What's up guys and gals. It's the homie Jaxon coming at you with the only team power rankings that matters: mine. I've split all 24 teams into five tiers, and my word is final. Got it? Good. Let's start by just letting you know what the tiers mean.
This is how I think of the tiers.
S Tier: High chance of winning. The best teams in the world.
A Tier: Decent chance of winning. If any of the S tier teams underperform, these are your next chance.
B Tier: Wildcards. A very small chance of winning if everything goes their way. Hipster choices to win.
C Tier: Upset teams. Can make a run with a bit of luck but very unlikely to win.
D Tier: The rest of the pack.
I will also add that this is in order - left to right - of how good these teams are.
Thank you minion Simon for doing the donkey work of uploading this. I'm far too busy.
Natus Vincere - The best team in the world with the best player in the world. The only people who disagree are hipsters and ZywOo's mom, and even then, ZywOo's mom probably wishes she gave birth to s1mple. s1mple is averaging a 1.34 rating over an entire year, and it barely drops off when playing against better teams. Since B1T's introduction, NaVi have won like 50% of the events they've entered, and have come in the top 2 at all five of the last they've entered.
They're scary, basically. It's an obvious choice, but usually the best team in the world is pretty obvious.
Gambit - Do you know who the only team to have pipped NaVi to the post in those events? Obviously, it's Gambit. This team can no longer be a surprise, and are just the second best team in the world. sh1ro is a grimy, grimy player; refusing to die, playing every situation as sweatily as possible, and reaping the rewards. However, questions arise over the team's ability to convert their online form to LAN, especially with a crowd.
Personally, I think those fears are overblown. They're still a brutal team, and with nafany at the helm this team will not panic and will continue to do what they're best at. nafany is the best IGL in the world right now hands down, and this gives Gambit a tactical edge over anyone else.
Vitality - Underestimate Vitality at your peril.
Lots of you guys will raise an eyebrow at the Frenchmen being in the top tier, but they are the team closest in level and consistency to the two best teams in the world. ZywOo is still an absolute freak (even if he's now definitively the 2nd best player in the world) and shox has quietly reverted to the player we all know he can be. The loss of RpK hasn't been felt too much, because Kyojin has slotted in like a hand to a glove.
They haven't been loud about it, but Vitality have been whirring up to a frenzy, and their crescendo might just be in ZywOo stealing the Major that s1mple wants so badly.
Does this look like the face of a man who isn't here to play? via GettyImages
Ninjas in Pyjamas - After all this time, NiP have a shot at winning a Major once again. And it's in Stockholm, too. It's almost *too* poetic.
Some might argue that NiP should be above Vitality after binning them off en route to the IEM Fall title. Those people are wrong. NiP winning an event that is a glorified qualifier is a great sign for them, but does not undo how exceptional Vitality have looked for longer. device hitting form is a worrying sign for other teams, but it was 'only' against other EU teams, and not the two best teams in the world.
That said, they're clearly the most dangerous of the A tier teams due to this. device has proven himself able to win trophies on a fantastic team; now let's see if his style can carry a much weaker overall team. I really doubt it.
Heroic - It wasn't long ago that this team was considered top 2 in the world, and little has really changed on the surface. Scratch a little under the surface though, and you see the problems. A team without a superstar is rarely able to sustain a place at the top, and a team with internal issues even less frequently. HUNDEN's BS derailed them slightly, but only patches over the other problems they have.
Admittedly, 'not having a s1mple or ZywOo' isn't exactly a 'problem', more a reality. Heroic are still an incredibly dangerous team, and if they can just roll back to their earlier year form, they have a shot at taking the whole thing. In some ways, not having a superstar is a boon; not relying on one individual makes you more versatile and unpredictable. Although, it makes it harder to see them stopping s1mple.
ENCE - Yeah, really. A superb performance at IEM Fall saw ENCE exploit a weak EU team pool to finish in the top two. That's not to take away from them, it's just a fact of it. Outside of a handful of teams, there's a bit of a crisis in EU with so many teams in limbo, and ENCE are the beneficiaries of that.
One man's fall is another man's rise, and ENCE now have an opportunity to consolidate their position at the top of Europe. hades and Spinx are the two to keep an eye on; new names at the top with little to lose and everything to gain, who can write themselves into folklore with a miracle run.
Is it even a miracle, though? This team have been gradually getting better and may just be peaking at the perfect time. It's hard to genuinely argue for many teams having a better shot at the title than ENCE, even if that sounds a bit insane.
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Virtus.pro - Are Virtus.pro any good? Yeahhhhhh..? Yeah? I mean, maybe?
