From FaZe Clan to mousesports, teams with players from all around the world are becoming more and more relevant in pro CS.
Who are the best international teams?
International rosters were once thought of by those active in the CS:GO scene as completely impractical, and nowhere near viable enough to compete against their same-nation counterparts. However, as CS:GO has grown and reached out to more and more regions, the effectiveness of these rosters has been put on show, leading to the current competitive meta becoming increasingly saturated by them.
There are currently five great international orgs leading the way at the top table of competitive CS:GO: FaZe Clan, mousesports, FunPlus Phoenix, Complexity and OG. But which of them deserves the honor of calling themselves the greatest international roster in the game?
5. FaZe Clan
FaZe Clan are a huge org in esports industry, and well-worth the label of the “Real Madrid of CS:GO” with their long history of signing star-studded squads full of “galacticos”.
Finn “karrigan” Andersen masterminded FaZe’s rise to the summit of the world rankings in early 2018 before their infamous Boston Major heartbreak, and much was expected of the Dane when he returned to the org in February 2021, especially given the other high-profile signing of Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken the org had made from Team Liquid a month or so before.
Instead, this new iteration of Faze has proven to be one of the disaster stories of the year so far. The team failed to make the playoffs at ESL Pro League Season 13, finished 9th-12th at IEM Katowice, failed to even qualify for IEM Summer, were the first side to be dumped out Flashpoint 3, and have recently been forced into facing an unknown future without their two-time Major-winning superstar, Marcelo “coldzera” David.
4. FunPlus Phoenix
FunPlus Phoenix are a highly decorated org thanks to their successes in League of Legends, and made a very public attempted foray into the world of CS:GO in the summer of 2020 by attempting to acquire the then-Heroic roster.
When that deal fell through, the org switched tactics and signed the former international GODSENT lineup. The team spent a few months in flux with Chris “chrisJ” de Jong being drafted in as an emergency loan, but they have since found themselves becoming more and more relevant, shrewd dark horses in a whole host of S-Tier competitions.
From the coaching of Jonatan “Devilwalk” Lundberg, the Fnatic veteran during their 2014-15 heyday, to the experience brought by Luka “emi” Vuković, Jesse “zehN” Linjala, and Martin “STYKO” Styk, FPX have already been able to reach the playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 13, triumph over teams such as Astralis and G2, win Snow Sweet Snow #1 and nestle comfortably in the HLTV top 20 at the time of writing.
OG’s CS:GO squad launched in late 2019, with the aim of creating one of the world’s best international rosters, harnessing the talents of Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen’s controversial dropping from ENCE.
The org entered 2021 making a roster change for the first time since with Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt and Issa “ISSAA” Murad being replaced with favor of Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen from Heroic, and the rising star Shahar “flameZ” Shushan from Endpoint, and so far this ‘OG 2.0.’ has looked overwhelmingly positive.
Niko’s anchoring has already been an impressive part of the org’s seppup and allowed for Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski, Valdemar “valde” Vangså, and the aforementioned flameZ to step up with an aggressive bite in the server that OG’s previous lineup was never quite able to flex themselves with.
OG’s recent winning run at Spring Sweet Spring might just be the first big step towards bigger and better things for the org, and whilst there are still so many unknowns surrounding the lineup, the level of potential Alexsib and co. possess now is frightening.
Jason Lake’s new-look Complexity project burst onto the scene a 2-0 demolition of Astralis at the 2020 BLAST Showdown, in what is still regarded as one of the biggest upsets in CS:GO history. Lake is one of the most passionate and dedicated owners in the entire esports industry, often attending events either in the flesh or via a fan cam and constantly updating fans through live streams or posts on his official channels, helping to grow Complexity into one of the most ambitious and well-liked orgs active in the game.
The “juggernaut” won their first major title at the 2020 BLAST Spring EU Finals, but the acquisition of Justin “jks” Savage from 100 Thieves and return of Valentin “poizon” Vasilev has arguably left the side looking more balanced and ambitious than ever before.
Benjamin “blameF” Bremer is a remarkable fragging IGL, however it is the selflessness and savvy understanding of jks and Will “RUSH” Wierzba as the two anchors in the team that could well prove to be the deciding factor in Complexity becoming a consistent face at the deep end of tournaments going forward.
Complexity first entered the HLTV top 10 in June 2020, and have since only ever dipped as low as 15th, showcasing a remarkable level of consistency in the online era, which is especially impressive when the org in question is NA-based and has had to deal with roster reshuffles, player breaks and a lack of boot camps.
Before the disruptions and difficulties caused by the online era, mousesports were undoubtedly one of the heaviest hitters at the top of the CS:GO pyramid. Built-up expertly by the leadership of karrigan, they won the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, finished as runners-up at ESL Pro League Season 11 and peaked as high as number two in the HLTV world rankings bbetween December 2019 and February 2020.
Following karrigan’s acquisition by Faze Clan in February 2021, many predicted that Mousesports’ time in the spotlight was coming to a close. However, the signing of Christopher “dexter” Nong from Renegades has proven to be a smart decision, coinciding with a run of form that has seen Mousesports come into their own.
The side brushed aside Fnatic, BIG, Astralis, G2 and Ninjas in Pyjamas at Flashpoint Season 3 without dropping a single map until the grand final, and Robin “ropz” Kool, David “frozen” Čerňanský and Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand are all playing with an above average 1.15, 1.12 and 1.05 rating respectively at the time of writing.
The team now sit sixth in the HLTV world rankings, rising a whopping seven places on the back of their Flashpoint 3 triumph, their highest position since June 2020, putting them in pole position among the international squads.