ESL One: Cologne Final Four: How We Got Here

Astralis, FaZe, BIG, and Natus Vincere. The Final four of ESL One: Cologne as the final two days of the event approaches. Two of these teams will be going home after today. The least likely to win will easily be played by BIG and Na’Vi, who both had surprising but strong runs all the way through to the semifinals.

Astralis

Let’s take a look back at the past week, Astralis has put up staggering numbers in their five map wins. Of the top five ranked players through the week, Astralis has three of the top five, according to HLTV. The Dutch team has managed to put a hurting on opponents with great accuracy numbers and a low death total. Dupreeh has the highest rating with a +41 kill to death ratio, but Ga1ve and Device have been just as instrumental to their fantastic start.

FaZe Clan

Overall, FaZe Clan strung together the strongest set of games from any time I spectated this week. The team as a whole dominated, but Rain’s sheer carrying mentality came through as he utterly outclassed teams in their six ESL One maps. A +46 K/D ratio and the highest accuracy of any player makes him a threat to win the MVP at Cologne. Guadrian’s also had big performances along with NIko, which is business as usual.

FaZe did drop a game to Fnatic, but outside of that, it’s been business as usual. Sights will be set on Astralis, as this game will serve as a trap game for both FaZe and Astralis. Overlooking these opponents could result in going home early.

BIG

BIG’s path to this point required some bracket luck and despite not finding a player within the top ten of player rating, they’re still playing well enough to pull off the upset. BIG enters the semifinals with a 7-4 record, dropping four maps this tournament. It’s been a hard fought road to this point for BIG. BIG dropped games against Fnatic, Renegades, and MIBR. The margins of victory for this team were narrow, going to overtime in an elimination TWO TIMES this tournament.

Na’Vi

Unlike BIG, Na’vi’s got a less balanced attack and been more reliant on S1mple being an absolute madman. S1imple’s been insane in his last few matches as Na’vi needed it to power through Fnatic in the quarterfinals and ENCE Esports earlier on in the bracket. Similarly to BIG, Na’vi journey had them lose to G2 in round one, and later pass that team that sent them to the losers bracket. If Na’vi gets anything from Edward and Zeus, Astralis could be in for some trouble.

Both players sit at a combined -30, but the rest of Na’Vi are a combined +197 kills so I’d say that evens out.

Prediction: Astralis over Na’vi, FaZe over BIG

Astralis> FaZe in the finals

Featured photo courtesy of reddit user Skaronator

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Team Liquid Bounced Out Early at ESL One: Cologne

In a surprising turn of events, Team Liquid, the seventh-ranked CS:GO team in the world was eliminated by North in an intensely close set.  The loss sent Liquid packing after suffering a loss at the hands of BIG, 16-7, and ended their ESL Cologne run extremely quickly. One of the prohibitive favorites entering the tournament is out first.

 

The funny part is Team Liquid entered this tournament taking their last three over BIG and even finding success against North. In any case, the sloppy start to the weekend brought them instantly to the brink of elimination and failing to close a number of round leads that ultimately led to nothing. Against North, they took pistol round every single time, but besides NAF’s huge performance on Train, this team failed to capitalize.

On Train, Liquid did almost everything right: got pistol round, won first kill 17-8 times, and had strong performances but TACO failing to get going coupled EliGe sitting at around 16 kills doomed them. Overall, failing to kill Valde, who had a match-low 37 deaths and letting him roam free was a detriment. Valde deserves credit for not only staying alive but also using that survivability to end up getting huge flank opportunities. NAF did all that he could, dropping a match-high 53 kills, but nit0, TACO, and EliGe went a combined -20.

 

Based on the numbers alone, it’s almost shocking that Team Liquid lost. Every category matches up with the usual winning team, but when two players are consistently losing gunfights it’s hard to adjust. Team Liquid, who’s been up-and-down in recent months, showed up and dropped the ball. One of the most explosive teams in Counter-Strike completely shut down.

North will move on to face MIBR, who got beat handily by FaZe Clan. Even the team Team Liquid got upset in the first round, BIG, got badly beaten by Fnatic. It wasn’t the strongest week for Team Liquid, and it looks to be a problem of support within the team.

