We use cookies and similar technologies to help give you the best experience on our site, of our services & to serve you relevant advertising. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume that you're happy to receive all cookies. More info about our cookies policy

Login to Gfinity

Choose

Manage Wallet Manage Subscriptions
Thorin's Top 20 CS:GO Line-Ups Of All-Time (10-1)

Thorin's Top 20 CS:GO Line-Ups Of All-Time (10-1)

Back to news

With Counter-Strike: Global Offensive eight weeks or so from three years of meaningful competitive play, there have been many teams who have secured top placings and played phenomenal matches, making the selection of the 20 best line-ups a challenge requiring a nuanced and approach. 

Firstly, I narrowed my quest by making it line-ups and not teams, to limit each entry to a specific five players who spent a set duration of time playing together, not teams with rotating doors at certain positions. 

Secondly, I've weighed each team's success along with their style of play and relative excellence.  This is not merely a list of winners and their first places compared and contrasted.  I've sought to determine the excellence of a team in their approach and level of play, as well as, yes, the number of shiny trophies and medals they acquired along the way.  This is, of course, a highly subjective list, as it should be, so I've gone to great lengths to make each entry as much as about my own understanding each team's greatness as it is about the team's factual accomplishments. 

These are my top 10 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive line-ups of all-time.

Part 1: 20-11
Part 2: 10-1

In celebration of Thorin’s Top 20 CS:GO Line-Ups Of All-Time, we are giving away two jerseys, signed by the team ranked #1 in the list!

More information is available at the bottom of the article. 

10. Na`Vi I - Active period: December 2013 to April 2015 

Line-up:

GuardiaN

Edward

seized

Zeus

starix 

International top four finishes:

2013 SLTV StarSeries VIII (2nd)

2014 SLTV StarSeries IX (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2014 IronGaming (2nd)

2014 SLTV StarSeries X (2nd)

2014 Game Show League S1 (1st)

2014 SLTV StarSeries XI (2nd)

2014 ESWC (4th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2014 EMS One Katowice (13th-16th)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (5th-8th) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 2

International Finals: 7

International Top 4: 9

International Top 8: 12 

The world had already known how astonishing GuardiaN's AWPing could be during his time in Virtus.pro, downing NiP amongst other things, but his initial introduction to Na`Vi was underwhelming, as they bombed out of their first major together in the group stage.  At the very next event they attended, making up numbers at StarSeries IX, they delivered one of the greatest underdog title runs ever witnessed, crushing the field of the three top teams in the world and going a perfect 6:0 in maps and 3:0 in Bo3 series. 

Na`Vi would never again ascend to those heights, understandably, but they would remain one of the most dangerous underdog sides in the world.  At Dreamhack Summer they pushed past Virtus.pro and made a run to the final.  Domestically, they would always perform well on home soil at StarSeries, but lost in the final to what would become the two great teams of the era: FNATIC and LDLC.  At ESL One Cologne they fell to eventual finalists FNATIC in a thrilling three map series, decided on the third map by only two rounds.  At ESWC and Dreamhack Winter they continued to show consistent form, reaching both semi-finals. 

By 2015, it was clear that Na`Vi's potential lay in single map upsets against the elite teams, with their strength over Bo3s as inconsistent as GuardiaN's frightening but varyingly effective AWPing.  Winning a map against nV at ESL One Katowice was the end for this line-up, making way for progression with the introduction of flamie.  This Na`Vi team had a legitimate star in GuardiaN, who could play up to a super-star level at times, and a defined slow-execute tactical style which seemed to work more often than it should have.  They rarely lost to teams ranked below them and always gave teams above them a good game, frequently taking a map before losing.  Consistent but not world beaters, with the exception of that fateful day in May. 

9. Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) II - Active period: November 2014 to February 2015 

Line-up:

GeT_RiGhT

f0rest

Maikelele

Xizt

friberg 

International top four finishes:

2015 MLG X Games Aspen Invitational (2nd)

2015 Assembly Winter (1st) 

International top eight finishes:

2015 IOS Pantamera (5th-6th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2014 Dreamhack Winter (2nd) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 1

International Finals: 3

International Top 4: 3

International Top 8: 4 

When the classic NiP formation finally saw its first roster change, with fifflaren retiring and Maikelele brought in to replace him, there were lots of reasonable questions to be asked of their potential to reach finals again.  The end of their time with fifflaren had seen them repeatedly missing LAN play-offs and not even able to qualify for some LANs.  Maikelele had never been a star player in his previous teams, instead an inconsistent but skilled player who could make impact frags and yet also feed in the same map, series or tournament.  What he did bring to this NiP team, though, was that dangerous explosive quality of being able to win entire rounds by himself. 

NiP were close to elimination in the group stage of Dreamhack Winter 2014, their first event together, but survived and grew stronger with every passing play-off round.  By they had reached the semi-final, it was evident that NiP's magic had returned from the dead and was very much in effect.  Somehow pushing past a powerful Virtus.pro, they reached a final against LDLC.  LDLC were firmly the second best team in the world and had overcome FNATIC, the number one team, earlier in the tournament, exorcising some of their demons. 

NiP should have had no chance against the French side, yet the final would be one of the most memorable of any major.  NiP fell in three maps, yet were at series point in the third, before LDLC charged back to reach over-time and close the tournament out.  The miracle run had come up just short, but this new NiP was quite clearly of a different flavour than the old one.  At MLG X Games Aspen, the second outing for this team, they again produced magic in the semi-final, this time defeating FNATIC in the best series ever played in CS:GO.  Again, they faced LDLC in the final, but this time the three map affair was less convincing and Happy's men closed out the decider with a display of raw power. 

Despite winning Assembly Winter, beating out a field featuring no FNATIC or LDLC, but a few good names in Virtus.pro, Titan and HellRaisers nonetheless, NiP seemed like a team with more to offer the world.  Their ominous failure to reach the play-offs at IOS Pantamera would, though, be the last time we ever saw them play off-line.  Maikelele was mysteriously ejected and in came allu. 

While the allu line-up accomplished more, at least in terms of medium sized events, I don't think they were ever as dangerous and thrilling a team as this variation of the line-up.  When they were hot, this line-up epitomised the concept of "NiP magic", seemingly always able to fight through difficult match-ups against any foe.  They didn't win any big tournaments, but this line-up should fondly be remembered as the catalyst of some of the classic series of their era.  FNATIC and EnVyUs were certainly glad to see this roster go. 

8. VeryGames (VG) I - Active period: August 2012 to January 2013

Line-up:

RpK

kennyS

NBK

Ex6TenZ

SmithZz 

International top four finishes:
2012 Dreamhack Valencia (2nd)
2012 ESWC (2nd)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (2nd)
2012 AMD Sapphire Invitational (2nd)

Major titles: 0
International Titles: 0
International Finals: 4
International Top 4: 4
International Top 8: 4

In a world without NiP, who knows how many tournaments this VeryGames line-up would have won and how long they might have dominated.  Certainly, nobody else could have beaten them over those first four tournaments and it seems almost certain that the nature of VG's fourth straight finals loss to NiP, making their streak 0:8 in maps over the four finals, very likely hastened the death of this line-up, as RpK, who had finished his final map with 29 kills and a loss, called it quits on CS:GO, at least at that point in time. 

Of course, it's of no relevance to actual history to cite "a world without NiP", not just because NiP were the most dominant team of all-time, but because they were the Kryptonite-esque counter to VeryGames.  Instead, that hypothetical is cited to point out that VeryGames were an incredible team, they just existed at the wrong time and with the wrong composition for their era.  Against anyone else, they were consistently excellent and showed the ability to win matches with a strong tactical underpinning.  kennyS had not yet fully developed, but his burgeoning talent was still enough fragging power to make Ex6TenZ's machine an efficient and effective one. 

Undoubtedly the world’s number two team for the first three months or so, VeryGames are the most famous losers in the game's history, with their resume littered with silvers, but they were still a great team.  In a game which is about more than just winning, they displayed some incredible CS:GO in a game which was still very much being figured out, consistently pushing ahead of the curve and innovating things which others would attempt to emulate. 

