Some of the most exciting esports moments of 2022 occurred in the past two months. Throughout May, four of the biggest esports held major international tournaments, being League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Each tournament had great competition and engaging storylines — the winner of any of these events should be proud.
How do the victories stack up, though, when compared? While each team overcame many hurdles in their gallop to gold, which victory stands out as the greatest? Inven Global will analyze four of the most recent major tournaments in esports, and determine which winner had the most impressive victory.
OG - ESL One Stockholm 2022
The phrase “OG wins a Dota 2 major” wouldn’t normally sound special to long term fans of the game. We’re in a new era, however, and the performance the organization’s young squad had at ESL One was the type of run you’d see in a cheesy sports movie. OG’s roster of prodigies was hyped coming into the event, having just won the DPC Western Europe tour, but living up to the standards set by the two-time TI champions is as tall of an order as they come. Still, the team was considered one of the favorites going into the competition.
Their prospects seemed to have changed, though, when visa problems barred Mikhail 'Misha' Agatov and team coach Evgenii 'Chuvash' Makarov from attending the event. Having Sébastien 'Ceb' Debs and Johan 'N0tail' Sundstein as subs was a nice silver lining for OG, but the team had a rough time adjusting to this new reality initially — placing second in their group and being sent to the losers bracket by TSM.
However, once they hit losers, things just seemed to click as OG’s players came together and cut a swathe through the rest of the tournament in one of the most impressive losers bracket runs in recent memory. In total, they won six sets in a row on their way to the title. A crazy losers run with a new team using last-minute substitutes — what more could you want?
Well…Chinese teams. While OG’s victory was incredibly impressive and included wins over some of the best teams in the world, it felt a bit incomplete considering the absence of the other top Chinese teams at the event (because of the lockdown situation). Though OG’s win is great, other teams in esports had more complete victories.
Royal Never Give Up - 2022 Mid-Season Invitational
On the surface, there is a lot going for RNG’s MSI win. It was their third time winning the event, their first time doing so back-to-back, and they did it while winning the final against a team considered to be one of the best ever. However, there’s no way it’s the best of these, with RNG let down by the format of MSI itself in the race for best win of 2022.
This is not to discount the talent of Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao and his team — they’re one of the best League teams in the world — but MSI just isn’t as impressive as the other events when it comes to competitive strength. Realistically, there were only two elite teams at the tournament, and they met in grand finals. Yes, they played possibly the best series of the year against T1 in the finals, but five good games isn’t enough to make up for the absolute cakewalk they had leading up to that.
To make matters worse, there’s the fact MSI was played with artificial ping to accommodate RNG competing remotely. While this isn’t their fault, it doesn’t change that this most likely gave them an advantage during the event — able to play from their training base rather than dealing with the travel and pressure of a live event, and being more acclimated to playing with high ping compared to teams like T1, who compete on the notoriously ping-free Korean servers when playing online. While they did their best given the circumstances, there are too many asterisks to consider their win above the others.
DarkZero Esports - Six Charlotte Major 2022
Like some of the other tournaments, circumstances outside of DZ’s control made for a slightly less sweet victory. The venue issues, disqualification of Elevate, and remote status of the Brazillian teams waters down DZ’s victory. However, the fact that they were able to defeat all the number one seeds in the tournament, come back from several playoff matches, and succeed in overtime is something only true champions could do. That’s not the reason DZ’s win shines, though.
What makes their victory stand out is it being the most monumental of any recent tournament wins. It showed how strong North America is a region in a time when South America was arguably dominant. Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski — a legend of NA Siege and one of the game’s true veterans — now has another point in his favor when it comes to the GOAT debate. He now has won three majors with three different teams in three different metas, and has cemented himself a place on NA Siege’s Mount Rushmore.
Finally, it was an iconic moment for DarkZero, a longtime Siege-focused organization that had never won a big international event. You could sense the feeling of catharsis of team-members like Tyler "Ecl9pse" McMullin as they accepted their trophy after so much heartbreak down the years. Though there are caveats to this historic moment, its grandness and the influence it will have on Siege is right up there with any other win in esports.
FaZe Clan - PGL Major Antwerp 2022
FaZe’s win is more than just the first time an real international team has won a major. The run itself was great: after a slow start in the Legends Stage, their path to the trophy came with wins against top teams like Ninjas in Pajamas, Team Spirit, and Natus Vincere. And winning in the finals against the number one team in the world and defending Major champions? There’s no doubt that they were the best team at the tournament, and now the best team in the world.
Each FaZe player has such unique history that their win was bound to be special. Helvijs “broky” Saukants has gone from FPL star to elite AWPer. Robin "ropz" Kool now has a team that fully utilizes his talent, and the title to match. Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken has put himself in contention for being the most accomplished North American player. And then you have the legends, Finn "karrigan" Andersen and Havard “rain” Nygaard, who have overcome the many demons of their career to become world champions.
While it’s not an earth-shattering shakeup for the CS:GO scene overall, with FaZe coming into Antwerp as number one seeds, it was a supremely impressive run — arguably the most impressive of any this year. It's one that will continue to build the legacy of one of the best teams the game has seen and has had an enormous impact on its players’ careers, as well as being the satisfying conclusion to a story that began in Boston, four years ago, with FaZe's major final loss to Cloud9.