Around the World in 365 Days: CS:GO Teams

New Year’s Eve is the time for reflecting on everything that happened during the year.

 

We decided to take a look back at how the top CS:GO teams performed this year. From massive lineup changes to rivalries that heated up, here’s a recap of how the world’s biggest teams did in 2018.

 

SK

 

Poor performances at the beginning of 2018, except for their win at the WESG 2017 North American Finals, forced SK to search for a solution. They were planning on replacing Ricardo “boltz” Prass and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo with a duo of strong riflers, and they were looking for options to satisfy their gargantuan appetite.

 

Na’Vi, who were struggling as well, received an offer from SK to transfer their star duo of Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev to join the Brazilians. According to rumors, SK offered $500k for s1mple, while the info about flamie’s transfer was never disclosed.

 

The deal was almost finalized, but the CIS duo decided to stay with Na’Vi. It was the most talked-about transfer of 2018 that never even happened.

 

s1mple and flamie never left their team | Credit to kanobu.ru

MIBR

 

 

In summer, the legendary Brazilian organization, MIBR, made their “back in business” announcement after six years of inactivity by signing a CS:GO roster. The line-up was revealed by the Made in Brazil founder, Paulo Velloso, at a special event, called “MIBR — O Retorno”, which took place on June 23 at the Transamérica Expo Center in São Paulo.

 

MIBR signed Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Marcelo “coldzera” David, Ricardo “boltz” Prass, and Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, whose contracts with SK Gaming were about to expire in July and never expected to be extended.

 

Shortly thereafter, Stewie2k’s former teammate from Cloud9, Tarik “tarik” Celik, joined the roster as the replacement for Ricardo “boltz” Prass. Two weeks later, they signed Janko “YNk” Paunović to coach the squad.

 

However, having two star riflers on board wasn’t enough to get the team the results it had expected. Some claim it was due to switching their language of communication from Portuguese to English.

 

One tournament, ESC Season 6, breathed some life back into the team. MIBR managed to beat Astralis in a group stage match and barely lost to the Danes in a spectacular final.

 

But that was it, and two weeks before New Year’s, MIBR announced that they were releasing Stewie2k, tarik ad YNk to reunite with Team Liquid’s Epitácio “TACO” de Melo and Wilton “zews” Prado as a coach. Stewie2k was actually included in the trade that brought zews and TACO back to the Brazilian squad. And, it’s looking like the final piece to the MIBR puzzle will be felps, as announced on HLTV.org

 

Na’Vi

 

The beginning of the year for the team was hyped up by their teamspeak on YouTube from the Boston Major, where the fans saw Na’Vi’s despair and lack of communication and teamplay. Having said that, Na’Vi did finish fourth in Boston.

 

Their results immediately after weren’t up to their high standards, like a loss in an ECS Season 5 qualifier match to Godsent. Except for their second place finish at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 5, they weren’t great. Later, Na’Vi took the gloves off and dominated, winning two premier and another important tournament in one month. The second part of the year was shaky for Natus Vincere, but they still ended the year ranked #2 in the world.

 

Virtus.pro

 

The year started with the team’s management decision to bench Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas due to the Polish team’s unsatisfactory performance at ELEAGUE Major Boston, where they lost three straight matches, only winning 16 rounds overall. The story got some added heat when Virtus.pro’s TeamSpeak from the tournament was leaked, and fans were able to see how angry and upset the team was with his performance.

 

While playing with Michał “MICHU” Müller, TaZ’s replacement for four months, Virtus.pro managed to place second twice, but that wasn’t enough to keep Snax on board. In June, he joined Mousesports and the search for his replacement commenced. In November, Paweł “byali” Bieliński announced his departure from the team. Though his replacement was found soon after, a month later Virtus.pro’s management announced that the Polish five would not be representing the organization in any more tournaments until further notice.

 

Polish squad has been there before. Will they survive once more? | Credit to: rivalry.gg

It’s hard to imagine how Filip “NEO” Kubski and Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski managed to get through this 2018 hell. Hopefully, it’s not the end of their story.

