Team Ranking: March 2022
It's the first Monday of a new month, which means it's time to see the biggest moves in the ranking from the past four weeks.
March is well and truly behind us and we've seen a four-week group stage take place at ESL Pro League Season 15 in Düsseldorf, the largest event to run this month, as well as a plethora of other smaller competitions such as the Pinnacle Winter Series and Pinnacle Cup, and various BLAST Premier Showdown and RMR qualifiers.
Just like every Monday we have now released the latest ranking update, which also marks the first update of a new month, so we're here to look back at the past four weeks to pinpoint the most significant movers, up or down.
The Düsseldorf tournament naturally had the biggest effect, so it should come as no surprise to see a lot of the moves come as a result of teams' successes or failures in the group stage there. However, we're still yet to see ESL Pro League results' true impact due to the event only affecting the Form sub-ranking for now, before the playoffs conclude this week and the full placings are processed for the Achievement and Recent Events categories in time for next Monday.
For new readers or if you need a refresher, here's a summary of how the HLTV World Ranking by 1xBet works:
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, April 4, 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 March 7.
After six months, the #1 spot could be up for contention
Ever since September, Natus Vincere have had a firm grip on the No. 1 spot after claiming the Intel Grand Slam at ESL Pro League Season 14, extending their lead over Gambit, and went on a spree of several more tournament victories including PGL Major Stockholm and the BLAST Premier World Final before the year closed.
Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and company were so dominant that they capped out at 1000 points and at times more than doubled the number the second-best team was sitting on, with the largest gap they recorded being a whopping 547 points between them and Vitality at the end of November following the two teams' grand final showdown at the BLAST Premier Fall Final in Copenhagen.
But after six months of NAVI's terrifying reign, the throne could be up for contention this week. After their title-winning streak came to an end at IEM Katowice, s1mple and company are no longer capped in all categories and sit on 898 points, with FaZe and Gambit not too far behind at 698 and 656, respectively — a gap that one of the two main challengers could manage to bridge if they were to win ESL Pro League this Sunday, or at least come close.
A stroke of bad luck — or fate, call it whatever you'd like — had it so that the three teams all ended up on the same side of the bracket this week, so they'll have the chance to take out the competition for No. 1 in direct head-to-head matchups, with FaZe set to meet the Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov-led side in the round of 12 before the winner faces Natus Vincere in the quarter-finals, a match that will produce the indisputable favorite of the rest of the tournament.
NA has two teams in the top 30 again
North America has had a very limited representation in the ranking over the past few months following the shake-up that happened in the region during the last winter off-season. Liquid and Evil Geniuses dropped out altogether after changing their core lineup and, for a few weeks last month, so did the former Extra Salt core that linked up with Michael "Grim" Wince and Paytyn "junior" Johnson in Complexity; a dark time for NA as for a brief period they had zero teams in the top 30.
Although the new Evil Geniuses have little to show for their efforts so far, still stuck outside of the ranking's front page after a winless ESL Pro League appearance, the other two biggest teams in North America are now #21 and #25 and showing signs of promise going into the future.
Albeit unsuccessful in the end, Complexity managed to hang with some of the best teams in Düsseldorf, playing several close maps against Natus Vincere and Heroic and taking Astralis to their limit in the group they shared with EG. The week before that, although far from convincing in a group that was largely viewed as the weakest, Liquid advanced to the playoffs, where they will first face off against Heroic on Wednesday. Perhaps it's too early to say North America is healing, but at least it's a start.
Vitality are about to slip out of the top 10
After starting the year still fresh off a peak the previous roster reached at the end of 2021, Vitality have slowly been taking on water after bringing in their new players and coach in former Astralis trio Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, Emil "Magisk" Reif, and Danny "zonic" Sørensen in time for 2022.
A successful BLAST group stage has so far been the only positive takeaway for the new French-Danish combination, as amid some map pool issues and Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut looking quite far off his game, Vitality went out of IEM Katowice in 9th-12th place — admittedly facing a tough draw in Heroic and Gambit — and things didn't look great for them in March, either.
Beating only Sprout before being ousted at ESL Pro League due to losses to ENCE, FURIA, and FaZe, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire's team suffered another early exit in 13th-16th place, and after returning from Düsseldorf they went on to lose to SKADE at Pinnacle Cup III, an event in which they were hoping to get a few more reps in official matches and gain some much-needed confidence.
Vitality are now sitting in eighth place and are likely going to drop out of the top 10 next week given that four out of the five teams directly below them (Astralis, ENCE, FURIA, and Entropiq) are about to compete in the playoffs of a big event in Germany. Should that happen, it would mark the first time the French organization has sunk below that threshold since June last year.
ENCE and Movistar Riders soar after impressive EPL runs
On a more positive note, two of the biggest risers of the month are ENCE and Movistar Riders, who have enjoyed great success at ESL Pro League Season 15 so far as they made playoffs in Düsseldorf on the back of impressive showings.
The Spaniards' performance in particular came as a complete shock, with the team around Alejandro "alex" Masanet going undefeated in a group that featured the world's #3 squad playing the event under the neutral Players banner, Liquid, and BIG — far more experienced teams at this level of competition when compared to the rather green Movistar Riders. It marked a big resurgence from the Spanish side, who disappeared from tier one play for months following their PGL Major Stockholm showing and did not look competitive whatsoever at the IEM Katowice Play-in stage.
Over in Group B, ENCE have put up their best result so far with their newest addition Pavle "Maden" Bošković after going 4-1 in the round robin, which included wins over FaZe, Vitality, and Outsiders. Only a close loss to FURIA tarnished Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer's team's resumé, but nevertheless their campaign will continue in the playoffs, where they have a favorable draw in fnatic in the round of 12 and the Movistar Riders awaiting the winner in the quarter-finals.