Valve has once again tasked PGL to organize a CS:GO Major. This time, the 24 teams that qualified for the event will fly to Antwerp, Belgium to fight for their share of the $1 million prize pool and pursue glory.
The Major will run from May 9 to 22 and will feature three stages. The 16 Challengers and Contenders will face each other in the Challengers stage and the top eight will advance to the Legends stage, where eight teams will be awaiting.
The best eight teams from the Major will then progress to the Champions stage, the competition’s single-bracket playoff, and play the games in front of a live audience at the Antwerps Sportpaleis.
Here are our power rankings for each team attending the PGL Antwerp Major.
IHC are close to making history. They will be the first Mongolian team to play at a CS:GO Major after having beat Renegades and TYLOO, the two most dominant teams in the Asian-Pacific scene, in a dominant fashion at the APAC Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament. IHC, however, will most likely have a tougher time at the Major because they’ve never faced European or American teams in official matches. What they have accomplished is already special and their best shot at the Major is to upset one team in a best-of-one series.
Another year, another time Renegades qualify for the Major. They’re by far the best team from Oceania, but their core never really made it into the deep stages of international events. The Aussies finished at the bottom of the IEM Katowice play-In in February, their only appearance overseas so far this year. That said, it’s highly unlikely they’ll advance from the Challengers stage, but they have an opportunity to do damage in the best-of-one matches.
Back-to-back Major champions in 2016 Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, and Lincoln “fnx” Lau reunited in 2022 under the Imperial banner with a project called Last Dance, a reference to the Netflix documentary about Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. Almost no one from outside Brazil believed this team could produce good results, but they qualified for the Major and to IEM Dallas so far. FalleN and company show they are better than some teams from South America and North America, but to replicate these results against tier-one teams from Europe will be a nearly impossible task for the squad that was officially created in February. Nonetheless, it should be fun to follow their trajectory.
This squad hailing from South America are up to something special. They are composed of two Argentinians, two Uruguayans, and one Chilean, and it will be the first time these nations will be represented at a CS:GO Major. With their backs against the wall at the Americas RMR, 9z displayed their best as they went on to win five best-of-three series in a row to grab the last Americas spot at the PGL Antwerp Major. They have the talent and the nerves, and they deserve to be in Belgium. The question is if they can replicate the same results against some of the best teams from Europe. Will they surprise the Counter-Strike scene once more or will logic prevail and they fall flat?
20) Eternal Fire
İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, Buğra “Calyx” Arkın, and Özgür “woxic” Eker have made it. The stars from the Turkish scene united in 2021 to assemble a Turkish superteam. Despite the initial struggle, they put an all-Turkish squad back in the Major, which hasn’t happened since the FACEIT London Major in 2018. Eternal Fire experienced mixed results throughout the year. and despite the evident firepower they have, they still lack more structure and experience as a squad to beat some of the world’s best. But if XANTARES and woxic are on a good day, they’re capable of winning matches.
MIBR has gone through innumerable failures ever since the brand was brought back to life by Immortals Gaming Club in June 2018. The org housed almost all of the Brazilians that won a Major and big names such as Vito “kNgV-” Giuseppe and João “felps” Vasconcellos as well. MIBR’s current squad doesn’t have a single player that won a tier-one tournament in the past, but still, they’re one of the best teams the organization ever had since the comeback.. Four of their players are Major debutants, so it’s hard to predict them advancing from the Challengers stage, even though they have shown glimpses of brilliance this year.
Complexity is back at the Major stage following last year’s failure with its old international roster. Not making it into PGL Stockholm Major made the organization revamp its lineup, moving back to its North American roots. Jason Lake signed the Extra Salt core and added former Team Liquid rifler Michael “Grim” Wince and former FURIA AWPer Paytyn “junior” Johnson. So far, they have not won anything nor looked like true contenders, but the in-game leader Johnny “JT” Theodosiou is slowly but surely creating a tactical structure and coming up with good strategies on the fly during matches. That, however, probably isn’t enough to make Complexity advance to the Legends stage; they’re missing firepower in tough matches, especially from junior, who has yet to prove his value against tier-one opponents.
