On the eve of ESL One Cologne 2015
ESL One Cologne is the last major tournament of 2015, which will be attended by the best professional CS:GO teams. All Counter-Strike fans will have an exclusive chance to witness the most spectacular holiday of the year, as the teams will play to their fullest potential, competing for the prize-pool of $ 250 000. As the tournament is supported by Valve, the viewers will also receive some pleasant bonuses: weapon cases after every map.
Compared to all previous ESL One championships, this time organizers drastically changed the system of the matches. As a result, group stage became even more unpredictable. The biggest advantage of their new system, on the other hand, is the fact that there are no eliminated teams after the first stage, which gives some of them, especially those who warm up very slowly, a good chance to make it to the playoff.
One team from each group will advance straight into the quarterfinals, so after the first day we will see the favorites to win at their best. Most players and analysts think that Team SoloMid, Team EnVyUs, Fnatic/ Na`Vi, and Virtus.pro will be those stronger ones.
Team SoloMid is the favorite of group A. The first match between NiP and CLG will take place on August 20 at 14:00 CET. Even though "ninjas" took second place at the previous ESL One in Katowice, this year wasn’t successful for them overall. They were defeated by not the most stable team FlipSid3 at ESWC and lost to fnatic at DreamHack Valencia. This event is a real chance for NiP players to show their organization that the current roster doesn’t require any changes. We believe that they will prove how skillful they are.
The motivation of NiP is very strong, so we think they can win the first match against unstable CLG. CLG has participated in 10 events this year, but took first places at American tournaments only. Last time, these two teams encountered each other at ESL One Katowice 2015, and the Swedes managed to outplay CLG with a 7:16 score on de_mirage. This time, they will try to do the same thing again.
The second match of group A will see the fight of Team SoloMid and Renegades. The Danes managed to earn $ 170 000 at different tournaments this year, while the biggest achievement of the Australian team was their third place at Intel Extreme Masters Season X Gamescom, where they lost to TSM twice, on de_mirage and de_dust2. Earlier, the teams played against each other at ESL One Cologne 2014 and TSM also managed to win.
Sometimes betting on TSM can result in some free skins, but the Danes can perform inconsistently at the main tournament of the year
We think that NiP and TSM will meet in the final match of group A. It will be a very serious game, and "ninjas" will fight for each and every round. However, judging by the statistics, TSM have more chances to win. They won the Swedes 7 times in their last LAN-clashes and know everything about them, including the play style and tactics. They learned these things after a few sad losses at ESL One Katowice and FaceIt.
Many professional players are saying that group B is the least surprising one. Team EnVyUs and Flipsid3 Tactics will meet in the first match of the day on August 20 at 14.00 CET. Ukrainian team seems a bit unready to compete, as they are exhausted due to the last roster changes and s1mple's departure. However, they showed quite impressive performance at European Qualifiers, with incredible individual plays and skills of some players. Yes, the French roster also underwent changes, but their team seems stronger overall because of a few well-known and very experienced players.
Will Flipsid3 have a reason for joy in Cologne?
The match between Luminosity Gaming and Kinguin will go next. (August 20, 15:25 CET). The teams will encounter each other for the first time. Kinguin advanced to the tournament through online-qualifier, while Luminosity Gaming finished in TOP8 at ESL One Katowice 2015. The Brazilian team's European performance is not always consistently good while Kinguin have won against many great teams this year, including Virtus.pro, mouz etc. Considering all above-mentioned, Europeans have more chances to win.
Maybe, the group B final will feature Kinguin and EnVyUs. These teams have already met earlier, at SLTV StarSeries XIII finals. The French team clinched the win that time, but the maps were very close, with a 3-4 overall round difference on both maps. However, we think that EnVyUs are more likely to win this clash.
ESWC champions are going to Cologne with a good mood and a bunch of surprises for viewers and their opponents
Group C features strong teams that can show some interesting plays for the viewers. Its first clash — Fnatic vs eBettle — will probably end in favor of Fnatic. The second mаtch will be between Titan and Natus Vincere. These teams have met 5 times throughout 2015 and Titan managed to win three times, with two victories on de_overpass. However, these were the matches against old "titans" that included apEX and kennyS. Now, with shox and SmithZz playing for Titan, the old records are not accurate anymore.
The fight will be quite serious, and even though The Born to Win are the favorites to win, everything depends on the actions of Na`Vi players after the first rounds. The Ukrainian team has prepared for this match on the boot camp and mapped out a few directions of how the game can go. Anyway, Natus Vincere will be able to win only if they will manage to show a great team work. The weakest spot of Titan is obviously their lack of experience in playing together and lose of confidence after lost force-buys.
We think that the final of group C will see the fight of Natus Vincere and Fnatic. If Na`Vi will beat the opponents in that match, we believe that they will gain the confidence and strength needed to win the entire ESL One. However, the statistics of European betting websites show the situation favorable for Fnatic. Na'Vi, in their turn, have a small secret to surprise with that will most probably help them show better performance. It is a new team analyst, whose personality and position details are still strictly secretive.
Group D matches will close the first group stage of ESL One Cologne. Virtus.pro vs Team Immunity will play first, and we think that the match will most probably end in favor of Polish team that manage to show their incredible shape at CEVO Season 7. mousesports vs Cloud9 will be next. Last time they met was about a month ago when they were playing against each other at CEVO S7 finals. "Mice" managed to win that time and will try to repeat their success. Overall, this group features more or less equal teams. The final match can be between VP и mouz, but you should understand that this group is the most unpredictable The chances of the Poles to win can be quite high if they will boost their confidence in the match against the Australians, so it is most likely that they will advance to the quarter-finals. After this match, the groups will be redrawn and the teams that took 2–4 places will play again in the second group stage on August 21.
This year, the winners will be rewarded with exclusive medals. Pity they are neither silver nor gold
The first stage of the tournament (group stage) will be conducted in ES TV studio. Playoff, in its turn, will be held on a great stage of the huge stadium20 000 Team EnVyUs (to prove the strength of the new roster). However, it will go to the team that will find the way to achieve the perfect understanding among all players and won't lose a momentum after a few lost rounds. Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro are three teams that fit this description. The Poles and the Swedes have already won the ESL One trophy, so this time it should be won by somebody else!
ESL One Cologne schedule:
place — $ 100 000
place — $ 50 000
place — $ 22 000
place — $ 22 000
You can find the detailed schedule of ESL One Cologne on our website.