The Counter Strike Hierarchy
Fnatic are inarguably the strongest team in all of Counter Strike. Their unprecedented 6 tournament win streak has cemented their claim and helped solidify their position as clear favourites. As The Champions of Counter Strike Fnatic come into each event as the favourites to win the entire tournament and seemingly they always do so in the most awe inspiring fashion. The Champions are the easiest team to root for as they're the most consistent and they showcase the best gameplay in all of Counter Strike.
Na`Vi, Luminosity, Astralis, EnVyUs
The Challengers consist of teams capable of winning major tournaments and securing victories over Fnatic but have struggled to surpass the swedish juggernauts thus far. At tournaments without fnatic's presence expect one of these challengers to claim the title as their own. Expect these candidates to dominate the rest of the Counter Strike field and had Fnatic ceased to exist, one of these teams would deservedly claim the title of The Champions of Counter Strike. Matches between these Challengers and Fnatic are the quintessential example of great Counter Strike and will almost always provide great spectacles. A lot of heartbreak awaits fans of these teams, while they're all consistently great they often tend to collapse at the last hurdle at major tournaments.
The Contenders comprise of teams challenging for quarter-final and semi-final finishes. They're strong teams that come into tournaments as exciting prospects but can hardly be expected to secure tournament victories over the top of the field. They're teams that have potential for greatness but lack in some aspects e.g; raw skill, tactical prowess, experience etc. Fortunately all these aspects can be overcome thus contenders are the most likely candidates to promote to Challengers and potentially Champions especially teams such as Virtus Pro and NiP who have an established history of greatness. The contenders can secure upset victories over the strongest teams but are also just as likely to falter against weaker opposition. Having lower expectations, the contenders are usually the easiest teams to root for as more often than not they'll exceed expectations and surprise their fans with great performances.
The pretenders are teams aspiring to reach higher ranks and have shown some potential to do so but are still significantly lacking in multiple aspects of their gameplay. Lack of raw talent, insufficient practice, deficient teamwork, lack of leadership and lack of experience are a few of the many faults the pretenders suffer from. These are the teams that at best can hope to secure some upset victories that can help propel them into a few top 8 finishes throughout the year. The only tournaments they'll win are ones without the presence of The Champions, The Challengers or The Contenders. The pretenders are the roughest of the pack but with enough dedication, support and a bit of luck these teams could be exciting prospects especially when you consider some of the star level talent located on these roster. Root for these teams at your own expense; it'll be a long drawn out affair, you won't see much success and you'll be left disappointed more often than not. It's a tough life but sometimes, like when cloud9 pushed into the top 6 last Summer, it pays off.