What can I say? ESL One Cologne 2018 was hands-down, one of the best ones so far. Let’s take a look at what made this tournament stand out from the rest.
ESL One Cologne 2018 Tournament info
- Dates: 2018-07-03 – 2018-07-08
- Location and Venue: Germany Cologne, Lanxess-Arena
- Organizer: ESL
- Official sponsors: Intel, Vodafone, MSI, DHL, Betway, Alienware, Logitech G, Paysafecard, NEEDforSEATH, 4XGG. Warsteiner. SNIPES
- Type: Offline
- Teams: 16
- Total prize pool: $300,000 USD
ESL One Cologne 2018 Participants
A total of 16 teams played at this tournament. Most of them were directly invited as high seed teams, while some had to fight through additional qualifiers for their spot.
ESL One Cologne 2018 Tournament flow
- July 3rd – 5th, 2018
- Two double-elimination format (GSL) Groups:
- Each group had eight teams
- The group stage was seeded based on the ESL CS:GO World Rankings
- The initial matches were Bo1
- All following matches were Bo3
The top three teams from each group advanced to the Playoffs:
Group stage winners advanced to the Semifinals
Group stage runners-up advanced to the Quarterfinals as the High Seeds
Group stage 3rd place teams advanced to the Quarterfinals as the Low Seeds
The best CS: GO team in the world, Astralis, opened the competition with a great 16-5 triumph against the Finnish team ENCE. While this result was not too surprising, the Cloud9 victory against Ninjas in Pyjamas with 16-3 left the fans of the Swedish team sweaty as they expected much better resistance from their favorites. Martin “STYKO” Styk started his saga in the US team with a victory, and the results on this tournament will depend on how long it will last.
Mouse’s new roster addition and STIKO’s replacement, Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski also started with a win. In the 16-8 win over Gambit, mouse started great but never the less this was an intense match, even after a 7-0 lead, the winner’s question remained unanswered until the very end of the match.
The biggest surprise in Group A was definitely a 16-14 victory of G2 Esports against the Na’Vi team. Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdek led the Frenchmans with 24 frags to a big win. That was a rough start for the champions and at this point of the tournament, they were on the edge of the fallout.
The second day of the ESL One Cologne tournament marked the fall of the remaining US representatives after Na’Vi beat Cloud9 in Group A, while BIG did the same thing to Liquid in group B.
Four teams in Group A continued to run for the third slot that led to the playoffs, and we saw them keen on Na’Vi in which Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev once again shouted, this time against Cloud9 with 54 frags and 1.50 rating. The underdog ENCE continued to be the finest surprise of the tournament, after the Ninjas in Pajamas they also beat Mousesports, the fifth team in the world.
In the finals of the upper bracket of the group A, Astralis team defeated G2 Esports with 2-0. G2 fought well on the first map, in which we even saw overtimes on Dust2, where Astralis celebrated with 19-16. However, when Nuke came up, G2 failed to keep pace and suffered a heavy 16-4 defeat.
ENCE did not manage to pull any surprises up until the very end when they overpower the powerful Na’Vi, even though they led 1-0 in the crucial match of Group A for the third slot in the playoffs. ENCE triumphed 16-14 on the Dust2, but Na’Vi responded with the same result on the Mirage. Finns did not have the strength to stop the relentless duo Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov who finished the match with 148 frags in total. Despite the defeat, ENCE could return home with their heads held high after their super impressive gameplay in Cologne, holding them in good stead for the upcoming EU Minor.
Former SK Gaming, now the MIBR, has managed to regain a 5-10 lag behind Renegade on the Cache and reach 16-13 victory. However, despite a successful start, MIRB had to do much better than this if they wanted to achieve a good result in Cologne.
Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Havard “rain” Nygaard single-handedly led FaZe to a somewhat routine victory against team B.O.O.T-d [S]. The Asian team has managed to keep up with the powerful FaZe in the first half and go in the second with just one round of lag, but FaZe waked up in the second half leaving only two rounds for the opponents in the rest of the match.
Fnatic and North have been leading a fierce war in their match, where we have almost seen a new big turnaround. Fnatic brought 12-3 to the halftime, but North had a great shot to equalize to 14 – 14 before Fnatic was able to make the ultimate blow. Parallel to this match, the likes of the local BIG team managed to surprise Team Liquid and completely overtake them in the second half of the Dust2, where they did not lose a single round, although in the first half we saw an endless battle that ended with 8-7 results. BIG really did fine T side later and finally deserved to take the 16-7 victory.
Home team BIG was better against Liquid. FaZe overcame MIBR without major problems, while Fnatic used the fact that the opponent was a much weaker team BIG, easily reaching the 2-0 victory, meanwhile crowd particularly emphasized incredible Jesper “JW” Wecksell with a +31 K / D score, 132 ADR rating and 2.00 overall rating. Group B left four teams in the game for the last slot in the playoffs.
