The Best Counter-Strike Matches Of The Year
2020 Has been a strange year for all things, and the world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has certainly been no different. The huge stages and roaring crowds of the traditional LAN events was wiped out by the rise of the post-COVID online era.
Nevertheless, the year has still served a plethora of memorable tournaments and matches that are sure to go down in the game’s history as some of the finest the Esports world has ever produced.
Here are some of the best Counter-Strike matches played this year.
Team Vitality 3 Natus Vincere 2
Intel Extreme Masters XV – Beijing Online: Europe
Team Vitality and Natus Vincere were two of the world’s top three teams heading into the Grand Final of IEM Beijing Online: Europe. Na’Vi certainly had the more impressive route to the final, defeating both Astralis and G2 Esports in the play offs whilst Vitality had seen off Heroic and Complexity Gaming.
This final was Na’Vi’s to lose. They had been the better side throughout the tournament, and absolutely flew out of the traps with wins on both Nuke and Dust II with 16-9 and 16-12 scorelines. However, the phrase ‘marathon not a sprint’ comes to mind when it comes to explaining VItality’s stunning comeback across the series.
Vitality would become the first ever team to make a substitution mid-series, bringing on Nivera for the maps on Dust II and Inferno. The sixth man in the French org’s active lineup, Nivera bagged twenty kills on both those maps, but really helped give Vitality the edge over Na’Vi in the long slog. It became more and more clear over the series that Na’Vi were running out of energy and desire, picking up only 23 rounds in the next three maps as Vitality reverse swept their opponents 16-6, 16-9 and 16-8.
Fnatic 3 Mousesports 2
ESL Pro League Season 11 – Europe
Out of all the events and competitions the world of Esports has put on this year, ESL Pro League Season 11 might just be the most powerful. During a time where everything was being thrown into disarray and lockdowns around the globe were dominating people’s lives, EPL Season 11 stepped up and delivered an uplifting month-long tournament that galvanised everyone and provided the best distraction possible from the world’s troubles.
Fnatic and Mousesports had been the world’s two most consistent sides in the months leading up to EPL Season 11, with both teams lining up against each other in the grand final of ESL Pro League Season 10. Mousesports had won the day at EPL Season 10, but a lot had changed by the time April 2020 rolled around.
Fnatic were actually named as favourites by Esports betting experts Unikrn in their CS:GO odds before the game, having defeated the likes of Faze Clan, Na’Vi, Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas and even Mousesports themselves before the final. D
And despite taking a 2-1 lead at one point in the series, Fnatic roared back with a 16-1 win on Nuke, the biggest map win in a Grand Final recorded all year before sealing the crown with a 16-12 win on Mirage.
Natus Vincere 2 Astralis 0
Intel Extreme Masters World Championship – Katowice 2020
Astralis are absolute CS:GO royalty. The Danish org have won three Major Championships in a row, four in total and their five man core of Xyp9x, Gla1ve, Dupreeh, Magisk and Dev1ce are all the top earners the game has ever seen in terms of overall prize winnings. So, naturally, nothing but a win was expected of the org when they came up against CIS org Natus Vincere in the semi final at IEM Katowice, the last LAN event to date before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Na’Vi had been a side going through some serious roster transition issues over the past year or so, and had a reputation for bottling things when it came to the big stage.
However, what followed was one of the most devastating and dominant displays of Counter-Strike seen this year. Na’Vi ran rampant on their home map of Dust II, winning 16-5, before continuing their fearless approach on Nuke, traditionally Astralis’ number one map pick, repeating that same scoreline as the CIS org romped to their eventual grand final win and a spot at the top of the HLTV world rankings.