17) Bad News Eagles
Bad News Eagles will be the only organization-less team at PGL Antwerp Major, and that’s not even the most interesting thing about this team. They’re also the first squad hailing from Kosovo to play at a CS:GO Major. The country’s Prime Minister congratulated them on the achievement and the players are hungry for more. We believe Bad News Eagles have what it takes to surprise once again, but their shot of qualifying for the Legend stage has likely conditioned them in doing well in the best-of-one matches. Should they secure a 2-0 or 2-1 record, they have a chance of making even more history.
16) Team Spirit
A solid start to the 2021 campaign did not lead to a permanent fixture in the upper echelon of CIS CS:GO as Team Spirit expected. After a heart-wrenching elimination from PGL Stockholm, the team opted to make changes, eventually calling up academy players Patsi and s1ren to join the time-tested trio of chopper, magixx, and degster. The duo of degster and s1ren led the way in their RMR run and will need to do so again to make it to the Legends stage.
Although not on the level of a Cloud9 or Outsiders, forZe looks like a top-three team out of CIS. While their performance at the EU RMR was certainly impressive, there’s little the group has done outside of that to give the impression that they’ll go very far at Antwerp. But an opening-round match against an internationally inexperienced Renegades team could fuel a nice start.
14) Team Liquid
Liquid still aren’t firing on all cylinders yet, but there’s enough veteran talent on the top North American team to still give others trouble in Antwerp. Since the full roster came together, they’ve been slowly improving at each stop they’ve made, including some wins against teams like Heroic and BIG. They find themselves working their way out of a hole though, with an opening match vs. G2 looming.
Outstanding circumstances have prevented the Outsiders, who are unable to play under the Virtus Pro banner, from having an ideal bootcamp and prep regimen before PGL Antwerp. Just qualifying for the Major was tough after back-to-back losses to BIG and MOUZ meant they had to win two straight best-of-threes just to make it to Hungary. They have a decent first-round draw against MIBR, though, since the Brazilian team doesn’t have a ton of international experience.
BIG got their heavy lifting out of the way at the first EU RMR event, posting a flawless run that included a 2-0 win over the hottest CS:GO team in FaZe Clan. But BIG has been wildly inconsistent throughout 2022. They fell far short of even making the RMR event in the first qualifier and had tough showings at both ESL Pro League and IEM Katowice. Other than their RMR performance, they’ve struggled mightily against the top teams, and starting out in the Legends stage means all they’ve got ahead of them are top teams.
The new age Astralis roster has been competitive in recent months but far below the level the organization is used to competing at. K0nfig has seen a huge improvement since his massive post-BLAST Fall dip, but the difference maker for Astralis in Antwerp should be whether Farlig emerges as a star AWPer.
Vitality’s superteam has not looked tremendously super throughout their early goings. After a hot start at BLAST Spring Groups, the group hasn’t replicated that level of success since. The two major sources of firepower, ZywOo and Magisk, have been playing below their career average player rating. Both will need to step up if they want to make a deep run out of the Challengers stage.
9) Copenhagen Flames
Copenhagen Flames might be a surprising name on the list of Legends to those who haven’t watched since Stockholm. But the Flames have been heating up in recent months, with two separate victories over Ninjas in Pyjamas since February, including the deciding win in their RMR run. The only thing missing for this group to be considered the best out of Denmark is a solid run at a premier international event.
All of Dot’s CS:GO writers chose FURIA as the best team from the Americas to attend the PGL Antwerp Major. The Brazilian team not only came out of the Americas RMR as the best team in the tournament but had been showcasing impressive skills in other top events. One of the most recent ones is ESL Pro League Season 15, where the South American representatives came out on top in Group B—what was called by many a group of death with ENCE, FaZe, and Vitality in it. In the same tournament, FURIA reached the semifinals, losing there to eventual winners in the form of FaZe. Currently, there’s just not a better team from the other side of the Atlantic, and they can go far at the Major.
