The best CS:GO players to never win a Major

Eternal greatness still awaits.

Photo via PGL

There are so many ways to define success in competitive CS:GO, but none are quite as illustrious or desired as the honor of lifting the Major trophy. Since 2013, Valve has sponsored the prize pool of 17 Majors and the rise of the Danish dynasty in Astralis in 2018 made it seem like the door was closing for some of the game’s greats to finally get there.

But Astralis’ core didn’t come through the Major break brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic intact, opening a path for some of the game’s best players to finally get that elusive Major win. S1mple, electroNic, karrigan, rain, and Twistzz among others all finally won their first Major trophy when Na’Vi and FaZe won the PGL Stockholm and PGL Antwerp Majors, respectively.

After three straight Astralis victories, CS:GO fans saw a team of players all win their first Major in back-to-back instances, lending hope to the idea that some of the remaining greats still missing out on that trophy could finally get theirs.

A lot of players haven’t won the Major. But when it comes to active players who are considered great by consensus and are still playing on top-tier teams, there’s a big three. Here are the best CS:GO players to never win a Major, yet.

Nikola “NiKo” Kovač

Photo via PGL
  • Second at PGL Stockholm 2021 (with G2)
  • Second at ELEAGUE Boston 2018 (with FaZe)
  • Top-eight at IEM Katowice 2019 (with FaZe)
  • Top-eight at FACEIT London 2018 (with FaZe)

For over half a decade, the Bosnian superstar has been a consistently dominant presence at the top of competitive CS:GO. He’s cracked the top five of HLTV’s Player of the Year lists in four separate years, claimed seven MVP trophies, and has always been in the conversation when discussing the best player in the world.

It’s not like NiKo no-shows at Majors, either. He’s one of only seven players to reach a Major grand final with two different teams and he holds the Major record for most kills in a map with 52 against FlipSid3 at MLG Columbus. But FaZe’s collapse against Cloud9 in Boston is only more tragic in hindsight. The duo of karrigan and rain went on to redeem themselves at PGL Antwerp 2022, while NiKo and G2 were unable to even reach playoffs at that Major despite being considered favorites.

Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut

Photo via PGL
  • Top-eight at PGL Stockholm 2021 (with Vitality)
  • Top-eight at StarLadder Berlin 2019 (with Vitality)
  • Top-11 at PGL Antwerp 2022 (with Vitality)
  • Top-11 at IEM Katowice 2019 (with Vitality)

An AWPing prodigy and blossoming superstar, ZywOo winning a Major feels a little more like an eventuality rather than just a possibility considering the Frenchman is still only 21. His playmaking and potential are unquestionable. He’s been a top-two player in the world for three straight years and has more tournament MVP awards earned by a rookie player than anyone else.

For ZywOo, getting to achieve some consistency with the roster he’s on is paramount to securing better finishes at Majors. In the past three Majors, he’s played with almost entirely different teammates at each one. The window is still open for him and not closing at an alarming rate, but it’d be a crime to waste his prime.

Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski

Photo via PGL
  • Second at ESL One Cologne 2016 (with Liquid)
  • Top-four at MLG Columbus 2016 (with Liquid)
  • Top-four at FACEIT London 2018 (with Liquid)
  • Top-eight at StarLadder Berlin 2019 (with Liquid)
  • Top-eight at IEM Katowice 2019 (with Liquid)

EliGE has been one of the most consistent pillars of North American Counter-Strike, a top-20 player over five years, and the driving force behind the dominant 2019 that Team Liquid had. But he’s still left without a Major. Clutch, consistent, and cool under pressure, EliGE is certainly one of NA’s best and in the conversation for the best ever from the region. Right now, though, the most accomplished NA player has to be Twistzz.

EliGE’s top three Major placements are all heartbreaking in their own way. Even with nitr0, Hik0, and s1mple at the start of his peak, Liquid were unable to get past the Brazilian SK/LG roster in 2016 and the “jumping double from cold” that stunned the NA crowd in Columbus is etched on the walls of Mirage forever.