From s1mple’s speech to k0nfig’s drama: Here are the most memorable CS:GO moments of 2022

2022 was a great year for competitive CS:GO all over the world. Almost every S-tier tournament was played in front of a huge live audience after all the precautions that had to be taken in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We also had two Valve-sponsored events for the first time since 2019 and two teams that had never won a Major joined other legendary squads in that regard. It was a year dominated by FaZe Clan in the first half and we’re closing the year without a clear No. 1 team in the world, which will keep every fan anxious to see what 2023 has to present.

For now, take a trip down memory lane and remember some of the memorable CS:GO moments of 2022.

The 10 most memorable CS:GO moments of 2022

S1mple’s emotional speech on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at IEM Katowice

The Russian invasion of Ukraine broke out on Feb. 24, one day ahead of the start of IEM Katowice playoffs. Natus Vincere, one of the best CS:GO teams in the world and home to Ukrainian and Russian players, were there to play and receive the Intel Grand Slam trophy they won in 2021.

S1mple, the best player in the world and a Ukrainian, took the microphone and gave a heartwarming speech to the esports world at Spodek Arena. He said that despite their nationalities, the CS:GO pros had nothing to do with government decisions and pledged peace.

“All of us want peace—for Ukraine, and for the whole world,” s1mple said. “All of us are scared, and all of us need to show an example at this tournament. We need to stay together as a unit, with our fans, with our friends, and with everybody watching. And we all need to stay humans first.”

Orgless team Bad News Eagles qualify for their first Major

Photo via PGL

This CS:GO squad spearheaded by Rigon Gashi and Flatron “juanflatroo” Halimi became the first one hailing from Kosovo to qualify for a Valve-sponsored event. After their 3-2 campaign at PGL Antwerp Major Europe Regional Major Ranking (RMR) B, they booked their spot in Antwerp and were congratulated by the Prime Minister of Kosovo.

What Bad News Eagles accomplished goes to prove why the open-circuit Valve for Majors is so important. Any team in the world can play in the open qualifiers and earn their spot in the Major. Should the qualification process for the Majors be closed, we wouldn’t see teams like Bad News Eagles thriving.

Karrigan and FaZe win their first Major at PGL Antwerp

Photo via PGL

Karrigan, one of the best Counter-Strike in-game leaders of all time, finally banished his demons in 2022. The Danish captain came close to winning a Major with FaZe Clan at the ELEAGUE Boston Major in 2018, but instead, had to live with the ghosts that haunted him and FaZe after they fumbled a 15-11 lead on Inferno to Cloud9 and lost to them in overtime, giving North America their first Major title.

FaZe and karrigan reunited in 2021 and with the signing of ropz in 2022, karrigan assembled one of the best CS:GO teams ever. They won IEM Katowice in February, ESL Pro League season 15 in April, IEM Cologne in July, and most notably PGL Antwerp Major in May against the almighty NAVI, who were the reigning champions.

The PGL Antwerp Major win closed the redemption arc karrigan had to fulfill with FaZe after losing Boston 2018, and now there’s no doubt he’s one of the greatest captains CS:GO ever had.

NAVI kicks Boombl4 due to “high reputational risks”

Photo via PGL

Boombl4, captain of NAVI, was removed from the team mere days after they lost PGL Antwerp Major to FaZe. The Ukrainian organization mentioned in the announcement that it was because Boombl4 represented “high reputational risks for the club”. His wife at the time, Angelika “LiQueen” Mikhailova, had made several posts on social media in the weeks before, seemingly showing support for Russia in the war.

Boombl4 was a part of NAVI since May 2019 and led the team to win multiple S-tier tournaments in 2021, including IEM Cologne and PGL Stockholm Major. After Boombl4’s removal, LiQueen announced they had divorced and leaked footage of the former NAVI captain allegedly using drugs and intimate photos. A few days after, Boombl4 showed that he had taken a drug test and the results were negative.

The in-game leader has been on the sidelines since his removal from NAVI and it’s unclear if he’ll come back to pro play.

