This year was likely the most tumultuous one for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 2021 CSGO rewind shows that Valve’s shooter has survived the toughest year in its esports history.
There are no qualms that CSGO rules the FPS throne with its impeccable mechanics and cut-throat esports. Recent years, however, have been harsh. 2020 was nothing to write home about, and fans’ didn’t have high expectations from 2021. Various roster swaps, drama, controversy, and a major event later, CSGO still stands strong as the new year approaches.
Here are all the major events that went down in 2021.
ZywOo opens 2021 as the best player in the world
2021 began with unexpected roster shuffles, a bitter breakup of ENCE’s major-winning roster, and ENVY putting the CSGO division on hold indefinitely.
January was all about spicy CSGO drama that ended on a cliffhanger in 2020. However, nothing was worth speaking of after HLTV announced that Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut has again refused s1mple the number one spot by the narrowest margins.
Team Vitality’s sniper emerged as the better player for the second consecutive year. S1mple lost the race to the top after one of the closest runs in the history of the top 20 rankings, triggering a whole new debate between the French and Ukrainian fans.
Envy, North, players leave CSGO
Once the excitement died down, players were greeted with the news of ENVY and North leaving CSGO.
The major qualifying roster of ENCE had already broken up while the news of an international rebuild lingered. With Valorant looming over CSGO as a tough competitor, the departures weren’t a good look either.
As February approached, things only took a turn for the worse. Multiple CSGO professionals bid farewell to the scene to start anew in Riot’s tac-shooter. Timothy “autimatic” Ta, Ethan “Ethan” Arnold, Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen, Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, Ricky “floppy” Kemery, Erick “Xeppaa” Bach are a few to name who left CSGO in the first half of 2020.
Health concerns worldwide had already shelved CSGO’s pro tournaments, and players migrating to Valorant didn’t help CSGO’s case.
Hope in PGL major announcement
An otherwise disappointing start to 2021 came with a silver lining for the CSGO fans from PGL. The Swedish tournament organizer announced CSGO’s first major in two years in Avicii Arena. This news breathed a new life into glum fans who haven’t attended a LAN event since the COVID-19.
However, the major hit the wall after the Swedish Sports Federation voted against accepting esports as an “elite sporting event.” Fans were still optimistic that the Major would return to the Swedish capital.
With the efforts of Ninjas in Pyjamas’ CEO Hicham Chahine, who played a crucial role in moving the authorities to reevaluate the restrictions, PGL was confirmed as a LAN event at Avicii arena. This news was enough to reignite the passion in CSGO fans.
Birth of new Brazillian rosters
Teams in the big leagues faltered when the online era arrived, leading to a year packed with upsets. Many roster shuffles later, the CSGO fans were blessed with multiple new teams that included star players.
MiBR’s internal issues rocked the Brazilian CSGO scene, resulting in a new look GODSENT and Fun Plus Phoenix. The three organizations swapped rosters, pressing the refresh button on the stale Brazilian scene. O’Plano was another team that was a product of the Brazilian clash, later signed by 00Nation.
Anonymo, Extremum, and DBL Poney starring the likes of Aaron “AZR” Ward, Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro were also notable new teams that took birth in 2021.
Cloud9 colossus crumbles
The North American counter-strike was bleeding profusely since the online era kicked off, but March was the final nail in its coffin. NA’s last hope Cloud9 “temporarily” pulled out of CSGO, sending fans into a frenzy.
The players were scattered as free agents, with no organization to warrant their healthy future in CSGO. Top tier NA scene officially died with Cloud9 taking its leave. Smaller teams like Bad News Bears took the reigns, but again, no organization was willing to sign up in a “dead CSGO region.”
ESIC involves FBI in match-fixing investigation
As previously covered, 2021 was all about spicy drama, but nothing beats FBI entry into the CSGO realm. The NA counter-strike scene may not have contributed much to esports in 2021, but it sure stirred tons of controversy.
NA’s fragile esports scene took a major hit after the FBI came knocking. The ESIC had been investigating match-fixing in NA since 2020. This included an ongoing investigation into 34 individuals who allegedly breached the anti-corruption code while participating in ESEA Premier NA. With the help of the FBI, ESIC rendered five-year bans to Sebastian “retchy” and Kevin “4pack” Przypasniak over match-fixing.