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A Closer Look at the Counter-Strike Major Championships

The Counter-Strike Major Championships is one of the biggest professional Esports tournaments in the world, so if you’re interested to learn more about this annual event, which is commonly referred to as the ‘Majors,’ you’ve come to the right place. 

On this page, we will be taking a closer look at the history of the tournament, its format, some of the most notable teams and players, and the overall impact the Majors has on the Esports industry. 

What are the Counter-Strike Major Championships (aka the Majors)

The Counter-Strike Major Championships, or the Majors, whatever you prefer, is a series of official professional Esports tournaments where pro gamers battle it out in front of a live audience to become the undisputed champion of the hugely successful multiplayer tactical first-person shooter video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2. 

One thing to note is that the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game is the fourth instalment in the Counter-Strike series. It was played at the Majors until 2023, when Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2 was released. Since 2024, CS-GO 2 has been the game participants play at the Majors. 

Both games are usually shortened/abbreviated to appear as CS:GO/CS:GO 2. Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment developed these hit titles, and Valve sponsors the Majors tournaments. 

The Majors competition is widely regarded as one of Esports most prestigious events, where teams compete to win substantial cash prizes and trophies, cement their names in the history books, and claim serious bragging rights. 

A brief history of the Majors

The first-ever Counter-Strike Major Championships competition was held in 2013 in Jönköping, Sweden. It was organized/hosted by the notable ESL (formerly known as Electronic Sports League) gaming brand DreamHack. 

The first ‘Major’ is considered by many to be the Cyberathlete Professional League Winter Championship, which took place in 2001, followed by several other CS:GO-themed Esports tournaments, such as the CPL Summer and Winter Championships, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships, the Electronic Sports World Cup, and the World Cyber Games. 

However, despite the wider gaming community considering them to be the first true CS:GO-themed eSports tournaments, they weren’t officially endorsed by the creators of the game, Valve. 

A total of 16 teams competed in the first official event, and each took home a share of the US$250,000 prize pool. From 2013 to 2017, just 16 teams were present at the Majors, and then from 2018 to the present day, 24 teams are present at each final. 

Each year, the Majors are held at a different venue in a different country, with the most recent one taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March 2024. The winners this year were team Natus Vincere, who beat FaZe Clan 2-1 in the final. 

The 2024 CS:GO Majors competition was one of the most popular Esports betting events on today’s most trusted online sports betting sites. 

It was also one of the most-viewed eSports tournaments in history regarding live audiences and those who watched the action unfold via a live streaming platform, such as Twitch, Steam.tv, and YouTube (official partners), with approximately 1.8 million tuning in.

Tournament Format

Since 2013, after DreamHack’s CS:GO eSports tournament, the format has changed several times. The top eight teams from each Major (so those who ended up making it to the final playoff stage of the tournament) gain automatic entrance into the next Majors, and they are referred to as Legends. 

The Major Stages use a seeding system to decide which teams play against each other and ensure evenly-matched battles. Each team must win at least three out of five games to progress past the initial Challengers Stage.

The other eight tournament places are reserved for the winners of regional qualifying tournaments, mainly from North America and Europe. Those teams who win the main qualifier go to the next stage of the playoffs, and the winners of these events go to the finals, known as the Legends Stage. 

Notable teams and players

The most successful Esports team in the Majors’ history is team Astralis. They have won on four separate occasions (Atlanta – 2017, London – 2018, Katowice – 2019, and Berlin – 2019). Natus Vincere also won in Stockholm in 2021, and this year’s runners-up, FaZe Clan, won at Antwerp in 2022.

One of the most notable players is Denmark’s ‘Dupreeh,’ who has won the Majors five times with two different teams. Here are some quick facts about the most famous Majors players ever:

Player: Dupreeh. Nationality: Danish. Majors titles: 5. Teams: Astralis and Team Vitality 

Player: dev1ce. Nationality: Danish. Majors titles: 4. Teams: Astralis 

Player: Dupreeh. Nationality: Danish. Majors final events attended: 19. 

Country with the most medals: Denmark. Winner: 23. Runner Up: 8. Semi-finalist: 37. Total: 68

HLTV Major MVP Awards 2024. Player: jL. Country: Lithuania. Team: Natus Vincere. Major: PGL Copenhagen 2024. 

The most successful nation at the Majors is Denmark, followed by Russia, Sweden, the United States, and Brazil, and player ‘dupreeh’ is the most well-known Majors player. 

What kind of impact has the Majors had on the Esports industry?

The Counter-Strike Major Championships have greatly impacted the Esports industry’s global profile. 

Events like the Majors have helped bring professional video gaming into the mainstream, changing preconceived notions of people playing video games competitively and breaking down stereotypes. 

The cities that host professional Esports tournaments have an influx of tourists to the area, which helps boost the local economy. In fact, some studies have suggested that host cities can generate up to $100 million over a decade. 

Travelling tourists who go to watch live eSports events spend money on accommodation, travel, food and drink while they are in the host city. Cities would miss out on this additional income without tournaments like the Majors. 

Final thoughts

As more people become involved in Esports tournaments, sponsorship deals become more lucrative, the tournament prize pools increase and advertising campaigns also get bigger. 

The overall impact of the Majors and other similar Esports tournaments is hugely positive for both local and global economies, and over the coming years, the Esports industry is expected to continue growing. 

Qualifiers for the next upcoming Majors are already underway, and some of the biggest Counter-Striker 2 Esports tournaments you can still look forward to in 2024 are the CCT Season 1 Global Finals, the Gamers Club Liga Série A: May 2024, and the NA Revival Cup, to name a few. 


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