Overview Paris Major

The last-ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship certainly went out with a bang. It was the last Valve-sanctioned tournament to be played in CS:GO and witnessed multiple storylines befitting a last hurrah for one of the greatest esport titles over the last decade. The CS:GO Paris Major featured shocking early exits, Cinderella runs, and a record-setting championship run for the most accomplished player in the history of Global Offensive.

Bracket and Format

The CS:GO Paris Major bracket followed the same format everyone had been accustomed to for the last half decade. It started with 16 teams in the Challengers Stage, where they were categorized as either ‘Challengers’ or ‘Contenders’ based on their finishing positions at their Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournaments, battling for just eight spots in the succeeding Legends stage. In the Legends Stage of the CS:GO BLAST Major, the same format was followed with the top eight progressing through to the knockout stage in front of the packed Accor Arena. A Swiss format was used for the Paris CS:GO Major’s Challengers and Legends stages, where teams would need three victories in order to secure a spot in the next series of matches while three defeats would send them packing instantly.

From there, the knockout stage used a single elimination best-of-three format from the quarter-finals all the way to the grand final. This format was the norm for quite some time and, with new seeding and matchup rules implemented by Valve for the first Counter-Strike 2 Major in Denmark, it would be the last time.

The total prize money was $1,250,000 split accordingly with the top 16 placers of the CS:GO Major Paris. The champions received the coveted Major trophy, invites to Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 and the BLAST Premier World Final 2023, and $500,000. Second place received $170,000; 3-4th got $80,000 each; 5-8th earned $45,000 each; 9-16th picked up $20,000 for their efforts; and finally 17-24th weren’t left empty handed as they all took home a nice consolation sum of $10,000.

Most Important Stories – Challengers Stage

G2 in the Challengers Stage

Quite possibly the biggest name that found themselves in the Challengers Stage of the Paris Major CS:GO was G2. At that time, G2 were one of the most successful teams with superstar rifler Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and AWPing prodigy Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov at the helm. They won IEM Katowice 2023 after many long years without a top-tier trophy on LAN, but their form leading up to the Europe RMR tournaments were a bit far off. This led to speculation from fans online as to whether or not they could quickly regain their dominance or if they would succumb to yet another choke so early in the Major. Safe to say the choke was avoided as the five-stack downed TheMongolz, Complexity, and Apeks with relative ease for a quick 3-0 run into the Legends Stage.

Trouble for the Top Tens

FaZe, Liquid, and ENCE were all stuck in the Challengers Stage despite being some of the most consistent teams in the world when it came to reaching the playoffs at big events. Even with some of the best players in the world such as Finn “karrigan” Andersen captaining FaZe, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski on Liquid further proving his status as one of North America’s GOATs, and Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer seeking for one more hurrah with ENCE at the tailend of his long and fruitful career.

ENCE joined G2 in the 3-0 pool as one of the most dominant squads in the CS:GO Paris Major Challengers Stage, besting OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and FaZe in a three-map thriller. FaZe experienced a slightly more difficult run as their dream of a flawless Challengers Stage was derailed only by ENCE, however karrigan and company easily bounced back after defeating FORZE to secure a 3-1 record. Liquid, meanwhile, encountered the most daunting of tasks by the end of the first two matches. The North American representatives had a 0-2 record with close losses to Apeks and FORZE pushing them within one defeat away of their most disappointing Major finish ever. Thankfully for them and the North American fans, the Challengers Stage would not be the extent of their run at the last-ever CS:GO Major.

Powered by the brilliance of Keith “NAF” Markovic and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis, Liquid pulled off a complete reversal of their winless record starting with a 2-1 victory over Fluxo in their first elimination series. They continued their resurgence with a dominant 2-0 over fellow North American team Complexity, and finally picked up the last Legends Stage spot by eliminating the Australian group of Grayhound.

Most Important Stories – Legends & Knockout Stage

FaZe vs NAVI for the Final Playoff Spot

At this point in history, the FaZe vs Natus Vincere (NAVI) rivalry had already been part of many historic matches at the biggest stages of Counter-Strike. Their grand final series at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 was one of the most-viewed matches in the history of CS:GO. There, FaZe came out victorious 2-0 as hardened veterans of the game in karrigan and Håvard “rain” Nygaard finally earned the first Major trophies of their career. At IEM Cologne 2022, the pair met again in the tournament’s grand final set for a best-of-five. All five maps were used as FaZe once again got the better of NAVI in an all-time classic highlighted by a solo effort from Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken during the penultimate round of the entire tournament.

So when the time came for FaZe and NAVI to battle it out for the last spot in the playoffs, the stakes were higher and the lights shined even brighter than it had been all tournament long. The greatest CS:GO player of all time, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, was left in heartbreak as his team wound up falling to FaZe 1-2 having to settle for 9-11th place at the CS:GO Major Paris.

