Ever since the collapse of NA CS, it's been pretty clear that a lot of people see it as a dead region. I, however, have hope: there is potential here, and teams have already begun rebuilding. As such, I've decided to do a little recap of some of the NA teams on the rise and some of the past/upcoming tournaments.
Note: Although there are a lot of good Brazilian teams playing in NA, I decided not to include them here in order to focus fully on North American talent (they may get their own post in the future!)
Roster: JT, oSee, FaNg, Sonic, MarKE
The clear stars of the current NA scene are Extra Salt. Most people will know JT, oSee and Sonic from their time on Cloud9 alongside motm and Floppy. MarkE joins them, a veteran in NA CS having played on Chaos, Swole Patrol, EUnited and NRG over the past ~5 years. They are rounded out by FaNg, an upcoming player who has played for various low-tier and mix rosters such as Rugratz and Levitate Esports.
Extra Salt has been on a tear recently, winning 19 Series (17 excluding the forfeits), a streak that was ended by an upcoming entry. Currently they are the only team on this list with a confirmed trip to Europe, qualifying for Dreamhack Masters Spring.
Roster: Skakezullah, Bwills, Cooper, viz, cynic (trial)
Triumph is one of the survivors of the NA purge, albeit with a significantly shaken up roster. Their only remaining player from their peak Grim/Junior era is IGL Shakezullah. Joining him is Cooper, the AWPer known for his time on EUnited and Swole Patrol, as well as his ongoing run as Freakazoid's brother. Their other three players are all relatively unknown: Bwills, who last had a short run with the New England Whalers, joins Viz who is playing on his first major organization. Their final player, Rugrats/Recon-5/Rebirth Esports rifler Cynic, is currently on trial for the team.
Although Triumph are yet to find a non-qualifier tournament win in 2021, they have remained a top competitor in the scene with several 2nd and 3/4th place finishes. Like most teams they are continuing to fine tune their roster, yet they almost have the pieces in place to reclaim the momentum they were gaining a year ago.
Bad News Bears
Roster: ptr, Jonji, Swisher, Spongey, alter
Bad News Bears are a tricky one. A orgless team that has still managed to become one of the top competitors of the re-emerging NA scene. ptr serves as both the teams IGL and primary AWPer, and is likely their most well known player after his years in the NA scene where he played for the likes of CLG, Complexity and NRG. He is joined by Jonji, another survivor of Chaos EC's departure from CSGO. Spongey entered the team following a run on Triumph, as does Swisher following his time on YeaH Gaming and various smaller teams. Their final player, alter, is another relatively unknown player, having runs on several small orgs and mixes.
The bears are currently ranked #35 on HLTV, following several first-place finishes earlier in the year. Although they lost a step upon the arrival of Extra Salt, they remain a strong contender in the scene, as seen by their current 9-0 record in Premier, including a streak-ending victory over Extra Salt themselves.
High Coast Esports
Roster: ben1337, PwnAlone, bew (loan), motm (loan), RCF (loan)
Originally, this High Coast roster was comprised of the ex-New England Whalers players. However, only two (technically three) remain. ben1337, the teams IGL, and PwnAlone. Joining them are three players whom have been loaned out to them by various teams. motm joins his first roster after his time on the ATK/Cloud9/Extra Salt core. From YeaH Gaming come RCF, a Brazilian AWPer, and bew, who did have a lengthy run with the Whalers in 2020 before being added (and promptly benched) from YeaH.
High Coast round out the top 4 NA teams, expected to make deep runs in tournaments and a dark horse to win many of the recent NA events. Although they are yet to secure a win with this roster, the new addition of motm seems promising and may be what the team need to secure a big win.
I'll be the first to admit that none of these are "big" tournaments. However, they are the best look into how the scene is shaping up.
ESEA Season 36: Premier Division - North America: Outside of classical tournaments, ESEA Premier 36 is currently ongoing, giving an additional insight into these teams ability to play in a long, league-style system featuring BO3 matches. Group A highlights include Bad News Bears and Extra Salt, while in Group B High Coast has taken the lead, surprisingly followed by RBG Esports.
ESEA Winter Cash Cups: There have currently been six Cash Cups, the first two offering $8,000 in prize money before being bumped to $15,000. The first two cups were won by Brazillian teams PaiN Gaming and YeaH gaming respectively. The next two were won by the Bad News Bears, establishing the team as a top player in NA. However, Extra Salt to begin participating in Cup #4 and quickly established their dominance with a win in it as well as cups #5 and #6.
DreamHack Masters Spring 2021: North American Qualifier: Although this was just a qualifier, I'm deciding to include it because it's recent and featured the four teams mentioned in this post. Unsurprisingly, Extra Salt took the victory defeating all of the other 3 teams in the process. However, High Coast showed a particularly strong showing, defeating both Triumph and Bad News Bears after being dropped to the lower bracket, and managed to take a map off Extra Salt in the finals.
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed and gained some insight about the NA scene. Many were quick to begin ignoring the region after its disastrous 2020, yet I personally have faith in NA talent being able to reform the region and create some teams that are able to be competitive against European and CIS teams, outside of Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid.