dead
FaZe's form ahead of IEM Cologne was worrying, to say the least. The team had struggled to a degree far beyond anyone's imagination following the exciting signings of Finn "karrigan" Andersen and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, sporting a measly 40% win rate three months after the organization made the two blockbuster additions. They seemed to have no answer to their problems, and things didn't improve once Marcelo "coldzera" David decided to step down from the team, either — at least not at first.
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer returned to FaZe once again in a move that had many wondering how long it would last this time, following another lengthy break that looked like it could have meant the Swede's retirement. Often referred to as the glue of the team, he wasn't able to make the European mixture stick and give them the final push they needed to convert some tight series into wins online, but everything changed once they arrived on LAN at IEM Cologne.
Close losses turned into close victories as FaZe passed the Play-in with flying colors and went on to display unbelievable resilience at the main event. karrigan's squad were sent to the lower bracket immediately after a close loss to Astralis and came back from the brink of elimination, beating Spirit, Vitality, and Heroic in consecutive series to make it to the playoffs.
The run had already been a massive achievement for the team ranked second-lowest at the beginning of the staple competition, and FaZe went one step further in a thrilling series against the world's No.1 side, Gambit. The quarter-final affair seemed a done deal when the Russian side were up 11-1 on the series opener, Ancient, but a stunning effort on the CT side saw the karrigan-led side turn it around against all odds and clinch the series 2-1, in the end. Even though Natus Vincere went on to demolish them in the semi-finals, FaZe had done enough to make the record climb of the month, from 36th to sixth place.
mouz out of top 10 after missed opportunities
It was far from as impressive a story for mousesports, who were in quite the opposite situation to FaZe after having won Flashpoint 3 at the end of May. Christopher "dexter" Nong's squad had dealt with issues of their own after karrigan's departure, with the Australian in-game leader taking some time to adapt to the new scenery, but the sheer dominance the European side displayed out of the blue at the first Regional Major Ranking filled their fans with hope of mousesports' return to the top.
But that didn't happen. Albeit competitive, the team couldn't replicate the same destructive individual form from Flashpoint and came away with last place at IEM Cologne, earning their only two wins in the Play-in against the North American teams, Bad News Bears and Evil Geniuses. Instead of grasping the chance to build on their previous success, mousesports will be haunted by missed opportunities in both of their series in the main event against Gambit and Liquid, where they had 12-6 and 11-5 leads on the deciders.
Renegades seize the challenge
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out at the start of 2020, every CS:GO team had their plans disrupted, but few were as derailed as Renegades. Just when they were looking like a stable top-30 team, the global health situation forced them to return home and miss out on chances to fully establish themselves among the best.
As top teams in Europe and North America took to online play, Renegades were limited to competing locally, dominating their local scene with nine straight tournament wins. That wasn't enough to stop them from tumbling down the rankings, and failing to impress at their first international events in 2021 didn't help either. The Aussies got the chance to compete at the IEM Katowice Play-In and ESL Pro League Season 13 as measures loosened up in March-April, but didn't leave a strong impression in their initial outings without in-game leader dexter.
In July, Renegades finally returned to where they were a year ago — the top 30. Joshua "INS" Potter took the reins of the squad, Alistair "aliStair" Johnston swapped over to the AWP role, and the team made the most out of their latest trip to Europe. Playing on LAN, they managed to claw their way through the IEM Cologne Play-In, edging past MIBR and sending OG packing in a shocking upset victory. Making it to the main event and taking a map off eventual winners Natus Vincere shows that despite all the difficulties Renegades faced over the last 16 months, the scrappy Australian underdogs shouldn't be written off.
Zvonimir "Professeur" Burazin contributed to this story