GamerLegion to Paradise

No one could blame you for not knowing who GamerLegion were ahead of the Paris Major. A five-stack consisting of Mihai “iM” Ivan, Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand, Kamil “siuhy” Szkaradek, Isak “isak” Fahlén, and Nicolas “Keoz” Dgus won’t exactly turn heads to the casual viewer, but after their magnificent Cinderella run all the way to the grand final, GamerLegion found themselves riding a high no one in the organization ever reached before.

GamerLegion’s run at the CS:GO BLAST Major in Paris nearly ended in shambles during the Challengers Stage as back-to-back 11-16 defeats to Complexity and TheMongolz placed them in the dreaded 0-2 pool. Just like Liquid, they were one of the teams that successfully escaped instant elimination and fought their way to the Legends Stage by eliminating MOUZ, OG, and FORZE in the process. Their next series of matches went even better than how they started even against arguably more formidable opponents. After dropping the opener to NAVI, GamerLegion went on a three-match win streak at the expense of 9INE, fnatic, and Apeks to book their place in the knockout stage for the first time in history.

On paper, they had the fairest quarter final match considering past form and overall expectations when they faced off against Monte. What followed was complete domination from the side of GamerLegion who picked up 16-10 and 16-3 victories, sending Volodymyr “Woro2k” Veletniuk and his crew out of the competition in 5-8th place. Next up were the number one team in the world at the time, Heroic. The Danish outfit were viewed as one of the favorites to win the Major, but even their status and reign on top could not derail GamerLegion’s Cinderella run as Casper “cadiaN” Møller’s side were the next to fall against the most unlikely of finalists.

All good things must unfortunately come to an end and, for GamerLegion, their unlikely journey to the pinnacle of Counter-strike was halted at the grand final. A hot-handed Vitality with plenty of winning experience proved to be too much to handle for the young squad who ultimately finished the Major in second place. Though GamerLegion were one series shy of the ultimate goal, making the final is already an undeniably impressive feat in itself.

Biggest Winners of the Paris Major

Vitality – Champions of Paris and the World

How could Vitality not be on this list? They were crowned champions of the last Major to ever be held in CS:GO and did so without losing a single map, a feat only matched by Natus Vincere two years prior. Everyone could predict their win from miles away based on their sheer dominance every time they logged onto the server especially with Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, the best Counter-Strike player of 2023, leading the charge.

dupreeh – One More Major in a Legendary Career

Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen has always been regarded as one of the greatest riflers to ever touch CS:GO and its most successful player. The Dane was part of the legendary Astralis dynasty that won a record four CS:GO Majors and the inaugural Intel Grand Slam season until a change of scenery brought him and teammate Emil “Magisk” Reif to a rebuilding Vitality.

At the Paris Major 2023, dupreeh further added to his legacy and put himself in a league of his own. With Vitality’s qualification through the RMR tournament, the Danish rifler cemented his record as the only player to have ever attended every CS:GO Major from the inaugural event, DreamHack Winter 2013, all the way to the Paris Major. After Vitality took down GamerLegion in two maps, dupreeh also held the status of being the only Counter-Strike player to have won five Majors in their career – pulling ahead of the record he once shared with Astralis teammates Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, Nicolai “device” Reedtz, and Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth.

GamerLegion – An Unlikely Journey to Feel-Good Story

GamerLegion’s campaign at the Paris Major, which ended with second place and $170,000 of prize money, was the feel-good underdog story many fans were looking for. Their grand final against Vitality was a true David vs Goliath moment and, even though David was unable nto down Goliath this time, they were able to captivate the Counter-Strike community and give them an unlikely bunch to root for.

Biggest Losers of the Paris Major

North America – Disappointment for the Region (again)

North America was once again filled with disappointment after their region’s heroes, Liquid, were sent crashing out of Paris in the quarter finals with a 0-2 loss to Apeks. Complexity, the only other representative from NA, suffered an even worse fate after failing to make it out of the Challengers Stage altogether. Even pinning their collective hopes on Twistzz bore no fruit as FaZe’s tournament only lasted one map longer than Liquid’s, falling to Heroic 1-2 in the quarter finals.

Heroic – Upset on the Grandest Stage

One man’s dream comes at another’s downfall and unfortunately for Heroic, they were relegated to a mere stepping stone for GamerLegion’s ascent to paradise. The highest-ranked team in the world were unable to find the same form that gave them a 3-0 Legends Stage record and a 2-1 victory over FaZe in the quarter finals, spoiling their own pursuit for a first Major trophy once again.

NAVI – Lacking Form and a Missed Opportunity

The only organization to have attended all 19 CS:GO Majors and the greatest Global Offensive player in history were met with huge disappointment at the end of the BLAST Major’s Legends Stage. Natus Vincere are considered nearly automatic locks to make the playoffs at any big event, but the time wasn’t quite right during the Major season. An 8-16 loss to Liquid and an even more concerning 0-2 series against Monte put them in a do-or-die match against FaZe in the 2-2 pool. NAVI wound up losing the deciding series, thus bringing their campaign at the last CS:GO Major Championship ever to a horrendously early end by their standards.

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