With Edward's abdication from Na'Vi and NEO’s shock move to FaZe Clan, the old guard of the CS:GO community is in flux. With so many talented youngsters breaking through and the constant ebb and flow of the Counter-Strike scene, the longevity of the players is to be cherished. They are our living connection to a scruffier and more innocent time, and their stellar performances formed the foundations of the esport world we get to enjoy today. Many of their compatriots are no longer active on the servers, and even if they are, they were forced to lower rungs of the ladder – these fine people are the exception to the rule.
The ex-Ninja who became a Fnatic in-game leader is living quite the renaissance nowadays, with his team reaching back-to-back LAN finals in 2019 after previous shocking performances at the major and WESG seemingly heralded doom for the side. Having already pocketed a whopping $539 000 in overall winnings, no one would begrudge the Swede for riding off into the sunset – instead, he continues to push Fnatic towards the upper echelons of the team rankings.
The longevity of GeT_RiGhT is especially incredible if you take his well-publicized health issues into consideration. He found a way to arrest his massive decline in form by changing his playstyle from the ultra-explosive lurks he was once fabled for. The Swede’s love for the game remains as pure as it ever was, and it’s great to see that he managed to stick around until NiP managed to claw its way back to the top ten.
While the French scene with its many shuffles is often considered a wasteland of potential, and it seemed like le Tank would be denying himself a CS:GO adventure when he announced his retirement in back when he was a part of the VeryGames project in 2013. Making a successful comeback after almost two years’ worth of absence is an unparalleled story, especially if you consider that his closest brushes to glory are only starting to pile up with the Vitality project going from strength to strength.
Read more: NEO, FaZe and second chances in CS:GO
The ever-present part of any GOAT discussions, the other elder Ninja seemingly defies age and gravity on the servers with incredibly flashy plays time after time. Even with NiP’s diminished strength at Dallas, he still pulled off multiple ridiculous clutches to give his team a chance at the event – showing no signs of slowing down.
The eldest player to feature in the top ten of the current HLTV rankings and the first person to make it to the grand finals of a major with two different teams, Zeus famously fulfilled a vow through the ultimate CS:GO underdog story, winning a major with Gambit after being discarded by Na’Vi. Shortly thereafter, the prodigal son would make a return, and while he’s oft-criticized for his showings, it will be a sad day if he follows up with his promise to hang up his jersey at some point this year.
Shoutouts to NEO – who’d actually top this list if not for his temporary position – and FalleN, who barely missed out on the fifth spot behind Xizt, celebrating his 28th birthday today!