The end of 2019 has been a great time for CS:GO fans. Operation Shattered Web brings a plethora of new content to the game, though some of it is controversial. Tournament organizers still provide fans with a packed calendar in December. With the new year less than a month away, what is there to look forward to in 2020?
Earlier this year, Electronic Sports League announced a new tournament circuit, the ESL Pro Tour. It aims to connect nearly 20 events into a cohesive circuit culminating in two premier events per year. Teams will now be awarded circuit points for placing high at events. Those that perform the best throughout the year will be invited to the Masters Championship level tournaments, IEM Katowice and ESL One Cologne. Other teams can still enter Masters Championship events by placing well at a qualifier LAN.
Dreamhack’s CS:GO events will also be a part of the circuit, due to their shared parent company. ESL is also reported to run Brazil’s first Major in 2020, with the event falling under the Masters Championship category.
The League also provides a much clearer route for teams to reach the top of the scene, as ESL’s national tournaments will grant qualification to the Mountain Dew League and DreamHack Open events.
Rumors also exist of a franchise league being introduced to CS:GO in 2020. While nothing has yet been confirmed, prominent journalist Jarek “DeKay” Lewis mentioned that a “League in North America that features a franchise-like model received approval from Valve” in his regular Column “Sources Say”. Later, Richard Lewis went into more depth on his livestream, stating that the Immortals Group and Cloud9 are involved in some capacity. Fans should expect a formal announcement next year about this league.
A Competitive Field
2020 is set to be an intensely competitive year in Counter-Strike. Astralis finally returned to championship form. But teams like Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid can still give the Danes a run for their money. The battle for world No.1 is certainly not over. New-look NaVi will also be a title contender and they are eager to win trophies following some underwhelming early outings.
Alongside the existing tense competition, there are a few new organizations looking to compete in 2020. North American fans should be excited at Joshua “steel” Nissan’s newest venture with Chaos Esports Club, as the ex-Ben’s Anime Team roster will be vying to be a competitive force in NA Counter-Strike. OG Esports and Dignitas are also expected to pick up rosters in the new year. OG seeks Nathan “NBK” Schmitt and Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, whilst Dignitas look to reunite Patrick “f0rest” Lindberg, Adam “Friberg” Friberg and Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund under their banner.
When teams add these new players to what is already a stacked field of talent, it creates the potential for 2020 to become one of the most competitive years in CS:GO’s history.
Rejuvenated Player Base
Following the release of the new Operation, CS:GO reached the highest average player count in history. With more players come decreased queue times, giving Valve an incentive to keep adding content to the game. An increase in active players following a content update is a great way for developers to see that content for the game is worth the resources it took to produce.
Valve stated that Operation Shattered Web lasts over 16 weeks, meaning it will continue well into 2020. Hopefully, Valve identifies the positive community response and continues to release new CS:GO content in 2020. Fans waited well over two years for a follow-up to Operation Hydra. Shattered Web is a great transition to a new year. Fans hope Valve continues this in the new year.
Written by Benjamin Hodge
Featured image credit to ESTNN