With the final open qualifier for the Europe section of the ESL One Rio Major completed, we now know the full list of teams that will be fighting for spots in the Europe Minor. Unfortunately, favorite Complexity got pipped at the post by SMASH Gaming and won't be making the appearance.
Fnatic (World Ranking Invite)
#3 in the ESL World Rankings. Fnatic made the best decision for their roster in awhile and locked in Golden as a permanent fifth player once again. With Golden at the helm they have shown a resurgence lately with podium finishes in StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8, the Esports Championship Series Season 8 Finals, and the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals.
GODSENT (World Ranking Invite)
#21 in the ESL World Rankings. In November of last year GODSENT started back up and picked the roster of SMASH Esports, which contained kRYSTAL, Maikelele, STYKO, zehN, maden, and Devilwalk as their coach. Since returning, their best showings including a Semifinal run at ICE Challenge 2020 in London, where they took out ENCE and Virtus.Pro, while falling to Natus Vincere twice.
Team Heretics (World Ranking Invite)
#33 in the ESL World Rankings. The other other French squad that contains a few names that might be familiar to you. Heretics have 'The Problem' kioShiMa, coming off runs with Team Envy and Cloud9, Lucky who recently got removed from G2 Esports, and xms who comes via Team LDLC. So far they have struggled to find their footing, but look to be a serious threat for the top 8.
Heroic (World Ranking Invite)
#15 in the ESL World Rankings. One could imagine that losing your in-game leader to Complexity would stop a teams momentum, but Heroic just grabbed cadiaN, slapped the crown on Snappi and kept going. They have had some good runs in DreamHack Open-level tournaments, but are just one or two big wins away from breaking into the top level where they used to sit with blameF.
MAD Lions (World Ranking Invite)
#17 in the ESL World Rankings. GOD HUNDEN leads what is yet another top team made up of Danish players. They were previously known as Tricked Esports and had a decent run up the rankings, but since being acquired by MAD Lions in December 2019, this team has already landed themselves two bronze medals at ICE Challenge and DreamHack Open Leipzig.
Movistar Riders (World Ranking Invite)
#29 in the ESL World Rankings. The Spanish super-team, most well known for having mixwell on it before he went off to Cloud9, now have ex-Luminosity Gaming Brazilian steel leading the charge. The team does well in the local Iberian region, but once they go up against the stronger intentional teams, they struggle to make much of a dent.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (World Ranking Invite)
#12 in the ESL World Rankings. A name as old as time itself, the Ninjas in Pyjamas look vastly different since we last saw them high up in the rankings. In the last 8 months, NiP have signed three new players for their roster; Polpski, twist, and nawwk. Despite all of this, the Ninjas have managed to mount solid games against the likes of FaZe Clan, Astralis, and Team Liquid at recent BLAST tournaments.
OG (World Ranking Invite)
#24 in the ESL World Rankings. The European mix team signed in December of last year, after being talked about for multiple months. A team of players kicked from their original teams; NBK from Vitality, Aleksib from ENCE, valde from North, ISSAA from HellRaisers, and then capped off with young prospect mantuu (poached from ALTERNATE aTTaX). We haven't seen a lot from this team yet, but they do have the surprise factor on their side.
Dignitas (Open Qualifier #1)
This roster looks closer to the Ninjas in Pyjamas you probably remember. A month ago Dignitas restarted their CSGO male operations and signed on five former Ninjas; f0rest, GeT_RiGhT, Xizt, friberg, and coach Fifflaren. The fifth player is none other than the Norwegian powerhouse hallzerk from Nordavind. The Open Qualifier's were our first time seeing this Dignitas roster and they looked good from what we saw.
BIG (Open Qualifier #1)
BIG have placed in the Top 8 of two majors (PGL Krakow, and FACEIT London), but have yet to top that feet. They recently won DreamHack Open Leipzig on home-soil and that surely provided the extra confidence boost they need to do well in the Closed Qualifier. They have also recently had a shake-up with the addition of k1to and syrsoN, both poached from Sprout, to replace nex and smooya.
Sprout (Open Qualifier #2)
Speaking of Sprout, it seems that losing k1to and syrsoN hasn't slowed them down, in fact they managed to upgrade in the form of ex-mousepsorts and HellRaisers AWPer oskar. They also picked up dycha, from ARCY, to complete the five man squad. They might need some time to get used to the new squad as they had a last place finish at DreamHack Open Leipzig, but also wins against BIG and HAVU in the United Masters League.
Nordavind (Open Qualifier #2)
A Norwegian organization being captained by RUBINO, who has previously played on Dignitas, North, and Heroic. The rest of the team are not no-namers either; tenzki (of Dignitas and ALTERNATE aTTaX), cromen (of Dignitas and a stand in for FaZe Clan), NaToSaphiX (of Sprout and Heroic), and HS (of OpTic Gaming and GamerLegion). The team has been up and down since their recent additions, so a good performance isn't guaranteed.
KOVA Esports (Open Qualifier #3)
If you thought that ENCE was the only Finnish team, then you haven't heard of HAVU Gaming, SJ Gaming, or this team - KOVA Esports. The team is relatively new, only forming in April of last year with doto, pietola, uli, STOVVE and Derkeps. Since then STOVVE and doto have left, while peku and Twixie have stepped up and made it possible for this team to reach the Closed Qualifier for ESL One Rio.
Apeks (Open Qualifier #3)
"I've only heard of one or two Norwegian players, that region must be lacking..." is something you should never say. Nordavind isn't the only team flying the flag of Norway in the Closed Qualifier as Apeks beat out hundreds of other teams to make it here. Outside of the local region, this team haven't done a lot, but now they ahve the chance to get noticed and put on a good performance.
Copenhagen Flames (Open Qualifier #4)
You might know Copenhagen Flames for their female roster they just parted ways with, but they have had a male roster since 2018. farlig is the only surviving member of the original line-up, but they are once again another strong Danish team ready to show everyone which country is the best CSGO nation.
SMASH Esports (Open Qualifier #4)
The first time your probably heard of SMASH Esports was when I mentioned that one of the other qualified teams, GODSENT, had acquired their old roster. Because of that they needed to form a new teams and they got Team Ancient duo disco doplan (who has previously played on Fnatic) and grux, ex-HellRaisers stand-in FejtZ, the Bulgarian bubble from Windigo Gaming, and Izako Boars's NEEX.