Like most Esports titles out making a splash in the world of entertainment at the moment, Counter-Strike has experienced a serious boom in popularity in recent times. And whilst there are undoubtedly fans cheering for their favourite sides from all four corners of the globe, it’s clear that some countries have gone absolutely mad for the Valve title.
Here are some of the countries with the best Counter-Strike scenes and who dominates their regions.
Best Side: Team Liquid
A lot is made of North American Counter-Strike, however the region still boasts the side with the fastest Intel Grand Slam in the game’s history with Team Liquid. From April to the StarLadder Major in August/September, they were the undisputed number one team in the world and still retain a place in the top five world rankings to this day.
Other contenders in the region include Evil Geniuses (ranked 7th) and Cloud 9 (ranked 24th). EG had a strong run between September and October, scooping up wins at ESL One New York and I-League StarSeries, but have dropped off slightly following internal disagreements between the playing staff and the now-former coach, imaPet .
Cloud 9 remain the only North American side to win a Counter-Strike Major Championship and have shown some signs of a resurgence at the Road to Rio tournament so far, beating EG in week 2. Though they remain some ways behind the big players in the region, they could be a team to look out for.
Best Side: Astralis
From romping to a Counter-Strike record of four Major Championships, to becoming friends with the Danish Prime Minister, Astralis’ influence on both Esports and Danish culture has been staggering. The Danes burst onto the scene as the first player-owned franchise in 2016 following a shocking 2-0 win over Fnatic at the Columbus Major, and have rarely looked back since.
Whilst Astralis have hoovered up most of the talent emerging from Danish Counter-Strike with the additions of Device and Magisk, the likes of Mad Lions (ranked 12th) and North (ranked 21st).
Mad Lions are certainly an interesting watch for the months coming, having won the inaugural season of the new competition, Flashpoint. Featuring the best ‘B-tier’ teams active in the game, it could prove to be an interesting stepping stone for the group to go onto bigger and better things.
Best Side: Fnatic
Ever since the 1.6 and Source days, Sweden has been the home of Counter-Strike. From legends of the game such as Get_Right, Forest, JW, Olofmeister and Flusha to the new guns of Brollan and Nawwk, Swedish sides have always been amongst the strongest of performers and regularly topped the world rankings for the games.
The rivalry between Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas has been legendary throughout the game’s history and whilst NiP had the edge for some time, the recent years have pretty much been dominated by Fnatic. Following a disastrous showing in the Berlin Major qualifiers, Fnatic have gone on an upward trajectory towards being a staple favourite in esports betting markets, and are now the number one ranked side in the world.
Fnatic definitely gets the edge here.
Best Side: Team Vitality
This one might be the controversial pick out of the lot, but we’ve gone for Team Vitality over G2 as our choice of the best French side in the game right now. Though G2 are higher in the worldwide rankings at nos. 6 and 9 respectively, and Vitality are still in the middle of a serious structural problem following the loss of in-game leader Alex, there’s no denying that the latter of these sides have still accomplished much more in recent times.
Following a second place finish at DreamHack Malmo in October, Vitality made it to the 3rd-4th position at IEM Beijing and won Epicentre 2019 against Mousesports, whilst G2 have really only made it to a second place at IEM Katowice in that time.
They may be down at the moment, but Vitality are far from out just yet.