The BLAST Paris Major 2023, the first and only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major of the year, is set to take place in Paris from May 8 to 21. Majors are the most prestigious and usually most lucrative tournaments in Counter-Strike with $1 million+ prize pots at stake.
The Paris Major will be the 19th CS:GO Major. Not only is this the only CS:GO Major of the year, it’s the final one for CS:GO. The game’s pro esports scene will begin playing Counter-Strike 2 this summer and the first CS2 Major is already scheduled for early next year.
There will be 24 teams competing in the French capital after qualifying via regional tournaments (RMRs) in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. The field is filled with a few previous Major winners, but many more of the players and teams have never won the biggest tournament in CS:GO. To get you ready for the Paris Major, here’s a primer on all the teams that have qualified.
- Natus Vincere
- FURIA Esports
- Into the Breach
- Team Vitality
- Bad News Eagles
- paiN Gaming
- G2 Esports
- FORZE Esports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Liquid
- Grayhound Gaming
- Complexity Gaming
- The MongolZ
- FaZE Clan
Photo credit: ESL
The Legends teams are the top eight qualifiers for the Paris Major, and it includes seven teams from Europe and one from the Americas. These eight teams will have the benefit of watching the first stage of the competition play out and are guaranteed a top 16 finish at the 24-team tournament.
The one Americas team is FURIA. The Brazilian squad haven’t put up good results at IEM Katowice or the ESL Pro League this year, but went undefeated in the Americas RMR to be the lone team from the region to qualify as a Legends team. Last year, FURIA started as a Contenders team at the Rio Major but ended up finishing in the top four in front of their home fans.
The seven European teams include a mixture of the usual suspects and some surprising teams. It’s no surprise that NAVI, Heroic and Team Vitality are Legends. They’re three of the top six teams in the world according to the latest ESL rankings and have either won or been finalists at major tournaments in the past year.
Read more: The top 10 esports orgs in the world in 2023
NAVI should be the overall favorites at the tournament following a practically flawless run through the first European RMR. NAVI were Major winners in 2021 and have been one of the best and most consistent teams over the past year and have arguably the best CS:GO player in the world in Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev. Team Vitality will have the crowd buff as the only French organization and the team with the only two French players at the tournament which is being contested in the French capital. Heroic are arguably the sentimental favorites with the popular Casper "cadiaN" Møller & Co. still missing a big tournament win after finishing second at the Rio Major and IEM Katowice in recent months.
The other four European teams are wild cards. Fnatic might be a big esports organization with an illustrious CS:GO history, including winning three of the first six Majors, but the team has not been a heavyweight in the game in a long time. Into the Breach are ranked 37th in the world and are the first predominantly British roster to qualify for a Major. Bad News Eagles have qualified for two previous Majors but never finished higher than 12th. 9INE have never qualified for a Major or won a tournament that’s higher than a B Tier event. They are the first Polish team in five years to qualify for a Major.
Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL
Like the Legends teams, the Challengers at the Paris Major are a mixture of familiar faces and teams that are strangers to bigger events. The team to watch for here is G2 Esports. G2 ended 2022 on a high note, winning the BLAST World Final and started 2023 with a bang in winning IEM Katowice. They weren’t as sharp during the ESL Pro League and European RMR B, but this is still one of the top teams in the world and a definite threat to win the last CS:GO Major.
Read more: G2 win IEM Katowice 2023
Ninjas in Pyjamas are no strangers to the big stage. NIP have only missed three Majors and have now qualified for seven consecutive Majors dating back to London 2018. OG and GamerLegion are both making their second consecutive Major appearance. FORZE were at the Antwerp Major last year, and paiN Gaming last qualified for the Stockholm Major in 2021. Like FURIA, paiN Gaming are the only Americas team in this group of teams and nearly qualified as a Legends team. FURIA and paiN both went 3-0 during the American RMR, but FURIA beat paiN 2-1 in a tiebreaker to relegate paiN to the Challengers group of teams.
Apeks and Monte will both be making their Major debuts. Monte are a Ukrainian organization-less team that’s best known for winning the most recent season of the ESL Challenger League, which earned them a spot at the next ESL Pro League. Apeks have never competed in any tournament that approaches the level of the upcoming Major. Their best result at a notable tournament was second at the Pinnacle Winter Series last year. Apeks also traveled to North America last year to compete in Fragadelphia, where they finished in the top four.
Photo credit: BLAST Premier
The Contenders group at this Major is full of teams that could easily be Challengers or even Legends teams. About half of the teams in this group are legitimate threats to reach the playoffs of the Major and the other half could pull off some upsets and at least reach the next stage of the tournament.
FaZe Clan are the one team that stick out like a sore thumb. The Antwerp Major winners and recent ESL Pro League and Intel Grand Slam champions should be a Legends team. Yet, the team fell flat in European RMR A and were forced to win a couple matches in the European RMR Decider to qualify as the last team into the field. Finn "karrigan" Andersen & Co. are still the No. 1 team in the world according to the ESL rankings, and it’s not hard to see FaZe lifting the trophy in Paris if they're in top form.
The other two European teams among the Contenders are ENCE and MOUZ. MOUZ beat FaZe to capture the last qualifying spot in European RMR A and send FaZe to the RMR Decider. ENCE beat Cloud9 to capture the final spot via European RMR B and sent C9 to the RMR Decider where they eventually lost to FaZe. Both teams are capable of making deep runs in this tournament. ENCE were top four at the most recent ESL Pro League season, and MOUZ were top four at the Rio Major.
The two North American representatives, Team Liquid and Complexity, also are in this group. Team Liquid always have high expectations and finished second at the BLAST World Final late last year but haven’t won any really big tournaments since their terrific run in 2019. Complexity didn’t do well at the most recent ESL Pro League, but they did finish in the top eight at IEM Katowice where they pulled off some impressive victories over ENCE, MOUZ and Fnatic. Fluxo are a new organization that entered CS:GO late last year. The Brazilian roster is headlined by João "felps" Vasconcellos and coached by Wilton "zews" Prado, who coached two legendary Brazilian teams to Major wins in 2016.
The last two teams in this group are the qualifiers from the Asia-Pacific RMR, Grayhound Gaming and The MongolZ. Grayhound Gaming qualified for the last Major and are the pride of Oceania, but expectations are low for this team. The MongolZ are the team formerly known as IHC, which finished a surprising 9th-12th at IEM Katowice earlier this year. The roster beat paiN, FURIA and Cloud9 to achieve the impressive result for a region that doesn’t typically perform well at top-level CS:GO events.
Lead photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL