The PGL Stockholm Major 2021 is right around the corner. The CS:GO world is buzzing with emotions in preparation for the first Major in more than two years.
While fans will get to observe the world’s best give it their all in Stockholm, there are some well-known players who didn’t make it to Sweden’s capital. Here’s our list of the most notable competitors who will be missing from this year’s CS:GO Major.
This list couldn’t begin with any player other than coldzera. The Brazilian was considered the world’s best CS:GO player in 2017 and 2018 for a reason. He produced astonishing numbers, leading Luminosity and SK Gaming to their Major victories at MLG Columbus 2016, ESL Cologne 2016, and other S-tier tournaments. The 26-year-old had an unsuccessful past three years, though, with his latest Major being IEM Katowice in 2019. Still, having such a historic name missing from the PGL Major Stockholm is a huge loss.
Aleksib proved himself in 2019 when he led ENCE to the finals of the Katowice Major in surprising fashion. Later on that year, the Finnish organization triumphed at BLAST Pro Series: Madrid, silencing all the naysayers who claimed ENCE were a poor team and Aleksib was a poor leader. Since then, the Finnish in-game leader has joined OG and turned it into an international team worthy of competing in CS:GO’s most prestigious events. But the roster is inconsistent, which comes at a cost. This time, OG will be missing from one of the most important competitions in the past two years.
There aren’t many top-tier players left when it comes to those who started their careers when the CS:GO era began. But one of them is jkaem, who’s attended many Majors, with ESL One: Katowice 2015 being his first. Since 2018, he’s been the main pillar of the ex-Renegades-100 Thieves roster, with which he achieved a top-four placing at the StarLadder Berlin Major in 2019. The Norwegian has been the most recognizable representative of his country alongside rain. He’s always put up impressive performances when it matters most, so his absence in Stockholm will be felt.
There’s no need to introduce this French prodigy and sniper. KennyS was thought to be the best player from his country before ZyWoO made his mark. The 26-year-old was always a threat if he got his hands on the AWP, which he proved at the DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca Major 2015. He led Team EnVyUs to the organization’s first and only CS:GO Major gold medal and he received an MVP award for his performance. Before he was benched in March, he didn’t put up astonishing numbers. But still, no kennyS in Stockholm certainly marks the end of an era for French Counter-Strike.
When you think about some of the most passionate players in Counter-Strike, f0rest instantly comes to mind. The Swede has been around since the beginning of CS:GO and claimed eight MVP medals throughout his career in the newest version of the game. All good things must come to an end, though, and for a one-time Major winner, it seems that his best days are behind him. He’ll be missed during the return of the most important tournament of the last two years. But as f0rest himself claims, his passion for the game is what keeps him going and he’s got plenty of it left. Who knows, maybe he’ll lead Dignitas or another roster to victory once more down the road.
When talking about Swedish players, it’s hard not to think about KRIMZ. The 27-year-old was one of the authors of Fnatic’s era in 2015. There were only a few players in history who could hold a bombsite as well as KRIMZ and come up clutch so many times when it was needed. He was recognized for being such a standout player, ending up on HLTV’s top 10 players in 2014 and 2015. Now, KRIMZ will miss the second Major of his career and we’ll be just as surprised not to see him this year as we were in Berlin two years ago.
When it comes to the most well-known Australian players, AZR is likely the name that crosses your mind. When it comes to CS:GO, he’s been here since the beginning, joining Vox Eminor in 2012. Many years and Majors later, we find ourselves in a place where Oceania isn’t a wild card anymore, but a region able to present top-tier talent. It wouldn’t be there without AZR, who instructed many Australian players in different parts of their careers. The 29-year-old surprised the world in Berlin by making it all the way to the semifinals. Now, he’s surprised fans again by not making it to Stockholm since many thought qualifying for a Major is just another day at the office for AZR.
And since we’re discussing regional superstars, XANTARES comes to mind when talking about Turkey. The 26-year-old is known for pulling off amazing clutches, finding headshots in the most difficult plays, and overall putting up performances worth remembering. Still, his new team, Eternal Fire, hasn’t found success so far. Thus, we’ll have to wait another couple of months before we can see XANTARES shine on the Major stage.
There’s no better way to round out our list than with the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 MVP, tarik. The event in Massachusetts was the only Major tournament ever won by a North American team and it was done in an outstanding fashion. Cloud9 began both the Challengers Stage and Legends Stage horrendously, starting with a 0-2 record. But then they pulled off possibly the biggest surprise in CS:GO history by going all the way to the finals and making another comeback there, this time against tournament favorites FaZe Clan. Much of this was thanks to tarik, who proved himself as a leader that the North American scene needed. Now, he’s a player who fans from NA and all around the world will miss during the Stockholm Major.
The PGL Stockholm Major begins on Tuesday, Oct. 26. The Legends Stage will start four days later on Oct. 30. You can follow all the action on PGL’s Twitch channel.