As the CSGO era comes to a close with the Paris Major 2023, we take a look at some legendary players who failed to lay their hands on a Major title
With the Paris Major 2023 coming to an end, the CSGO Major era is officially behind us. There have been 19 CSGO Majors over the past 10 years and it has been widely regarded as the most prestigious title in competitive Counter-Strike. While there are many players who have multiple Majors to their names, there have been some players with storied careers who never relished the euphoria of lifting a CSGO Major trophy. Vitality’s Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut became the latest CSGO superstar to get out of the “never-won-a-Major” club, nonetheless, there are still several high-profile figures within that group. In this piece, we will highlight some of the best players in CSGO history who never won a CSGO Major.
Nikola “NiKo” Kovač
Rating 1.0: 1.15
Career Highlights: 7 MVPs, IEM Katowice 2023 Champion, BLAST Premier World Final 2022 Champion, BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2019 Champion, BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019 Champion, ELEAGUE CSGO Invitational 2019 Champion, EPICENTER 2018 Champion
Without a doubt, Nikola “NiKo” Kovač is the superstar with the longest tenure without a Major title. The Bosnian rifler has amassed 11 Major appearances throughout his career, representing three different teams: MOUZ, FaZe, and G2. The closest he ever came to lifting the trophy was at the ELEAGUE Major 2018 in Boston when his FaZe side lost to Clooud9 in the Grand Final in one of the most thrilling Grand Finals in CSGO Major history.
Casper “cadiaN” Møller (Heroic)
Rating 1.0: 1.04
Career Highlights: BLAST Premier Fall Final Champion, Pinnacle Cup Championship Champion 2022, ESL Pro League Season 13 Champion, DreamHack Open Fall 2020 Champion, ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe Champions
Casper “cadiaN” Møller has been a part of the CSGO scene for a considerable time. He played in the DreamHack Winter 2013, the first-ever CSGO Major, with Nordic roster Xapso. The AWPer also made Major appearances with MOUZ and CPH Wolves, but he did not emerge as a serious contender for a Major title before joining Heroic. cadian played Major semifinals twice; the first time in the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 and more recently, in the Paris Major 2023. His best shot at winning a Major came in IEM Rio 2023, where Heroic suffered an upset loss to Outsiders in the Grand Final.
Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács
Rating 1.0: 1.11
Career Highlights: 8 MVPs, EPICENTER 2018 Champion, ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 Champion, Esports Championship Series Season 4 – Finals Champion, ELEAGUE CSGO Premier 2017 Champion, ESL One: New York 2017 Champion, ESL One: New York 2016 Champion.
Recognized as one of the biggest names in CSGO history and a true legend of the game, Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács holds the undesirable distinction of being the best player from the early days of CSGO who has never lifted a Major trophy. The Slovak lost three Major grand finals in his career, but his best opportunity to win a Major came at the ELEAGUE Major 2018 alongside NiKo.
Ioann “Edward” Sukharjev
Rating 1.0: 1.00
Career Highlights: StarSeries & i-League CSGO Season 7 Champion, ESL One: Cologne 2018 Champion, StarSeries & i-League CSGO Season 5 Champion, ESL One: New York 2016 Champion, Intel Extreme Masters X – San Jose Champion, Intel Extreme Masters IV Champion
Edward has enjoyed a trophy-laden career, but his trophy cabinet is devoid of Major accolades. The NaVi legend came within touching distance of a Major title on two occasions. He was part of the Natus Vincere team that lost 2-0 against Luminosity Gaming in the MLG Major Championship: Columbus 2016 Grand Final. Edward failed to make amends two years later when the Ukrainians fell short against Astralis in the FACEIT Major: London 2018 Grand Final.
Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov
Rating 2.0: 1.26
Career Highlights: 4 MVPs, IEM Dallas 2022 Champion, BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 Champion, Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Summer Champion, Intel Extreme Masters XV – World Championship Champion
sh1ro is one of the finest CSGO talents to emerge in the post-pandemic landscape. The Cloud9 rifler did not get too many chances to win a CSGO Major since his career is less than five years old. A top-four finish at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 remains the highlight of his CSGO Major career.
Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato
Rating 2.0: 1.19
Career Highlights: ESL Pro League Season 12: North America Champion.
KSCERATO stepped into the limelight shortly before the pandemic hit and he quickly established himself as one of the finest new-generation CSGO talents from South America. After making the playoffs with FURIA at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 and PGL Major Antwerp 2022, he had a golden opportunity to win his first CSGO Major on home soil. Unfortunately, his team could not get past Heroic in the IEM Rio Major 2022 semifinals.
Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski
Rating 1.0: 1.08
Career Highlights: 4 MVPs, Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Chicago Champion, Intel Grand Slam Season 2 Champion, ESL One: Cologne 2019 Champion, ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals Champion, DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 Champion, Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Sydney Champion
Over the course of his illustrious eight-year tenure with Liquid, EliGE has competed in a remarkable 11 Majors. Only one of these appearances, however, turned out to be a Grand Final one. EliGE spearheaded his team’s progression to the ESL One Cologne 2016 Grand Final but failed to get his team over the line against SK Gaming to bring the trophy home.
Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
Rating 1.0: 1.08
Career Highlights: 2 MVPs, BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 European Finals Champion, EPICENTER 2016 Champion
k0nfig is widely regarded as one of the most infamous “what could have been” stories in CSGO. The Dane’s talent was always unquestionable, but off-the-field affairs and a lack of intense work ethic held him back. The AWPer-turned-rifler has had a dismal CSGO Major career. Making the playoffs with North at the PGL Major Krakow 2017 is his best achievement in Majors during the CSGO era.
Spencer “Hiko” Martin
Rating 1.0: 1.04
Career Highlights: ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 – North America Champion.
Before making the switch to Valorant, Hiko had a promising career in CSGO. The rifler played in the inaugural CSGO Major with compLexity Gaming and reached the semifinals. He only managed to go beyond the Major semifinals once, when he inspired Team Liquid to the ESL One: Cologne 2016 Grand Final. SK Gaming, unfortunately, had the last laugh in that match.
Henrique “HEN1” Teles
Rating 1.0: 1.11
Career Highlights: 1 MVP, ESL Pro League Season 12: North America Champion, DreamHack Open Summer 2016 Champion, CEVO Pro League Season 9 Champion
We will wrap up the list with HEN1, who has won a handful of Tier-S titles in his career, but none of those were CSGO Majors. The Brazilian narrowly missed out on CSGO Major glory in 2017, when he lost the PGL Major Kraków 2017 Grand Final with Immortals to Gambit Esports.