Featured image courtesy of ESL One: Cologne Stream

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GLL PUBG Season 2 European Finalist: Pittsburgh Knights Win Big

Season two of the Global Loot League has come to an end with a number of different regions qualifying for the Grand Finals in August. The North America season ended last night with Team Gates winning week six overall, but Totality placing first.  Europe’s finals ended this afternoon and the top seven teams have been decided:

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The Pittsburgh Knights ended the tournament as the top squad, earning nearly five thousand points. The Knights also led the European division in overall kills with 147. The next three qualifying teams hovered around 4,100 using different approaches.  FaZe Clan finished second relying on aggressive pushing on enemy teams and fighting as much as possible. Team Vitality is a more patient group, winning round four in week six. Team Liquid understands how to place high without engaging better than anyone.

The next four teams to fill into those bottom four spots: Moonwolf in fifth (3,810 pts, 131 kills), Penta Esports in sixth (3,757 pts, 99 kills), and in the last qualifying spot Team Extra from Germany grab it wth a staggering 138 kills. Method missed out by a measly 48 points, meaning each one of those 138 Extra kills mattered in the end. G2 also missed out by a few hundred points. Razor thing margin up-and-down, with the Knights sperating themselves at the top.

 

ESL One: Cologne 2018 CS:GO Bracket

ESL One: Cologne 2018 is finally here and with their 32 team bracket format it’s looking like one of the best events of the entire year. FaZe Clan and Astralis sit at the top of their brackets as the two best teams, but there’s a number of qualified teams capable of winning it all.

Based on the past few events, it could come down to either Team Liquid, Na’Vi, or even SK Gaming. In total, six teams look capable of making a deep run. The standard names will be there, and in all likelihood, the team that wins it all has to beat Astralis or FaZe Clan. It’s unlikely the road to the finals doesn’t go through the juggernauts at the top of the bracket.

Potential matchups include mousesports against Na’vi, which was a huge set at ESL Pro League season seven. Team Liquid facing off against FaZe Clan could also make for some heart throbbing Counter-Strike. ESL One is one of the most intense weeks of CS:GO all year round. Make sure to catch the action here

 

The Roundup: CS:GO Dreamhack, IEM Shanghai Oceanic, and Curse Rivals Updates

Welcome to the roundup – The Roundup is a piece of quick, factual news about the results around the world of esports in a litany of different games and tournaments. The bulk of today’s load was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive qualifying events. Here’s how each one played out:

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Dreamhack Masters Stockholm North American Qualifier

  • GhostGaming, who qualified out of the open bracket to even have a chance to play in this qualifier, ended up beating the favorites eUnited (2-1), and Complexity (2-1), who was on a bye. GhostGaming put themselves in a big spot to potentially upset Rogue in winners and make it to Dreamhack Masters Stockholm.
  • The even comes down to four teams and four games: Rogue vs. GhostGaming, eUnited vs. Complexity. On the outset, Rogue looks like the clear favorite to take the only qualifying spot, but either of Complexity or eUnited coming out of the lower-bracket can give them trouble if GhostGaming doesn’t play at this level tomorrow.
  • On the European side, Optic Gaming will face Nobodo, who took out the top-seeded Virtus. Pro, and winner will advance to face HellRaisers.

IEM Shanghai Oceanic Closed Qualifiers

  • In no surprise, Greyhound ended up taking a decisive victory over the Chiefs to qualify for IEM Shanghai. The best team in that region showed up and only dropped a few maps during their run.
  • Greyhound started the finals winning 16-0, only to come back a game later and lose 16-14 against the Chiefs, Luckily, they figured it out and ended up winning 3-1.

Curse Rivals 2v2 PUBG Monthly

  • Curse puts on a double tournament every month and here are June’s winners:

 

 

 

Echo Fox Reverse Sweeps Team Kaliber a day after doing it to Red Reserve in the CWL Pro League

One day after ending Red Reserve’s win streak with a reverse sweep, Echo Fox comes from the depths of a 0-3 halftime deficit against Team Kaliber, in game three, down two maps, to pulling out one of the most remarkable comebacks of season two. It took all Echo Fox had to offer, but they pulled off the upset and moved ahead of TK in the standings.

Game One – Hardpoint

In similar fashion to Red Reserve, Team Kaliber started off playing a strong defensive game, mainly using Accuracy to hold down the hardpoint as the SMG’s go out and pick off Echo Fox at spawn. Accuracy was the hero of London Docks, as TK could rely on him holding down the point with little help. This lead to big plays, as Accuracy setup perfectly when the point was finally secured.