Plenty of teams make a final and lose there, but very few can keep picking themselves up and returning again and again, each time thinking it possible to finally break through and win.  They never did, but we must salute the valiant spirit of their efforts. 

7. Na`Vi II - Active period: April 2015 to present 

Line-up:

GuardiaN

flamie

Edward

seized

Zeus 

International top four finishes:

2015 EPL Winter (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (3rd-4th)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (3rd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (2nd)

2015 SLTV StarSeries XIII (1st)

2015 ESWC (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 Finals (3rd-4th)

2015 CEVO-P S7 (2nd) 

International top eight finishes:

2015 SLTV StarSeries XII (5th-6th)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 Finals (5th-6th) 

Finishes at the majors:

ESL One Cologne (5th-8th) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 3

International Finals: 5

International Top 4: 8

International Top 8: 11 

The addition of flamie was the missing piece that turned Na`Vi from scary underdogs into a team which would steadily climb into the ranks of the top three in the world and become a multiple time champion.  They showed they were a team to be reckoned with in their first event, beating TSM in a Bo3, but failed to progress further.  The break-out event came at EPL Winter, where they downed EnVyUS and Titan to take the title.  Beyond that, Na`Vi would consistently put up top four finishes, losing out in close semi-final matches. 

Beating Titan at Dreamhack Summer put them into another final, which would become one of three straight.  At StarSeries XIII, they were able to defeat EnVyUs, number two team in the world, in a Bo5 final.  At ESWC, Zeus's men reached the final and took down Cloud9 to add another title in 2015.  Since then, Na`Vi have never been quite as intimidating, still achieving strong performances but again forced regress and settle for losses against the elite level sides. 

This team does lack for a top major finish, but their consistent performance elsewhere and their tournament titles establish their place as a great team nonetheless.  They still sit at number two in the world rankings as this article is written, poor major performance and all.  This is a line-up which may yet move further up in this list. 

6. Team SoloMid (TSM) - Active period: December 2014 to present 

Line-up:

device

dupreeh

cajunb

Xyp9x

Karrigan 

International top four finishes:

2015 MLG X Games Aspen Invitational (3rd)

2015 SLTV StarSeries XII (3rd)

2015 Copenhagen Games (2nd)

2015 PGL CCS (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 Finals (1st)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 Finals (1st)

2015 IEM X Gamescom (2nd) 

International top eight finishes:

2015 ESL ESEA Pro League S1 Finals (7th-8th)

2015 Acer Predator Masters (7th-8th) 

Finishes at the majors:

ESL One Katowice (5th-8th)

ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th) 

Major Titles: 0

International Titles: 4

International Finals: 6

International Top 4: 10

International Top 8: 12 

Experts had always puzzled over what had held the dignitas line-ups of 2014 back from at least reaching the final of an international tournament, if not winning titles.  They had the raw skill, they had very good CT side team-play and they had the right pieces to theoretically be a good Terrorist side team, yet they repeatedly fell apart in the big semi-finals of their careers.  At the time, as ever, much scrutiny came upon the fraggers, with star device often questioned for his inability to come up big in pressure situations and a revolving door around the fifth name, as Nico, cajunb and Aizy all had their chances. 

The answer, it would turn out, was the brains of the operation, as the replacement of old school Source veteran FeTiSh with former 1.6 star-turned-IGL Karrigan unexpectedly turned the entire team around.  From their first event with the new captain they achieved their highest placing, reaching third and beating FNATIC in a Bo3 series.  Despite delivering another classic dignitas-esque choke in the major, they would gradually improve in the coming months, playing Virtus.pro very closely in their series with each other and reaching the Copenhagen Games final. 

Everything finally clicked into place at PGL CCS and to an extent nobody could have expected.  Not only did TSM win the event, but they dominated FNATIC, the world's best team, to do so.  At FACEIT Stage 2, they had their difficulties in the group stage, but survived into the play-offs and were again able to dominate FNATIC, eventually winning their second straight event.  At Fragbite Masters S4 the script was the same: beat FNATIC more and win another title.  Many were now asking if TSM were set to become the best team in the world. 

