Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, Team Rankings These are the CS:GO teams to watch in 2017 Posted on March 5, 2017March 5, 2017 by Yakuza Last year’s Majors were dominated by SK, but 2017 could see a number of teams reign supreme. 2017 may already be a few weeks old, but only over the last few days has the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world woken from its holiday slumber. The ELEAGUE Major is practically upon us, and while WESG and DreamHack Leipzig gave us an early look at some of the contenders, many of the teams hoping to walk away as winners haven’t played an event for quite a while. Predicting who’ll come out on top at the Major right now isn’t easy, but what we can do is predict which teams will have a stand out year over the next 12 months, and the ones that you should be keeping an eye on. If we look back at 2016, it’s fair to say that SK/Luminosity dominated the first months and were arguably the best team in the world, but few people would have predicted that outcome this time last year. And as we saw in the latter half of the year, teams that have traditionally been in the lower tiers can easily come back and win the big events – in fact pro CS:GO has never been more unpredictable. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pick out teams that we expect to do well in 2017 though. NaVi Natus Vincere had a very good 2016, and were certainly one of the best teams throughout the year, but they could never quite get it done when it mattered, apart from at ESL One New York. New York showed what the current line-up, with new superstar s1mple on the roster, could accomplish and with the season about to start up once again this team should shine. 2016 was just the start for NaVi; if they keep this roster and manage to fix the few issues that remain, they have a very bright future. They have the talent, they’ve proven that they can beat all comers, and they have a massive fan base to appease, so they really could become the best team in the world in 2017. Astralis Despite having a very tough second half to 2016, Astralis have set themselves up to have a great 2017, and their play style makes them one of the more entertaining teams to watch. Swapping out Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen for Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander revitalised the team and saw them take second at ELEAGUE and first at ECS. They head into the Major as a clear favourite and arguably the strongest team in the pack. If they can keep coming up with new strategies, and don’t fall into the old Astralis ways of feeling stale, they really could dominate 2017. OpTic Gaming NA CS had its best year ever in 2016, and while Cloud9 and Liquid were a couple of the most successful teams, OpTic Gaming is the one to watch in 2017. They had a great end to the year, winning ELEAGUE and taking second at ECS, and head into the Major with some impressive momentum. After more than a few roster changes, the green wall finally has a system that is working, and one that looks difficult to beat. Their success isn’t quite as guaranteed as some teams on this list, but if OpTic do manage to keep improving, there’s no reason why we couldn’t see them as world beaters over the next few months. North As the year started to wind down, Dignitas finally hit the top of the CS world, with great performances and a big tournament win. Now with the backing of F.C. Copenhagen, under the new organisation North, they have all the tools they could ever want. The team is still young and developing, but has always been a hot contender, and look set to kick on to finally establish themselves as the best in the world. 18-year-old Emil ‘Magiskb0Y’ Reif also looks set to have a star year, and could end up in the best player in the world conversations. GODSENT The Swedish shuffle may not have worked out as smoothly as Fnatic or GODSENT hoped, but now things seemed to have stabilised and GODSENT are looking pretty good. They haven’t set the world alight just yet, but their performance at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier showed what they were capable of. If they manage to play like that week in and week out then they’ll easily be at the top of the scene, and right now there is no reason that can’t happen. They aren’t world beaters just yet, but after the Major they may well be, and even if they don’t have a great time, they’re still one of the brightest teams in the scene. Immortals SK may be the most successful Brazilian team out there, but sitting just behind them is the rapidly improving Immortals squad, who could replicate their countrymen’s success this year. They haven’t yet managed to beat all of the top teams, and they didn’t even make it to the Major, but they’ve shown signs of brilliance. Playing against the top teams in NA will only see them improve, and some much needed roster stability should give them consistency. It may be a few months before this call comes good, but Immortals could be in the conversation as a top contender for the second major of the year. BIG If Immortals was a bit of a left field call, then BIG sounds almost ludicrous, but we believe they have the makings of a top team. In their debut event they only dropped maps to the Major bound Flipsid3 Tactics and upcoming team Heroic, dominating everyone else easily. BIG is a promising mix of experienced veterans and up and coming talents, which as we have seen countless times before, is always a great mix. It may take a while for them to pop up in the bigger events, and it may be a long time before they win a major, but they’re certainly one of the most exciting new teams coming into 2017.