CS:GO Majors have always been the most talked about tournaments in the game’s scene, which is why it’s worth covering the biggest ones ever hosted.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a rich eSports scene that has been growing since the series became a thing back at the turn of the millennium. Major Championships are the most important annual eSports events in CS:GO. What sets these championships apart from regular tournaments is the fact that Valve, the game’s developer, sponsors them and offers a large sum of prize money. Check out Gamelevate as we dive into the 5 biggest CS:GO majors of all time.
DreamHack Winter 2013
A full year after the release of CS:GO, Valve announced a $250,000 prize pool for the first official CS:GO Major which is a lot for even for the best CSGO pros to earn. This took place on 16th of September, 2013 in Jönköping, Sweden. The prize money was raised by the community through the game’s Arms Deal update, which gave players the ability to purchase in-game skins.
The tournament began later in November and was eventually won by Fnatic. The most notable teams that attended Dreamhack Winter 2013 were Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere, compLexity, IBUYPOWER, LGB.
After Valve witnessed the success of DreamHack Winter 2013, they said that they would further collaborate with other tournament organizers so that they can host up to three CS:GO Majors per year. This decision to increase the number of tournaments per year definitely helped the game’s community grow even further.
MLG Columbus 2016
MLG Columbus 2016 was the eighth CS:GO Major, and it was held by Major League Gaming in Columbus, Ohio. It started on the 29th of March, 2016, and lasted till the 3rd of April. The fact that it was the first Major in North America made it an even bigger event, and fans across the United States wanted to partake in this crucial chapter of the game’s history.
Surprisingly enough, MLG Columbus 2016 was the first Counter-Strike event that received a $1,000,000 prize pool. In the end, the Brazilian-based Luminosity Gaming managed to win the Major, the first of consecutive titles for the side in one of the most dominant years for the region.
ELEAGUE Boston 2018
ELEAGUE: Boston 2018 was the twelfth CS:GO Major Championship, and it was the fifth major to have a $1,000,000 prize pool. The actual main event was held in Boston, USA on the 26th of January, 2018.
The crowd in this tournament was colossal in size, though records were also broken for the number of fans virtually attending via Twitch. At this point, North American teams still had somewhat of an underwhelming reputation on the biggest stage, though this would be smashed apart by one of the game’s biggest underdog stories.
Cloud9 managed to make it to the finals against FaZe Clan, where they secured an immensely hard win in a dramatic overtime bout on Inferno. Not only did this win elevate both Cloud9 and the careers of its players, but it also proved to the world that NA could compete with the dominant EU scene when it came to the biggest CS:GO Majors.
IEM Katowice 2019
IEM Katowice 2019 was the fourteenth Major in CS:GO and the world championship for the thirteenth season of the Intel Extreme Masters. It was hosted in Katowice, Poland, a popular location that has been used for several S-Tier events in the past.
A lot of big names were present in this Major, but one that stood out the most was Astralis. Astralis had won the Major prior to this one, and at zonic-coached cored were playing at the peak of their powers heading into the tournament.
They did in fact win Katowice 2019, defending their title for the second time. Many showed up to support their teams, and EU teams were once again the dominant force. We were treated to another underdog story here, with ENCE overcoming Team Liquid to book a grand final spot against the Danes.
PGL Stockholm 2021
PGL Major Stockholm 2021 was the sixteenth Major in CS:GO. It started on the 26th of October and lasted until the 7th of November. What makes this major so special is that it was the first LAN major since 2019 before the pandemic.
Another factor that increased the hype surrounding it was the increased prize fund of $2,000,000. This was done because of the absence of LAN tournaments in light of the aforementioned pandemic in 2020.
24 of CSGO’s most popular teams competed, but Natus Vincere went on to win the major, not losing one single map during the entire tournament. Natus Vincere was a dominant team even before the Major, and their win had a large impact on the EU scene.
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