ESL ESEA Pro League would see a shocking dip in form, put out in last place, but that was dismissed as a fluke when the Danes won FACEIT Stage 2, beating the likes of a red hot Na`Vi and an emergent Cloud9.  The Acer Predator Masters somehow had device and the gang go out in last place, with a field of zero top six teams, but they returned to perform well at IEM Gamescom.  The big disappointment of TSM's time together has to be the recent major, where they reached the semi-final and took it to three maps but were eliminated there.  For other teams, this would still be considered a good placing, but for TSM the final should have been the only acceptable result and they had a legitimate chance to win a major. 

TSM's strengths are myriad, with one of the most skilled line-ups in all of CS:GO, very good team-play, top notch tactics and an unbelievably wide map pool.  Ignoring the anomaly of Acer Predator Masters, they are incredibly difficult to beat in series play.  This is a team which could very well continue to climb this list, they are that good and have so many still apparent strengths. 

5. Universal Soldiers/Virtus.pro III (US/VP) - Active period: October 2013 to present 

Line-up:

pasha

byali

Snax

NEO

TaZ 

International top four finishes:

2013 EMS One Fall (3rd-4th)

2013 TECHLABS Cup Final (2nd)

2013 SLTV StarSeries XIII (1st)

2014 Copenhagen Games (2nd)

2014 SLTV StarSeries IX (4th)

2014 ESEA S16 (3rd)

2014 Gfinity G3 (1st)

2014 FACEIT S2 (3rd-4th)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (3rd)

2014 ESEA S17 (2nd)

2014 Acer A-Split Invitational (1st)

2015 IOS Pantamera (4th)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters I (3rd)

2015 Copenhagen Games (1st)

2015 ESEA S18 (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 Finals (3rd-4th)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (2nd)

2015 ESL ESEA Pro League S1 Finals (3rd-4th)

2015 CEVO-P S7 (1st) 

International top eight finishes:

2014 Dreamhack Summer (5th-8th)

2015 Assembly Winter (5th-6th)

2015 SLTV StarSeries XII (5th-6th)

2015 Gfinity Summer Masters I (5th-6th)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 Finals (7th-8th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (9th-12th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (1st)

2014 ESL One Cologne (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (3rd-4th)

2015 ESL One Cologne (3rd-4th) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 7

International Finals: 10

International Top 4: 23

International Top 8: 29 

Even modern day fans know who Virtus.pro is as a team: consistently strong, with occasional slumps and yet a high ceiling of excellence that they rarely hit but which produces some of the most blistering CS:GO ever witnessed, bordering on a kind of frenzied intuitive genius.  The Virtus.plow and the Virtus.throw are both known the world over.  The two best instances of the former are their victory at the second major, EMS One Katowice, and at Gfinity G3. 

In Poland, they played at perhaps the highest level ever witnessed in history, dropping only a single map and dismissing everyone who came across their path.  At Gfinity, they went into the semi-final supposed to drop out to a blazing hot dignitas and going down in map one.  The next two are the stuff of legend and saw them push through and eventually win another big title.  The genius of VP is fleeting, though, and it has rarely been possible to achieve such greatness again, though CEVO-P S7 and the recent ESL One Cologne certainly stand as additional examples of what they are capable of. 

VP's problem is that their number of events won is fantastic until you look a little closer.  Aside from the aforementioned two wins, their wins come either at small or medium sized events or with certain context which lessens the impact of the victory, such as winning ESEA S18 thanks, in part, to getting to play Season, a map not used in any map pool in Europe, against FNATIC in the final.  Their CEVO-P S7 win, which came over number two ranked Na`Vi and saw them wrecking the CIS giants, was at a tournament which didn't feature FNATIC, the number one ranked team.  Acer A-Split Invitational and Copenhagen Games were simply small events, in the context of the number of top teams in attendance, or rather not. 

What makes VP a truly great team is not their trophy haul, which would certainly have put them into the top 10, but not this high.  No, their legacy is the sheer overwhelming nature of their top four finishes.  This is a team which has finished in the top four of 23 international tournaments.  Even with as many smaller or less packed fields as one could remove from that list, it would still be a phenomenal accomplishment.  Together for more than a year and a half, this line-up has again and again returned to the top end of the scene and reinstated themselves as an elite side, capable of winning tournaments. 

