Team ranking: January 2023
With the first month of the new year in the books, it's time to assess the world rankings.
Counter-Strike is well underway in 2023 with IEM Katowice currently ongoing, BLAST Premier Spring Groups already behind us, and a host of online events either concluded or in progress. Several teams have come out of the break swinging, namely FaZe and G2, whilst others have thoroughly underwhelmed upon their return, Cloud9 chief among them.
It's early days yet and there is still plenty of time for teams to rise and fall as the year continues, and the conclusion of IEM Katowice will certainly bring about further movement in the ranking. Nonetheless we can still get an early litmus test for how the scene is shaking out in 2023 and learn who came back from the winter break refreshed and revitalised, and who was sluggish out of the gate.
For new readers or those in need of 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, February 6 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.
Red-hot G2 take No. 1
At the very top of the Counter-Strike world, no team has started the year with the vigour and confidence to match G2. The Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen-led squad breezed through BLAST Premier Spring Groups, defeating Natus Vincere twice, and followed that up by brushing aside BIG and most impressively FaZe to make the playoffs of IEM Katowice. So dominant are G2 that they are currently on a 15-map win streak, resulting in their maxed-out form ranking.
G2 are the team to beat in CS right now, and it seems a mammoth task for any who undertake it. Nikola "NiKo" Kovač is at his peak, world-beating level, Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač are fulfilling their role as a monstrous supporting cast, but most encouraging is the fact Justin "jks" Savage is currently G2's second-best performing player in 2023.
Should G2 continue in their current vein, they may well hold on to the top spot in the world ranking for some time.
Cloud9 continue downward fall
Cloud9 finally chose to shakeup a roster that had been together since September 2020 in the off-season, swapping out Timofey "interz" Yakushin for Timur "buster" Tulepov in an attempt to return to the heights they hit in the online era. The move has yet to bear fruit as the squad exited IEM Katowice in joint-last place, despite having made it through the Play-In in relatively convincing fashion, suffering back-to-back defeats at the hands of Natus Vincere and most disappointingly IHC.
There was some doubt in the community as to the upsides of Cloud9 benching their most supportive player, even if interz was their worst performer statistically in 2022, and also doubt as to whether buster represented much of an upgrade. The early indications are that the problems that plagued Cloud9's play last year are yet to be solved, and buster's 0.85 rating so far this year does little to inspire confidence.
Cloud9 have two of the best players in the world in their lineup in the form of Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov and Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov, and plenty of improvement is needed if they are not to waste the duo's talent on another year of mediocrity.
IHC narrowly miss out on top 20
IHC burst into the average fan's consciousness last year with their back-to-back Major appearances, and since that time they have cemented themselves as the best team in the APAC region, regularly taking one of the top two placings in regional events.
This was enough to bring the team in and around the top 30 of the world ranking, but their superlative performances thus far at IEM Katowice pushed them a step further to just shy of No. 20. Victories over paiN, FURIA and Cloud9 have proven that IHC are a dangerous opponent in international LAN events, and lend credence to the idea that the Mongolian squad are the strongest team outside of the traditional 'big' regions of Europe, CIS and the Americas. What is truly staggering is that IHC's Katowice performances have been achieved with a stand-in, Baatarkhuu "Bart4k" Batbold playing in place of Bat-Enkh "kabal" Batbayar.
Aurora charge into the top 30
Viktor "Lack1" Boldyrev's Aurora squad were already on the radars of many following their qualification for the Road to Rio Europe RMR last year, but the lineup they travelled to Malta with barely lasted longer than the event itself. With a new-look roster bolstered by ex-FORZE duo Aleksandr "KENSI" Gurkin and Evgeny "Norwi" Ermolin, Aurora have gotten off to a blistering start to the year, winning CCT South Europe Series 2 and going on a 13-series win streak. Their list of victims includes the likes of Bad News Eagles and GamerLegion.
The aforementioned duo of Norwi and KENSI have provided much of the firepower fuelling this excellent run of form, but ex-VP.Prodigy AWPer Vladislav "lattykk" Vydrin has also produced some stand-out performances. Whether or not Aurora can show the same kind of potency against top-tier teams remains to be seen, but they will have the chance to answer that question as Astralis join them in the final of the ongoing CCT North Europe Series 3.