Next to the top 1. Who can move NAVI from the podium?

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The previous year was marked with the dominance of CIS-based teams. NAVI replaced Gambit, winning the PGL Major Stockholm and most tournaments in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, any hegemony is finite; today, the CS.MONEY Blog is going to tell you about the clubs that will be able to compete with NAVI in the year 2022.

Gambit Esports

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Gambit

With the CIS five, it’s simple: we’re talking about a well-coordinated team which seems to have everything it needs. Stable AWPer Dmitriy sh1ro Sokolov, agile aimer Abay HObbit Khassenov, tough Sergey Ax1Le Rykhtorov, competent IGL Vladislav nafany Gorshkov, and skillful support player Timofey “interz” Yakushin. 

The Reds showed their mettle in the first half of 2021, adapting well to the online environment and making an impressive journey from an academy team to the world’s new top roster. A minor disadvantage: Gambit aren’t partners with BLAST, the organizer of many big tournaments with insane prize pools. As a result, they might not attend some of the company’s tournaments.

In terms of results, the team is more than capable: victories at several championships in the first half of the year, a noteworthy 3–4 place at the PGL Major Stockholm, and their first triumph at the LAN-tournament V4 Future Festival can provide them with a confidence boost in upcoming competitions.

G2 Esports

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G2

The European team pulled their socks up big-time at the beginning of 2022. Just recently, G2 signed promising AWPer Ilya m0NESY Osipov, who will probably replace François AMANEK Delaunay even though he hasn’t been announced as a main-roster player yet. The roster also retained firepower in the form of two Bosnians Nikola NiKo Kovač and Nemanja huNter- Kovač. The arrival of the new IGL, Finn Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen is very likely as well. Last season, G2 expertly showed their potential: at the end of the year, the club’s fans enjoyed their second place at PGL Major Stockholm as well as their constant rivalry with NAVI in face-to-face matches: a close Nuke in PGL Major Stockholm, three maps in IEM Cologne lost in a hard-fought battle, and a victory on Mirage in the year’s last tournament, BLAST Premier World Final 2021.

However, one fact causes concern: the international squad hasn’t yet won a Major. Perhaps the squad will need to adapt. After all, Serb Nemanja nexa Isaković probably understood the Bosnians better than Aleksib can. Besides, the French tandem of Audric JACKZ Jug and AMANEK is no longer there and newcomer m0NESY has never played in an international line-up before. The very replacement of nexa with Aleksib looks dubious, since switching the captain often fundamentally changes the team’s play. To create the new vision, the team will often have to spend a sizeable amount of time, and such reshuffles don’t necessarily guarantee success.

Heroic

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Heroic

On paper, the Danish roster has a good chance of competing with NAVI: it’s a well-coordinated squad led by emotional captain and true leader Casper cadiaN Møller. The club has been playing without substitutions for over 10 months, with every individual player demonstrating a stable, high level of personal performance. Moreover, Heroic seems to have gotten rid of the stain on their reputation and started playing with more confidence. The team has also been receiving assistance from experienced Swede Richard Xizt Landström, who has become the team’s coach.

The club’s recent results are a cause for concern: their loss to a bad buy 15–14 in the semifinals of the decisive map versus G2, losing in additional rounds and not reaching the finals of the year’s main tournament — the Major — was followed by last places at IEM Winter and BLAST Premier World Final (the Danes didn’t win a single map in these events). As a consequence, minor disagreements may have developed in the lineup, which could exacerbate if the team has a bad beginning of the year.

FaZe Clan

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karrigan

FaZe, the team that has always been among the top clubs in 2021 but always lacked something, has a tangible chance to compete with NAVI in 2022. On board the ship is now Estonian star Robin ropz Kool, who works well together with excellent captain Finn karrigan Andersen. And AWPer Helvijs broky Saukants distinguished himself by entering the 2021 top 20 players despite the team’s underwhelming results.

Just like with G2, the problem could be the language barrier: all players and the coach come from different countries, which could hinder proper communication in some aspects of the game. A surplus of stars could interfere with the roster’s performance too: ropz, Russel Twistzz Van Dulken, broky, Havaard rain Nygaard are high-profile shooters who can all assume that he was role of the “first fiddle.” But whether any of them would want to play second fiddle is a big question.

Team Vitality 

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ZywOo

Despite the excellent performances of the last roster, Vitality has made some reshuffles. Peter dupreeh Rasmussen, Emil Magisk Reif, and Danny zonic Sørensen replaced Jayson Kyojin Nguyen Van, Richard shox Papillon, and Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam. The new Franco-Danish lineup is all big names.

The same problem yet again: language barrier. Mathieu ZywOo Herbaut has been learning English for a long while now, but has he been able to master it to a sufficient extent? On top of that, the Danes haven’t ever been part of any international lineups. Additionally, their lack of practice in the FPL makes you question their command of English. There could also be some disagreements between captain Dan apEX Madesclaire and new coach Sørensen. Will this work out? There are multiple questions concerning the ambitious roster, and their ability to challenge NAVI isn’t a certainty because of many factors. Nevertheless, with luck, the experienced team is capable of bringing the management’s ideas to life and standing up to Born To Win.

These were NAVI’s main competitors in 2021. Did you like the post? Then check out this exclusive interview with one of Vitality’s players — or our guide to the key nades on Vertigo. And stay tuned to CS.MONEY — we won’t let you get bored.

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