Top 5 intrigues before the CS:GO fall season kicks off

Alisa Barladyan
18 Aug 2022

On August 19, with the start of BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2022, the fall phase of the CS:GO competitive season kicks off. Cyber athletes have taken a break from their grueling schedules for a month and are already rolling into bootcamps. Until the end of 2022, the best teams will delight spectators with quality play and fight for prestigious awards.

The organizations didn't sit idly by during the break and strengthened their lineups. Some teams now look different from their January rosters. What to expect from the lineups this fall? What excites CS:GO fans the most? Who will surprise or disappoint the community in the next six months? Check out our feature story for more details.

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Top 5 intrigues before the CS:GO fall season kicks off

The team led by karrigan gave the organization many victories in the first half of 2022. Before that, FaZe Clan had been assembling stellar lineups for six years, however, without success at the key majors for the organization. NiKo, coldzera, and GuardiaN defended the banners of the organization. The management did not spare money on stellar transfers. Alas, every new sensational signing was nothing but a disappointment.

Only by January of this year, they managed to build a roster that could bring the desired victory in the major and a series of trophies at significant tournaments. In the first half of 2022, FaZe Clan players won five out of eight tournaments and gave BIG a victory in the Roobet Cup finals. The absolute dominance of Faze was caused by the difficulties in preparing their immediate rivals, Natus Vincere and Gambit Esports (since April 2022 - Cloud9). The European opponents (G2, Team Vitality, NiP, Heroic) failed to show a stable game and would only occasionally go hard at certain events. FaZe Clan triumphed at the Antwerp Major and IEM Katowice, ESL Pro League 15, BLAST Premier Spring Groups, and IEM Cologne.

Why did the team achieve phenomenal results in such a short period? The organization staked on strong professionals without big names, and the roster lived up to expectations. Karrigan's team moves through each map as an organized unit, making as few mistakes as possible. Each of the five players can take the lead and run a good run, so the results don't depend on the poor form of one of the team members.

Will anything prevent FaZe Clan from winning a second major in a row and claiming the Inter Grand Slam award? It can only be Natus Vincere. Despite the forced substitution, the "born to win" gave a fight at the last final in Cologne and inflicted a painful defeat in Lisbon (FaZe took five rounds in two maps). Plus, s1mple will be looking to increase his legacy and claim the best player of 2022, and for that, he needs tournament wins. Therefore, in the second half of the year, the new "el clasico" in CS:GO will be a confrontation between these two teams and FaZe Clan trophies will depend on its results.

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The most active organization at halftime was G2. Unsatisfactory results in spring and early summer prompted management to think about changes. As a result, a lineup with replacements was announced for BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2022. Instead of rifler JACKS and in-game leader Aleksib, jks and former Copenhagen Flames captain HooXi will play as stand-ins.

Our recent piece provided stats on the team's old and new roster of players. The research showed that the Australian rifler would strengthen the team, but this could be counterbalanced by losing skill at the captain's slot.

Analysts and experts alike say that the organization made a big mistake by signing a tier-2 team in-game leader. They recall problems with G2 star NiKo. The Bosnian is showing phenomenal rifle skills, but the number of wins at majors and tournaments from BLAST and ESL isn't increasing. Moreover, he is being blamed for roster management: players are bought or kicked out of the roster at his will.

Will G2 be able to contend for titles this fall? Let's be honest: making the playoffs in the major would already be an achievement for the new roster. Newcomer jks hasn't played on the competitive scene regularly for a long time and will need time to adjust. HooXi will get used to the tier-1 level and improve his individual skills. If the stars align, NiKo's team will be able to surprise us and take the trophy at one major event, but this fall season, G2 doesn't look like a serious competitor for Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan.

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Between the tournaments, many teams have kept their rosters, but some teams were able to strengthen their rosters for the upcoming encounters.

At OG, degster replaced mantuu at the sniper position. Abdul proved himself in Antwerp, but his relationship with Team Spirit soured after the organization moved to Serbia. He played in the European team as a stand-in for BLAST Premier: Spring Finals. The Russian player created a meme over the tournament, hitting his teammates hard high-fives, and also helped OG come out of first place in the group and put up a tight fight against the "born to win" in the two series.

After his success at the Lisbon tournament, team management thought about signing Abdul on a permanent basis. Now degster will have to prove his level against the best teams on the planet. His new team often plays in partnership tournaments, but there were no victories in 2022. The sniper has already been able to help the team perform well once, and there is a chance he will translate his skills into medals and trophies in nexa's team.

Another team that was transformed after the accidental substitution was Team Liquid. The "liquids" invited entry fragger from Outsiders YEKINDAR to the roster at IEM Cologne 2022. It turned out that the Latvian fitted in perfectly, impressed all the teammates with his game knowledge, and actually helped them reach the event's final stage. His partners praised him highly at the end of the tournament, expressing the hope that Mareks would play with them again.

Their hopes were fulfilled, and YEKINDAR will play for the American team once again at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups. For now, Mareks will play as a stand-in. His further fate may be decided after this tournament. In case of a good performance, Team Liquid won't be able to hold back and will negotiate with a transfer of the Latvian player to their team. As practice has shown, the team can handle strong competitors with him.

However, changing the roster for success in the fall part of the season is not necessary. That's how the Astralis management sees it, leaving the Danish roster unchanged. The team systematically improved their results and managed to enter the top three at the Roobet Cup and IEM Cologne 2022. Rifler of the "stars" blameF spends 2022 in his peak form and helps his teammates stand in the way of the competition's favorites. Rumor has it the team is waiting for device's return to the sniper position, but even with these five players, the team is progressing and getting results.

At the beginning of the summer, Astralis was ranked in the top 5 of the HLTV rankings, but this honor looks like an early payoff. gla1ve's team can compete against the best teams in the world, but it is difficult to claim tournament victories just yet. However, if, during the break, the squad could find the resources for another upgrade in the game plan, we will see the full revival of the organization on the CS:GO competitive scene.

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Individual awards in CS:GO are on par with winning major tournaments. The title of the top player of the year adds a great deal of prestige to both the individual and the team. Snipers are writing their names in history, improving their contract conditions, and boasting incredible highlights.

Over the past four years, the battle has steadily unfolded between two superstars of the shooter - s1mple and ZywOo. In the race for the title of the best player of the year, they leave no chances for their colleagues in arms. But this year, the Frenchman and his team didn't achieve any victories, and his performance was never awarded the MVP award. Alexander lost his main rival in this race, but that doesn't mean that the Ukrainian sniper is now guaranteed to pick up another individual award.

To objectively assess the players' performance, we took a sample of performances against the top 20 of the HLTV rankings. This is a cross-section of teams consistently participating in S-class tournaments. Here s1mple is competed by players from Cloud9 - sniper sh1ro and rifler Ax1Le. Sniper of the "born to win" in 2022 has a rating of 1.30, while the Russian players follow him with 1.27 and 1.23, respectively. However, the Cloud9 players currently only have a win at IEM Dallas 2022, without distinguishing themselves in the major and having performed mediocrely at Cologne and Katowice tournaments.

Logically, the best player should be in the dominant team. However, the secret of FaZe Clan's success lies in the high level of team play. They do not rely on the shooting of an individual star. All players on the team have an average rating between 1.05 and 1.15 (captain karrigan has 0.93, and it's okay) and are far from fighting for the MVP of the year. But does that prevent them from winning tournaments and making some killer highlights?

NiKo of G2 and blameF of Astralis are showing strong individual play. The Bosnian has been at a high level for the last five years, and his rifler rate is currently no different than that of the best snipers. On the other hand, the Dane found himself in the national all-star team and is helping resurrect the tag's former glory. The Astralis finished 3-4 in Cologne, claiming their comeback after the collapse of the "golden lineup." Can these two players compete on equal terms with Alexander? Only if they have a tournament and faceoff victories.

In addition to a high individual rating from HLTV, s1mple won two MVP awards over the summer. He won the BLAST Premier Spring Final 2022 and played in the Antwerp Major final and the Cologne tournament. Even against the perfect performance from his teammates, Alexander stands out for his cold-blooded shooting and high kill-to-death ratio (1.4 on average). FaZe Clan players don't stand out with individual performances throughout the year and other heroes don't lead teams to victories in premium-level tournaments, so the Ukrainian sniper has the highest chance to win the MVP title in 2022.

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In this context, we will call Cloud9 (American organization, Russian roster), Outsiders, and Team Spirit teams from Russia.

Cloud9 bought from Gambit Esports, the squad that was a contender to win S-Class tournaments in 2021. The squad had difficulty getting ready for tournaments with the start of a special military operation, and the players could not gain good playing form during the key events. Success at IEM Dallas 2022 was overshadowed by a lackluster performance at IEM Cologne 2022. If the players sorted out all the organizational issues during the break and quietly prepared for the fall part of the season, the results could improve noticeably.

The same can't be said about the Outsiders. The "bears" lost the talented YEKINDAR, followed by buster. With replacements, the roster struggled to win games against the top-20 teams of the HLTV rankings. At major tournaments this spring, the squad failed to reach any tournament playoffs, settling for only silver at ESL Challenger Valencia 2022. So far, there is no prospect for improvement.

How will Team Spirit fare this fall? Finishing in the top 4 of the last major was a sensational result for the "dragons". However, right after the triumph, the lineup got a new sniper: a young Ukrainian talent w0nderful is now playing on high-precision rifles instead of degster. Team Spirit easily passed the play-in for IEM Cologne 2022 with him and resisted FaZe Clan in the group. Mistakes on the second map against FURIA prevented the team from fighting for the exit from the group. The team finished the spring positively, but the break might have negatively affected the players' form. However, if the team's play stays the same, Team Spirit will go from being a dark horse to a strong contender to win LAN events in the fall.

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