4. VeryGames III/Titan (VG) - Active period: May 2013 to April 2014 

Line-up:

shox

ScreaM

NBK

Ex6TenZ

SmithZz 

International top four finishes:

2013 EMS One Summer (1st)

2013 Mad Catz Invitational Cologne (1st)

2013 StarSeries VII (1st)

2013 EMS One Fall (1st)

2013 ESWC (2nd)

2013 MSi Beat It (1st)

2014 ESEA S15 finals (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack CS:GO Invitational (1st) 

International top eight finishes:

2013 Dreamhack Bucharest (5th-8th)

2014 Copenhagen Games (5th-8th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2013 Dreamhack Winter (3rd-4th)

2014 EMS One Katowice (9th-12th) 

Major titles: 0

International Titles: 6

International Finals: 8

International Top 4: 10

International Top 8: 11 

For newer readers, it may be difficult to understand the impact this VeryGames line-up had just from looking over their results.  VeryGames not only turned around their own fortunes against NiP, they practically saved CS:GO in the process.  NiP had lost before, having been downed by Virtus.pro in three series, but those had all been highly competitive affairs.  VeryGames not only beat NiP, but in impressive fashion and stole away the number one spot from them, which had been NiP's since the start of competitive play. 

VeryGames had been 0:7 in series and 0:14 in maps against NiP in offline play with their pre-shox line-ups.  Even when they'd added shox, one of the greatest Source players of all-time, to the team, they still lost their first outing against NiP, making it 0:8 in series and 0:16 in maps.  That all changed at StarSeries VII where they began what would become a three consecutive series winning streak against NiP, entirely reversing the fortunes of that match-up.  They had already been winning tournaments before then, but without having to face NiP.  Now they could both beat NiP and win the tournament.  CS:GO had a new best team in the world. 

VeryGames had it all at their peak: the best player in the world (shox); the best tactics, courtesy of mastermind Ex6TenZ; an impressive synergy; and crazy amounts of skill, thanks to shox, ScreaM and NBK.  This potent mix was able to deliver seven straight offline top four finishes from October 2013 through to February of 2014.  The last stanza of the team's time together was disappointing, as they fell out of EMS One Katowice in the group stage and then were killed by fellow French side LDLC at Copenhagen Games. 

shox decided life in a gaming house was too much for him and left.  VeryGames/Titan would never again occupy the top spot in CS:GO.  As underwhelming as their end was, and endings often are, they were so vital to the game's history and so special in their own unique way.  No team has ever combined skill and tactical prowess as effectively, with TSM perhaps being the closest and yet still not quite living up to the near impossible mark set by this VeryGames team. 

3. LDLC/EnVyUs (LDLC/nV) - Active period: September 2014 to July 2015 

Line-up:

shox

kioShiMa

NBK

Happy

SmithZz 

International top four finishes:

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm Invitational (2nd)

2014 SLTV StarSeries XI (1st)

2014 FACEIT S2 (3rd-4th)

2014 ESWC (2nd)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (2nd)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen Invitational (1st)

2015 IOS Pantamera (3rd)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters I (1st)

2015 SLTV StarSeries XII (1st)

2015 EPL Winter (3rd-4th)

2015 PGL CCS (4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (2nd)

2015 SLTV StarSeries XIII (2nd)

2015 Gfinity Summer Masters II (1st)

2015 ESWC (3rd-4th) 

International top eight finishes:

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (5th-6th)

2015 ESL ESEA Pro League S1 Finals (5th-6th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2014 Dreamhack Winter (1st)

2015 ESL One Katowice (3rd-4th) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 6

International Finals: 11

International Top 4: 17

International Top 8: 19 

Even the glory days of VeryGames could not have prepared us for what this line-up would deliver.  Playing in the era of FNATIC, whose dominance has been terrifying in its magnitude and scale, LDLC/nV has managed to put together one of the most impressive resumes ever witnessed.  As well as winning a major and four other events, they had a near impossible streak of consistency.  This line-up made the top four of its first 14 consecutive offline international events, then the second best such streak in history and now the third best. 

EnVyUs did it in their own unique fashion too.  Their closest parallel would perhaps be the original NiP, being as Happy's men did not embrace a strict tactical system, instead relying on individual play and their own decision-making to win them rounds and series.  In NiP's case, they had the best player in history (GeT_RiGhT) to enable that to work and very well defined roles, where nV was more about a strong and skilled line-up of players shifting roles as necessary to make it work and continue to pile up series wins.  For most of their history, their in-game leader, Happy, was their best player, highlighting what an unusual and unique path they took to their success. 

When the line-up had breathed its last breath, their record still stood at a stellar 17 top four finishes in 19 events attended.  Teams of this magnitude of greatness are so rarely witnessed anyway, but we will likely never see one who achieves such success in this manner again.  As flawed as they could at times appear, their time together was truly "magnifique". 

2. Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) I - Active period: August 2012 to November 2014 

Line-up:

GeT_RiGhT

f0rest

friberg

Xizt

Fifflaren 

International top four finishes:

2012 DreamHack Valencia (1st)

2012 Electronic Sports World Cup (1st)

2012 DreamHack Winter (1st)

2012 ESH AMD Sapphire Invitational (1st)

2012 THOR Open (1st)

2012 NorthCon (1st)

2013 Mad Catz Invitational Vienna (1st)

2013 Techlabs Cup (1st)

2013 Copenhagen Games (1st)

2013 SLTV StarSeries Season V (2nd)

2013 EMS One Spring (1st)

2013 ESEA Invite Season 13 (1st)

2013 SLTV StarSeries Season VI (1st)

2013 DreamHack Summer (1st)

2013 EMS One Summer (3rd-4th)

2013 ESEA Invite Season 14 (1st)

2013 DreamHack Bucharest (1st)

2013 StarSeries Season VII (3rd)

2013 EMS One Fall (2nd)

2013 Electronic Sports World Cup (4th)

2014 Dreamhack CS:GO Invitational (2nd)

2014 Copenhagen Games (1st)

2014 SLTV StarSeries IX (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack Summer (1st)

2014 IronGaming (1st) 

International top eight finishes:

2014 ESEA Invite Season 16 (5th-6th)

2014 Gfinity 3 (5th-8th)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm (5th-6th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2013 DreamHack Winter (2nd)

2014 EMS One Katowice (2nd)

2014 ESL One Cologne (1st) 

Major titles: 1

International Titles: 18

International Finals: 25

International Top 4: 28

International Top 8: 31 

For a long time it appeared as if no team would ever be capable of challenging NiP for the top spot in CS:GO history, nevermind legitimately overtaking them.  This was the greatest team to ever play the game in every statistical context.  They'd won too many events; reached too many finals; placed top four in 31 straight tournaments in a row, including domestic competitions; and finished in the top eight of 31 out of 32 international competitions.  Oh, yes, and they'd also won a major on the way out of the door. 

It can seem near impossible to give a sense of how dominant this NiP side was in their prime.  People have heard the much bandied about 87:0 winning streak from the start of their time competing, but it doesn't tell the whole story, not least because that only accounts for the period from August of 2012 through to April of 2013.  NiP continued to win tournaments, make finals and finish top four for more than a year beyond that point in time.  When VeryGames displaced them as the world number ones, in the latter third of the year, they remained a solid number two and would return to the top spot the following year. 

It was only at the very end, when the magic finally gave out and they spiralled down, admittedly stealing an incredible major along the way, as only NiP could, that they dropped from a top two team at any point in their history.  Such was the impact NiP made upon CS:GO for the first two years of competing.  Greatness in winning, greatness in consistency, greatness in performance and greatness in resilience.  This was the golden team of CS:GO. 

