These Are the 5 Teams You Need To Watch At CS: GO’s PGL 2017 Major

Beginning this Sunday, 16 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will square off in the game's second major of 2017.

PGL Major Krakow 2017 has arrived, and this is the $1 million show everyone has been waiting for. With the best CS: GO teams on the planet paired against a variety of challengers who want to prove themselves, this next week is certain to be a spectacle of AK-47 headshots and tactical entries.

If you only have time to watch a few games this next week, make sure to keep your eye on the following teams.

Astralis

Astralis

Nation: Denmark

Team:

  • device - AWPer
  • dupreeh - Entry Fragger
  • gla1ve - In-game Leader
  • Kjaerbye - Rifler
  • Xyp9x - Support

Recent Placements:

  • 3rd at ECS Season 3 Finals
  • 1st at ELEAGUE Clash for Cash
  • 3rd at IEM Sydney 2017
  • 2nd at SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals
  • 1st at IEM Katowice 2017

As the winners of the last CS: GO major, Astralis is the team everyone wants to dethrone. It has consistently competed in the quarterfinals or higher in nearly every high prize pool tournament during the past 18 months, demonstrating a level of consistency that is uncommon in the realm of CS.

device was recently included in Thorin's top 5 players of CS: GO, a serious achievement that's deserving given his remarkable performances in recent LANs. But he isn't alone. Kjaerbye is one of the best entry fraggers in Europe, capable of opening up incredible opportunity for the team.

Following the recent trade of cajunb for new in-game leader gla1ve, many are wondering if the team is as good, better, or worse than it was six months ago. If its placements in ECS is any indication, it's a team worth betting on.

Cloud 9

cloud9

Nation: Canada, USA

Team:

  • autimatic - Lurker
  • n0thing - Lurker
  • shroud - Support
  • skadoodle - AWPer
  • Stewie2K - In-game Leader

Recent Placements:

  • 2nd at ESL One Cologne 2017
  • 3rd at PGL Major Krakow 2017 Main Qualifier
  • 3rd at ECS Season 3 Finals
  • 1st at Americas Minor - PGL Major Krakow 2017
  • 2nd at Americas Minor - ELEAGUE Major 2017

Cloud 9 represents the only team representing North America at the tournament. Given North America's poor performance internationally throughout the lifespan of CS: GO—despite the game being made in America—, that in and of itself makes it a team worth watching, even if with hesitance.

shroud recently caused controversy by sharing that he plans to retire soon. In addition, Cloud 9 still doesn't quite have the same level of technical play as many European teams, which is concerning.

That said, this team certainly has the individual skill to go toe-to-toe with just about any team out there, enough that they recently cremated Na'Vi and NiP at ESL One Cologne. The big question will be if their recent team practices and scrimmages have built up teamwork and leadership among the crew that can carry them through the intense pressure they are about to experience.

FaZe Clan

Faze

Nation: Bosnia, Finland, Norway, France

Team:

  • allu - AWPer
  • karrigan - In-game Leader
  • kioShiMa - Support
  • NiKo - Lurker
  • rain - Entry Fragger

Recent Placements:

  • 3rd at ESL One Cologne 2017
  • 2nd at ECS Season 3 Finals
  • 2nd at IEM Sydney 2017
  • 1st at SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals
  • 2nd at IEM Katowice 2017

Coming off a third place finish at ESL One Cologne 2017, and second at IEM Sydney 2017, FaZe is looking great heading to PGL 2017.

allu and NiKo have finally found a team where they can achieve podium finishes, which is a significant shift for the CS: GO scene. In the case of NiKo, he's still one of the best players in the world, with a remarkable ability to top the scoreboard when using rifles or the AWP

Some would argue that FaZe's recent success is just a fluke, and that their mish-mash of personalities and cultures might not provide enough cohesion to place top 3 in a major. We'll find out soon enough.

Na'Vi

navi

Nation: Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine

Team:

  • Edward - Entry Fragger
  • flamie - Rifler
  • GuardiaN - AWPer
  • s1mple - Entry Fragger
  • seized - In-Game Leader

Recent Placements:

  • 3rd at ESL One Cologne 2017
  • 2nd at Adrenaline Cyber League 2017
  • 3rd at SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals
  • 3rd at EPICENTER: Moscow
  • 1st at ESL One New York 2016

Na'Vi's incredible success in 2016 has seemingly become a distant memory. It's performed reasonably well during the past six months, but not at the level you'd expect from a team that got second place in two of the four recent majors.

There's no way around it, GuardiaN isn't quite what he used to be thanks in-part to a wrist injury. Given that he was the highlight of the team durings its glory year, that fall from grace has been painful. But now the team has s1mple, one of the greatest raw talents in CS history, and he's hungry for his first major trophy.

If there's one thing we know about Na'Vi, it's that it's a tight group of guys who play very well together. The team has largely remained the same during the past two years, resulting in a small degree of predictability, yet a solid sense of teamwork. Don't underestimate them.

SK Gaming

SKGaming

Nation: Brazil

Players:

  • coldzera - AWPer
  • FalleN - In-game Leader
  • felps - Entry Fragger
  • fer - Entry Fragger
  • TACO - Support

Recent Placements:

  • 1st at ESL One Cologne 2017
  • 1st at ECS Season 3 Finals
  • 1st at DreamHack Open Summer 2017
  • 3rd at ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals
  • 1st at IEM Sydney 2017

Just a year ago SK Gaming (formerly Luminosity) was well-known for its incredible tactical play, only held back by a lack of individual skill. Since then it has become a force to be reckoned with, taking first place at IEM Sydney 2017, DreamHack Open Summer 2017, ECS Season 3, and more. Its dominance is profound, comparable to the early CS: GO era where NiP won seemingly everything. Oh how times change.

The real standouts here are FalleN, who is arguably the best in-game leader in the world right now, and coldzero, who won HLTV's player of the year 2016 award. These two players are at the top of their game, capable of winning rounds when the other three players have a hard time.

Heading into this tournament these guys are no longer the underdogs, and instead are approached with great caution. But now that other teams have had time to learn and adapt from months of SK Gaming demo footage, can they be unpredictable enough to hold their #1 spot?


PGL Major Krakow 2017 will begin with the group stage this Sunday, July 16th. This will be followed up with a best of 3 single elimination playoff, capped off with a final that will reward the top team with $500,000 USD and "Legend" status.