Last week ESL announced that their National Championship circuit is coming to an end after running for 20 years. The circuit hosts local tournaments across many regions and countries, giving teams the opportunity to compete against the top teams in their domestic scene, get coverage on HLTV and fight for a Pro League spot. Many regions have produced great teams from these tournaments who go on to compete on the big stages whilst for others it’s a breeding ground for talent. With the National Championships now being canceled, this article is going to look at the most dominant teams in its history.
For the purpose of this article, we are looking at teams who have won their domestic National Championship event multiple times. We will be taking into account how many times the event has been run and their success in European competition as a result. Without further ado, here are the seven most dominant domestic teams in ESL National Championship history.
#7: Kinguin, Mistrzostwa Polski
The first team takes us to Poland where Kinguin established their dominance early in the history of the ESL Mistrzostwa Polski circuit. With four tournament wins over 15 seasons, the Polish powerhouse have the most wins out of any team in their region and are the only Polish team to win the event back-to-back-to-back. Kinguin began their winning ways in 2016 with a win over ATB Gaming in the city of Łódź, they would then go on to win every event from 2017 to 2018. The team’s rosters boasted some domestic icons including Michał “MICHU” Müller, Mikołaj “mouz” Karolewski, Damian “Furlan” Kisłowski and Karol “rallen” Rodowicz who was the only team member on the roster for every title win.
In 2017 their win meant that they qualified to the ESL Clash of Nations which featured teams such as Movistar Riders representing Spain and EnVyUs Academy representing France. The Polish squad won the event with a final victory over the British representatives, Team Endpoint. This was the team’s only European event that they qualified for by winning Mistrzostwa Polski as the Global NC Playoffs and Conference League would come into effect later.
The team were last in the finals at ESL Mistrzostwa Polski Summer 2018 where they claimed a win over PACT. They would later rebrand to devils.one in 2019 and have not had an active CS:GO lineup since. Kinguin established their dominance early in ESL Mistrzostwa Polski’s history and since their departure from the scene, there has not been one team able to establish the same level of dominance. The very last ESL event in Poland was held this spring and won by Ignis Serpens.
#6: Entity, Indian Premiership
Next up is a team that might be unknown to most. Entity are the only Indian team to win four Indian Premiership titles out of the 13 seasons that the event has run. Only Risky and 2ez have got anywhere close to the team’s domestic dominance with two wins each to their names. Unlike Kinguin, who had their dominance live and die early in the tournament’s history, Entity have been ever present in the Indian Premiership, making the playoffs as early as the second season and providing tough competition all the way through to 2019.
As mentioned before, Entity’s dominance was spread out over the years as the team won two events in 2017, one in 2018, and one in 2019. Their win in Winter 2018 meant they qualified for ESL Pro League Season 9 Asia, and although it was a step in the right direction, they fell at the first hurdle and were relegated without a win. They never returned to the competition as they lost in the final of the very next season and then the Asian Pro League stopped running.
Entity boasted players well-known within the Indian domestic scene, including Bhavin “HellrangeR” Kotwani, Simar “psy” Sethi and Tejas “Ace” Sawant, who all parted ways with the roster in February 2020 when Entity left CS:GO. ESL’s Indian Premiership was discontinued in 2021 after 2ez won the final event, Winter 2020. Entity’s final title win was Winter 2019 over BL4ZE.
#5: Eternal Fire, Türkiye Şampiyonası
In 2021 Eternal Fire was founded as a player-owned organization and announced the next Turkish “Super Team” with the likes of İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, Özgür “woxic” Ekerand and Buğra “Calyx” Arkın. They wasted no time establishing their local dominance as just one month after their formation Eternal Fire won their very first ESL Türkiye Şampiyonası tournament. Although their domestic scene was no match for their firepower, the Turkish superstars were unable to make it through the ESL Pro League Conference after a loss to LDLC in the lower bracket.
Next season Eternal Fire continued their winning ways and dismantled their local scene without losing a map. Once again they secured themselves a spot in the ESL Conference League, but this time were not undone by their European counterparts and instead flawlessly qualified for ESL Pro League. It was a step in the right direction, but the competition proved too tough for the Turkish side as they finished 17th-20th.
Eternal Fire had found their flow and for the next two seasons they continued to dominate and both times found their way into ESL Pro League. In their second attempt at ESL Pro League, they once again finished 17th-20th, but for Season 18, which is ongoing, made the playoffs of the event, a huge achievement for the Turkish side.
Their dominance might only be recent, but Eternal Fire have completely taken control of their domestic competition and stand unrivaled as the top dogs of Turkey. The only team to ever get close to this level of dominance in Turkey was Sangal who ended their tenure with three wins. The Türkiye Şampiyonası has no more tournaments coming up and ends after 13 seasons with Eternal Fire as the most recent champions.
#4: Movistar Riders, Masters España
In fourth place on this list are the Spanish representatives, Movistar Riders, who have won five ESL Masters España titles over the last 13 seasons with four of them being won in 2020 to 2021. In those four back-to-back wins, Movistar Riders beat SAW in the Finals every single time. The Portuguese side have since won the last two Masters España tournaments and currently hold the bragging rights as the best team in Iberia.
Movistar Riders dominated their local region like many teams on this list, but they were able to convert that domestic success onto the European stage. This first started after their Season 8 victory which meant they qualified for the ESL European Championship Winter 2020. Movistar Riders won this event and further qualified for the Katowice Play-In. It was a great stepping stone for the Spanish team, but unfortunately, they finished the event without a win.
