After the usual winter break, competitive Counter-Strike is set to return near the end of January, finally ending the esports drought for FPS fans.
We’ll see pro-level CS:GO return in a big way with the Blast Premier Global Finals – a grand finals event for the eight best Blast teams in 2020 – and continue at the usual pace of a few events each month.
Of course, with the return of competition, so comes the return of wagering and we’ll all finally be able to place bets on our favorite shooter.
When Do CS:GO Tournaments Return?
As it goes with the usual Counter-Strike tournament calendar, we’ll see a few tournaments each month and we have only limited information for the months ahead. However, we do know the most important bits for now – every tournament to come in January (and a bit of February).
We’ll see three elite-level events kick off in January, starting with the Blast Premier Global Finals on January 19, then continuing to CS_Summit 7 on January 25, and topping it all off with FunSpark Ulti, the first Counter-Strike LAN since forever. There are also a few smaller events kicking off through the month, including the start of the ESEA Premier seasons worldwide and a DreamHack Open.
You can find a list of tournaments coming in January below:
There’s not much time left now until the competitive season begins and as you can see, once it all kicks off, it really starts to roll and the events come thick and fast. We’ll probably see some Counter-Strike action every day beginning January 18, which means a nearly endless selection of wagers.
Have There Been Changes Since CS:GO Winter Break?
Surprisingly enough, the winter break has been fairly quiet in Counter-Strike. No real changes have come to tournament formats and we can likely expect to see the same packed schedule as in 2020.
There is a bit of information coming out in transfer news, as some teams have made a few changes, but again, it’s mostly nothing major. Cloud9’s new project has hit a rough patch as Woxic has been benched and a replacement has not yet been confirmed, although rumors point to Xeppaa. Fnatic, meanwhile, has also made one change, with Flusha stepping down and young gun Jackinho joining.
The biggest news comes out of Brazil, as MiBR is once again reshuffling the cards and has released the entire roster, with ex-player Fallen heading to Liquid. Even Furia has seen a change as Hen1 left the roster, reportedly to form a squad with his brother.
Other than that, things remain relatively the same, and you can expect to see the majority of top teams looking just as you remember them from 2020.
CS:GO Teams to Watch in 2021
Going into 2021, you can expect all the usual favorites to perform well. Astralis, Vitality, Natus Vincere and most top European squads all remain the same and got some well-earned rest over the winter break.
Of those, Astralis is the obvious choice as the team to watch. Their core roster is finally back and they can put a shaky 2020 behind them, entering this year on the pinnacle of Counter-Strike. Normally, putting the absolute favorite as a team to watch is a no-brainer, but this should serve as a reminder to casual fans, or people who only started following the game in 2020: The greatest squad of all time is finally back.
There are also a few teams outside the top favorites to keep your eyes on. G2 is the first to come to mind. With NiKo finally having time to settle and the squad being able to really put consistent practice in, they may reach a whole new level.
Cloud9’s new roster is another interesting team. Despite a poor start to their journey, there is still real potential for the team and if they can figure things out, they can become a real contender.
Astralis Enters as Strong Favorite For 2021’s First CS:GO Tournament
Of course, we have to talk about the first big event of the year. Elite CS:GO is finally back and what better way to kick things off than the top three teams in the world battling it out against other elite sides.
After finally reforming their legendary squad and ending 2020 with two tournament wins, Astralis enters as the favorite for the Blast Premier Global Finals. However, they face stiff competition from both Vitality and Natus Vincere, as well as one of our teams to watch, G2 Esports.
We’re really set for an amazing tournament to start the year, where we’ll no doubt see some incredible games and likely some unexpected results. Get your bets ready for January 19!