Team Ranking: February 2023
Last month resulted in a few significant ranking changes as G2 continues to roll the circuit without much competition.
February marked Counter-Strike's return to arenas following the winter break as IEM Katowice's playoffs brought back the action to the fan-favorite Spodek Arena. The Polish crowd witnessed G2 break their own curse at the tournament series, finally lifting the trophy after three grand final appearances in the last four years. The victory didn't just secure Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and company their ever-desired trophy, it also cemented G2's dominance over the rest of the scene with a 3-1 victory over Heroic, the only team capable of challenging the European squad.
The first LAN in the CCT's circuit also took place last month as CCT Central Europe Finals hosted eight teams on the island of Malta just a few days before the start of ESL Pro League Season 17's group stage. The qualifiers for the Paris Major RMRs were also played in February as 39 teams from Europe, the Americas, and Asia secured their presence at the Regional Major Ranking events.
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.
G2 stay on top of the world
Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen and company top the rankings for the second consecutive month after dominating the scene in February. G2's month began with their title charge at IEM Katowice, where they cruised through the group stage with victories over Natus Vincere, BIG, and FaZe on their way to the playoffs. The European squad seemed unbeatable after reaching the Spodek Arena and breezed past Liquid and Heroic with relative ease to lift the trophy in front of the Polish crowd.
G2 went undefeated throughout the whole event and extended their map winning streak to 21 in a row before it was broken by Heroic in the final. Despite this, they left Poland unbeaten in 12 matches, a record extended to 13 before being broken by Cloud9 at ESL Pro League Season 17.
The European squad have only lost one match in 2023 against the Russian squad revitalized by Timur "buster" Tulepov's arrival in January, but the loss seemed like an exception rather than the rule. G2 have been by far the most consistent force in Europe and should be expected to challenge for the EPL title despite their early setback.
Eternal Fire on the rise
Eternal Fire spent all of February ranked outside the top 30, but the last two weeks of the month saw the Turks tackle the Paris Major RMR qualifiers, CCT Central Europe Finals, and EPL S17 in rapid succession. The Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli-led squad sailed through the second RMR open qualifier unbeaten and successfully went through the closed qualifier with a 3-1 record with victories over Copenhagen Flames, HAVU, and Into the Breach.
The Turkish quintet did not slow down after their qualification run and immediately set out to complete their run at CCT Central Europe Finals in Malta, which was running alongside the RMR qualifiers. Eternal Fire defeated FORZE and HONORIS to qualify for the playoffs and made quick work of ENCE in the first knockout round before doubling up on the Europeans in the lower bracket.
They lined up in the final against Bad News Eagles, marking the third time at the event these two squads met at the event, and this time, the Turks finally came out victorious. Both teams took their respective map picks before going to Vertigo to decide the series. The Kosovars had one hand on the trophy at 15-13, but Eternal Fire found the two necessary rounds to force overtime before taking the map 19-16 in extra time. Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş and company played 28 competitive maps in just six days to qualify for the RMR and lift the organization's first-ever LAN trophy.
Eternal Fire didn't rest for long as they took on the world's best team, G2, in their opening match at ESL Pro League S17 just three days later. The match went as well for the Turkish squad as one might expect, with a 0-2 scoreline in favor of the Europeans and relegation to the lower bracket. Wins over Evil Geniuses and MIBR followed before two losses to fnatic, which saw the Turks first relegated to the lower bracket, and then eliminated from the tournament.
Despite their struggles at EPL, Eternal Fire now sit comfortably in the top 30 rankings at No. 18 — the organization's highest-ever rank and only six spots lower than the No. 12 achieved by XANTARES, MAJ3R, and Buğra "Calyx" Arkın with Space Soldiers in April 2018.
Movistar Riders back in the top 30
Movistar Riders experienced unprecedented heights last summer as they lifted the trophy from ESL Challenger Valencia and reached IEM Cologne's semi-finals. The team was powered by their AWPer Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia, who quickly gathered international attention due to his impressive performances on the server. The sniper's departure for ENCE hit the team on two fronts as they lost their talismanic star and an important secondary caller for the squad, leaving Antonio "Martinez" Martinez with big shoes to fill.
Movistar Riders took months to recover and dropped all the way to the No. 34 spot in the rankings in February and held an abysmal 2-8 map record in online competitions by the time CCT Central Europe Finals rolled around. The situation only seemed to worsen after an opening loss to ENCE, but they followed it up with an inconsequential victory over Sprout with Danny "BERRY" Krüger on the lineup before completing with an upset over Spirit shortly after. The Spaniards were eventually eliminated by ENCE, but they had shown a glimpse of what they were capable of against the Russians.
ESL Pro League S17 was next, and the Spanish squad was greeted by Heroic in their opening match. The series was a bloodbath in the Danes' favor as Movistar Riders barely claimed a total of 11 rounds across the two maps before capitulating. They quickly brushed off their first loss and lined up against Complexity in the lower bracket, sweeping the North Americans despite being ranked 21 spots below them in the HLTV ranking. Alejandro "alex" Masanet and company were brought back to reality and relegated to the Last Chance bracket by FURIA, but consecutive wins over SAW and BIG saved the Spaniards and secured their place in the first playoff round.
Sprout claim lowest rank in five months, 9INE climb the ladder
Sprout's roster instability in February affected their ranking as they experienced the temporary departure of Rasmus "Zyphon" Nordfoss and Ismail "refrezh" Ali's decision to step down from the in-game leader role and subsequent departure. They were forced to tackle CCT Central Europe Finals with BERRY on the lineup, crashing out in last place before a similarly dismal performance at ESL Challenger League Season 44. The team now sits on its lowest rank since October when the Danish core claimed the No. 31 spot after elimination from Elisa Invitational Fall.
On the other hand, the Poles from 9INE have done nothing but impress in 2023 following Olek "hades" Miskiewicz's arrival in January. The Polish quintet thrived in online tournaments last month and topped the qualifiers for IEM Rio 2023, Paris Major RMR, and the BLAST Showdown. They also took the top spot on the podium at GAM3RS_X Polish Clash and OMEN WGR Challenge to claim the organization's highest-ever rank since its formation in late 2019.