2021 has begun and the OCE CS:GO scene is as tumultuous as ever. In the first edition of Snowball’s Counter-Strike Rankings, Ash Whyte sets the scene from the top down for our region’s teams.
The Snowball CS:GO Power Rankings aim to break down the most relevant events and games from our teams. To be considered an Oceanic team for the purposes of this ranking, a team must have a majority of its players be from the region.
This means Extremum can be included in the rankings, but a team like Mousesports or Complexity with one OCE player will not be considered.
The rankings will focus on the previous three months of results, in order to keep the rankings relevant and an accurate reflection of the scene at the time of release. In addition to this, head-to-head match-ups will impact teams who may be closely ranked without any other differentiating results.
Roster moves will impact the overall ranking of a team, mostly in how it creates uncertainty and the roster must prove after the fact to maintain its position.
The following ranking does feature a considerable amount of roster changes and without an incredible sample size of games/tournaments to go off, the initial rankings take a preliminary glance at what the OCE scene looks like following 2020.
- 1st: DH Masters Winter 2020 OCE
- 9-12th: IEM Katowice Play-in
- – Chris “Dexter” Nong
- + Alistair “aliStair” Johnston’s
Renegades are currently leading the scene in terms of representation and results. While Extremum’s reformation comes as a relief to the Oceanic region in terms of our flagship team to support at top events, the Renegades in the last three months simply have the results to back up this ranking.
Given Dexter’s recent transfer to Mousesports, the squad was left without an IGL and down one player, thus aliStair’s addition to the team. They have since been able to head overseas in order to compete in the IEM Katowice Play-ins and the upcoming ESL Pro League.
Despite a 9-12th finish in the Play-in Stage, Renegades put up impressive statistics with their utility usage and their ability to put rounds on the board against top teams such as Mousesports and eventual finalists Virtus.pro. For Renegades to maintain this position, they will need to perform well against the field at Pro League as their Dreamhack Masters Winter 2020 first place will become less relevant with time.
- 13-15th: Snow Sweet Snow 1
- – Justin “jks” Savage
- + Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand
While they don’t compete in OCE, Extremum are a representation of where this region can go. Understandably, they will more often than not be playing against a pool of higher-rated international teams and should dominate the rankings in time.
Despite this, their place on this rankings is important as it signals when a team like Renegades is in better form and has recent results that reflect as much.
The time spent inactive following their departure from 100 Thieves has harmed where they could be on this ranking. While potential is somewhat considered a factor in where a team should be ranked, their most recent showing in the Snow Sweet Snow Cup doesn’t give justification for them to be number one automatically.
With losses to Forze, Godsent and Winstrike, and an eventual 13-15th finish, Extremum’s results thus far do not reflect the team they were throughout 2020.
Of course, the team has also come into 2021 with a roster change, adding BnTet in place of jks. There clearly will be an adjustment period as BnTeT works out his role in the squad, but whether it’ll be for the good remains to be seen.
- 2nd: DH Masters Winter 2020 Oceania
- 1st: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group A, 5-0)
- – Alistair “aliStair” Johnston
- + Declan “Vexite” Portelli
Order has definitely come off best following the recent roster shuffles. Losing aliStair to Renegades is, of course, a big hit to their firepower. However, Vexite is hardly a bad replacement, who has hit the ground running with a 1.56 rating across eight maps.
Coming off a runners up placement to Renegades in the Dreamhack Masters Winter 2020 OCE and beginning 2021 with a strong 5-0 start in ESEA Premier, Order look primed to climb up the rankings with their strong foundation to build off.
Recent invitations into the ESL ANZ Champs will be Order’s opportunity to keep up their form, and strengthen their hold over the domestic competition.
4. Dire Wolves
- 3rd: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group B, 2-0)
- – Chris “Ofnu” Hanley
- – Andy “Noobster” Zhang
- + Benson “Liki” Liuila
- + James “SaVage” Savage
The ex-Avant roster is now officially playing under Dire Wolves, bringing in two fresh faces going into 2021. With Ofnu retiring and Noobster banned by ESIC, the team has acquired two relatively inexperienced pieces to fill the spots. Liki and SaVage have been around the scene for some time but this is their first shot in a top squad.
Given the amount of changes in the squad, similar to the Chiefs who follow in the rankings, this team is a relatively unknown quantity for the time being.
While they currently hold a 2-0 record in ESEA Premier this season thus far, there isn’t an incredible amount to go off outside of the calibre of this core and their recent invite to the ANZ Champs where with time this team can be tested.
- 4th: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group B, 2-0)
- – Declan “Vexite” Portelli
- – Yaman “Yam” Ergenekon (Coach)
- + Maclane “gump” Cross
- + Tim “val” Youn
The Chiefs see themselves in a similar situation to Dire Wolves going into 2021 with their respective roster overhauls. While they’re arguably worse off, considering the loss of their coach Yam as well as their disappointing results throughout 2020, the Chiefs have a lot more to prove given their storied name.
With the loss of Vexite, a star player, the roster is teetering between falling off the rankings or climbing in a period of overall instability across the Oceanic rosters. An invite to play in the ANZ Champs and their current 2-0 streak (one due to FF) in Premier are keeping the Chiefs treading water for the time being.
- 3rd: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group A, 3-1)
- Qualified for ANZ Champs Season 12
- – James “Roflko” Lytras
- – Benny “Tensai” Phan
Vertex rose up from seemingly nowhere in 2021 and after seeing the Rooster line-up fall apart following the ESIC bans, leaving open a spot just below the region’s top teams. Their upset victory against the Chiefs in the IEM Beijing qualifier was a defining moment in putting this roster on the map in 2020.
Coming into 2021, Roflko has left the team following his ESIC ban and Vertex have brought their coach Soju in as a substitute for the time being. They’ve started off strong with a 3-1 score in ESEA Premier Season 36, only dropping to Order thus far.
While they match up well into the teams ranked below them, this squad has struggled to take series against the top teams such as Order and Dire Wolves. They will have to prove that they can take maps and series against the higher ranked teams before they can expect to climb the rankings. Unfortunately, with the recent departure of Tensai, the future of this team is in question.
- Invited to ANZ Champs
- 1st: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group B, 4-0)
- Daniel “rbz” Urbani
- Sharvesh “dangeR” Saravanan
- Luke “ekul” Blakey
- Harry “bedonka” Hayes
- Reily “Versa” Dundas
Now, we’re really getting into the Tier 2 teams. Paradox can be considered the top of the second echelon of Oceanic Counter-Strike, often placing just below the top teams in past MDL seasons. We didn’t get to see a lot of Paradox in 2020 with events that saw a combination of the usual top 5 teams.
This roster is relatively unproven against the top squads but considering their current Premier record of 4-0 and consistent middle of the pack finishes, their invite to ANZ Champs could be the breakout they need.
8. Riot Gaming
- 2nd: ESEA Premier Season 36 (Group B, 3-2)
- Qualified for ANZ Champs
- James “2D” Levy
- Jesse “cheeseball” Kendrick
- Callum “callum_murray” Hardy
- Lachlan “Fiend” Geron
- Rohdel “OMARI” Murray
Riot find themselves in a similar position to Paradox in that they are commonly associated within the tier 2 and are yet to take a meaningful series from a top team to date.
Riot have again been keeping up in ESEA Premier with a 3-2 record, dropping their matches against the Chiefs and Paradox. Their qualification for ANZ Champs sneaks them into eighth for this edition of the rankings.