VP aren't a fantastic team, but we know that their ceiling is fantastic. Their form has been patchy at best, but they had a decent showing at IEM Fall, and even at their peak they were inconsistent. I'd be lying if I said I'd be surprised if in a month's time we were reflecting on how Virtus.pro won the Major; and yet similarly I would not be surprised if they went out in groups.
Their form relies quite heavily on YEKINDAR, an extraordinarily explosive player whom every game he plays is warped around himself. If YEKINDAR plays well, he usually wins, and vice versa. His relentless aggression, belligerence and confidence make him horrible to play against if his first bullet is on point; an unplayable rain of headshots.
Well, sometimes. Other times he has a horrible map and VP get blown up. Trying to predict VP is pointless, but they do have a deceptively decent chance of winning the whole thing.
FaZe - Do not question it. Just accept it.
I've already talked about why FaZe are dark horses, and I will die on this hill.
"FaZe are hitting some form at the right time, and it might be time to finally enact revenge on everyone for laughing at them for Boston."
Team Liquid - They might have dropped out in the semis over at IEM Fall, but NA's finest are still a threat and the most dangerous team to face in the B tier. ELiGE is still a wonderful player who can shut down entire teams by himself, and Liquid are still packed to the brim with raw talent. The only reason they aren't in A tier is that we really don't know what to expect from them.
A hit-and-miss year with a sometimes-brilliant FalleN at the helm has really left us with more questions than answers, and this team is often less than the sum of its parts. Team Liquid could land on heads and finish top four if everything aligns, but I don't have too much faith, despite the sheer talent on the roster.
Team Spirit - Speaking of talent...
Spirit are a STACKED team, but what good is a Bugatti Veyron if the steering wheel isn't connected? Spirit are the Titanic, except if the Titanic could smash the icebergs. Powerful, but rudderless. degster is a superstar, but mir is the real gem in Team Spirit. mir is quietly one of the best 10 players in the world, an incredible sense of timing and positioning for flanks combined with his ruthless first bullet aim as an entry fragger make him elite at either side of the round.
But that's not all - as IGLs go, chopper is a very solid fragger, magixx and SDY as back-up stars is better firepower than nearly anyone else can boast. And yet, Spirit are probably a little bit worse than the other teams in B tier - the only reason they are above them is that the ceiling for Spirit is incredible due to this firepower. While Spirit probably finish below these other teams, paradoxically, they also somehow have a better chance of winning the whole thing in the right circumstances.
FURIA - FURIA could be in any tier from A-C and it would be reasonable, but I think B fits. There's a small chance everything hits and we see that scary, swaggering, swashbuckling FURIA that haunts the nightmares of NA teams - and EU teams alike - but a much larger chance that this version of FURIA isn't as good as the HEN1 one.
They've had to waste time smashing NA teams a bit too much and it dulled their blade, and now with drop in the team, expectations are mellowed somewhat. However, KSCERATO and yuurih are still electric and with a little bit of momentum, it's never out of the question for FURIA to take off and take over.
Astralis - The ghost of Astralis past is here to scare the young-uns, like "oooh we're Astralis and we're going to win!" - but like most ethereal threats, that coming to fruition seems unlikely. This is not the same Astralis that has won four Majors, but they are still Astralis - they have so many Major trophies under their belt that you feel you have to give them a chance at winning the whole thing.
I mean, it's kinda relying on a bit of magic and history repeating itself, as nothing in the last few months has me believing in Astralis winning.
BIG - BIG are a good team. Maybe even a really good team. They're better than FURIA, Spirit and possibly the other teams in this tier. They're a consistent, 7/10 every game, gatekeeper to tier one. Good teamplay, tight spacing, all of that stuff that makes IGLs warm and fuzzy. But that's... kind of the point. They're consistent, and consistently good doesn't beat NaVi, Vitality, Heroic. It might beat Spirit, GODSENT, FURIA - but BIG are not going to win the whole thing.
While they are a better team, their chances of winning are lower than the inconsistent teams. You know what I mean?
Sadge. via GettyImages
GODSENT - Like a slightly worse version of Spirit or FURIA, basically. This team is packed with scary zoomer talent that will outskirmish and outscrap you if you try and fight them on their terms, and will almost certainly take down anyone not at peak performance. felps was seemingly forgotten after his time on SK Gaming - after he was wrongly cut ahead of fer - but has come back with a vengeance.
Let's not forget that they have a Major winner, too. TACO leads his ragtag bunch of teenagers and mad lads to dominance of the NA region, but a 0-3 loss to FURIA shows that they have some way to go before they can be in the upper tiers of the whole scene.
This is their first chance at that, though. Keep an eye on them.
