North American CS:GO has never been stronger than it is in this moment. Team Liquid is one of the world’s elite teams and arguably the most skilled line-up in professional play, routinely making top placings at the biggest international tournaments and dangerous for every top team out there in the field. NRG have come off a year of progressively improving and becoming more than just also-rans, developing instead into a legitimately good global side. Finally, 15 months or so ago Cloud9 lifted the first major in CS:GO history for the region.
The first generation of North American CS:GO teams saw a limited field of essentially two different cores achieve occasional success but rare runs of consistent form. Outside of those big two, there was a barren wasteland of unproven players, names who only performed online and missing talents who had abandoned the franchise in the transition to the new Counter-Strike game.
The primary names of this period were leaders seangares and DaZeD and star fraggers Hiko and swag. DaZeD and Hiko were part of the Quantic line-up which stunned the ESEA S13 field by defeating VeryGames, one of Europe’s best, en route to a second place finish behind the near unbeatable NiP. After that line-up imploded, Hiko would join up with seangares again to help form the compLexity core which went on to finish top four at Dreamhack Winter 2013, the first CS:GO major. Among their ranks was young flourishing star swag, who left for their rivals following the next major.
coL/C9 were a team known for bringing respect to NA CS:GO, as they could match-up well with the top European sides and at a minimum secure a respectable play-off finish. At the next two majors they would finish 5th-8th, both times losing to the NiP core which was acknowledged as the best in history, but both times winning a map against the Swedish titans. Elsewhere, coL managed to finish runners-up at ESEA S16, placing ahead of NiP and VP – the world’s best teams. As the year closed out, though, C9 hit a slump and found their results massively down-graded.