ESL One Cologne, the latest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major is right around the corner. Carrying a $1 Million prize pool and Legend status for each team on the line, it’s sure to be packed with action, stories, and highlights. Below are a few things we’re excited for here at Fandom!
Teams to Watch
G2 Esports might be the top story coming into this tournament. They are arriving in Cologne hot on the heels of their victory at ECS Season 1 in Wembley, London. We’ll have to see if their raw talent and mechanical skill can continue to carry them deep into the main event. Keep an eye on Richard “shox” Papillon and Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom.
SK Gaming (formerly Luminosity Gaming) have had a rocky couple months outside the game. Now that we know they’re officially playing for SK Gaming as of July 1, we’ll have to see if they still perform to their best in Cologne. These reigning Major champions from Brazil will see if they can defend their title.
Team Liquid is a team in the rebuilding stage right now. Hailed as one of the best North American teams, they recently added the AWP firepower of Josh “jdm64” Marzano and the rifling expertise of Jacob “Pimp” Winneche. Due to Valve’s rules regarding how many players need to remain on the team to keep their invite to the Major, Team Liquid will be playing with Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev instead of Pimp. Let’s hope their disappointing finish in Wembley hasn’t tarnished their outlook for this Major.
Fnatic still has a lot to prove after the return of Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer. After a dominating performance in ELeague Week 4, their loss to G2 Esports in the ECS semi-finals was definitely unexpected. We’ll have to wait and see if G2 can repeat their lights-out performance, or if Fnatic can step up and win their third Major title.
The Group Stage
The ESL One Cologne group stage consists of four groups with four teams each, with each team playing each other in a double elimination tournament. The top two teams in each group advance to the main event. It’s no secret that everyone is talking about how stacked Group D is in Cologne this year. With Fnatic, SK Gaming, G2 Esports, and Faze all competing in the same group, there will be two very disappointed teams going home early. Look for these teams to be in top shape from the very first pistol round. Our expectation? Fnatic and G2 move through.
Team Liquid also have a very good shot to maintain their Legend status by finishing top two in Group C. Their competition is stiff with Virtus Pro, Team EnVyUs, and Mousesports all fighting for the same goal. We’ll have to see who can impress us and captivate the crowd in Cologne.
The biggest change to the map pool for ESL One Cologne is the official addition of Nuke. Although it was a slightly controversial move, Nuke’s addition means Inferno needs to leave active duty. One of the oldest maps in the franchise, Nuke was recently given a visual update and revamped for CS:GO. The Counter-Terrorists traditionally have the advantage on Nuke due to their ability to quickly rotate between bomb sites and shut down the few entrances available to the Terrorists. In this latest version, Valve modified a few areas to help the Terrorists gain entrance to bomb site A, and defend bomb site B after the bomb is planted.
Each team has been practicing and boot camping non-stop in the weeks leading to ESL One Cologne 2016. If you want the chance to earn a Souvenir weapon skin, make sure to watch each match live. We’re all excited to see the spectacular plays and teamwork on display!