Two seasons later, in Season 10, their dominance resulted in an ESL Conference Spot, and this time they would not waste the opportunity. The Spaniards blasted their way through the Conference and into the Group stage of ESL Pro League where they exceeded expectations and topped their group without dropping a map. Movistar Riders had won their domestic ESL National Championship which had ultimately resulted in an ESL Pro League playoffs spot. The team lost to ENCE in the Quarter-Finals, but the achievement itself would not go understated.
Movistar Riders have struggled in the past three seasons with SAW and FTW taking their chance to win some domestic titles, but the Spaniard's dominance will not be forgotten in Iberia. The Iberian National Championship has no more tournaments planned ahead and is now finished after 13 seasons.
#3: LDLC, Championnat National
Claiming the bronze medal on this list is LDLC who won the very first ESL Championnat National in the summer of 2016 and have been ever present throughout the tournament's history. Over the seven years and 15 seasons that it has run, LDLC have won six, with half of them being won in a row. The French organization has boasted some well-known names in French and Belgian Counter-Strike, with Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolansand and Alexander “ALEX” McMeekin teaming up for the organization’s very first win in the summer of 2016.
Since then, they have continued to recruit top talent including François “AMANEK” Delaunay and Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer, they would then go on to create a core of Christophe “SIXER” Xia, Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss and Lambert “Lambert” Prigent who won three titles in a row for LDLC. The French team were more dominant than Movistar Riders in their domestic competition but were unable to replicate that success in the European competitions.
The peak of LDLC’s European campaigns, through winning Championnat National, was qualifying for the IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In through the NC Global Playoffs. Unfortunately, they only won a single game against American underdogs Bad News Bears and finished the competition in 17th-20th place without making it to the group stage. They also qualified for EPL S15 Conference but didn’t make it through to the Pro League Group Stage.
LDLC did not appear in the last three Finals, with the last Championnat National tournament being won by LFO, which featured former LDLC players such as hAdji.
#2: Sprout, Meisterschaft
Some might be surprised to not see BIG on this list, in which case they will be even more surprised to find out that BIG’s main team have only ever won the domestic event once in their history, in Spring 2017. They also lost twice in the finals to Sprout, both in 2020; however, BIG's academy team has won the previous two events in Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023. Sprout are instead the dominant force in German domestic CS:GO as the seven-time champions of Meisterschaft, six of which were in a row from Winter 2019 to Spring 2022.
Sprout’s roster has experienced many changes throughout the organisation’s winning streak, from Denis “denis” Howell and Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez in the Summer of 2018 to Nils “k1to” Gruhne, Paweł “dycha” Dycha and even Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov for one event.
Throughout all these lineups, one thing has remained the same: Sprout has been the best team in domestic German Counter-Strike and has been able to qualify for the European tournaments. The first example of this was in 2020, when they qualified for IEM Cologne, but unfortunately, the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This delay would not stop Sprout from competing in Europe indefinitely, as they qualified for IEM Cologne 2021 the following year, but the Germans did not make it through to the main event. Sprout continued to win Meisterschaft events and continued to qualify for European competitions, including IEM Summer and EPL S15 Conference, but unfortunately, in both events, they were unable to progress.
It was after their final Meisterschaft victory that they had their best attempt at IEM Cologne, winning a lower-bracket match to face off against Vitality for a spot in the main event. Alas, Vitality proved too good for the German side and Sprout suffered defeat.
There is one final Meisterschaft competition to be played, ESL Meisterschaft Autumn 2023, in which Big Academy and ALTERNATE aTTaX will be hot favorites as Sprout has not entered the tournament.
#1: Endpoint, Premiership
In first place, taking home the title of the most dominant side in National Championship history, is Endpoint in the UK competition, ESL Premiership. The Brits are ten-time champions, eight of which were during their flawless run from Summer 2019 to Autumn 2022. ESL Premiership has run for 20 seasons, and Endpoint have won exactly half of the tournaments. During this long campaign, Max “MiGHTYMAX” Heath has been on Endpoint’s roster for every single tournament win.
Endpoint have been ever-present in the UK scene, from the very start with players such as Reece “Puls3” Marrs and Thomas “Thomas” Utting, to now with their recent signing, Oscar “AZUWU” Bell. Unlike some of the other teams on this list, Endpoint often had tough competition in the UK scene against established organizations such as Reason, Into the Breach and Vexed, which housed players of high quality like Owen “smooya” Butterfield and Cai “CYPHER” Watson.
Through their ten wins, the British side often qualified for European competition. Starting in 2017, they traveled to Madrid for the ESL Clash of Nations 2017, where they lost out in the Final. This trend of qualifying for LANs from domestic wins continued when they qualified for the DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020 in the United States. The qualifications continued through to 2021, which included a second-place finish at the ESL European Championship Winter 2020 and an appearance at the EPL Conference Season 15, where they didn’t qualify for Pro League. All of their domestic and European competition was leading up to EPL Conference Season 16, when they finally qualified for Pro League through ESL Premiership.
Complete underdogs, Endpoint shocked everyone when they beat NAVI in the group stage, but that was their only victory as they finished their time in Pro League with a record of 1-4. The Brits' final attempt at European competition through ESL Premiership came at the EPL 17 European Conference, where they didn’t qualify for the main event.
ESL Premiership had its final event last month, which saw the competition return to LAN for the first time in years and whilst Endpoint did make the final they lost to the underdogs Raptors.