G2's CSGO team ended the drought of titles at the tail end of 2022 with a massive win at Blast Premier: World Finals, and it's been nothing but a waterfall of successes since.
Ending last year with a bang, the team kept that momentum going into this year by having now won IEM Katowice 2023. The Hooxi led roster didn't drop a single map in 9 straight series, with Heroic putting an end to that streak with a win on Inferno in the Grand Finals.
Nearly all the big scalps were taken by G2
G2 made it look easy, but the opposition the face at Katowice, and the list of names in their 12 series streak, could by a copy-paste from the HLTV Top 10
This is their list of series in the last three months. BIG are the only opponent on this list who isn't Top 10 in the HLTV rankings (#14 at the moment). All the other teams are in the Top 7.
At Katowice specifically, G2 clean swept BIG (#14), FaZe (#3), NAVI (#6), Liquid (#4) and, to cap it all off, Heroic (#2). With this tournament win, there is no questions left regarding G2's legimaticy as the best team in the World in CS.
Are Heroic destined for second place?
The Cadian led roster proved its worth as the second best team in the World right now, but once again feel like the perenial silver-medalist. How can a team who's spent half of the last couple of years in the Top 5 ranking now win a massive tournament outside of EPL 13 in 2021?
Sure, NAVI did dominate 2021 in a way that felt unfair for their opposition, but 2022 wasn't that simple at all. NAVI crumbled, FaZe were inconsistent throughout and, when both these dangerous opponents fell in RIO, Heroic let their best shot at a Major slip through their fingers.
Now, in 2023, CS is in one of its weirdest phases yet. FaZe look completely out of sorts, NAVI's 5th spot feels like a revolving door, Cloud9 look lost after their roster move, Outsiders have done nothing after their Major win and Vitality just can't seem to fully click.
Another golden opportunity for Heroic to rise above, but G2 just rose way past them.
Still, Heroic's path to the Grand Finals was impressive to watch.
Their fumbled game against Complexity happened very early on in the tournament, and from then on out it was just smooth sailing. Clean 2-0s all around until they met their demise at the hands of the seemingly inevitable G2 in the Spodek Arena.
Their newest addition in Jabbi looked incredible in Katowice and even Cadian himself had some very individually impressive rounds in the Finals. Yet, as has happened time and time again, it never feels like enough when the stakes are at their highest.
G2 have their road to an era wide-open
If Heroic don't seize their opportunities, let's hope G2 do. 2023 is the perfect opportunity for a player of the calibre of Niko to finally have his own era. As I've pointed out before, the usual suspects have all taken a stumble and the Danish roster doesn't seem to have what it takes to beat G2 right now.
The star-studded roster led by Hooxi, The Redeemed, have looked unstoppable ever since their performance at the Blast Premier: World Finals. jks has looked like the most consistent CT player of the last few years, huNter keeps having some unbelievable performances and mONESY truly looks like a generational talent.
The question is, will they keep this going into the next few months, and crucially, into Blast Paris Major in May? Or will they fall apart as G2 rosters have done so many times before?
Now's the time Niko, do not let this chance slip away.
Images courtesy of ESL and HLTV.
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