The 2023 Counter-Strike season was full of action where some teams dominated the scene entirely, while a few underdog teams challenged their legacies and rose to a new prominence. Now that we have entered the new era of CS 2, it’s time for us to look back at the journey of two of the most successful teams of 2023, the North American powerhouse FaZe Clan and French side Vitality.
FaZe Clan’s run to four titles
FaZe Clan kicked off their season with an undefeated run at the BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2023. They carried the momentum into their first significant event of the year, the ESL Pro League Season 17, where they made an impressive run and thrashed Cloud 9 in the finals to clinch the title. The team’s performance plummeted soon after as they were bombed out early from subsequent events like IEM Rio 2023, Paris Major, IEM Dallas 2023, and Spring Final 2023.
Image Credit: ESL
FaZe’s unstable run finally found the right balance at IEM Sydney 2023. The team appeared fearless in the face of the threat that the European teams were posing. After finishing the group stage undefeated, the team rallied through the single-bracket playoffs, outperforming ENCE, MOUZ, and Complexity to clinch their second title of the year. From that point on, there was no going back for FaZe.
The team crushed their competition at the Thunderpick World Championship and CS Asia Championships to add two more trophies to their shelves. Despite losing Twistzz, FaZe made deep runs at subsequent events as well but was ousted by Vitality, the only Counter-Stike team who performed better than them in 2023.
Vitality clinched a record five Counter-Strike titles in a season
After a couple of average performances to kick off the 2023 season, Team Vitality came alive at the Intel Extreme Masters Rio 2023. Despite starting their journey at Rio with a loss against OG, the team went on an impressive streak that ended with a 2-1 victory over Heroic in the Grand Final. With this victory, the French team became a top pick to win the BLAST.tv Paris Major. The team didn’t disappoint their home crowd and swept every opponent they met their way to win the Major title.
Image Credit: Blast Premier
The team backed their Major victory with a couple of top-4 performances but the next breakthrough came at Gamers8 2023, where the French team won four consecutive knockout matches to win their third title of the year. Their journey at the IEM Sydney was cut short early by FaZe but the team took that revenge in the best way possible. Vitality first settled its score with FaZe at the Fall Final with a lopsided 2-0 victory in the grand final and then crushed them again in a similar fashion at the World Final. With five S-tier titles under their belt in 2023, Vitality is certainly a favorite going into the 2024 season.