All CS2/CSGO Majors in History

With its current incarnation known as CS2, Counter-Strike has a thriving esports community. Every year, a lot of tournaments are staged, each having a certain status that only a handful can equal. These include the ESL Pro League, which is one of the best professional leagues and lasts for more than a month, and the IEM Katowice and Cologne events, which are considered to be two of the best tournaments ever conducted. The Counter-Strike Major Championships, which are hosted by the game’s creators, Valve, are a cut above the rest and represent the pinnacle of professional CS competition where players establish their reputations when the lights shine the brightest. They are only held once or twice (or in some rare occasions, thrice) a year, and provide the most prestigious playing ground for any professional Counter-Strike player. Let’s take a look back at the 20 Majors held through CS:GO and CS2.

Brief Overview of the Counter-Strike Major Championships

In 2013, Valve stepped in and established the official Valve Major Championships. These Majors boasted significant prize pools (initially $250,000, now $1.25 million) and became the ultimate proving ground for CS:GO players. DreamHack Winter 2013 marked the first official Valve Major, and early dominance belonged to Swedish teams once again. Fnatic and NIP dominated the scene, with NIP even reaching five of the first six grand finals. Fnatic achieved a historic feat in 2015, becoming the first team to win back-to-back Majors and the first with three Major titles. Four years later, Astralis dethroned the Swedes as the greatest team of all time with a record-breaking four Major titles. The Counter-Strike Majors remain the pinnacle of CS:GO esports. They are testaments to the game’s enduring legacy, showcasing the dedication, teamwork, and raw talent needed to be crowned a Major champion.

All CSGO/CS2 Majors

DreamHack Winter 2013

DreamHack Winter 2013 wasn’t just another Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament; it marked a historic turning point. Held from November 28th to 30th in Jönköping, Sweden, it was the first-ever CS:GO Major Championship, forever etching its name in esports history. The brainchild of DreamHack and sponsored by Valve, the tournament boasted a then-impressive $250,000 prize pool, fueled in part by the blossoming esports community still in its infancy. This community involvement extended to viewership, with DreamHack Winter 2013 reaching a peak of over 100,000 concurrent viewers, a massive number for the era, spread across Twitch and the in-game viewing client.

Sixteen teams battled it out for the coveted title. Almost half received direct invites, including established names like fnatic, compLexity Gaming, and VeryGames. The remaining slots were fiercely contested through qualifiers. Ninjas in Pyjamas, fresh off their DreamHack Summer 2013 victory, secured their spot, while Copenhagen Wolves and LGB eSports also joined the fray. Notably, DreamHack even held a Bring Your Own Computer qualifier, allowing grassroots teams like Reason Gaming and Xapso a shot at glory.

fnatic were on a tear. They dominated their opponents, showcasing a tactical prowess and teamwork that would become their signature. Young talent Jesper “JW” Wecksell, later earning the nickname “JWonderchild”, consistently put on stellar performances. The grand finals pitted fnatic against their countrymen, Ninjas in Pyjamas, who had fought their way back through the lower bracket. The stage was set for a classic Swedish showdown on the deciding map, Train. When all was said and done, the orange-and-black organization had earned the distinction of being the first-ever CS:GO Major Champions. JW was unsurprisingly awarded the HLTV MVP award, the first and only one of his career.

EMS One Katowice 2014

Held from March 13-16, 2014 at the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, it was the second CS:GO Major Championship organized by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) with sponsorship from Valve, the game’s developers. EMS One Katowice 2014 is remembered for its exciting matches, including a thrilling semi-final between and Titan that went to a close third map. It marked the first major victory for the Polish team, who defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas in the finals. This win propelled to superstardom and solidified their place as a top contender in the CS:GO scene for years to come, especially with their renowned “Virtus Plow” lineup. The tournament also saw strong performances from other notable teams like Fnatic, Natus Vincere, and LDLC.

The event also drew a peak viewership of over 250,000 concurrent viewers on streaming platforms, close to a 100% increase from DreamHack Winter 2013, showcasing the growing popularity of CS:GO esports.

ESL One Cologne 2014

ESL One Cologne 2014, held from August 14th to 17th, marked the third Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship. The tournament boasted a $250,000 prize pool, a significant sum at the time. Notably, the prize money was entirely crowdfunded by the CS:GO community through the “Arms Deal Update,” where a portion of in-game item sales went towards the pot. This initiative, a first for CS:GO, fostered a strong sense of community investment and further solidified the game’s position as a major esport. The streaming numbers were also around the same as EMS One Katowice, marking continued success for the new title.

The grand finals pitted the mighty NIP against their fierce rivals and former Major champions, Fnatic. Both teams were considered titans of CS:GO. The highly anticipated matchup lived up to the hype, with both teams showcasing strategic brilliance and incredible individual plays.

