ESL One Cologne is finally over and for the 8th time this season, Team Liquid proved why they’re considered the best team in the world. The event brought together the best of the best and at the end of six days of competition, the North American squad was crowned champion.
In this article, we will take a close look at what happened at ESL One Cologne and draw key conclusions regarding the current pecking order of the teams.
#ESLOneCologne DAY 1— VulkanBet (@BetVulkan) July 2, 2019
🇺🇸@TeamLiquid VS 🇰🇷@MVP_GG
🇷🇺@natusvincere VS 🇪🇺@mousesports
🇪🇺@FaZeClan VS 🇦🇺@Renegades
🇧🇷@furiagg VS 🇺🇸@NRGgg
🇩🇰@astralisgg VS 🇩🇪@BIGCLANgg
🇧🇷@mibr VS 🇸🇪@FNATIC
🇫🇷@TeamVitality VS 🇸🇪@NiPGaming
🇩🇰@heroicgg VS 🇫🇮@ENCE
Group A of ESL One Cologne had the following participants:
Before the competition began, Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, mousesports, FaZe Clan, FURIA Esports and NRG Esports all had a real chance to qualify for the Playoffs. Among these, Liquid and Natus Vincere were by far the strongest.
In the first round of Upper Bracket matches, three of the four matches ended with a score of 16 – 14. This goes to show you just how close the participants were to each other in terms of skill. The matches were the following:
In the second round of Upper Bracket matches, Team Liquid defeated Na’Vi (2 – 1) while NRG Esports defeated FaZe Clan (2 – 0). The Finals ended with a hard-fought victory for Liquid (2 – 0, but at close scores).
In the Lower Bracket, mousesports overcame MVP PK while FURIA overcame Renegades. Then came two big matches between teams that could have easily played in the Upper Bracket:
In spite of losing, both FaZe and FURIA showed good skills and proved that they’re not that far off from the strongest competitors. This means that future events may have a reversed situation, in which some of the last will be among the first and some of the first among the last. Except for the likes of Team Liquid, much can change through rigorous training when the differences are so small.
In the Lower Bracket Finals, Natus Vincere defeated mousesports (2 – 1) and grabbed the final spot in the Playoffs.
Group B of ESL One Cologne was just as competitive as Group A, and the winners were again just slightly different from what people expected.
The participants in this group were the following:
Before the competition at ESL One Cologne began, almost everybody would have said that Astralis, Vitality and ENCE were going to be the qualified teams. However, due to two incredible upsets in the first round of Upper Bracket matches, Vitality and ENCE ended up playing against each other in the first round of the Lower Bracket. And as a result, one of them had to be eliminated. The other then went on to qualify from the 3rd place. The beneficiary of the entire tragedy was NiP, which ended up finishing 2nd in the group.
The match results were the following:
In the second round of Upper Bracket matches, Astralis crushed Fnatic (2 – 0) while NiP easily dispensed of Heroic (2 – 0). And for the first time in more than a year, NiP managed to give Astralis some headaches in the Upper Bracket Finals. They still lost without winning a single map, but the scores were closer than usual.
In the Lower Bracket, Vitality defeated ENCE, Fnatic and Heroic to earn their ticket to the Playoffs. Meanwhile, MIBR lost against BIG and got eliminated right away. This was yet another terrible result for the Brazilians, whose hopes and dreams are starting to die again.
Many believed that with their new roster, MIBR would rise up to the heights of glory once more. But given how bad they are playing, it’s more likely that we’ll see a disband or at least some serious roster changes coming soon. The team had already traded felps for LUCAS1 from Luminosity Gaming, even before ESL One Cologne. But if they go for two or three more events without getting at least a top four result, we will likely see them part ways and join other teams. We’re pretty sure that TACO and zews are asking themselves “why, oh, why did I have to leave Team Liquid last Winter?”
The Playoffs Stage of ESL One Cologne had Team Liquid and Astralis waiting in the Semifinals while NiP had to play against Na’Vi and NRG had to play against Vitality in the Quarterfinals.
With both our semi-finals concluded we have to say goodbye to two amazing teams.@natusvincere & @astralisgg are two iconic names in Counter-Strike and we know we'll see them winning events in future!— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) July 6, 2019
Let's see you bounce back boys! 👊#ESLOne pic.twitter.com/0PEwyn3ISa
Before the match began, a lot of people had the feeling that NiP would actually beat Na’Vi this time, simply because they had finished 2nd in Group B and had defeated Vitality in the process. Besides, Na’Vi had only finished 3rd in Group A.
However, a close analysis of Na’Vi’s performance during the Group Stage of ESL One Cologne reveals that these hopes were unrealistic. The only reason why s1mple and his squad had to play in the Lower Bracket was Team Liquid. Apart from them they had managed to beat mousesports twice and FURIA once. And these two teams are anything but weak.
On the other side, NiP’s strength was more uncertain that it seemed at first. The team did indeed defeat Vitality in a Bo1, but their second match was against Heroic. So their 2nd place in Group B was not as hard fought as Na’Vi’s 3rd place in Group A. Subsequently, based on the match history between these two teams, it was obvious that Na’Vi would most likely win again.
Ahead of the match, both teams had made one important roster change. Na’Vi replaced Edward with Boombl4 while NiP replaced dennis with Plopski. Both of the new players are youngsters.
When the match finally happened, Na’Vi simply dismantled NiP, thanks in part to s1mple’s dominating performance.
In the 2nd Quarterfinal, NRG was no match for Vitality. Both maps ended with a 16 – 7 result in favor of the French side and it was obvious that they would pose a serious threat even to Astralis.
With this loss, it seems that swapping daps with stanislaw right before the tournament wasn’t such a good idea for NRG. Still, we can’t draw radical conclusions, because their Group Stage performance was excellent and the loss came against one of the best teams in the world.
In the first Semifinal of ESL One Cologne, Liquid had a tough match against Na’Vi. They ultimately won 2 – 0 but both maps were very close: 16 – 12. This was their second victory against the CIS squad at this event.
The second Semifinal was even bloodier than the first. Vitality easily won two of the maps but failed on Astralis’ map choice, Inferno, at the end of a long battle: 22 – 19.
In the Grand Final, things were looking good for both sides, who ended up winning one map a piece in the first two. But then, Liquid simply outclassed them thanks to having a much stronger map pool. In a Bo5, nobody can beat them in their current state.
Overall, ESL One Cologne was full of esports betting opportunities and provided a full week of spectacle and thrills for those who like to bet on CS:GO. If you want to be part of the action for future events, simply sign up on our platform and get a generous welcome bonus!