The 2019 season of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a deifying year for the esport scene. There are more and more tournaments popping up and the prize pools continue to increase. Last year, it was all Astralis, but it should be different story in 2019.
All the slates have been cleaned and it’s a brand-new year. Its going to be a heavy underdog season due to all the roster changes that occurred during the offseason. Which is exciting for individuals that bet on CS:GO. The five teams featured below are squads considered underdogs heading into 2019, but also have the ability to win any major tournament.
5. G2 Esports
G2 Esports enters 2019 with a relatively new roster. The all-French team of Shox, Bodyy, KennyS, Lucky, JaCkz, and head coach maleK has only been together since the end of November. Shox was named the in-game leader in November and helped G2 to a second-place finish at the PLG Grand Slam 2018 in December. G2 finished 2018 ranked No. 18 on the HLTV rankings.
Lucky and JaCkz joined G2 after an impressive stint with 3DMax. While with 3D Max, the duo finished first at the ESEA Season 28: Premier Division – Europe and the ESEA Season 29: Global Challenge.
Expect G2 Esports to make a deep run in the Katowice Major 2019 as they are a returning challenger.
OpTic Gaming is the lowest-ranked team from the HLTV rankings to make the top 10 CS:GO teams to watch in 2019. However, the teams recent signing of 20-year old Refrezh can bring revitalization to the all-Danish roster. Refrezh stood in for Cloud9 at BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 in December and helped lead them to a third-place finish. Before Cloud9, Refrezh was with Fragsters, where he led them to three third-fourth place slots at DreamHack Open Austin, DreamHack Open Valencia, and Games Clash Masters.
OpTic’s first test of 2019 comes at the Europe Minor Championship for Katowice 2019. Only two of the eight teams will automatically qualify, while third place gets placed in a play-in match.
It’s been almost a year now since Cloud9 pulled off one of the most memorable upsets in CS:GO Major history. Cloud9 defeated FaZe in the finals at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 in January to begin the year. However, the team started to struggle after winning the major and never earned a first-place finish for the rest of the year.
Cloud9 added three new members to the roster since September. Flusha joined on Sept. 25, while KioShiMa joined on Nov. 17 and Zellsis joined on Dec. 29 as a trial member. Flusha and KioShiMa looked strong together alongside Autimatic, RUSH, and stand-in Refrezh at BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon.
Cloud9 hopes to take their third-place finish in Lisbon and improved on that at the Katowice Major.
2. FaZe Clan
It’s an exciting time in CS:GO to think FaZe Clan and Team Liquid can be considered underdogs. It just goes to show how dominate Astralis has been this past year. However, FaZe Clan is one of the very few teams that can go up against Astralis and beat them on any given day. They showed that ability at the IEM XIII Sydney finals match with a three-game sweep over the Danes in May.
FaZe Clan has made some recent changes that have currently left them with only four players. The team moved away from long-time member Karrigan. Karrigan was first placed as an inactive member and has since been loaned out to Team Envy. Whether this change will affect the team has yet to be seen but its something worth keeping an eye on.
FaZe’s first tournament of 2019 will be the iBUYPOWER Masters IV in Los Angeles. FaZe is a heavy contender to win the tournament if they can get past Astralis.
1. Team Liquid
Team Liquid is going to have a new look to its roster in 2019. The North American team traded TACO to Made in Brazil (MIBR) in exchange for Stewie2k. Stewie2k joins the roster of Nitr0, EliGE, Twistzz, NAF, and head coach AdreN.
Stewie2k is expected to help Team Liquid to get over the hump and be heavy contenders alongside Astralis and Natus Vincere (Na’vi). Liquid had a strong 2018 with plenty of top three finishes but always fell short at the end. Liquid faced Astralis in five different finals during 2018 and every time. The North American side came in second place.
Liquid’s first major tournament of the new year will be the Katowice Major 2019. They hold the current legend status, meaning they have a first-round bye and will play teams that advance from the returning challenges stage.