After a close first map win by Fnatic, NIP clawed their way back with dominant victories on the following two maps. The final moments were etched in CS:GO history, with NIP finally securing their first Major championship title after two failed attempts and solidifying their place as one of the greatest teams of their time.

DreamHack Winter 2014

DreamHack Winter 2014, held from November 27th to 29th in Jönköping, Sweden, was the fourth Major Championship. The event, however, would be marred by controversies before the tournament even began. Two teams from the previous Major, ESL One Cologne 2014, received invitations but were later disqualified due to a cheating scandal involving coaches using spectator bugs to gain an unfair advantage. This left organizers scrambling to fill the vacant spots, resorting to a mix of qualifiers and additional invites.

The finals were a nail-biting affair. LDLC took the first map, Dust 2, then NIP answered back on Inferno, forcing a decider on Overpass. In a tense back-and-forth battle, LDLC ultimately emerged victorious, claiming their first Major title and etching their names in CS:GO history as the first French Major champions. Despite the drama, DreamHack Winter 2014 remains a significant moment in CS:GO history. It showcased the depth of talent, with new teams challenging the established order. The French scene’s rise, culminating in LDLC’s victory, also marked a shift in the global CS:GO landscape and the true start of the “French Revolution”.

ESL One Katowice 2015

ESL One Katowice 2015, held from March 12th to 15th, marked the fifth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship. The grand finals set the stage for a rematch between two Counter-Strike titans: Fnatic and NIP.  Both teams had established themselves as powerhouses, and the crowd at the Spodek Arena buzzed with anticipation.

Fnatic emerged victorious in a thrilling 2-1 series.The first map, Dust 2, went down to the wire, with Fnatic securing a narrow 16-14 win. NIP bounced back on Cache, dominating 16-10. However, Fnatic displayed their resilience on the final map, Inferno, closing it out 16-13 to claim the championship title. The organization became the first-ever two-time winners of a CS:GO Major, establishing themselves as the team to beat on Counter-Strike’s biggest stage.

ESL One Cologne 2015

This edition of ESL One Cologne broke new ground by being the first CS:GO major to implement mandatory drug testing for all competing teams. This move, while controversial at the time, aimed to promote fair play and competitive integrity in the burgeoning esport.  Thankfully, all tests came back negative. The online livestream drew a massive viewership, peaking at 1.3 million concurrent viewers and reaching a total of 27 million viewers throughout the event. In a hard-fought final, the legendary Fnatic squad emerged victorious, defeating Team EnVyUs and claiming their third CS:GO Major Championship title.  This win solidified Fnatic’s position as a dominant force in the CS:GO scene. Robin “flusha” Rönnquist of Fnatic was awarded the HLTV MVP for his exceptional performance throughout the tournament. Cologne 2015 marked Fnatic’s third-ever Major Championship and second victory in a row, making them the first to ever do both and the undisputed kings of CS:GO Majors. 

DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015

The seventh Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship, DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015, took place from October 28th to November 1st, 2015, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The playoffs were a showcase of individual brilliance, particularly from the AWP snipers. Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs of NAVI and Kenny “kennyS” Schrub of EnVyUs were on fire throughout the tournament, consistently putting up impressive numbers and clutch plays. This rivalry became a major storyline, with both players instrumental in their teams’ victories.

The Grand Finals brought GuardiaN and kennyS face-to-face once again. In a battle of snipers, it was kennyS who emerged victorious, leading EnVyUs to a dominant 2-0 win over NAVI. This marked EnVyUs’ first Major win and a significant change, as the finals lacked the usual presence of NIP or fnatic. kennyS, who is now regarded as the greatest AWPer of all time, was rightfully awarded the HLTV Most Valuable Player title for his exceptional performance throughout the tournament.

MLG Columbus 2016

Out with the French era, in with the Brazilians. Held from March 29th to April 3rd, 2016, at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, MLG Columbus 2016 was the first CS:GO Major Championship in North America and the first organized by Major League Gaming. The Major was also the first to ever have a $1,000,000 prize pool which became the standard for years to come. The tournament witnessed the rise of Luminosity Gaming, a Brazilian team featuring Marcelo “coldzera” David, who would be crowned the Most Valuable Player and later recognized as one of the greatest CS:GO players of all time.  Their aggressive, skilled playstyle surprised veterans and captivated audiences. Luminosity Gaming fought their way through the lower bracket, defeating teams like Liquid and Astralis in thrilling encounters.

The Grand Finals pitted Luminosity Gaming against Natus Vincere. The series was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams showcasing incredible strategic depth and individual skill. Ultimately, Luminosity Gaming secured a historic victory, etching their names in CS:GO Major history as the first Brazilians to win a Major title. MLG Columbus 2016 opened doors for North American esports and paved the way for future Majors in the region. The rise of Luminosity Gaming signaled a shift in the global balance of power, inspiring future generations of Brazilian players.

