As IEM Beijing wraps up and DreamHack Open Winter approaches, CSGO’s rankings are seeing an impressive shakeup among the sport’s top teams.
Astralis retained its top spot, but the Danish superteam slipped slightly in WIN’s rankings thanks to several key defeats. Losses to G2 Esports, Heroic, and Vitality had have eroded what was once a dominant position on the rankings, and those losses also had an effect on the teams that managed to take down CSGO’s number one team. The rankings welcomes two new teams with Heroic and OG entering the top five. While OG’s promotion might raise eyebrows considering its recent record, there’s more going on behind the scenes.
OG hasn’t blown away the competition, but WIN’s model shows an overall increase in the team’s level of play. Its losses were tough, but just like CSGO’s loading screens say, “sometimes your opponent is just having a good day.” A solid case can be made to categorize OG’s in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen as one of the top in-game leaders in CSGO, and while OG’s record may not reflect it, the team is on an upward trajectory.
Heroic’s efforts over the past several weeks have paid dividends as well. After falling to number seven in the previous rankings, the team’s recent performances have made a case that the team’s current run isn’t just a one-off. Consistent improvement and wins against higher-ranked opponents has boosted the team’s position. The team has always felt like an afterthought in CSGO’s top tiers, but Casper “cadiaN” Møller is finally in a spot where he has the players around him to execute his vision.
G2 Esports finds itself in a tricky spot when it comes to maintaining top-10 status, even with the addition of ex-FaZe Clan star Nikola “NiKo” Kovač. The uncertainty introduced when a team loses a proven player like François “AmaNEk” Delaunay shows up in the rankings until teams can prove that a new addition will mesh with the team, and that’s what’s going on here. Fans shouldn’t worry, though. Early results show that NiKo is still the same player he’s always been, but G2 is a different team with him. Given some time to adjust to the new roster, G2 should be near the top in short order.