October Team Ranking: G2 take number two spot, Copenhagen Flames enter top 10
With PGL Major Stockholm finished, our rankings have been updated to reflect results from the biggest event of the last two years.
With October coming to a close, it is time to once again bring you a monthly ranking update. This is an important one, as these rankings reflect the results of the first Major in two years, PGL Major Stockholm.
Let's take a moment to reflect on what was a fantastic celebration of Counter-Strike, and see where it has left some of the biggest movers and shakers as we enter the last couple of months of the year.
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 Monday, November 8, 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 October 4.
G2 rise to the occasion
G2 came into the month of October with everything to prove, considering the staggering drop in form the team had experienced since placing top-two at IEM Cologne just prior to the player break.
They kicked the month off in underwhelming fashion, with their playoff run at IEM Fall seeing them immediately relegated to the 5-8th decider bracket after a loss to ENCE. The European squad managed to recover with a comfortable 2-0 victory over then world #31 Fiend, but then followed this up with a disappointing loss to Movistar Riders to bow out of the event in 6th place. Importantly, though an underperformance, the result secured them a seeding directly into the Legends Stage for the upcoming Major.
This was followed by a performance at BLAST Premier Fall Showdown that could be described as lukewarm at best. The event began with G2 fumbling a map against Chinese underdogs Lynn Vision who were 112 places below them in the world rankings at the time — though they did take the series 2-1 — and finished with yet another disappointing loss, this time to a sub-top-30 MAD Lions. This earned them a 5-8th place finish.
The results were not that of a top-five team in the world, but it was not for lack of trying by their superstar player, Nikola "NiKo" Kovač. The Bosnian rifler was putting up stellar numbers and performances despite his team’s struggles, posting a 1.26 rating at IEM Fall and an event-topping 1.42 rating for BLAST Premier Fall Showdown. With the most important event of two years on the horizon, the PGL Stockholm Major, it seemed that G2 had slumped at the worst of times, and that their star player would be forced to settle for a placing that belied his individual prowess.
Once the Major arrived, G2 stepped up to the plate. They tore through the Legends Stage without dropping a single map, taking victories over young Danish upstarts Copenhagen Flames, a FaZe team on a good run of form, and Entropiq. This propelled them into the playoffs, where they continued to impress, crushing home favourites NIP 2-0 before squeaking past Heroic in a tightly contested semi-final, 2-1. This set up a meeting with the undefeated Natus Vincere, and whilst they fought hard on the second map of Nuke, it was not enough to deny Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev his date with destiny and they took home a silver medal.
With a raft of roster changes on the horizon for many other top teams, and IEM Winter and the BLAST Premier World Final still left to play in 2021, G2 will be hoping to carry the momentum from their fabulous Major run into the rest of the year and challenge Natus Vincere for that coveted top spot in the world rankings.
The Copenhagen Flames burn brighter still
The newest arrivals at the top of an already stacked Danish scene are Copenhagen Flames, and they have only continued their recent meteoric rise. The month started with something of a wobble, losing to Vitality in their opening playoff game of IEM Fall, an understandable result to be sure, but then were dispatched by Movistar Riders 2-0 in a series they will probably feel they should have done more in. They did recover to battle through two overtime maps against Fiend, taking the series 2-0 and securing 7th place and a coveted spot at the PGL Major Stockholm.
With the aforementioned Major looming over them, they dropped some series and games against lesser opposition during Elisa Invitational Fall and ESEA Premier, but once they travelled to Stockholm, we saw the Flames burning at their fullest intensity.
The Challengers Stage was the first hurdle for Copenhagen Flames and they leapt over it with aplomb, confidently brushing Astralis aside 16-6 and defeating BIG 16-11, before capping it off with the most impressive result for the team to date, besting Heroic 2-1 to advance to the Legends Stage 3-0. Not many people would have put that result in their pick’ems.
The Flames only got better as they progressed to the Legends Stage, overwhelming Evil Geniuses 16-2 and then FaZe 16-6, seemingly unstoppable as they marched towards a playoff spot at the first ever Major for every single member of the team. Unfortunately they couldn’t quite get themselves over the line, losing two close series 1-2 against first Heroic and then NIP to exit the tournament, losing the final map in a heartbreaking 17-19 overtime against the latter.
With the organisation looking to sell the line-up to someone with more resources, and a healthy mix of experience and youngsters in the team, the sky seems to be the limit for this roster as they enter the top-10 of our rankings for the very first time.
The Brazilians edge back towards their best
FURIA seemed to be on a slow but steady decline in 2021, seemingly unable to find the right fifth man for the roster as they cycled between Paytyn "junior" Johnson, then Lucas "honda" Cano, and finally the recently added André "drop" Abreu. October would be a big month for the squad, with IEM Fall NA and then the PGL Stockholm Major to play.
Their first test, IEM Fall, was passed with flying colours. They romped through the event with apparent ease, dropping not one single map as they stormed to first place, securing a Legends Stage berth for their upcoming trip to Stockholm.
For FURIA, the Major got off to a rocky start as they were bested by an understrength Astralis 10-16, but they recovered and found their feet with 16-9 wins over both MOUZ and Liquid, setting up a battle for the playoffs with surprise package Entropiq. They solifidied their status as a top-10 team by putting that series to bed 2-1, securing a top-eight placing and being the only team outside of EU or CIS to make such a deep run.
Gambit were simply too much for them in their quarter-final as they were knocked out 2-0, but it was a successful month for the Brazilian squad who cemented their status as the number one team playing in the NA region, and climbed back into the top-10 of these rankings for the first time in six months.
An honourable mention for Entropiq and Movistar Riders
These are two teams who have made huge strides in the rankings in recent months, and October was no exception. They receive an honourable mention together not just because of their similar achievements, but also the similar trajectory of their respective rises.
Both are teams who had been knocking on the door of tier-one following consistent good results in tier-two events, and had their breakout performances at IEM Fall, the CIS edition for Entropiq and the EU edition for Movistar Riders. Both had to battle through tiebreakers to make the playoffs of that event, and both had to recover from opening losses to place well in the playoffs thus securing spots at the PGL Stockholm Major.
At the Major itself their paths diverged, as Movistar Riders fought hard but were unable to make it past the Challengers Stage, whereas Entropiq shocked the world by besting Heroic 2-1 to secure a Legends Stage berth. Once in the Legends Stage Entropiq continued to impress, taking maps off Liquid and Gambit to put themselves on the brink of playoff qualification. Unfortunately they ran out of steam at this point and lost three consecutive series, to G2, FURIA and Vitality to bow out of the event in 9-11th place.
These two rosters will be hoping to continue their good form and finish the year strong, and may get the chance to face each other at V4 Future Sports Festival later in November.
There are a number of teams in this edition of the rankings update that are dropping places due to roster changes, and there are likely to be more before the year is out.
Astralis and Vitality are the two biggest names to feature in that crop of teams, the former picking up Benjamin "blameF" Bremer and Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke, whilst the latter scoop up the players and coach that Astralis let go, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, Emil "Magisk" Reif and Danny "zonic" Sørensen.
As mentioned there are more moves on the horizon, specifically for forZe and Spirit, whilst Complexity are also on the verge of a rebuild. With all of this change just around the corner, expect more shakeups in the rankings to happen before the year is out.