We start with an obvious one.
Team Vitality (Ranked 1st in the world)
The French/Israeli/English lineup is the team to beat in 2024. Can they be the first team to defend a Major win since the Astralis glory days? We certainly have our eyes set on Vitality, who has the biggest star of them all Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut on the roster. Despite replacing four Danes (dupreeh, Magisk, zonic, and Lars Robl), Vitality has remained at the top of CS2 winning the last two events before the player break. The addition of William "mezii" Merriman has seen Vitality go on an 8-match winning streak. How long can that go on?
How many trophies will Vitality lift in 2024?
Lotan 'Spinx' Giladi
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut
Shahar 'flameZ' Shushan
William "mezii" Merriman (new)
MOUZ (Ranked 3rd in the world)
The Hamburg-based Organization has been cooking for some years now. Slowly but steadily, they have created a lineup from their academy. Currently, they are one player short after having sold David "frozen" Čerňanský to FaZe at the end of 2023. MOUZ won the ESL Pro League Season 18 while making deep runs at the BLAST World Finals, CS Asia Championships, and IEM Sydney at the latter parts of 2023 to solidify themselves among the best teams in CS2.
There is a big task ahead for Dennis "sycrone" Nielsen to find a new suitable fifth player for the team, and we can’t wait to see what MOUZ has in store for us. The perhaps biggest danger for MOUZ in 2024 could be the loss of sycrone, who is rumored to be among the top candidates for the vacant head coach role at Astralis.
Kamil "siuhy" Szkaradek
Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás
Jimi "Jimpphat" Salo
Dorian “xertioN” Berman
SunPayus was one of the three ENCE players to join Falcons at the end of the 2023 season
Team Falcons (Ranked 10th in the world)
A lot can be said about the emergence of Falcons on the Counter-Strike scene. Rarely we have talked so much about a team without seeing (the new iteration of the roster) in action. The combination of Danny "zonic" Sørensen and Lars Robl alone should be enough to pique your interest. The Head Coach and Sportspsychologist have had a very successful partnership the past years elevating the performances of both Vitality and Astralis to new heights.
At Falcons, they have snatched up 3/5 of the very successful ENCE roster led by Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer. From Vitality the perhaps best anchor in the world, Emil "Magisk" Reif followed his two countrymen to the Saudi-owned Organization, who could be putting their mark on 2024.
Team Falcons roster:
Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer (new)
Mohammad "BOROS" Malhas
Pavle "Maden" Bošković (new)
Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia (new)
Emil "Magisk" Reif (new)
Spirit (Ranked 13th in the world)
Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov and Danil "donk" Kryshkovets are on the same team. Do we need to say more? Team Spirit is looking very promising if they can continue their upward trajectory from 2023. The Organization which is now based in Belgrade, Serbia revamped its lineup during the summer of 2023 promoting three players from their academy team to the main roster. The lineup instantly turned out to be competitive and won the A-tier tournament BetBoom Dacha in October.
All that was without Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov, who joined at the tail end of the year to even further raise our expectations for the roster. The Russian AWP’er has been among the best players in the past couple of years, and his presence on the server could lift the entire project to new heights.
Myroslav "zont1x" Plakhotja
Danil "donk" Kryshkovets
Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov (new)
Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov
Boris "magixx" Vorobyev
stavn and jabbi's departure from Heroic was one of the biggest stories of 2023.
Astralis (Ranked 19th in the world)
For a long time, Astralis has felt like a team that was one (or even two) roster moves away from having a championship-contending team again. Ever since the legendary Major winning core broke apart, Astralis has been struggling. The expectations from the Danish CS fans are huge, but perhaps the Danes can finally see a good Astralis team again. The Danish Organization spent most of 2023 clearing out the remaining parts of the old team (gla1ve, Xyp9x, and Sports Director Kasper Hvidt) with the exemption of Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz. The experienced Danish sniper is now part of an exciting new lineup with four players who all made it into HLTV’s top 20 list of the best players of 2023. It was only Victor "Staehr" Staehr who was not selected for the list, but the 19-year-old rifler has been dubbed multiple times to be the next new thing coming out of the Danish CS scene.
The biggest thing that the Astralis lineup has going against them is time. The PGL Copenhagen Major is a big deal for the entire organization, and a bad initial showing could be devastating to the project. The Danes are also still searching for a new head coach. A position that has never really been filled since Danny "zonic" Sørensen left the team in November 2021.
Martin "stavn" Lund (new)
Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard (new)
Benjamin "blameF" Bremer
Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz
Victor "Staehr" Staehr
Also, worth keeping an eye on:
Team Liquid: Another new lineup with several interesting players. Casper "cadiaN" Møller and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken is back in the NA pond and will look to bring Team Liquid back as the number 1 North American team. The Team Liquid vs Complexity fight for the top spot in NA could be an entertaining battle throughout the year.
FaZe: David "frozen" Čerňanský has replaced Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken on the team. A transfer that so far looks like the perfect fit for FaZe. But can they do anything against Vitality? The last two BLAST Grand Finals looked rough for Finn "karrigan" Andersen’s men.
Krimbo was promoted from the BIG Academy in March 2022. Could 2024 be his breakout year?
BIG: So how big is Karim 'Krimbo' Moussa going to go in 2024? The German rifler ended the year going 1.21 in rating in the last three months, where BIG grinded online tournaments. With eight wins in a row, the roster of BIG must have had a good feeling before the tournament break. Could we see BIG back at the absolute top of Counter-Strike once again?