Accuracy ended up dropping 41 kills on Docks and was a +14 in kill-death ratio. He turned a number of bad situations into favorable ones, with the correct spacing on approaching SMG’s. Accuracy stayed out of range, making it tough to get in on him. Outside of that F3RO and Kenny traded enough to earn the win.

Game Two – Search & Destroy

Search & Destroy is where Echo Fox made it’s living against Evil Geniuses and Red Reserve yesterday, but going against F3RO and an impressive TK setup on Ardennes Forest, sending Accuracy top-side and letting F3RO roam, caused problems for Exho Fox. It was a struggle trying to break that setup, and that showed up with F3RO’s and Accuracy’s kill-death. Kenny, on the other hand, played extremely aggressive and often times traded positively on his SMG.

Kenny dropped 11 kills on the TK map win. Saints had his moments on this map for Echo Fox, but with Faccento getting shut down trying to work towards the high-ground, where Accuracy setup, it wasn’t enough. TK also worked the objective much more efficiently than Echo Fox getting almost double the plants.

Game Three – Flak Tower

45 seconds into Flak Tower, F3RO picked a few kills, grabbed the flag, and returned it to his base. This put immense pressure on Echo Fox to step up and do something. Nothing change after that in the first half, TK continued to push all half. F3RO went absolutely off early on. It wasn’t until a quick two caps from Temp that spurred the comeback.

In every situation, every map count, and any deficit, Echo Fox is finding miracle ways to win these maps. The work on Flak Tower is nothing short of miraculous. When this team needed plays, someone was bound to step up. Look at Temp, before his captures, he was getting out-fragged badly in his base against F3RO. However, when Echo Fox needed it most, he played objective-based and pushed two huge flag caps.

The hero play coming out of Aqua, against both TK and Red Reserve, deserves plenty of attention. He wasn’t the main fragger for Echo Fox, but when a play was needed to be made Aqua has consistently made it.

The Magic of Echo Fox Saints and Faccento

There’s plenty of crossover between these two teams. Faccento, as he said in his post-game interview, grew up playing with some of the TK guys. Saints earned his notoriety with Team Kaliber and are now one of the best assault rifle players in the CWL. There’s no love lost, and after their performances today it’s sure to add fuel to the rivalry fire.

In the last two days, Saints has put up daunting numbers, finding a large number of kills. The final two games of the matchup with TK lead to huge clutch plays from both players, the cornerstone of Echo Fox’s 3-0 week five was the clutch plays in key moments.

Turtle Beach – Recon 50X White Stereo Gaming Headset – PS4 – Xbox One

 

CeRq Goes off as NRG Qualifies for ESL One New York with 3-0 Win over Complexity

The number one team in North America, NRG, showed up in a big spot in the ESL One NA qualifiers. NRG sweeps a Complexity team who pushed NRG to their limits in two close games, but fortunately for NRG CerQ is on their roster and cannot be stopped. In two games, CerQ dropped 67 total kills, actively carrying the rest of NRG through the finish line.

48 AWP kills for CeRq on two maps. His player rating soared above the rest of the competition, as he was able to clutch many different rounds. Despite Complexity landing a majority of first kills in fights, the work of CeRq on the AWP took away any advantage Complexity had for gaining that first kill. The problem was finding and killing CeRq before he got loose. Complexity had no counter and ended up losing 3-0.

Now, NRG is on a winning streak, and have won 17 of their last 20 games, but that didn’t lead way to some struggles in the ESL One Qualifier. NRG dropped games against Renegades, and even to Complexity who they played in the winners and losers bracket. The map Cache gave NRG trouble as they end the weekend undefeated on every other map and 0-2 on Cache. It’s a section NRG needs to focus on in practice.

Outside of CeRq, Fugly made quite the difference in this match for NRG. Complexity wasn’t putting up gaudy kill numbers, but most of their team was contributing on 80% of fights and earned a large number of first kills, but Fugly made it really tough for them to get to CerQ. His many contributions to fights, and turning around disadvantageous situations led to a close NRG victory. In total, NRG only snuck by with a five-round win differential, and they even went to OT in game one.

Featured photo via ESL One 

 

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