Stuchiu Major Power Ranks: Top 5 Nuke teams

Stuchiu runs down the five best Nuke teams at the Major.

Counter-Strike: GO's Icon Stephen Chiu · 5 Aug 2019


Photo via Adela Sznajder for ESL

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

We are in the calm before the storm. The CS:GO player break has started, but once it’s over the Berlin Major begins. I’ve done some prep work for the Major and have decided to release it in the form of power rankings. In this first set of blogs, I'll be power ranking teams by map. In terms of criteria, I looked at overall results, with an emphasis on more recent results* and wins against top rated teams. I’ve also taken into account the overall strengths and weaknesses of each team relative to the field. I’ve ignored teams that aren’t at the Major (like Fnatic and Heroic) and teams that aren’t playing with a set 5 man roster (like MIBR and NiP).

*Map scores were counted using HLTV. The filters were by team, on LAN, in the last three months of play and were filtered on July 30th.


I had a hard time picking the fifth team here, but settled for FURIA. This is a team where the stats or W-L record doesn’t give a complete picture. They are 11-7 on the map in the last three months, but their last five wins came against small teams (Sharks, eUnited, Spirit, Chiefs twice, and Singularity). While they’ve had good wins against top teams (Astralis and Vitality), that was at ECS Season 7 and DreamHack Dallas, which was a while ago. 

So their recent wins don’t tell us much and their recent losses aren’t that bad outside of INTZ. They’ve lost to Na`Vi at ESL Cologne and NRG twice. Overall though, if we purely analyze the W-L record, their stats are buffed. So why did I pick them over a team like G2 (who also have fairly weak wins against lesser teams, but one impressive win against Liquid)? 

When I looked at all of the teams below them, none of them had the resume of games or consistency to take FURIA. FURIA’s unique style gives them a far better shot at upsetting better teams compared to every team below them, so I went with them for my fifth best Nuke team. 

4 - Astralis

Ever since ECS Season 7 Finals and BLAST Madrid, Astralis have started to shy away from Nuke. It is no longer their go to pick against teams. As a result they only have a 3-3 record in the last three months. They have wins over Fnatic, NRG, and Giants. They have two losses to FURIA and one to ENCE.

In terms of the eye test though, I think Astralis are still a strong team on this map. They still have all of the tactics that made them famous, they are still great at rotating on the CT-side and controlling the map. Unlike Overpass or Dust2, nothing in their recent performances tells me that their form or strategy has significantly fallen on this particular map. It’s arguable that they may be even better than Vitality right now given what we saw of Vitality’s nuke at Cologne and Chicago, but they don’t have the record to make me put them over Vitality right now.

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3 - Vitality

Nuke is one of the core maps that has enabled Vitality to become the second best team in the world. In the last three months they are 7-4 on it with wins over North, Liquid and NRG. While they specialize in a 4-1 T-side style, they have a lot of versatility in smoke usage and taking map control. Their CT-side has been fairly solid. While they’ve dropped a map to Heroic at Chicago, overall I think Vitality are the third best Nuke team.

2 - ENCE

In the last three months, ENCE are 9-2 on Nuke. They were the ones to break the Astralis win streak and in the months after the major, were the dominant team on the map. Their tactics, positioning, and teamplay were unmatched. If we were talking purely about theoretical Counter-Strike, I’d argue that ENCE’s theory is better than Liquid’s.

But Counter-Strike is just as much about firepower as it is about theory (arguably more so). The loss of the AUG has hurt ENCE as they used it to bolster their firepower on the CT-side. The additional positioning strengthened their passive options and made their aggressive pushes that much more surprising. Without it, they have to rely more on firepower and that differential is why they now ranked second instead of first. 

1 - Liquid

Once again, I have Liquid ranked first in the standings. They are 12-5 on the map in the last three months. What’s amazing about Liquid’s record is that a majority of their losses come from CS Summit 4 and before then. After CS Summit 4, they’ve only dropped the map to FaZe and G2. They’ve beaten every team except Vitality on it. They have a wide array of smokes and defaults they can throw at the enemy, the aggressive players to take control of the map and win duels, and varied AWP setups on the CT-side.

While Liquid have been dominant on this map, it is one that the other teams should consider as a potential weapon against Liquid. If ENCE’s form takes a step up, they’d already have a good chance. Liquid have avoided facing Vitality on the map since their losses at CS Summit 4. We have yet to see how Astralis fares against Liquid on the map. So while Liquid are the favorites against any team, it’s quite possible that if we do see someone upset Liquid, it could happen on Nuke. 

Previous Power Ranks:

Top 5 Overpass teams:

Top 5 Dust2 teams:


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