CSGO Majors never fail to attract the competitive FPS player base into watching and enjoying the same. Known to be a part of the Valve Major Championship tier, these tournaments are held twice a year after the DreamHack Winter 2013 major where it was held thrice in 2014-15. Counter-Strike Major tournaments fall in the S-tier list whereas the others are divided into A, B, C respectively.

In order to qualify for these major tournaments, teams would need to play in a Qualifier event in order to get the ticket to the main event but as mentioned above, they would first need to get out of their regional qualifiers dubbed as “Minors”.

The teams making it out of the minor qualifier would then compete in the main qualifier event, a group stage from which just 8 teams advance to the playoff. It was after the ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018 when the Main qualifier was named as the “Challengers Stage”, the Group stage as the “Legends Stage” and the playoff stage as “New Champions Stage”.

Till now we have witnessed 15 Major tournaments held across various venues across the globe among which is the ELEAGUE Boston Major where Cloud9 secured the first-ever Major win for the North American region by beating FaZe Clan in the Grand Finale in 2018.

The first ever inaugural Major tournament was held in Jönköping, Sweden, hosted by DreamHack in November 2013

It was won by Fnatic, a grand finale derby between the former and Ninjas In Pyjamas, a formidable Swedish side. Fnatic was then led by Markus “pronax” Wallsten, now a retired CS professional.

CSGO Majors

List of CSGO Majors

EventDateCountryPrize PoolWinners
DreamHack Winter 2013Nov-13Sweden$250,000Fnatic
EMS One Katowice 2014Mar-14Poland$250,000Virtus.Pro
ESL One Colonge 2014Aug-14Germany$250,000Ninjas in Pyjamas
DreamHack Winter 2014Nov-14Sweden$250,000Team LDLC
ESL One Katowice 2015Mar-15Poland$250,000Fnatic
ESL One Cologne 2015Aug-15Germany$250,000Fnatic
DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2016Nov-15Romania$250,000Team EnVyUs
MLG Columbus 2016Mar-16USA$1mnLuminosity Gaming
ESL One Cologne 2016Jul-16Germany$1mnSK Gaming
ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017Jan-17USA$1mnAstralis
PGL Major Krakow 2017Jul-17Poland$1mnGambit Esports
ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018Jan-18USA$1mnCloud9
FACEIT Major London 2018Sep-18London$1mnAstralis
IEM Katowice Major 2019Feb-19Poland$1mnAstralis
StarLadder Major Berlin 2019Aug-19Germany$1mnAstralis
ESL One Rio Major 2020Jul-20Brazil--
PGL Major Stockholm 2021Oct-21Sweden$2mnTBD
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EMS One Katowice (March 2014), ESL One Cologne (August 2014) and DreamHack Winter (November 2014)

Photo credits: HLTV.org

Post-DreamHack 2013, we saw 3 majors played across the year 2014 of which two events were hosted by ESL and the other by DreamHack. EMS One Katowice and the ESL One Cologne were both organized by ESL followed by the DreamHack Winter 2014 held in March, August and November respectively.

These three major events were won by different teams including Ninjas In Pyjamas who were on a redemption journey from their grand finals losses in 2013 and EMS One in Katowice, Poland. The Swedes were successful in going past Fnatic at the ESL One Cologne 2014 held in Germany.

The year 2014 also saw Virtus.pro win a major on their home soil at the EMS One Katowice’14 where NiP ended up as runners-up in two consecutive majors, as mentioned above in 2013 and Poland. The last major of the year, DreamHack Winter, held in November was won by the Frenchmen from Team LDLC.com led by Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt.

ESL One Katowice (March 2015), ESL One Cologne (August 2015), DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca (October-November 2015)

Across the majors held in 2015, Fnatic rose to dominance by bagging two consecutive major championships, one at the ESL One tournaments held in Katowice and at Cologne in Germany. Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist were honoured with the MVP award from ESL One Katowice and ESL One Cologne respectively.

The DreamHack Open major of 2015, played on Romanian soil, was claimed by ex-LDLC men who then played under the banner of Team EnVyUs after beating Natus Vincere.

2016: The year of Brazilain Supremacy

Natus Vincere was yet again denied by Luminosity Gaming a major championship as the latter breezed past through the CIS tacticians in the Grand Finale giving Brazil their first-ever major championship at Columbus.

Soon later the LG squad was picked up by SK Gaming and went on to win yet another major at ESL One Cologne in 2016, to become the second team to have won two majors in succession.

ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta (USA), PGL Major: Krakow (Poland) (Year: 2017)

The ELEAGUE Major held in the United States was won by Astralis, a team of multi-talented Danes who quickly rose to prominence in the Counter-Strike scene. Led by Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, Astralis quickly found success at the major, eventually setting himself and his team up for an unassailable future. They beat Virtus.pro in the Grand Finals, denying the latter their second major win.

The last major of 2017 was organized by PGL in Krakow, Poland and was won by a CIS team, Gambit. This major was indeed the birthplace of the graffiti on Inferno, after the infamous play made by Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov in the Grand Finals.

2018: Cloud9 does it for North America

No one would ever have seen this coming, but this was the year when North Americans rejoiced. Yes, Cloud9 who were deemed to be the heavy underdogs of the ELEAGUE Boston Major tournament made their way through to the Grand Finals and brought home the first-ever major for North America (NA Region).

They knocked Astralis, G2 Esports and SK Gaming out of the majors to face FaZe Clan in their debut major finals. With their minds going berserk, the European Mixture was tamed by Cloud9 and won the series 2-1.

The Danish Syndrome

As mentioned above, Astralis’ win at the ELEAGUE Atlanta major was just an illusion, going forward from that point. From the second major of 2018 onwards (organized by FACEIT in London), they quickly rallied to success which saw them secure 3 consecutive majors at IEM: Katowice in 2019 and at the StarLadder Major held in Berlin.

At the IEM 2019 major, an underdog team from the CIS region made their way to the rankings, Avangar who were later acquired by Virtus.pro.

This feat made them the first-ever team to have won four majors and still remain to be the defending champions in Valve’s Major Championships tier.

Since the IEM: Katowice 2019 major, no major was played due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, forcing the ESL One Rio major to be cancelled by the parent organization despite the fact that teams actually played a regional qualifier (Regional Major rankings event).
 
In January 2021, Valve announced the dates for their next major, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by PGL and would determine teams according to their standings on the Regional major rankings (RMR) table.