The ESL One Cologne groups are all over now and we’ve had a couple of upsets and definitely some great games. Here we will break down the storylines of each group and give a quick recap.
The expected ranking for this group would probably put Astralis top and Gambit second, the big storyline of this group is that Gambit actually managed to top the group beating both CLG and Astralis. Against Astralis Gambit didn’t even seem fazed with an easy 16-6 scoreline, however Astralis were using a standin. After a close best of three between Astralis and dignitas Astralis finish the group in second and progress through the group.
This is one of the more predictable groups, with two powerhouses NiP and Na`Vi facing off against the up and coming FlipSid3 and OpTic Gaming. Na`Vi, of course made it through, topping the group with FlipSid3 beating NiP in a shock result to take second place. We made a bold prediction that NiP would make it to the final, with this kind of performance it’s not a complete surprise they haven’t made it out of the groups. GeT_RiGhT needed to step up for the team, if he’s not playing well, the team’s not playing well, and we’ve seen a steady decline by the once legendary lineup.
- Team Liquid
If this group was being played just three months ago we’d be again saying this is a predictable group, but since then EnVyUs has been on a downward plummet. They’ve gone from winning a Major to being knocked out of the groups in less than a year. Virtus.pro can be a strange one, some events they can turn up and completely plow away the competition, others they can be buried beneath the average teams and crash out. This event they seem to be playing well, topping their group and making it through to the semi finals. The decider match between Team Liquid and mousesports went in the favour of Liquid after a somewhat easy 2-0 win, 16-11 and 16-6. If Liquid make another long run at a Major with simple it’s going to make it hard for them to stop playing with him after the tournament.
Dubbed the group of death this group has been the most exciting group, dare I say it, at any Major so far. With G2 recently coming off a tournament win against SK, fnatic recently getting back their star player, FaZe being the silent underdog and SK being the current Major champions. It couldn’t get better than this.
In our bold predictions post we predicted that G2 would reach the final, well that didn’t happen. G2 crash out of the groups without winning a game, losing to SK 16-11 and then to fnatic 16-13. Despite ScreaM’s best efforts G2 got beat by an out of form olofmeister and a struggling fnatic.
What was really surprising about this group was the great performance FaZe put in, if anyone this was the team I had written off. However, FaZe couldn’t overcome fnatic losing 2-0, 16-9 and 16-7. The difference in this best of three was flusha stepped up having a +17 KDR and olofmeister not being complete rubbish and outfragging dennis.
The tournament bracket has been finalised and the upcoming games look like this:
Virtus.pro vs. Astralis
SK vs. FlipSid3
Natus Vincere vs. Liquid
Gambit vs. fnatic
In my opinion I think Virtus.pro will beat Astralis, SK will beat FlipSid3, Na`Vi will beat Liquid and fnatic will beat Gambit. Which will result in the games Virtus.pro vs SK and Na`Vi vs fnatic which I predict will create a SK vs Na`Vi final, of which I think SK will win and become back to back Major champions. What will be good to see is if olofmeister can improve as the tournament goes on, this could give us an interesting semi final between Na`Vi and fnatic.