Dust2.us Top 10: Ghost crystallize in the top five
The Dust2.us Top 10 rankings of North American-cored teams returns for the month of August. As usual, the likes of MIBR, Renegades
and OpTic aren't included. This month's panel included:
- 2 Dust2.us staff
- 2 Pro coaches
- 1 MDL coach
- 1 MDL player
The main events that played out this past month to influence the ranking were IEM Shanghai, Fragadelphia 12, the ZOTAC Cup Master Grand Finals, Cougar CS:GO Open, and DreamHack Masters Stockholm. With the player break taking place during August and with ESEA in its offseason, the few prominent online qualifiers included the MSI MGA Closed Qualifier and the IEM Chicago Closed Qualifier.
The full Top 10 ranking can be found over on the Top 10 page, here.
1. Liquid - 1000 points (-) / HLTV #3
Due to the player break, Liquid are one of the few teams on this list to not play a single official match in the month.
Nonetheless, Liquid still remain as one of the strongest teams in North America, having climbed up to #3 on HLTV's rankings and still boasting an all-star roster. With the team bootcamping for the upcoming Major, Liquid will definitely be one of the teams to look out for in London.
Liquid's current roster is:
- Nick "nitr0" Cannella
- Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
- Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
- Keith "NAF" Markovic
- Epitacio "TACO" de Melo
- Wilton "zews" Prado (Coach)
2. NRG - 900 points (-14) / HLTV #9
Following excellent results in previous months, NRG seemed to be on an upward trajectory going forward into August. While the team did fall short at the Americas Minor last month, NRG redeemed themselves at IEM Shanghai, where they were the lone North American representative that was invited by ESL. After breezing their way through their group, taking down 5Power and HellRaisers, NRG were quick to make their way to the playoffs. In the playoffs bracket, NRG swiftly dealt with Gambit and TYLOO, ultimately hoisting the trophy in Shanghai.
While winning an IEM event was a huge achievement in of itself, the real challenge that NRG would have to overcome was at DreamHack Masters Stockholm. The Swedish event was the last major event to feature many of the best teams in the world before the FACEIT Major kicks off in London.
Despite NRG's strong prospects in previous events, the American team fell short in Stockholm. In their first match of the group stage, they were knocked down by Ninjas in Pyjamas in a reverse sweep, sending them down to the elimination match, where they unfortunately fell into the crosshairs of Na`Vi. In a grueling best-of-three series, NRG were unable to overcome the Ukranian powerhouse, ultimately going out in 13-16th, being knocked out 0-2 in the group stage.
Nonetheless, despite NRG's minor shortcomings, the team remains one of the most skilled teams in North America and have the potential to contest the best from abroad. While they will miss out on the upcoming Major, NRG have a chance to exact their revenge at ESL One New York.
NRG's current roster is:
- Jacob "FugLy" Medina
- Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
- Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov
- Damian "daps" Steele
- Ethan "nahtE" Arnold
- Chet "ImAPet" Singh (Coach)
3. Cloud9 - 571 points (-243) / HLTV #21
Like the shapes of the clouds that hover in the sky, Cloud9 still remains a mystery. The American team, even after several months, have yet to recover after losing Jake "Stewie2K" Yip and Tarik "tarik" Celik to MIBR. Troubling results in the month of July did not help mend the team's worries, as the roster struggled to keep their heads above water with their Swedish and Slovakian newcomers.
With the player break playing out, the only event Cloud9 played in for the month was the IEM Chicago closed qualifier. The fact that a team such as Cloud9 was invited to the closed qualifier was a shock, as the team had previously receieved invites to multiple major American events. A bigger shock came in the qualifier's grand finals where, even with a default map advantage, Cloud9 fell to eUnited in a 3-2 series, denying them a chance to prove themselves at a homeland event.
September looks to be Cloud9's roughest patch yet, as the team will attempt to defend their title at the FACEIT Major, with a roster that is still ironing out the creases. The future for Cloud9 beyond the Major remains uncertain, as Martin "STYKO" Styk's loan is only set to last until the end of this month.
