Millions of dollars are floating around in CS:GO eSports tournaments. Professional teams can grow and evolve their organization by winning these tournaments. The Danish team, Astralis is on top of the list, but who are the other names on the list of highest earning CS:GO teams?
Esports has become serious business, and Counter-Strike is one of the most profitable branches of eSports. Therefore, the best CS:GO teams earned millions of dollars which makes CS:GO even more attractive. As expected, Astralis sits on top of the list untouched. Even if they decide to not compete in the new year, they will stay at number one spot without a doubt. Danes have done so many things in the past several years, and they can be proud of having 5/5 top earning CS:GO players. Let’s check out which other teams are on the list, and what makes them the highest earning CS:GO team.
1. Astralis (Denmark) – $5,918,018
The Danish team has been dominating the CS:GO scene since DreamHack Masters Marseille in April this year. Alongside FaZe Clan, Astralis remain the youngest formed team in the Top 5 highest earning CS:GO teams. That gives even more weight to Astralis’ achievements. Gaining almost six millions dollars for just three years is a big deal. However, a bonus worth one million dollars from their last event surely helped Astralis reach to the top of the leaderboards.
Astralis was founded in Jan 18, 2016. Three out of the five players are from the present squad which were part of the first line-up. Dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x decided to move together in a brand new team, later called Astralis. Today’s team captain, g1avle joined the Danish team on the 24th of October in 2016. Emil “Magisk” Reif completed the current line-up on February 7th of this year. At that moment we have a team who is going to crush the field and humiliate opponents on Nuke. Also, it would be shameful to not mention perhaps the best CS:GO coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen. He has been coaching the Danes since the foundation of Astralis and is definitely one of the reasons why Astralis is on top of highest earning CS:GO teams list.
We can write about Astralis achievements all day, but instead, we will mention just the most significant ones. Their first really big result was winning the ECS Season 2 – Finals defeating OpTic Gaming in the finals 2-0. Previously they lost against them in the ELEAGUE Season 2 finals 2-1. Astralis started 2017 in a tremendous way as they won ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017 versus Virtus.pro in final. After that tournament, they became $500.000 richer. The rest of the year wasn’t so great as they were stopped by FaZe clan several times. The Danes won Clash for Cash: The Rematch against Virtus.pro and won another $250.000, as well IEM XI World Championship.
2018 was just an unimaginable year for Astralis and CS:GO fans. No one ever saw such domination that comes from one team. Truly, Astralis failed badly in the first two events. However, by the rest of the year, the worst result in the main events were 3rd and 4th places in IEM XII World Championship and ESL One: Cologne 2018. They won 10 big events and recorded other great results. Among the most important competitions that they won were the ESL Pro League Season 7, ECS Season 5, ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier 2018, FACEIT Major London 2018, ECS Season 6, ESL Pro League Season 8, and Intel Grand Slam prize. We can conclude that Astralis undoubtedly deserved to be on top of the list of highest earning CS:GO teams.
2. Fnatic (Sweden) – $3,784,096
Fnatic is surely one of the most popular brands in eSports. Therefore, it’s nothing unusual seeing their CS:GO team is on second place of the list of highest earning CS:GO teams. If we include all their earnings from the Counter-Strike franchise, they gained about $4,600,000 which is still insufficient for them to be in first place. Their results in Counter-Strike are great, but for sake of this article we will skip them and move to CS:GO.
Fnatic really struggled to adapt to the new CS game. Despite winning DreamHack Winter 2013, they had a pretty bad 2013. The first half of 2014 was also unsatisfactory for Fnatic. In the second half, they started showing a better performance. They won numerous weekly tournaments as well as some bigger tournaments such as the StarLadder StarSeries X, FACEIT League – Season 2, ESWC 2014, Fragbite Masters Season3 and ESEA Season 17. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t manage to defend DreamHack Winter title. One thing we can notice is that list of tournaments Fnatic played is quite long. They reduced the number of tournaments played in the year 2016. Until 2016, Fnatic was competing in more than 35 events during the year. That is a really huge number which not many teams can say the same thing. However, participating in that many events will cause a strain on any professional esports team, which is probably the reason that Fnatic stopped their heavy participation in 2016.
2015 for Fnatic
2015 is the best Fnatic’s year so far without a doubt, so one might point out that participating is so many tournaments helped the team grow together, through the good and bad. Most of the money they gained came from this year. Fnatic won so many titles, so we will mention just the most valuable ones. The Swedish team clinched a trophy in the following events: ESL One: Katowice 2015, ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1, ESL One Cologne 2015, FACEIT Stage 3 Finals and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1, as well as in other less valuable tournaments. After Fnatic had reached their peak in 2015, their form was in decline. In 2016 they didn’t win so many tournaments, but they won many 3rd and 4th places. However, Fnatic was champion of IEM X – World Championship and StarLadder i-League StarSeries XIV which are all tough titles to win.
