Wildcard burst into top five in Dust2.us’ February 2024 rankings

After an incredibly impressive month, Wildcard have seen a huge leap in the rankings.

Dust2.us is back with our top 10 ranking for the month of January! In this iteration of the rankings, 21 panelists, including players, coaches, analysts, journalists, and talent gave their input into the state of the scene in the first month of 2024. The big stories this month were the debut of Liquid as their new roster played their first matches this month, and the emergence of Wildcard and timbermen as legitimate contenders at the domestic level.

With both squads claiming a number of scalps this month and making the PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR, they have both seen a rise in the rankings, albeit with Wildcard's rise being far more pronounced. Outside of their ascent, this month saw Party Astronauts take a significant dip in the rankings as their change of AWPer has not yielded the results the team hoped for.

With that, here are the ground rules for how our power ranking functions for transparency:

Our team rankings are determined based on a series of measurements where each team is allocated points dependent on where they rank compared to their peers. This measurement is determined by the opinion of our panel, teams' relative HLTV ranking compared to other NA teams, and teams' tier of play. A team garners a higher tier depending on how frequently they compete internationally and in what division they play in during domestic competitions (ECL, Advanced, etc.). For the sake of our power ranking, we consider a team to be NA if they either have 3+ NA players and/or they spend a significant amount of their time competing in North America.

#1 United States Complexity (JT, floppy, Grim, hallzerk, EliGE, Coach: T.c, JamezIRL) (—)

Complexity had a rough month abroad in January, being shut down via losses to NAVI and NIP, with the NIP loss especially hurting as the EU squad are fairly ramshackle at the moment. However, the team still got through the Americas RMR Closed Qualifier with ease, so there's no way they couldn't be ranked as NA's top squad. However, some of our panel gave the nod to Liquid as the top NA team, so Complexity have to be careful, lest they lose their crown.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier, BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2024

#2 World Liquid (NAF, YEKINDAR, skullz, cadiaN, Twistzz Coach: zews) (NEW)

To be fair, we always knew this was going to happen. Liquid just had too much star power to not end up back at the top or very close to it. While this roster hasn't done too much to prove themselves internationally, and even lost to M80 twice in domestic competition, many see this new Liquid as a second team that can hopefully raise NA's profile up internationally. First though, they will need to actually make the Major and that seems to be Liquid's priority ahead of the start of the event in March.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier, BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2024

#3 M80 (Swisher, reck, malbsMd, slaxz-, dephh) (-1)

M80 were knocked down a rung this month simply due to the sheer star power present on Liquid, which isn't the worst thing in the world. What is concerning however, is Marcus "maNkz" Kjeldsen's decision to go on leave and how that will affect the team moving forward. After a very strong showing at the RMR Closed Qualifier, one must wonder if the progress the team has made will be undone by having to field their coach, Rory "dephh" Jackson for the foreseeable future. With early results from IEM Katowice 2024 being quite mixed, only time will tell.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#4 United States Wildcard (stanislaw, Infinite, JBa, SLIGHT, Sonic Coach: horvy, Warden) (+3)

Wildcard are the toast of the town in this month's ranking as they managed a stellar month that saw the squad make the Americas RMR with wins over BOSS and M80, with the latter being especially notable. While they would later lose to M80 in the IEM Chengdu qualifier later in the month, Wildcard's gamble on Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz's Forsaken lineup has paid off in spades as Wildcard have steadily climbed up the rankings and are now a regular competitor of M80 and Nouns for deep runs in NA events.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#5 United States Nouns (nosraC, cJ, MarKE, junior, Jeorge Coach: SEMPHIS, adreN) (-2)

Nouns went into January with the goal of making the Americas RMR, and did so without too much trouble and yet they still fell in the rankings, so what gives? Looking at Nouns as we enter 2024 proper, they are a team that you can almost guarantee will take down squads ranked below them, however they still struggle to find wins against the likes of M80, Wildcard, and Liquid. With that, it is a clear case of a very strong squad that is blocked from a further ascendancy by slightly stronger squads above them.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#6 United States BOSS (Cryptic, freshie, brett, d4rty, PwnAlone Coach: Axed) (-2)

Not to put too fine a point on the matter, the tragic passing of David "cynic" Polster will undoubtedly change the internal workings of this team. However, as they look towards a future with Josh "PwnAlone" Pigue, they have plenty to look forward to as a final gift from cynic helped BOSS to lock in a spot in the Americas RMR quite easily, while the team are also due for an EPL S19 appearance later in April. While the team fell in the rankings, it likely has more to do with the emergence of Liquid and Wildcard's excellent month which caught the eye of the panel.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#7 Canada NRG (oSee, daps, Brehze, HexT, FaNg) (-2)

NRG had a fairly rough first full month in the NA scene. With the squad failing to make the Americas RMR and taking losses to Nouns, Wildcard, and shockingly Rocket, it demonstrated that the Canadian project isn't quite ready for the limelight yet. While it is still early days, as NRG look towards the future their biggest concern needs to be that they are unable to make all five pieces of this roster come online when they need to, something they desperately need as squads ranked above them are showing steady improvement.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#8 United States timbermen (snav, dare, shane, Peeping, dea) (+1)

timbermen/Badass have continued to prove themselves as a team to keep an eye on in January as they qualified to the Americas RMR with wins over LOS, Cloud 10, and Party Astronauts. While those first two wins aren't the most impressive, making the RMR is no easy feat and the team's later wins in the IEM Chengdu open qualifiers over NRG and Party Astronauts showed it wasn't a fluke. Looking into the future a bit, considering the team's recent victory in the Ace North American Masters Spring 2024 where they took down many top NA teams, the orgless squad very well may surprise some unprepared squads in the upcoming Americas RMR.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#9 United States Party Astronauts (ben1337, chop, viz, cxzi, WolfY Coach: Viathan) (-3)

Party Astronauts were punished heavily by the panel this month for failing to make the Americas RMR, especially after gambling everything on adding Adam "WolfY" Andersson in place of PwnAlone. Considering the team's biggest scalp in January was Carpe Diem, Party Astronauts will have to prove themselves this month in ESL Challenger League Season 47 to convince the panel that they deserve to climb the rankings once again.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

#10 United States Rocket (aleph, nero, EMIYA, nooz, ayy Coach: Psycho) (+6)

Rocket's massive jump in the power ranking can largely be attributed to the team's surprise qualification to the Americas RMR, with the squad stunning the NA scene by denying NRG a spot in that very event with a decisive 2-0 victory. With wins over Carpe Diem, NRG, and FLUFFY AIMERS this month, Rocket have shown they can do battle with quality NA teams and get results. However, with the team now heading to their first LAN the onus will be on them to show their results in January weren't just a flash in the pan.

January Events: PGL Major Copenhagen Americas RMR Closed Qualifier

Also read

You must be logged in to add a comment.