ESL One Cologne 2016

ESL One Cologne 2016, also known as the ESL Cologne Major 2016, was the ninth Major Championship for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Held from July 8th to 10th at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, it marked the second year in a row the prestigious event took place at the venue.

The Luminosity core that won MLG Columbus switched over to a new organization in SK, but kept all their pieces intact. The playoffs witnessed a dominant run by SK Gaming, then known as Luminosity Gaming. The Brazilian squad, led by the eventual MVP coldzera, showcased incredible teamwork and firepower. They defeated teams like and fnatic en route to the grand finals. Despite having a different banner, SK’s lineup was still the same Major-winning group that dominated in Columbus just months prior. All of them became two-time champions and become only the second team to repeat, following in fnatic’s footsteps.

ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017

ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017 was the tenth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship. SK Gaming, the two-time defending Major champions, were seen as the favorites. However, they were upset by in a thrilling semi-final match. This paved the way for a new champion to emerge.

In the grand finals, Astralis, a Danish team known for always choking before a major tournament’s grand final, faced off against In a close-fought series, Astralis emerged victorious, claiming their first Major championship title.This win marked the beginning of Astralis’s dominance in the CS:GO scene, as they would go on to win several more Major titles in the years to come and break all possible records in terms of achievement. In short, ELEAGUE Atlanta was the beginning of the greatest dynasty of all time.

PGL Major Krakow 2017

The PGL Major Kraków 2017, held from July 16th to 23rd, marked the eleventh Major Championship in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Krakow witnessed several nail-biting matches and surprising upsets. North American favorites Cloud9 and Team Liquid fell short of expectations, failing to advance past the group stages.

However, the true stars of the Major were the unlikely heroes from Gambit Esports. This CIS team, featuring a young Dosia and a rising star in mou, displayed exceptional teamwork and tactical prowess. They defied expectations by dismantling European powerhouses like G2 and Astralis on their path to the finals. The grand finals pitted two of the most unlikely contenders ever – the flamboyant firepower of Immortals against the disciplined strategies of Gambit. The series was a tense back-and-forth affair, with each team claiming a map victory. However, in the deciding map, Gambit’s coordinated aggression proved too much for the Brazilians and they eventually emerged victorious with a 2-1 score.

ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018

The greatest Major in the history of North American Counter-Strike. The ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 marked the 12th CS:GO Major Championship and the second organized by ELEAGUE. Held from January 12th to 28th, 2018, the tournament witnessed a shift in the regional dominance of CS:GO with a North American team claiming victory for the first time.

This Major innovated by expanding the team count from the usual 16 to 24. This opened up opportunities for a wider range of regions to be represented.  A partially revamped format was also introduced. The “New Challengers Stage” replaced the previous qualifiers, integrating them into the Major itself. Here, teams battled in a Swiss System format, where teams with similar records played against each other. Top teams from this stage progressed to the “New Legends Stage” alongside established teams who were directly invited.

Cloud9, after barely making it out of the preliminary stages, continued their Cinderella run in the playoffs. After an intense three-map affair, where FaZe famously choked a 15-11 lead in the third map of the grand final, Cloud9 emerged victorious in overtime and took home a Major championship for North America, the first of the organization, of the region, and of any American player in history.

FACEIT Major London 2018

The FACEIT Major London in  2018 was the 13th Major Championship, the second of 2018, and the first organized by FACEIT, a prominent third-party esports platform. Powerhouses like FaZe Clan and Team Liquid fell in the quarterfinals, paving the way for a thrilling clash between Natus Vincere and Astralis in the grand finals. NAVI, boasting star players like s1mple and electronic, fought their way through BIG and MIBR, while Astralis, a Danish powerhouse known for their strategic brilliance, defeated FaZe and Liquid. The grand finals delivered a masterclass in CS:GO. Astralis, led by legendary AWPer dev1ce who was later awarded the HLTV MVP title, dominated the series through a convincing 2-0 victory. This win cemented Astralis’ position as a top contender, tying them with SK for the second-most Major titles at the time.

IEM Katowice 2019

The Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII – Katowice Major 2019, also known as IEM Katowice Major 2019, held the title of the 14th CS:GO Major Championship. It also ignited the second season of the Intel Grand Slam, a prestigious series with rewards for top-performing teams throughout the year which Astralis won the first iteration of.

The Grand Finals was a lopsided affair. Astralis displayed their signature strategic dominance on the first and second maps, winning 16-4 and 16-11 on their way to a record-tying third CS:GO Major. Third overall and second in a row, Astralis equaled the record set by fnatic all those years ago by winning in Katowice. Their opponents in the grand final were an ENCE team riding their own Cinderella run, however the Danes’ firepower was just too much for anyone to handle throughout the tournament.