Following year was even worse for them as they didn’t win a single main event. It was a disappointing year for the Swedish team. However, the beginning of 2018 was promising for Fnatic. They won two important titles in March – IEM XII World Championship and WESG 2017. Thanks to these two titles, Fnatic gained more money in one month ($1,050,000) than in the last two years. However, the rest of the year was a really huge setback for the Swedes. They succeeded to improve overall impression by winning the PLG Grand Slam recently. Fnatic will probably stay as one of the highest earning CS:GO teams for a long time.
3. Virtus.pro (Poland) – $2,883,503
Here is another Counter-Strike giant. If we look at the history of Virtus.pro, the Polish team is unquestionably deserving of the place on a list of highest earning CS:GO teams. The first year (2013) in CS:GO wasn’t so great for Poles, but wasn’t bad neither. They won StarLadder StarSeries V and second place in ESL Major Series One – Summer 2013. Next year was even better. ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014 and Gfinity G3 were just two events among many others won by Virtus.pro. The following year was really long for the Polish team. They had good moments as well as complete blunders. However, they were champions in ESEA Season 18 – Global Invite Division, CEVO Season 7 Professional, ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational and many others.
2016 for Virtus.pro
2016 was also good and probably the last satisfactory year for NEO and company. They gained $400,000 after winning ELEAGUE Season 1 against Fnatic in finals. Virtus.pro also won another two Premiers – DreamHack Open Bucharest 2016 and StarLadder i-League Invitational #1. The beginning of 2017 was great, but the rest wasn’t so good. The Polish team earned $550,000 in first two months of 2017 and won DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017. In continuation of the year, Virtus.pro wasn’t bad, but the results weren’t great neither.
The following year was catastrophic for the Poles. Until 2018, Virtus.pro didn’t make many roster changes. But in 2018 they have shaken the squad so many times in order to find the perfect team. Noticeably, they didn’t succeed and the consequence was rough. Virtus.pro recently announced they are going to stop competing until something changes, which many fans of virtus.pro were left confused and angered by this. It was a painful decision to make for the organization, especially with all the accomplishments, and expert players on the roster.
4. SK Gaming (Brazil) – $2,869,076
It is really nice to see one South American team among the highest paid teams. SK Gaming became a really big name, but MiBR is perhaps even bigger. For those who don’t know, this year, the complete SK Gaming squad moved to MiBR and that actually was the moment when MiBR was founded as a CS:GO team. However, SK Gaming cannot be so proud of results before 2016. Truly, they had bright moments, and great results, but most of the time they weren’t considered as one of the elite teams. Therefore, most of their money comes from the 2016-2018 period.
SK Gaming had a quite short season in 2013 and 2014. The Brazilians have played only 13 tournaments in 2013 and 2014, which is a ridiculous small number for CS:GO standards. In 2015 it wasn’t much better, as their best result was 3rd place in Fragbite Masters Season 5. The first half of 2016 wasn’t anything special as well. But then SK Gaming won ESL One: Cologne 2016 and claimed the $500,000 prize. Afterward, the Brazilian team had decent results, considering they won several 3rd-4th and 2nd places in big events. Next year was ultimately the best SK Gaming’s season. Here are some of the names of tournaments they won that year: IEM XII Sydney, ECS Season 3, ESL One Cologne 2017, EPICENTER 2017, ESL Pro League Season 6. As mentioned, SK Gaming was transformed in MiBR in 2018. However, the Brazilians didn’t show the best performance in the first half of 2018, but they won three majors anyway.
5. FaZe Clan (Europe) – $2,829,824
As you could read, FaZe is the only team in the list of top 5 highest earning CS:GO teams that is founded relatively late. Their path started in 2016 which wasn’t such a remarkable year for them. The year after inception was the opposite. NiKo led his team to four important titles: StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, ESL One New York 2017, ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier 2017 ($500,000 winning prize), and ECS Season 4. This year wasn’t so good as the previous one, but still, FaZe can be proud of it and hold their heads up high. They recorded pleasing results in 2018 considering they won three big titles and approx $972,000.
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The highest earning teams in CS:GO have had to go through heartache and pain to reach where their at. How everything stands now, they are quite ahead of the competition and each organization above continues to move forward and compete to be the best in the world. Astralis is undoubtedly number one on the list, and with the way things are going, Astralis will look to be keeping this place for years to come.
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