Cloud9's current roster is:
- Timothy "autimatic" Ta
- Will "RUSH" Wierzba
- Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham
- Maikil "Golden" Selim
- Martin "STYKO" Styk (Loan stand-in)
- Soham "valens" Chowdhury (Coach)
4. compLexity - 446 points (+17) / HLTV #30
While compLexity still have yet to achieve the same level of prestige as the teams above them on this list, the team's North American roster have been slowly, but surely, making their way up the ranks.
As expected during the player break, compLexity only competed in the MSI MGA closed qualifier in August, easily taking down Vision, Dignitas, and eUnited to qualify for the $50,000 event.
Along with the FACEIT Major, compLexity will be embarking to the big apple to face off against three other teams at the MSI MGA Finals, which will play out during ESL One New York.
compLexity's current roster is:
- Rory "dephh" Jackson
- Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor
- Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker
- Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan
- Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz
- Ronald "Rambo" Kim (Coach)
5. Ghost - 419 points (+106) / HLTV #22
After briefly falling in last month's rankings, Ghost have risen from the grave and shot up dramatically this month, primarily due to the team's outstanding performance at DreamHack Masters Stockholm.
The month did not start out well for Ghost, with the team's initial struggles with Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend allowing Fam143 to upset Ghost in the MSI MGA closed qualifier. As the team began to build synergy with their newfound German player, Ghost's performance improved dramatically. At the ZOTAC Cup Masters Grand Finals, Ghost were able to strike down OpTic before falling to Kinguin in the semifinals.
As mentioned previously, Ghost's real claim to fame this month was at DreamHack Masters Stockholm, where the team petrified Na`Vi, knocking the Ukranian team down to the elimination match in a best-of-one victory that stretched into overtime.
The team's strong plays continued into the winners match, with the Canadian team taking a map off of Ninjas in Pyjamas and even led the first half of the second map. Ninjas in Pyjamas ultimately took back the series 2-1, with Na`Vi returning the favor in the decider match, sending Ghost home with a 1-2 record.
Ghost's current roster is:
- Matthew "Wardell" Bowman
- Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik
- Joshua "steel" Nissan
- Kenneth "koosta" Suen
- Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend (Loan)
- James "JamezIRL" Macaulay (Coach)
6. Rogue - 407 points (-75) / HLTV #29
Rogue have remained dormant following their 2nd place finish at the Americas Minor. With nearly two months of inactivity, Rogue have slid down the rankings as their results steadily decay.
That doesn't rule them out however, as Rogue still features its roster of young bloods, led by the experienced Spencer "Hiko" Martin. As the team continue to improve upon themselves in private, Rogue could be one of the Major's biggest underdogs, with their first matchup against Space Soldiers.
Rogue's current roster is:
- Daniel "vice" Kim
- Spencer "Hiko" Martin
- Casper "cadiaN" Møller
- Hunter "SicK" Mims
- Ricardo "Rickeh" Mulholland
- Matthew "mCe" Elmore (Coach)
7. eUnited - 396 points (+42) / HLTV #34
As the next season of Pro League peeks its head over the horizon, eUnited have climbed up the rankings once again. With the team's full roster unable to attend Fragadelphia 12, eUnited's only results for August consist of the MSI MGA closed qualifier and the IEM Chicago closed qualifier.
In the MSI MGA closed qualifier, eUnited were able to make their way through the grand finals, where they fell to compLexity in a competitive 2-1 series. Such a loss was only a minor setback, as eUnited were set for a greater event. In the IEM Chicago closed qualifier, eUnited stunned Cloud9 in a 3-2 series, beating out the famed but hobbled American team.
eUnited have remained a team of surprises, after beating NRG at the Americas Minor, receiving the last invite to DreamHack Montreal, and taking down Cloud9 in the IEM Chicago qualifier. Whether eUnited will be able to continue this trend in September, as the team venture north to Montreal, has yet to be seen.