CPH Flames - "Copenhagen Flames above mouz and G2???" you cry. Well, yeah? It was only one event that they've really shown up at, but that's one more than most teams in the last few months. They might crumble under the pressure, but right now it's hard to argue that they aren't at least this high. They smashed their group and kept their composure to make it here, and have been steadily getting better for a while. nicoodoz is legit, and roeJ has now been a part of two very solid upset teams with very similar profiles.
CPH Flames are hard to place, but I'm feeling comfortable with this one.
mousesports - I really *want* to like mousesports and tell you that they're going to be good, but they're just... really, really 'eh'. dexter is underwhelming as a leader and an individual, acoR hasn't been the same sniper we saw on MAD Lions and Bymas is still very raw. As a team, mouz are excruciatingly disappointing, and though they're probably not worse than CPH Flames or GODSENT, the amount of anguish they make me feel is much more.
ropz is still an elite player, and frozen is quickly getting there - so it's not all bad for mouz. It's just like, mediocre. I'm not excited to watch them right now, and don't think they're going to do any damage.
G2 - No idea mate. They might be better than this, but I kind of doubt it. They might be worse than this, but I really doubt it. Maybe they could be lower B tier as a sort of, if it all comes together they might be amazing type thing, but I just don't see it. NiKo is amazing, huNter- sometimes amazing, that's kind of it. NiKo has somehow brought the rest of the team down; I think he's just cursed.
At this point, G2 beating any of the B teams would be pretty surprising, so hard to say they're anything other than an upset team. Soz, Carlos.
Movistar Riders - Spain's first Major team are an intriguing one. They looked very solid in qualifying, even coming close on the maps they lost, and showed composure and resilience in important moments to win the tiebreakers and the late rounds that is normal of more veteran teams. They have some excellent teamplay and in SunPayus they have a potential star.
However, the rest of the team is a little weak in firepower, and I think they're going to struggle as the teams get more explosive. They *did* beat G2 in a BO3 a few days ago, so perhaps I'm being a bit harsh putting them here - but I think they will struggle against top teams more than G2 due to those firepower issues.
Entropiq - Perhaps I should be higher on Entropiq given they beat VP and Spirit recently at IEM Fall, but for some reason it's tough to see them actually going too far. Gambit destroyed them, for one, and for two they're quite a consistent team in the mould of someone like BIG; so though they may be more likely to beat weaker teams, I don't see them beating some of the better teams.
Entropiq's best bet is getting a run of inconsistent teams and just being more stable, but that just doesn't seem at all likely. I'd love to be wrong - lord knows how much I want a player called NickelBack to succeed - but I'm finding it hard to believe.
Renegades - Renegades might find themselves in the bottom tier for some, but I have some belief in the Aussies. They consistently smash the Oceanic region, and the sort of momentum and self belief that that instills in you can be extremely powerful. Hell, the lowest rating any of them have in the last three months on average is 1.18 - that is dominance. It might be naive to suggest that beating other Australian teams would lead to beating better teams, but Renegades have shown they can beat underperfoming EU teams (see OG) before, and shouldn't be ignored entirely.
They're not *great*, but they're not horrible.
paiN - I like this team a lot, but they are very inexperienced at this level and will struggle to deal with some of the top quality teams. While saffee and biguzera can easily cope with the better teams, I have concerns over the other players on that team and the overall 'tightness' of their strategies and teamplay. They stay at the bottom of C tier as saffee and biguzera are too dangerous and could drag paiN to a win if they settle quickly, but I don't expect loads out of them just yet.
EG - Everyone knows what EG can do and you can't be surprised by them. They've looked pretty awful recently, have had players drop in and out of form and literally in and out of the team, and have almost no chance of a good finish. That they're even here is fortunate enough, for them to get through groups would be one in a million. I hate watching this team as they feel like the shell of a once-great side just going through the motions.
If you don't think they're D tier, answer this. Who of the good teams are they actually beating?
Sharks - Fun team to watch and in Lucaozy have an X factor player who can light teams up and make games interesting, but good teams will not fall into their traps. A large part of what has made them dangerous in South America has been Lucaozy pulling off multikills left right and centre on the CT side, and he won't be able to do that against teams like Heroic. There's just not quite enough about them to put them any higher than D tier, but they're not terrible. If they were, they wouldn't be here.
TYLOO - Ah, TYLOO. The best team in Asia by some distance, but we've seen this roster so many times (and we've seen them with BnTeT, who was better than anyone else on this team) at international tournaments and isolation in Asia will not do them any favours. Expect nonsense, craziness, lots of mouth but not much trousers. Should be fun, though.
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