Evil Geniuses’ project led by Stewie2K implodes

Photo via PGL

The first half of 2022 was a disaster for EG. The North Americans were sent packing in the early stages of every tournament they attended and missed qualifying for PGL Antwerp Major with ELEAGUE Boston Major champion Stewie2K in charge of the team.

After EG removed Damien “maLeK” Marcel and his assistant coach Paolo “EVY” Berbudeau in May following the failure at Americas RMR, the latter accused Stewie2K of being disrespectful towards the coaching staff and unprofessional. Stewie2K said some of the stuff EVY said was twisted, but apologized for his behavior as a player and in-game leader.

The changes didn’t stop with maLeK and EVY’s departures and Stewie2K would also leave EG’s team in July to pivot to content creation under the organization’s banner. EG has since changed its approach and signed two additional North American teams in the hope to form a “fluid” 15-man roster in the future.

K0nfig’s fistfight in Malta goes horribly wrong

Photo via PGL

A physical altercation in Malta during ESL Pro League season 16 in September resulted in a broken leg for k0nfig, which led to him missing out on the Europe RMR for the IEM Rio Major. The star rifler initially denied the reports that he was involved in a fistfight at a night club in Malta but admitted to the fight in October when Astralis parted ways with him.

Since then, other reports emerged and shed light on k0nfig’s violent behavior. He was reportedly aggressive to broadcast talent and hotel personnel at IEM Cologne in July. The former Astralis player confirmed the report and said he’s taking steps to get back on track like talking to a psychologist and quitting drinking.

G2 bomb out of RMR, miss IEM Rio Major

Photo by Helena Kristiansson via ESL Gaming

After an underwhelming first semester, G2 brought former Copenhagen Flames in-game leader Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen to replace Aleksib and signed the Australian rifler Justin “jks” Savage to take Audric “JACKZ” Jug’s spot.

The changes, however, backfired and G2 ended up not qualifying for the IEM Rio Major after a loss to GamerLegion in the Europe RMR in October. The result was a disaster due to all the money G2 poured into CS:GO this year for the signings of Aleksib, HooXi, M0NESY, jks, and former head coach XTQZZZ.

Dupreeh becomes the only CS:GO pro to have played at every Major

Photo by Adela Sznajder via ESL Gaming

As of the IEM Rio Major, dupreeh is the only player that has been in every Valve-sponsored CS:GO event. His journey started in 2013 at DreamHack Winter and he played at the 18th Major of his career in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in November.

Xyp9x and shox were the only players sharing this honor with dupreeh prior to IEM Rio Major, but the latter didn’t even qualify for the Europe RMR, while the former missed the competition after Astralis was eliminated in the Europe RMR. Dupreeh didn’t have the result him and Vitality were hoping in Rio as they didn’t advance to the playoffs, but he made history nonetheless.

IEM Rio Major crowd steals the show with their chants

Photo by Adela Sznajder via ESL Gaming

There’s no way to label the crowd at IEM Rio Major other than the best of all CS:GO Majors. The fans brought musical instruments to the arena, chanted non-stop to support the home teams, and created a wholly unique environment for the competition.

The show wasn’t as beautiful when non-Brazilian teams were playing, but still, it was enough for ESL to announce that IEM will return to Brazil in 2023 at an unknown location, satisfying requests from both the Brazilian and international CS:GO community.

From meme to Major champion and MVP: Jame leads Outsiders to win IEM Rio

Photo by Michal Konko via ESL Gaming

The grand finals between Outsiders vs. Heroic at the IEM Rio Major weren’t quite what the community was expecting. Heavy hitters like NAVI, FaZe Clan, Vitality, and Team Liquid didn’t go far in the tournament, leaving it open to lower-ranked teams.

Outsiders played a total of 17 maps throughout IEM Rio Major and lost only three, which makes them one of the most consistent CS:GO Major champions. The CIS squad relied on great tactical calls made by Jame, and on the individual impact of Jame himself and the rifler Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev to dispatch Heroic, MOUZ, and Fnatic in the playoffs.

The tournament acknowledged Jame’s impact and awarded him the MVP of IEM Rio Major. Now the meme “Jame Time,” created because of Jame’s efforts to save his AWP during matches, can also be used when his team win a tournament or after Jame makes a highlight.