CS:GO turns 10 years old. The successor to CS 1.6 was released in 2012 and sparked an esport that has gained a mass following 10 years later. As esports’ first official place to bet, Pinnacle are here to bring you some of the highs and lows of CS:GO, as well some changes that have had a major impact across a decade of the game.
CS:GO is a game that is played around seven active maps at any one time. These make up the active duty map pool. During the early days, it was extremely common to see maps such as Dust II, Nuke, Train, and Inferno. As time has gone on, we’ve seen many of these maps removed or changed. Overpass was added in 2013 and sparked a lot of controversy with the scandalous Olofboost.
Since then we’ve seen Train, Cache, and Cobblestone join and leave the map pool, not without making their mark on the scene. Train has given us the insane 1 vs. 3 clutch from Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz. Cache has been home to multiple highlights from Nikola "NiKo" Kovac and Cobblestone has made us hungry for clutches from the likes of Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
Majors and team dominance
We can’t discuss CS:GO without talking about its incredible majors - the bi-yearly tournaments where the best of the best slug it out to be crowned champions. Across the years, we’ve seen dominant teams that have gone on to establish eras in CS:GO.
The early majors were dominated by Swedish and French Counter-Strike. Fnatic, NiP, and VeryGames dominated the scene. That was until Virtus Pro ploughed their way into the conversation, along with NAVI. These are still prominent names in today’s professional scene, although very few of the original players remain. One player who has stuck it out through various roster changes is Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson, who won multiple majors with Fnatic and still remains in the team to this day.
During 2016, we saw a new region emerge with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo leading a Brazilian team to back-to-back major wins. At the time, this was impressive. That was until Astralis dominated as the number one team from 2018-2020, winning three majors in a row. Something no other team has done before.
It wouldn’t be a conversation about majors without mentioning two impressive Cinderella runs. Towards the end of 2016, NAVI legend Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko put out a Tweet saying: “I am not going to give up before I win a mother****ing major”. A year later, he took an unlikely group of misfits and made his tweet come true by winning a major with Gambit Esports. Another team that shocked the world was Cloud9. Up until 2018, the big question around North American Counter-Strike was “when will a North American team win a major?”. At the 2018 Boston major, Cloud9 made it to the final against the favourites to win, FaZe Clan. After tying up the series 1-1, FaZe threw away a 15-11 to allow Cloud9 to come back and win in overtime.
The best of the best
As we’ve already mentioned, CS:GO as seen its fair share of dominant teams, but which players have been exceptional during its lifespan.
Firstly, we have to give credit to Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund and Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg, who were part of Ninjas in Pyjamas' 87-0 LAN streak. “GeT_RiGhT” was awarded the best player in the world title in 2012 and 2013, and “f0rest” was awarded number two in 2012.
Famously, the best players have been AWPers. We can’t speak about the best players without mentioning Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, the current MVP record holder. Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs, who “s1mple” replaced in NAVI, also deserves a mention with his ability to perform in both a CIS team and a European team (FaZe Clan).
The 2018-2020 Astralis roster is still regarded as the greatest team to have ever played the game. The standout players here have to be Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz and Emil "Magisk" Reif. Both of these players have claimed a major MVP and I don’t believe Astralis would have been as dominant as they were without them.
There are many more names, but for the purpose of stopping this from being too long, I’ll list some honourable mentions: Nikola "NiKo" Kovac, Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer Gustafsson, Marcelo "coldzera" David, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Jaroslaw "pashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski, and Richard "shox" Papillon.
No sport is complete without significant moments that will forever be remembered – for all the wrong reasons – throughout the history of the game. Here are just a few:
Jaryd "summit1g" Lazar is a former North American professional player who was asked to stand-in for Splyce, who were playing Counter Logic Gaming. After winning a clutch on a 15-9 scoreline, “summit1g” ran aimlessly into his own Molotov. This blunder marked its place in Counter-Strike history, with anyone who kills themselves by way of their own Molotov being known as “doing a 1g”.
During the early days of Counter-Strike, North American Counter-Strike was regarded as a joke. iBUYPOWER were one of the teams that attempted to challenge that. That was until 2015, after a game on Season where Joshua "steel" Nissan was making some unusual plays. It later came out that four of the five players were involved in a match-fixing scandal, causing them to be permanently banned. You may recognise some of these names now – playing Valorant.
There have been many more bans in CS:GO, with only a few being for cheating. Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian is one of the most famous for this. However, someone with a more ridiculous story is Nikhil "forsaken" Kumawat. In 2018, OpTic India played a game in an ESL event. During one of the games, one of the admins noticed something that didn’t look quite right. When investigating the cheats that “forsaken” was using, it was seen that they were attempted to be disguised as “word.exe”. It’s safe to say this didn’t fool the admins.