The best esports organizations of 2021

It's a tough climb to the top.

Photo via Riot Games

In 2021, esports fans saw crowds at live events start to come back, the continued rise of VALORANT, the triumphant return of CS:GO and Halo majors, and the breaking of numerous viewership and prize pool records across several games.

Some of the prominent organizations in esports had landmark years as well. In this list we’re going to look at the organizations that found the most success or took the most steps forward during 2021.

Sentinels

Image via Riot Games

Prior to 2021, Sentinels wasn’t a massive esports entity outside of battle royales and content creators. For a while, their biggest names were Fortnite World Cup winner Bugha and streamer xQc. In 2020, they signed a VALORANT roster that showed real promise, but it wasn’t until 2021 and the acquisition of TenZ from Cloud9 when that promise turned into dynasty potential.

Sentinels’ VALORANT team went back to back at NA Masters One and VCT Masters Two, dominating domestic and international competition at the game’s highest level. Additionally, the org heavily leaned into their new villain role, and thus saw their Twitter follower number go from 100,000 to 500,000 over the year. Despite the VALORANT roster’s disappointing finish at Champions, the team is still set up for sustained success, and the organization is looking to dominate a new scene after signing arguably the greatest Halo roster of all time.

Natus Vincere

Image via PGL

Na’Vi competes across several esports, but for the past handful of years their flagship program has been their CS:GO division. And in 2021, their CS:GO roster didn’t just have their most successful year to date, they may have put together one of the best years of Counter-Strike of any team.

Superstar s1mple and his Na’Vi teammates finally claimed the elusive Major trophy they were seeking, but they also filled their trophy cabinet with an impressive collection of top-tier tournament hardware. They filled their pockets too, setting the record for most prize money earned in single year by a CS:GO team ever. The roster is also young overall and could continue to dominate for some time. Additionally, Na’Vi is jumping into new shooters like VALORANT and Halo.

Cloud9

Image via Cloud9.

Nothing says success like winning across multiple titles all year long. Cloud9 has built up one of the more expansive trophy cabinets over the years, one that includes a CS:GO Major trophy, a Rocket League title, an Overwatch League title through the London Spitfire, and a handful of NA LCS trophies among others.

In 2021, they added to their collection with yet another NA LCS title, three different VCT NA Game Changers titles with their women’s VALORANT roster, and rounded out the year with the first Halo Infinite trophy from the HCS Kickoff Major in Raleigh. After 10 attempts, C9 Mango finally claimed the Smash Summit trophy, perhaps cementing his status as the Melee GOAT. Their men’s VALORANT roster also made it further at VCT Champions than any other NA team.

Honorable mentions

  • Acend: Won VCT Champions, becoming the first official VALORANT world champions. Also entered Halo Infinite with one of the best EU rosters.
  • Team Spirit: Won the Dota 2 International Championship (TI10).
  • Edward Gaming: Won the 2021 League of Legends World Championship.
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas: Won the Six Invitational and finished second at the Six Sweden Major. Added superstar dev1ce to its CS:GO roster. Acquired an LPL spot for 2022.