How did they make it to PGL Major Stockholm?


The long-awaited PGL Major Stockholm 2021 is in the full swing! Since 2018, Majors gather 24 participating teams. Today, the CS.MONEY Blog is here to elaborate on the squads whose presence at the Stockholm-based tournament raises big questions.

Why are there so many teams from weak regions in the Major?


Sharks Esports are ranked 58th. Is that really the Major level, and how did a team like that make it to the main tournament of the last two years?

Actually, it’s a question addressed to Valve rather than to the Sharks. The company guarantees each region a certain number of spots in the Major. Moreover, Valve is guided by the results of StarLadder Major Berlin 2019. As a result, North America’s presence in the event is represented by five teams and the CIS presence by just as many. And the Sharks took the only spot in South America.

The Sharks have already dropped out of the Major, losing all three matches.

Evil Geniuses

Last September, Evil Geniuses even made it to the top of the ranking. True, they achieved it thanks to local successes in America-based online tournaments.

Evil Geniuses have been underachieving for a long time now: and every time they come to a tournament in Europe, they fail. On top of that, EG are having problems with their lineup: in some tournaments, team captain Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz was replaced by coach Damian “daps” Steele.

Of course, Evil Geniuses are preparing to play in the Major, but the Americans will start their journey in the tournament from the Legends stage. That’s also where NAVI, Gambit, and NIP are, along with the warmed-up FaZe, Heroic, Astralis. Most likely, the match against EG will be an easy walk for the majority of clubs.

Evil Geniuses’ results in 2021 source:

By the way, it was in their last match in the RMR tournament against EXTREMUM that Evil Geniuses secured their participation in the Major. If they had lost then, it would’ve been the Australians who would have traveled to Stockholm.

PaiN Gaming

PaiN Gaming also made it to the Major through America’s RMR scene. The team only travels outside their region once in a blue moon. In 2021, the Brazilians have only attended two tournaments in Europe: DreamHack Masters Spring and BLAST Premier Showdown. They played a total of three matches and lost all of them without taking a single map.

Does a team like that deserve a place in the Major, which is supposed to be the meeting place of the world’s best clubs?

paiN Gaming pkl

By the way, it was Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo who helped paiN Gaming qualify for Stockholm. His Team Liquid defeated Extra Salt in a non-decisive match, securing paiN Gaming’s spot in the playoffs as well as the ranking points they needed.

As expected, at PGL Major Stockholm paiN won only one of the four matches — they defeated the aforementioned Sharks. This means that their journey at the Major is over.

Tyloo & Renegades

What do Tyloo and Renegades have in common? These teams always win qualifiers in their respective regions and make it to Majors but barely accomplish anything in them.

Yes, Renegades did make it to the semifinals in StarLadder Major Berlin 2019, but the Australians were based in the United States at the time.

The play-level difference between Asia, Oceania, and other regions is understandable: few play CS there, and top teams in the region have no one to practice with. In addition, the pandemic has cut both Tyloo and Renegades off from the rest of the world for a long while.

While the Chinese and Australian squads are good shooters, they are clearly not up to snuff in all other respects.

The PGL Major Stockholm Challengers Stage results proved the statement above — both teams are already out of the Major, having won just a single match our of four. They defeated Sharks and paiN, respectively.


Yes, this selection also features a team from Europe in. G2 have been very unstable this year: they reached the final of IEM Cologne 2021 and lost five out of five group matches at ESL Pro League Season 14.

Still, maybe their second place at the Cologne tournament wasn’t a fluke. Perhaps G2 is more comfortable playing in LAN tournaments. Nevertheless, that’s no excuse for team’s poor online performance. Just like EG, G2 start their journey at PGL Major Stockholm in the Legends Stage. A missed opportunity of reaching the playoffs can result in roster changes.

G2 results in 2021 (source:

What should Valve do?

Of course, it’s not the teams’ fault that Valve divides teams into regions and allocates slots based on the results of a tournament that took place two years ago. It’s every player’s ultimate dream to go to the Major.

Maybe Valve should overhaul the qualifying system for the Major. RMR tournaments were introduced to prevent “random” teams that existed from Major to Major from getting into the year’s main tournament. But with the list of PGL Major Stockholm attendees as it is, can we really say Valve solved the problem?

The New Legends stage is underway, and we’re all waiting for some top-notch action! This is why you should definitely visit CS.MONEY Major Hub: there, you can follow all events at the Major, participate in the challenges and win cool prizes! And don’t forget to use your 2000-coin promo code — A5DPZGE7. Use them to get presents. Have a nice time watching PGL Major Stockholm with CS.MONEY!




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