Jan 13, 2020
Jan 13, 2020

CS:GO: The year in review

A statistical analysis

NiP: The perennial playoff bottler

ENCE: Always the understudy, never the star

MIBR: A year to forget

CS:GO: The year in review

2019 has brought us many memorable moments in Counter-Strike. We witnessed Astralis dominate the Major circuit, and saw Team Liquid break records to take the Intel Grand Slam in record time eventually resulting in Intel changing the requirements.

The statistics

However with all of the events and games that have taken place, we usually forget the earlier half of the year, focusing only on the most recent events. I decided to take a further look, specifically looking into events that would be considered S-Tier by Liquipedia.

Whilst looking into it, I decided to exclude the BLAST Pro Series Finals in Bahrain, due to the limited number of teams skewing the data I had in place. Listed below are the events that were included in the parameters:

CS:GO S-Tier Events List




IEM Katowice Major 2019

13/02/2019 - 03/03/2019 


WESG 2018 World Finals

11/03/2019 - 17/03/2019


StarSeries i-League Season 7 

30/03/2019 - 07/04/2019


IEM Sydney 2019

29/04/2019 - 05/05/2019


DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 

28/05/2019 - 02/06/2019


ECS Season 7 Finals

06/06/2019 - 09/06/2019


ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals

18/06/2019 - 23/06/2019


ESL One: Cologne 2019

02/07/2019 - 07/07-2019


IEM Chicago 2019

18/07/2019 - 21/07/2019


StarLadder Berlin Major 2019

23/08/2019 - 08/09/2019


ESL One: New York 2019

26/09/2019 - 29/09/2019


DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019 

01/10/2019 - 06/10/2019


StarSeries i-League Season 8

21/10/2019 - 27/10/2019


IEM Beijing 2019

07/11/2019 - 10/11/2019


CS:GO Asia Championships 2019

20/11/2019 - 24/11/2019


ECS Season 8 Finals

28/11/2019 - 01/12/2019


ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals

03/12/2019 - 08/12/2019



17/12/2019 - 22/12/2019


After taking a complete look at the events, a lot of interesting statistics were found - here are some of them:

  • 69 unique teams were present at the S Tier events this year
  • 8 unique winners
  • 14 unique finalists
  • 33 unique teams were able to place in the top 8 at an S-Tier event in 2019

Some of the key takeaways, however, are more directed at specific teams. I’ve decided to pick at 3 specific teams who I feel have had a less than stellar year, and have decided to give some hypothetical reasoning behind some of these results.

The perennial playoff bottler: Ninjas in Pyjamas

On the surface this is quite a harsh title, and a bit of a tough thing to outright state. However, when looking at the statistics, it is somewhat hard to argue a case for the team in question which does not paint them as a potential playoff bottler.

NiP atteneded ten S-Tier events, made the playoffs eight times

Ninjas in Pyjamas are our first highlighted team. On one hand it could be argued that a statistic that shows them making 80% of playoffs at S-Tier events is quite good. From my point of view, I don’t think this is the case whatsoever. Of course, it is still good to be making the playoffs this often, but the main takeaway from this for me, is that they were never able to go beyond the quarter-finals when they did make the playoffs. This in my mind would be considered as bottling any potential chances that they received to make a deep run at an event.

Their eight defeats in the playoffs are worth taking a look at, just to give clarity to their situation as well. Of the eight defeats, exactly half of them were 2-1 losses with, of course, the rest being 2-0. Something small, which I personally found noteworthy, was that in these defeats, they were only able to win the first map in one of the series. This was against EG at the ECS Season 8 Finals, where they won the first map 16-11, but proceeded to lose 16-14 and 16-12 in the next two maps. This could be attributed to them finding it difficult to start a best-of-three, and therefore rarely being able to get a foot in, especially if it was their own map.

An argument could be made that the team having changes through the year resulted in this being quite difficult, and that they were never able to build a consistent team with chemistry, that the constant changes meant they’d go into events hoping to at least make the playoffs, and that they would see that as a success.