Astralis did not lose a single match all tournament long and, after finally lifting the trophy they fought so hard for, an emotional dupreeh celebrated a bittersweet moment in his life after having played an incredible event despite receiving news of his father’s passing at the beginning of the tournament.

StarLadder Major Berlin 2019

The StarLadder Major: Berlin 2019, held from August 23rd to September 8th, 2019, marked the 15th Major Championship in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Despite a valiant effort from AVANGAR in the grand final, Astralis emerged victorious with a 2-0 scoreline. This win cemented their place as the single greatest CS:GO dynasty, becoming the only team to win four Major titles and the only one to achieve three consecutive Major victories.

The three-peat and the fourth overall, StarLadder Berlin placed Astralis in the record books of CS:GO forever as they finally surpassed fnatic as the greatest Major team of all time. It was their most dominant Major outing of the four, with just the one map dropped in the Legends stage. Even their much-awaited match against Liquid which took place in the quarter-final was not as competitive as many thought, proving again exactly why Astralis were the best team in the whole world. Astralis won by complete domination in the grand final, making them the last pre-pandemic Major winners.

PGL Major Stockholm 2021

The PGL Major Stockholm 2021, held from October 26 to November 7, 2021, marked a significant period of time in CS:GO. Not only was it the first Major in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also shattered viewership records and boasted the biggest prize pool in CS:GO history at $2 million.

The Stockholm Major served as a highly anticipated return to offline, LAN competition. The event, hosted by PGL, took place at the Avicii Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Twenty-four teams qualified through a series of regional Major Ranking (RMR) events across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Natus Vincere, a powerhouse CS:GO team with the greatest player of all time, emerged victorious from the playoff bracket. Throughout the tournament, NAVI displayed incredible teamwork and individual skill, and defeated every single opponent without losing even one map. The PGL Major Stockholm 2021 transcended the realm of competition and garnered a peak viewership of over 2.74 million viewers, more than doubling the previous record for a CS:GO Major.

This CS:GO Major also resonated on social media platforms like Twitch, reaching fifth place in the most-watched CS:GO category and ranking among the top ten most popular esports events of all time. With its record-breaking viewership, immense prize pool, and high level of competition, the tournament cemented its place as a historic event in CS:GO esports history.

PGL Major Antwerp 2022

The PGL Major Antwerp 2022, held from May 9th to 22nd, marked the 17th chapter in the prestigious CS:GO Major Championship series. In the grand final, FaZe displayed incredible teamwork and individual brilliance, ultimately claiming victory with a 2-0 scoreline over NAVI. This win cemented their place in history as the first international mix-team to win a Major and, with Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken on the team, marked the first time in four years that a North American player was crowned as Major champion.

IEM Rio 2022

Held between October 31st and November 13th, 2022, at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, IEM Rio 2022 event boasted a passionate crowd, a $1,250,000 million prize pool, and two weeks of intense competition at the heart of Brazil.

The grand finals pitted Heroic against Outsiders (formerly Despite Heroic’s impressive run, Outsiders proved too strong, winning the series 2-0 and claiming the coveted Major trophy. The Major received some backlash, however, at the lack of support from the fans in the arena when the team playing is not from Brazil or features no Brazilian players. Concerns about the atmosphere were a recurring trend throughout the competition, and was visible even during the grand final. Paris Major 2023

The last of Global Offensive and the true end of an era, The Paris Major 2023, held from May 8th to 21st was the first Major Championship to take place in France, and it was also the very last hurrah for CS:GO Majors, paving the way for Counter-Strike 2’s inaugural Major in 2024.

The Grand Final pitted Vitality against GamerLegion. The underdogs, GamerLegion, surprised many with their impressive Cinderella run, but Vitality proved too strong. Backed by Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, the French-Danish squad dominated both maps, securing a 2-0 victory and etching their names in history as the final CS:GO Major champions.

As a member of Vitality, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen also won the fifth CS:GO Major of his entire career – standing alone atop the professional world.

PGL Major Copenhagen 2024

Held from March 17th to 31st, it was the first Major Championship for Counter-Strike 2.  Organized by PGL, the tournament took place at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, drawing 24 teams from regional qualifiers for a shot at the prestigious title and a share of the $1,250,000 prize pool.

The grand finals pitted NAVI against FaZe in a rematch of the epic PGL Major Antwerp 2022 finals, albeit with different lineups. The series lived up to the hype, with breathtaking displays of individual skill even as each map was lopsided for either NAVI or FaZe. Ultimately, NaVi emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline, etching their names in history as the first-ever CS2 Major champions.

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