eUnited's current roster is:
- Brandon "Ace" Winn
- Kaleb "moose" Jayne
- Will "dazzLe" Loafman
- Skyler "Relyks" Weaver
- Michael "dapr" Gulino
- Jared "osorandom" Hartman (Coach)
8. Swole Patrol - 143 points (+86) / HLTV #43
As one of the few teams on this list that played at an offline event in August, Swole Patrol took North America by storm at the beginning of the month, taking the Fragadelphia 12 title and losing only one map in the process. Even with compLexity's Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker standing out as one of the strongest players at the event, Swole Patrol demonstrated their prowess on LAN and have risen a significant amount as such.
Online, Swole Patrol have had more mixed results, falling to eUnited in the IEM Chicago closed qualifier. The MDL team eventually rebounded late in the month with the EPICENTER open qualifier #3, where they made their way to the closed qualifier after taking down Bravado.
Swole Patrol stand out as one of the strongest teams in MDL currently and are one of the strongest contenders to be promoted to Pro League this season. Whether they will be able to replicate their Fragadelphia form with Edgar "MarKE" Jimenez has yet to be seen.
Swole Patrol's current roster is:
- Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir
- Austin "Cooper-" Abadir
- Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro
- Braxton "swag" Pierce
- Edgar "MarKE" Jimenez
9. ex-Dignitas - 79 points (-71) / HLTV #59
Following an abrupt and unexpected loss to Bravado in the MDL Season 28 quarterfinals, (then) Dignitas' roster underwent a large amount of turbulence, with the team trialling multiple in-game-leaders. The roster's problems only compounded recently after Dignitas parted ways with the team, leaving ex-Dignitas without an organization.
Like the many other teams on this list, ex-Dignitas only competed in the MSI MGA closed qualifier, where they were able to knock out Ace High and oNe before being knocked out themselves by compLexity.
Even now, ex-Dignitas' roster remains volatile and, with MDL Season 29 set to begin soon, it is unknown whether the team will be able to finally find stability.
ex-Dignitas' current roster is:
- Mitch "mitch" Semago
- Gage "Infinite" Green
- Peter "ptr" Gurney
- Anthony "gMd" Guimond
- Josh "shinobi" Abastado
10. Vision - 71 points (new) / HLTV #52
Vision kicked off the month with an appearance at Fragadelphia 12, although did not perform up to their usual par. After being knocked down into the lower bracket by Excelerate, Vision fell into the clutches of BlackOut, who blindsighted Vision in a rapid 2-0 series.
Online, Vision struggled in closed qualifiers, falling to compLexity in the MSI MGA Closed Qualifier and just barely losing to Swole Patrol in a 2-0 loss, with both maps in that series going into overtime.
After controversially swapping out two players and bringing on Mark "markalodon" Rose as the team's coach, Vision found redemption at the Cougar CS:GO Open, taking their second minor LAN victory and qualifying them for the NSG Eastern Conference Finals.
With a newfound roster and a drive for Pro League, Vision may be able to undercut ex-Dignitas and Swole Patrol in the upcoming season of MDL.
Vision's current roster is:
- Gabe "Spongey" Greiner
- Jake "kaboose" McDonald
- Ricky "floppy" Kemery
- Andy "vSa" Xu
- Alex "aproto" Protopapas
- Mark "markalodon" Rose (Coach)
Just below Vision sit Gorilla Gang and BlackOut, who have both steadily been improving their online and offline performances in recent events.
Below the two other MDL teams sits boxr, who has fallen dramatically since last month following the departure of Kristjan "fejtZ" Allsaar and the team's performance in open qualifiers. While boxr are set to return in the next season of Pro League, the team will have to fight desperately to avoid demotion as the North American professional division shrinkens.
In September, we will see the return of professional events, with the month kicking off with the FACEIT Major and DreamHack Montreal. ESL One New York, MSI MGA Finals, BLAST Pro Series Istanbul, the EPICENTER Closed Qualifier, and MDL Season 29 are also set to play out later in the month.