7) Ninjas in Pyjamas
Despite lacking dev1ce, who’s been taking a break from competitive gaming due to mental health reasons, Ninjas in Pyjamas are still looking sharp. With the addition of a young prodigy in the form of Brollan, the squad possesses a solid lineup and firepower with veterans like Plopski, es3tag, or REZ coming in clutch when they need them. The team still has to earn an important trophy, but the semifinals at ESL Pro League Season 15 and third place in Europe’s RMR B show they have what it takes to compete at the highest level. With more time put into synergy and communication, they can be a dark horse at the Major.
When talking about exceeding expectations in CS:GO, currently, there’s no better team at it than ENCE. The European team added Maden by the end of January, and since then has been constantly climbing through different rankings, thanks to their ever-improving form and gameplay. They often present cohesive strategies and have a deep map pool (they sit on above 50-percent win ratio on five out of six played maps in the past three months, according to HLTV.org). Yet, simultaneously, ENCE’s individuals, like Spinx, hades, or dycha, who all have a rating higher than 1.1 in the last three months, can pop off when something goes wrong and carry their team to new heights. By going to the finals in EPL S15, they showed they can play under pressure, a much-needed trait at the Major.
In Counter-Strike, when assembling superteams, it’s tough to reach your goals immediately. And G2 Esports is a prime example of that. Despite having yet to win a trophy this year, this is a team with HLTV’s third player of 2021 (NiKo), a superstar AWPer in the making (m0nesy), one of the better IGLs in the game (Aleksib), and two incredible riflers. By reaching IEM Katowice 2022 finals, where they fell short after a close best-of-five against FaZe, G2 proved they have what it takes to be competing for the Major title. But they still need to work on their finishing and fix a couple of mistakes before they do so.
Since Heroic won EPL S13 in April 2021, they have made deep runs in almost every event, including the latest CS:GO Major, where they lost in the semifinals. They have cemented themselves as a side that can stun audiences. Heroic rely on momentum and cadiaN’s inspiring leadership, with every single player from the roster being able to deliver a symbolic performance, like memorable cadiaN’s or refrezh’s clutches. After dominating Europe’s RMR A, they should have drawn wind in their sails, and that’s a version of Heroic everyone should be afraid of.
The North American organization is returning to the CS:GO ecosystem in fashion, with its first tournament being the Antwerp Major. Cloud9’s Russian lineup may be playing under a new banner, but they are still the same five players that have been in HLTV’s top five since March 2021. Last year, they took home seven trophies, and while this year they have yet to win an event, they certainly don’t lack the skills to do so. If HObbit, Ax1Le, or sh1ro, who were HLTV’s sixth, fifth, and fourth-best players last year, respectively, play at their best, grabbing the trophy in Belgium should be within reach.
During the past two months, it has been incredibly hard for Ukrainian-Russian rosters to play to their full potential. Before IEM Katowice 2022 playoffs, Na’Vi looked unstoppable, finishing first in 10 out of 11 events from last July to December. Their performance dropped after recent events in Ukraine, but they are still the team that has everything they need to reclaim the title of the best team in the world. What’s more, in the recent tournaments they still comfortably reached playoffs, reminding everyone that the fundamentals to dominate are still there. With them focusing 100 percent on the Major, Na’Vi can undoubtedly defend their title.
1) FaZe Clan
At the PGL Antwerp Major, expectations for FaZe Clan are higher than ever. People from all around the world are looking for the European superteam to extend their championship run after they won at IEM Katowice 2022 and ESL Pro League Season 15 in the last two months. Since the addition of ropz on January 30, FaZe have been unstoppable. Under the confident leadership of karrigan and with veteran support from rain and the astonishing playmaking potential of the remaining three players, FaZe have all the tools to grab the first Major CS:GO trophy in the organization’s history.