Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a lacklustre year for all things esports.
However, 2021 saw a return to form, with the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major tournament in almost two years. For many CS:GO fans, the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 was long overdue. The international event brought together 24 of the best teams on the planet, with a cool two million dollars up for grabs.
PGL Stockholm 2021 Recap
2021 was a good year for Europe, with Natus Vincere (NAVI) emerging victorious in the final round. NAVI saw off fellow finalists G2 Esports comfortably, walking away with a 2-0 result. What’s more, NAVI managed to complete their tournament performance without losing a single map during play, setting a new record.
The PGL Major was also an iconic year for Oleksandr Kostyliev. Better known as ‘s1mple’, the NAVI AWPer secured yet another MVP trophy to add to his ever-growing collection. What’s more, this was the first time Kostyliev has ever secured a CS:GO win at a major tournament since kicking off his career back in 2013.
Although NAVI ultimately won by a comfortable margin, the gameplay itself was fairly competitive. The first map of the grand final was Ancient, which initially looked set to work in G2’s favour. Despite a solid start, NAVI quickly gained the upper hand, with the final score landing 16-11. The next map up was Nuke, as picked by NAVI. Despite being their chosen turf, NAVI initially struggled to maintain, just as G2 looked like they would draw level, NAVI pulled off a jaw-dropping comeback.
With the PGL Major Stockholm 2021, it truly seems that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Viewership for the 2021 championships dwarfed previous records, with more than 2.74 million viewers tuning in online.
Although esports audience figures have been on the rise in recent years, these figures are unprecedented. In fact, they’re almost twice the numbers set by the previous record. Currently, the 2021 PGL Majors rank number 7 in the list of the most-watched esports events of all time. For the first time in history, CS:GO has overtaken other esports favourites like Call of Duty, Dota 2 and Valorant on Twitch in terms of popularity.
What’s Next for NAVI?
This latest PGL Major victory continues a winning streak for NAVI, following on from their success at the Intel Grand Slam III. This mesmerizing final also demonstrated the current NAVI line-up is one to watch. Relative newcomer Valeryi ‘b1t’ Vakhovskyi might be young, but if his performance recently is anything to go by, he’s destined for even greater things in the years ahead.
Just a couple of years ago, it was impossible to imagine any other team besides Astralis dominating the CS:GO sphere. However, NAVI is truly a force to be reckoned with, and, provided their line-up remains consistent, they’re likely to maintain their grip for some time to come.
Eager to keep an eye on Natus Vincere’s progress? Watch CSGO live at 1337pro.com wherever you are in the world.