Their dominance can in the end be put down to having the best player of all-time (GeT_RiGhT) and the most well defined roles.  friberg was the ballsy entry fragger who was not to be denied.  f0rest was the world class clean-up entry fragger who tore bombsites apart.  Xizt was the mid-round player, loose-calling IGL and always a dangerous clutch round player.  GeT_RiGhT was the dominant figure who stood over the CS:GO world with no equal for the first year of play.  fifflaren was the supportive player who used the AWP in a utility fashion and filled out the roster. 

A very special line-up who were the final bosses of CS:GO for a two year span. 

1. FNATIC (FNC) II - Active period: June 2014 to present 

Line-up:

olofm

KRiMZ

JW

flusha

pronax 

International top four finishes:

2014 Gfinity G3 (3rd-4th)

2014 SLTV StarSeries X (1st)

2014 Dreamhack Stockholm Invitational (3rd-4th)

2014 FACEIT S2 (1st)

2014 ESWC (1st)

2014 Fragbite Masters S3 (1st)

2014 ESEA S17 (1st)

2015 MLG X Games Aspen Invitational (4th)

2015 Clutch Con (1st)

2015 IOS Pantamera (1st)

2015 ESEA S18 (2nd)

2015 PGL CCS (2nd)

2015 FACEIT Stage 1 Finals (3rd-4th)

2015 Dreamhack Tours (1st)

2015 Gfinity Spring Masters II (1st)

2015 Fragbite Masters S4 (2nd)

2015 Dreamhack Summer (1st)

2015 ESL ESEA Pro League S1 Finals (1st)

2015 FACEIT Stage 2 Finals (3rd-4th) 

Finishes at the majors:

2014 ESL One Cologne (2nd)

2014 Dreamhack Winter (5th-8th)

2015 ESL One Katowice (1st)

2015 ESL One Cologne (1st) 

Major titles: 2

International Titles: 13

International Finals: 17

International Top 4: 22

International Top 8: 23 

FNATIC's late 2014 run of dominance was so impressive that it could certainly have put them far up this list, but they would always have lacked when compared to NiP statistically, such was the impossible nature of NiP's list of records.  That is no longer the case, as this FNATIC line-up now has an unparalleled two majors, won back-to-back, no less, to their name.  This year has seen unreal run of consistency, placing top four in all 14 tournaments they have played in.  This line-up has only ever placed outside of the top four on one occasion in all 23 of the events they have attended, as a result of their forfeit following the fateful Dreamhack Winter 2014 quarter-final against LDLC, who went on to win the tournament. 

They are currently on a run of 15 straight top four finishes, tying them for second behind NiP.  Their number of titles, with 13, may not match up to NiP's 18 in black and white type, but viewed in the context of playing their entire tenure in a much harder era, it can well be argued to be more impressive.  NiP's competition from late 2013 through to the line-up's death in late 2014 was certainly approaching this level, but NiP only won five of their 18 international tournaments over that last 14 or so months of their time together.  The other 13 were well within the least competitive era of CS:GO, though their dominance of that period was undeniably incredible and staggering. 

FNATIC are a law unto themselves, accomplishing their success in their own way.  Where every other top team had had star players who emerged and remained in those roles for the line-up's successful periods, FNATIC have been shifting as the meta-game of play, their own performances and the differing opposition changed.  First it was KRiMZ topping stats sheets and JW creating mini frag movies in every big match.  Then came olofm, who to this day remains the best player in the world and has delivered a kind of dominance assumed to be no longer possible in the modern day.  Finally, flusha, once FNATIC's best player in a previous line-up, has played the role of both consistent bombsite defender and in more recent times, as evidenced at ESL One Cologne, taken over entire maps by himself in key moments. 

Behind it all is the mild mannered pronax, directing the action and coming up with on-the-fly adjustments in the middle of rounds.  They have never been the best tactically, but they have never needed to be.  This is a team built on the greatness of team-play, that third column of great CS:GO (going along with skill and tactics).  Nobody in history has displayed better team-play than this FNATIC line-up, as evidenced by the wonderful CT side prowess which founded this dynasty, and, in more recent times, by the impossible come-backs they have been able to string together on T sides against top opposition. 

That FNATIC have accomplished all of this in a span of around 13 months tells you how special this line-up has been.  NiP still hold some records on paper, but context gives the edge over to FNATIC by a small but reasonable margin.  That they overtook NiP's seemingly iron clad top spot in less than 10 months after that line-up played their last game, suggests this FNATIC team are otherworldly in their own respect.  Playing in the most difficult and competitive era of CS:GO, FNATIC have compressed the greatest career of all-time for a single line-up into not much over a year of play. 

They say greatness is greedy and FNATIC are a team with an insatiable appetite for winning.  That they do it to the sound of boos, not cheers, only speaks to the near perfect mental fortitude they possess.

Photo credit: ESL, Dreamhack, StarSeries, gaming.dk


Update – 7/9/15:

Congratulations STAATUS and TheBCG616 you have both won a shirt, signed by FNATIC! Please check your emails and respond within 48 hours.

Update – 10/9/15:

All emails will be delivered to the email address registered under your Gfinity account.

In celebration of Thorin’s Top 20 CS:GO Line-Ups Of All-Time, we are giving away two jerseys, signed by FNATIC! (Closes Sunday 6th September at 18:00 hours BST, winners picked by panel of judges at Gfinity, all decisions are final, winners will be contacted within 24 hours).

To enter, simply comment on this post, sharing your opinions with us!

Do you agree? Disagree? Who would you have in your list? Let us know!

 

Keep up to date with all the latest gaming and eSports news via our Twitter: @Gfinity 

Share this article

Comments (122)

Write a new comment

Why does Thorin have to be so right most of the time >:( Great list though, clearly been really well thought about. I don't think anybody can doubt current era Fnatic are the best team GO has ever seen. I think current EnvyUs and TSM have the capability to take that title from them if they reach their full potential. Given fnatics reputation I think they must be really hard to play against, helping keep them in their spot even longer.
Accurate list as far as my knowledge. But, the new EnVyUs lineup showed quite a amazing performance even for such short time being together. Well, congrats to you and congrats to FNATIC!!
Great Article! Thank You for all the info <3 Congratulations to all the teams that made the list! Wonderful Giveaway, Cool jerseys, signed by FNATIC!
Very good read, i at first didint realise how huge the Nip's magic time was. :)
GFINITY and Fnatic for the win!
Loved the article and I totally agree with the list
Good article. Obviously I have some gripes with some teams positions. Main concern is that TSM should be higher considering their effectiveness against the undeniable number 1s.
Its worth to be part of GFINITY to follow masterpiece lists of lord Thooorin
I am now an official member of your Gfinity community. That makes me eligible to win a fnatic jersey. Nice article btw!
Great list and article.
Completely agree with this list.
In general terms, I pretty agree with your top20 thorin. However, since I'm a Virtus.Pro fanboy I'd include them in a top3, just below NiP and Fnatic. However, pretty nice job and keep doing stuff like this thorin, much appreciated!
Definitely can't disagree with #1 being fnatic. They are just so good. Hopefully the new nV lineup can be up there with them in the future.
Kind of agreeing with this list. Loved the VeryGames lineup with ScreaM.
The list is really on point! I might have switched places between VG3 and the current VP lineup, because VP has been a consistent team for so long. But yet VG pretty much saved CS:GO when they dethroned NIP from the #1 spot, so i'ts hard to decide between these two teams. But by my criteria I would put VP in fourth place. Before reading the article I knew that you would put fnatic first and NiP second, no one can argue about that. Love your work Thorin and everything you do for Esports.
I agree with all your opinions Thooorin tnx for the money alphadraft Flame number one Clearlove only has tits Fuck Regi You're better than Monte at alphadraft I love all the sage advice you copy off of asian philosophers pls give me Fnatic jersey
Questions regarding NA'VI's standing. A bit overrated as to me. Top 3 are 100% correct, i doubt anyone has anithing against this kind of rating. VGIII are my all-time favorites. Great job Thorin! Brilliant article, thanks for your work!
Have to agree, Fnatic / NiP and vP have to be my three fave teams of all time. Top 20 players of all times next time by Thooorin maybe ? <:
We need Fiffy back in NiP! Anyways i agree with most of the list.
Thooorin just likes Fnatic ^^