 

Gambit Esports

 

Having finished 2017 with a win at ROG Masters, Gambit Esports never found success in 2018. The year brought a lot of inconsistency. However, unlike Virtus.pro, it seems that the team’s management and coach know exactly what to work on to break into CS:GO’s elite in 2019.

 

At the beginning of the year, they benched Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov and replaced him with Denis “seized” Kostin as they were trying to acquire a new IGL. That plan didn’t work, and soon seized was removed to make way for Vega Squadron’s mir. Former FlipSide Tactics coach, Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy, took control over the team after Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov resigned from the position. The changes happened while they were sliding down HLTV’s world rankings.

 

Hobbit and AdreN followed Andi on his departure | Credit to: starladder.tv

The last third of the year brought the departure of Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov and Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev. Having taken their time, Gambit decided to sign two youngsters, Dmitry “dimasick” Matvienko from Avangar and Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov from 5balls.

 

Team Liquid

 

With Keith “NAF” Marković’s transfer from Renegades in early February, Team Liquid started performing really well, staying consistently ranked among the top 4 team in the world ever since June 2018. It was a breakthrough, considering the fact that they began their climb from 14th. But Astralis were always the ones to stop the NA team from reaching the pinnacle.

 

Team Liquid lost to Astralis six times in the latter stages of tournaments, including five times in tournament finals, with a lopsided 2–15 in total maps won and lost.

 

Though the top 4 is quite an achievement, something needed to be changed. In the middle of December, Team Liquid announced that they were swapping their coach Wilton “zews” Prado and rifler Epitácio “TACO” de Melo for MIBR’s, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, with Eric “adreN” Hoag taking up the coaching duties.

 

FaZe Clan

 

The team faced the temporary loss of Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer, due to personal reasons twice during the year for approximately three months. However, during that time they managed to win two tournaments: Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII — Sydney with Xizt and ESL One: Belo Horizonte with Cromen.

 

During the year, the team tried to change their IGL without changing their lineup. Nikola “NiKo” Kovač took over IGL duties from Finn “karrigan” Andersen at FaceIt Major London, which brought them to the play-offs after a 0:2 deficit, but however wasn’t enough to reach the tournament’s deep stage.

 

FaZe did manage to place first at EPICENTER 2018, beating Na’Vi in the finals, but that was it for their impressive results, which dropped the team out of the top 5.

 

The team’s results didn’t match their ambitions, and FaZe’s solution was benching karrigan two weeks before the New Year.

 

Astralis

 

There’s nothing much to say here. The Danes battled their way to the top of CS:GO’s Olympus and are the undisputed #1 team in the world.

 

At the beginning of the year, no one knew if the team would be able to perform at a high level with Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz’ returning. After Markus “Kjærbye” Kjærbye announced his departure to North in early February, the team was forced to rush in their search for a substitute. However, signing Emil “Magisk” Reif was a blessing in disguise.

 

The team, led by one of the best IGL aimers, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, and their coach, Danny “zonic” Sørensen, were unstoppable, winning ten of their twelve tournament finals. Their victories not only brought the trophies, but made Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen and Andreas “Xyp9x’ Højsleth the first CS:GO millionaires. Winning ESL Pro League Season 8 in December was icing on the cake. It was their fourth win out of ten qualifying tournaments organized by either ESL or DreamHack, meeting the requirements of winning the Intel Grand Slam Title and $1,000,000.

 

Astralis were unstoppable in 2018 | Credit to: intelgrandslam.eslgaming.com

*27 days after beating Astralis in Dreamhack Masters Stockholm Final and getting an MVP award for this tournament, however, due to atrocious North’s performance at FaceIT Major London

 

That’s what 2018 was for teams — saturated with tournaments, player transfers and chase for the Grand Slam Title. To find out, what 2018 was for players and tournament organizers, stay tuned to dreamteam.gg.

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