There were three matches on the program at Group’s B lower bracket, while finals were played in group A. In Group B, BIG first came to victory over Renegades, hardly after the extra time with 19-17 score, while MIBR dropped out North with a 2-1 victory after a sensational comeback(14-16 Mirage, 16-9 Overpass, 16 -12 Inferno).
Although many thought that this match was final before the finals of the lower bracket, BIG managed to get the chance to play in front of the home crowd in Cologne, once again after the extra time. They first mastered the MIBR 16-9 on the Cache, only to lose the Overpass 16-9. The fierce battle did not stop at Inferno, with both teams winning with a minimum advantage in one half, and only after two extra times BIG was celebrating the result of 22-20.
While these teams fought for the survival of the tournament and the last slot in the playoffs, FaZe Clan and Fnatic led the war for top 4 positions. Although both teams celebrated on the first two folds, instead of an uncertain duo, we watched FaZe that demolished Fnatic on Inferno with a 16-1 score.
The Fall of Giants
Both favorite teams, Astralis and Faze lost in the semifinals.
It’s been more than two months since Astralis lost last time, and besides the good game of the Na’Vi team, nobody taught they could stop mighty Astralis.
The key moment of the first map happened in the second round when Na’Vi managed to regain after the lost pistol round and win seven rounds in a row. Astralis reduced Na’Vi’s lead to 7-5, but Na’Vi took economy advantage and even in moments when they played with a limited amount of money, they won with 16-13 on the Overpass with 30 frags of Denis “electronic “Sharipov.
Astralis was much more alert when Nuke came. With a knock-on effect they triumphed in both halves, and after 10-5 in the first half of the map, they only left one round to the opponents in the following, reaching a fast match with 16-6.
At the start of the decider, Inferno map, both teams took four rounds of the first eight, so that the Na’Vi’s 6-1 set a big advantage at the end of the first half. When Na’Vi took a pistol round it seemed as though the match would be over soon, but Astralis had already replied in the next round and started potentially returning. Na’Vi still succeeded in setting up the defense and stopping them in the 29th round with 16-13 win and secured spot in the grand finals.
If the victory of the Na’Vi against the first team in the world was a surprise, what to say about what BIG had done, beating the mighty FaZe in the semi-finals.
FaZe opened the match with a great game on the CT side of the Dust2 , which gave them 11-4 advantage at half-time, but BIG managed to stop the bleeding and return again. The teams continued to break the strike by the end of 30 rounds, and FaZe managed to win only after the extra time with 19-17 victory.
Also on the second map, Train, FaZe solid CT play almost led them into semi-finals with 9-6 lead, but this time, BIG successfully returned and won with the help of Johannes “nex” Magnet, who finished the match with 83 frags and made a huge turnaround with a great support of his British teammate Owen “smooya” Butterflield who has also proved to have great potential, especially triple kill in 2 vs 4 situation that happened during the second half. BIG took 16-13 victories and equalized at 1-1 with 10 consecutive rounds.
After that, it was completely unexpected from BIG to demolish team FaZe at one of their best maps, Inferno. BIG took 12 of the 15 rounds in the first half so that seven rounds later brought the historic wins to the big finals where they were on edge to reach the biggest trophy in the history of the team.
The Grand Finals:
Natus Vincere managed to come out as the winner of the CS: GO spectacle in Cologne, winning team BIG in front of the home crowd with a 3-1 victory in the Grand Finals.
Just before the start of this tournament Na’Vi was the 3rd placed team on the world rankings, behind Astralis and FaZe. Nevertheless, rarely who expected to see them in the finals and somehow everybody expected Astralis and FaZe Clan to fight for the trophy, while Na’Vi remained in the shadow primarily because of the variable form of all players in the team except Alexander “s1mple ” Kostylev.
Na’Vi played soft against the Astralis team, a high level of play and concentration was needed to deal with the currently best-ranked team in the world. After the epic battle they managed to overcome the Astralis, and the duo that marked the tournament, s1mple and Denis “electronic” Sharipov once again stepped up in the finals with 83 and 86 frags.
Interestingly, in the final, the four first half ended with an identical 8-7 result. It only shows that both teams have played on the highest level to reach the final and not only can they challenge the best teams, but also they can win against them. Despite the fact that BIG played on their top level, Na’Vi was too strong for them. The crude power of the Na’Vi player was enough to break them and triumph.
They first won at Overpass with a 16-10 score but BIG immediately equalized on Dust2 with 16-11 win. Train belonged to the Na’Vi team after an excellent CT side in the second half in which they took 11 out of 15 rounds, while on the decider map Inferno Na’Vi dropped only one round for the convincing 16-8 win after the 8-7 first half.
S1mple has once again won the MVP title after the tournament, and it is increasingly certain that he will take this title from the top player during the year if he continues with such games. On the other side, all 5 players from team BIG, in spite of defeat, can return from the tournament with the raised head because they surpassed everyone’s expectations and showed that they deserve to play in big competitions.