It was another big year for CS:GO in 2021, with the return of both offline events and the illustrious Major after more than a two-year hiatus. As we approach 2022 and more offline events than online ones, we’re taking a look back at the teams that performed the best in both environments.
The top name on the list should come as no surprise, but here are the best CS:GO teams from 2021.
What else can be said about the unbelievable campaign Na’Vi have had in 2021? When in-person events took a hiatus in 2020, Na’Vi stood on top at the IEM World Championship in Katowice, sweeping aside the 3-0 pre-NiKo G2 roster in an empty arena. Their footing stumbled a bit after shifting online with little else to show off in 2020, but they came out firing in 2021.
After promoting academy player B1T to the main roster, Na’Vi firmly established itself as the best team in the world, and the best team superstar s1mple has ever played with right during his peak. They claimed arguably the two biggest prizes in all of CS:GO this year, in the Intel Grand Slam and then the Major trophy. It’s also Na’Vi’s biggest year in prize winnings ever, with $3 million earned just between PGL Stockholm, the Intel Grand Slam/IEM Cologne, and the BLAST Premier Global Final. They even set a record by winning the Major without dropping a map, becoming the first team to do so.
For now, Heroic have ripped the mantle of “top team out of Denmark” away from Astralis while the three-time major winner reshapes its roster. But Heroic’s play this year has been nothing short of, well, heroic.
Almost everything leading into the core of their 2021 campaign indicated they would fall off: a slow end to 2020, a surprising roster swap, and an ugly controversy involving a disgruntled former coach. But despite all that, they still scrapped and clawed their way into the grand finals of ESL Pro League season 13, and in the final hour of map five, delivered arguably the greatest clutch of all-time. They capped off their year with a semifinals run at the Major, coming up just a couple rounds short of reaching the grand finals.
When the Gambit organization promoted their Youngsters academy team to the main roster, the expectations of the young core led by veteran Major-winner Hobbit were raised. But there are few people who could claim they expected Gambit to reach the heights they did in 2021. In their first real taste of international competition at IEM Katowice, they rallied from a surprising loss to Evil Geniuses, winning six straight series against the likes of Na’Vi, Heroic, and G2 to claim their trophy.
Their winning didn’t stop there. They collected trophies for IEM Summer and the BLAST Spring Finals while also finishing first at two different CIS RMR events. Like Heroic they ended up reaching the semifinals where they fell to Na’Vi, which is nothing to be ashamed of considering the year Na’Vi has had. Sh1ro became one of the highest rated players in the world this year as well, up there with the likes of ZywOo and s1mple. There’s plenty more for Gambit to accomplish in the years to come.
Other teams of note in 2021
- G2 Esports: While the roster sometimes struggled with consistency, when they were on they looked nearly unstoppable. If Na’Vi weren’t in attendance in Stockholm, it’s very likely that NiKo and company would be the ones with the Champions autograph stickers.
- Team Vitality: Vitality’s start to 2021 was abysmal considering the talent on the team, but their resurgence towards the end of the year is certainly notable. At both ESL Pro League and PGL Stockholm, they looked like a team that could contend with the likes of Na’Vi, and they did so at both events.