This should definitely be considered, but you cannot solely blame one circumstance for this many events having the same outcome for NiP. 2020 will be an interesting challenge for the Swedes, especially following the recent reports of their upcoming roster changes which will see young AWPer Tim “nawwk” Jonasson joining the side in place of Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg. Arguments could be made that this change was a long time coming, but is it too late?

Always the understudy, never the star: ENCE

This is a fairly straightforward title to be given, something that can be attributed to a team that, this year, have been unable to reach that trophy - but have been present in the final quite often.

ENCE attended 10 S-Tier events, reached the grand finals four times

This one will not come as much of a shock to an individual who has followed the scene over the year. Having reached the IEM Katowice Major Final earlier on in the year, they replaced their in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen with Finnish superstar Miikka “suNny" Kemppi, and now are in a situation where they’re still trying to regain their footing since before the transfer.

Whilst this may not be much of a “negative” thing to have around a team, it probably is something worth having a look at, as some players may find it a bit of a mental struggle to get to grips with, perhaps to reach the grand final knowing their track record. Across the four grand finals, they suffered 4 defeats to Astralis, Liquid (twice), and mousesports.

In only one of these grand finals, were ENCE able to claim a map - this was in Dallas, where they lost 2-1 to Liquid. This map however, was a victory in OT. There is potentially an argument to be made that they had ran out of steam by the time they’d reached some of these finals - I think this is the case, especially for Chicago where they were destroyed by Liquid 3-0 (16-2, 16-3, 16-14 ).

Their most recent grand final appearance was in November, where they were defeated 2-0 by mousesports, who they had previously beaten at the event 2-1 (16-8, 11-16, 16-11) - for them to go on to lose the final 2-0 (16-10, 16-11), I believe this potentially backs my previous theory that there could be a mental block for some of the players heading into the grand finals at events, knowing their experiences in the past.

Since the addition of suNny, they have attended five events - four of which were considered S-Tier (ESL One New York, DreamHack Masters Malmö, IEM Beijing and the CS:GO Asia Championships). Two of these events (New York & Beijing) were eight-team events where ENCE failed to progress beyond the groups.

At Malmö, they were unable to reach the playoff stage as well. Hopes have increased following their performance at the CS:GO Asia Championships, but how much hope is reasonable to have for a lineup which replaced their in-game leader for another star player?

A year to forget: MIBR

This title could be given to quite a few different teams, however I think this is a pretty deserving title given the performances by the team in question over the year, and the inconsistency of that.

MIBR attended 13 S-Tier events, failed to make the finals at any of them

It’s been a troublesome year for the Brazilian squad. Many transfers, no trophies. Arguments to be made that the players just aren’t as good anymore, arguments to be made that the drive to be the best is gone - but where do the problems lie?

It’s an interesting evaluation when you go through MIBR’s 13 events attended, as there are some losses which you could argue are “expected” or “not so bad”, such as the losses to Astralis (2-0 at Katowice) and Liquid (2-0 at Sydney, 2-0 at EPL S9 Finals) - however there are some truly diabolical results in there as well, such as the losses to BIG (2-1 at Cologne), coL (2-1 at ECS S7 Finals).

I personally believe a big part of the results crisis for MIBR has been the constant roster changes, but a lot of the time you cannot help but feel that they suffer from a complacency issue - by this I mean that at times they play to the level of their opponents.

For example, when they’ve played against the “bigger” teams, they’ve shown themselves capable at times to reach double digit rounds and make themselves respectable. However whilst facing teams who are “smaller” or “lesser known”, they’ve truly suffered and found themselves in a bit of a rut, which is something we never saw in previous iterations of this lineup.

Following these defeats, and before heading into the fresh 2020 season, MIBR decided to make a roster change which integrates some new blood into the lineup with the addition of Argentinian youngster Ignacio “meyern” Meyer, formerly of Sharks Esports. With only the one event attended so far with the new lineup, cs_summit, it’s not worth taking into account their performance too much. The question is, will this revitalise the Brazilians? Or will they suffer another disappointing year like 2019?

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About the author

Benjamin Doughty

Benjamin Doughty, commonly known as Esio, is a former former professional CS:GO player having represented the UK on a global level in the past. Now a freelance analyst, he is aiming to become the CS:GO statsman, creating his own metrics as well as statistics to use.

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