The Majors are the CS:GO fests, where the elite teams and players gather and the fests that we all wait excitedly. Watching them and experiencing this excitement for days is just awesome. However, what really is a major and how do the teams earn the right to participate into one?
The major are the Valve backed apex tournaments of the professional world of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Interestingly, they do not have a set date. In order to hold a major, a tournament organizer (ESL, ELEAGUE, DreamHack vs.) is required to make an agreement with Valve. Therefore, a tournament that is a major in one year may not be held next year. For example, the ESL One Katowice 2015 tournament was a major that featured the Fnatic – NiP darby but the ESL One Katowice 2016 was held as the Katowice part of the ESL One Tournament Series. The same may happen in a reverse manner. DreamHack, for the annually held DreamHack Open Series, contacted with Valve to make the 2015 Clıj – Napoca part a major and unexpectedly, we watched a major that was held in Romania.
The Majors, which happen as a real CS:GO festival are full of surprises not only for those follow the tournament as spectators but also for those who play CS:GO in their homes. The stickers of the teams and players that you use with affection are on sale only at the time of the Majors. Those stickers, put on sale with the logos and signatures of only the participating teams, allow the customization of your weapons while being a significant source of income for the teams. In the last major, an income over 4 million USD was obtained per major just for the sales of the stickers and the half of this sum goes to the teams and players, whose stickers are on sale.
Just like the stickers, the Commemorative Souvenir Cases are given to those, who are randomly chosen from the live watching spectators as gifts only at the times of the Majors. Therefore, no matter how prestigious the tournament is, no souvenir case should be gifted outside a major.
Major Tournaments in the Past
CS:GO was released in 2012 but the main breakthrough came as the result of the skins and majors. The skins, which became available one year after its release in August 2013, spearheaded the popularity of CS:GO in an instant. Valve used this popularity well and realized the indea of a major tournament in November 2013 with DreamHack Winter 2013. From the DreamHack Winter to the 9th Major, the MLG Columbus 2016, the prize pool of all majors were 250.000 USD. With MLG Columbus, we entered the era of prize pool.
When we take a look at the winning teams in the 10 majors that were organized so far, we see a Swedish dominance in early years. Swedish teams swept four of the first six majors. (3 times by Fnatic, Once NiP) The teams that opposed the Swedish dominance with one win in their pocket were Virtus.pro and LDLC with its lineup, comprised of NbK, Shox, KioShiMa, Happy and SmithZz.
After the ESL One Cologne 2015, in which a Swedish team won for the last time, the subsequent 4 majors saw 3 different champions. They are the SK Gaming (Twice – one with different name: Luminosity) EnVyUs with its 2015 lineup, comprised of KennyS, KioShiMa, Happy, apEX, and NbK and the Astralis, which became the ELEAGURE Major. There are two teams, who played the final but failed to be champions; Natus Vincere (Twice) and Liquid.