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CSGO in 2020: The teams on the hunt and looking to rebound

Despite how big coldzera's move to FaZe was, it didn't change the team's fortunes. Will that change in 2020?

With several weeks remaining in the 2019 calendar, CSGO teams around the world are looking to challenge for a top spot in the final few events. In our last article, we discussed the top 5 teams in the world, and the narrative behind their season as the year closes out. In this second part of our breakdown of CS:GO in 2020, we’ll focus on the teams that are on the rebound, mainly Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, Vitality, and mousesports. Can these teams realign themselves and be a more competitive force in CSGO in 2020?

Rebounding in 2020

Faze Clan is the most notable team looking to rebound. After being the favourite to win the ELEAGUE Boston Major in January 2018, FaZe Clan’s domination at the top slowly withered away. By 2019, this team was a shell of its former self. FaZe Clan went onto win few events of note, with their most recent months plagued with roster moves.

The addition of Marcelo “coldzera” David, and Helvijs “broky” Saukants in September didn’t immediately help things either, which left fans around the world disappointed from the get-go. coldzera is arguably one of the biggest roster changes in CSGO history. Yet upon his debut matches on FaZe Clan, the team didn’t look any different from their line-up before.

However, in the last few weeks, the team is showing signs of life. Their recent emergence at the Blast Pro Series Copenhagen came out of nowhere. They surprised the world by taking the event over NiP, Astralis, and Team Liquid. They also did well during the remaining ESL Pro League Finals qualifiers. FaZe Clan are the best example of teams on the rebound. For them, the remainder of the year is about getting as much stock back as possible, and they are certainly on track to do so. FaZe’s remaining events are the ESL Pro League Finals and the Blast Global Finals.

Niko feeling confident in his team’s recent form

mousesports bounces back?

The other major example of a team on the rebound is mousesports. Prior to the CAC tournament that concluded last weekend, mousesports had definitely fallen off. To our surprise though, mousesports ended up winning the event. This was even with the likes of G2 and Evil Geniuses in attendance. The international roster had their strong moments and even their weak games had positive takeaways. For example, going 2-0 against Evil Geniuses is hell of an accomplishment.

Their 2-1 victory against Tyloo is where the team looked most spicy. They lost their own map pick and had to go into the series and take a win on Tyloo’s map. On the third map, they bounced back, winning countless T sides back-to-back. This is a similar story to their Berlin major qualifiers, where they had a near-perfect T side Dust 2 to remain in the qualifiers. Their performance is a sign that the young talent and the veterans in Chris “ChrisJ” de Jong and Finn “Karrigan” Anderson have the ability to perform together as a unit. Like FaZe Clan, this team still has life in them, and the recent events are certainly a breath of fresh air. Their remaining matches are at the Pro League Season Finals and at Epicenter in December.

Mouse win the CAC games.

Strong but unstable?

There are a few teams that aren’t on the rebound. Instead, they’re teetering on the edge of disaster. Natus Vincere is the epitome of this message. Their roster on paper is top quality, with a nice mix of old and new promising talent. However, Na’Vi is in a weird spot. They can go to one event and finish in the top 4, then go to the next and finish last.

Statistically speaking, Na’Vi has a 40% win ratio over the last three months. These stats do stretch over to Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko’s era, although, which is a sign the roster hasn’t moved on since. In recent months, they’ve attended DreamHack Malmo, ESL Pro League groups, Starseries Season 8, and Blast Pro Series Copenhagen. They won their ESL Pro League group in October, last at Starseries, and 3rd at Blast and DreamHack. Natus Vincere results do make them look capable of achieving success, but right now their stats contradict.

The true test for the roster is at their upcoming events, Epicenter and ESL Pro League Finals. Here they will encounter most of the best teams in the world. They will need to find themselves and show another top 4 finish. So we can look to 2020 and say they are most certainly still capable of performing. Natus Vincere has relatively been quiet, with 4 events in two months. It is time for Na’Vi to step out of the shadows and show us again they can finish top four as their early results predicate.

Na’Vi look like they have still got it, right?

Can Team Vitality find themselves?

Like with Na’Vi, Team Vitality have their own identity problem. They were once on top of the world alongside Team Liquid for most of 2019. However, they hit a wall come to the player break and couldn’t translate their success post-Berlin. The team followed suit with roster moves, replacing Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt with Richard “shox” Papillon. Since then, they too have followed a troublesome path out of relevancy.

It is not so much that Team Vitality is bad a team, it’s more their rounds have not been able to translate into match wins. The idea behind Shox’s appearance on the team was to make sure his expertise could get them across the finish line, and the now best player in the world, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut would carry them until then. Unfortunately, this philosophy only worked on Shox’s debut tournament. DreamHack Malmo was their most successful event, finishing second behind the reinvigorated Fnatic. However, the roster has left much to be desired since then.

Since Malmo, Team Vitality has failed almost entirely to advance deep in any tournament. At StarSeries Season 8, they finished 7th-8th. As for ESL Pro League, they failed to qualify for the Finals. It was only at IEM Beijing they managed to go far with a 3rd place finish. Team Vitality’s next stop is at Epicentre, where they’ll need to express they have it all figured out. Otherwise, they’ll be further overshadowed as top teams better position themselves ready for the new year to come in.

The last time Vitality won on LAN. They are going through a quiet phase right now.

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