Player breaks are the weirdest times of the year. Most pros step away from Counter Strike to relax. Some pros step away from Counter Strike to play other games (nitr0, please come back). Championship winning teams turn into benchwarmers.
And here at TL;DR we’re watching from the sidelines, teary eyed and with fading memories of professional CS.
Dreamhack Open Summer and ESL One Cologne were the first steps this fall into the murky waters that is online CS. And as we wade further into the depths of this season, here's all the events you'll be running into:
- ESL Pro League Season 12: Sep 1st to Oct 4th (ongoing)
- IEM New York 2020: Oct 6th
- Dreamhack Open Fall 2020: Oct 15th to Oct 25th
- BLAST Premier Fall Series 2020: Oct 22nd to Nov 4th
- BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Showdown: Nov 23rd to Nov 29th
- BLAST Premier Fall Series 2020 Finals: Dec 8th to Dec 13th
You may notice that this year's major, ESL One Rio, isn't on the list. Valve announced that they are postponing the major to 2021 due to coronavirus concerns. But if you were enlightened TL;DR readers, we already predicted it here and reported it here. So, you know, sign up and don't miss out again.
However, with all the best teams in the world, and MIBR, competing at these events, it may be hard to know whom to keep an eye on. And that's exactly why we spent the vacation tracking down the Great Danish Shuffle and frothing over the next online superstars.
So without further ado, here’s the 6 good, bad, and ugly teams to check out in the fall season.
Striking while the iron is heiss
We never thought we’d be backing BIG to win a top tournament but here we are playing all games online... Since Dreamhack Masters Spring EU in May, BIG have won almost every single event they’ve played and it doesn’t look like things are going to change anytime soon. We’re sure gob b’s watching like a proud father.
BIG really are milking the online era, with wins against the likes of Vitality and fnatic. Oh, and FaZe, who can’t even take a map off BIG. Total domination.
XANTARES has been doing some heavy lifting, making sure that syrsoN, the team’s AWP’er, has been able to shine over and over again. Still, it’s been far from an individual performance, with every one of BIG’s players boasting a 1.0+ rating over the last three months: talk about a team effort.
Yes, we know BIG flopped at Cologne with a rather lackluster performance against their fellow Bratwurst Brothers. But we’re going to hold our ground here: BIG will continue to be lethal in the online era and you can expect them to be grabbing more trophies this season.
EG have been surprisingly good in the online era. First place finishes in both cs_summit 6 NA and BLAST Premier Spring Americas Finals, while having the highest NA RMR points, sounds pretty darn great. At least the CSPPA rankings weren’t completely wrong.
Add to that list the prestigious ESL One Cologne NA trophy, which they won with a glorious battle against Team Liquid in the finals. When you consider the fact that they only dropped two maps the whole event, it does look a little too EZ for EG.
Sure, it’s in a region where there hasn’t been a consistent title challenger, but Evil Geniuses have cemented their place on the top of the Americas. They’re on an 11 match winning streak since their loss to MIBR. Yes, you read it right, their only two losses in their last 16 games were to the Brazilians. As long as EG don’t face their newfound Kryptonite, who knows how long they can keep the streak going?
With this run of form, EG look poised to take on Europe’s best when the major comes around. Until then though, EG are set to continue their deadly run through North America.
The Dark Horses
Look, if you were calling Complexity ‘Home Sweet Home Cup farmers’ back in May, we’d be chuckling with you. But no one’s laughing at them now. Something seems to have clicked at BLAST Premier Spring EU, as they cruised past Europe’s top contenders, and blameF’s reaction after they won was a clear indication of how much it meant to them.
Complexity broke into the HLTV top 10 for the first time in June, the Danish mastermind leading from the front with a 1.27 rating in the last 3 months.
However, with no trophy since their BLAST Premier triumph, the Juggernaut is looking to bounce back and will be a force to be reckoned with
GOD HUNDEN has pulled off many a miracle in the past. Just when you thought he was off the server and out of gas, he pulls off yet another. Well, until his untimely ban for exploiting a coaching bug. Let’s hope cadiaN learnt something in the meantime.
Having done so little as a team in recent times, nobody had backed Heroic to do much at ESL One Cologne EU. But in each matchup, with the grueling Danish methodical play, they took out one top 10 team after another.
Heroic even made Vitality, a beacon of consistency themselves, look rather silly in the grand finals. The French just can’t stop choking in finals, can they?
Don’t forget that Heroic are still one of the youngest squads around, averaging just 21 years. With so much room to grow, and a Danish mastermind by their side, you have to feel like these guys will only be moving towards the top.
Revenge of the Fallen
What’s better than 4 aim gods? That’s right, 5 aim gods. Over the player break, Liquid made the acquisition of Grim, an upcoming online star. The 19 year old exploded onto the scene over the online era, with his 1.27 rating challenging ZywOo’s throne at the top.
We’re sad to see nitr0 go, but this is the radical change needed after Liquid’s underwhelming performance this year. With that, Jason “moses” O’Toole replaced adreN as coach: And you thought 2020 couldn’t get crazier.
This fall could be a turning point for Liquid, one that marks their resurgence and return as title winners. Indeed, they were agonizingly close at Cologne, but their improvement as a squad is scarily quick.
Liquid’s three 2nd place finishes since April undoubtedly hang over the team as disappointments. Still, featuring new blood, more firepower, and less hair, we can’t wait to see them lock horns with America’s best.
Usually we’d start off talking about Astralis with something elegant like “Astralis are a team that need no introduction.” Except this time, with all that’s happened inside the Astralis camp, you probably do need a bit of TL;DR magic.
We’ll tell you the essentials: Xyp9x and Gla1ve didn’t feature at ESL One Cologne due to health issues, their places taken by Danes es3tag and Bubzkji. “Who called the strats,” you ask? Magisk led the team towards resurgence after their two month break.
Astralis may have finished a mediocre 5-8th at ESL One Cologne, but the players looked sharp. They managed to clean sweep fnatic and Vitality, who were the eventual finalists. But this isn’t even their final form.
gla1ve is already back watching over the team, and we’re expecting him to take over the reigns soon enough. Which means it won’t be long before we get to see the much awaited 6-man roster Astralis have bragged about all summer long.
Will Astralis be swapping players in between matches? In between maps even? Will big names like dupreeh or dev1ce have to sit out to make space for other players? Only time will tell, but with the amount of legacy and talent on the squad, it won’t be long before they reverse their 28% win rate and push their way to the top.