Na’Vi and BIG Clan both pull momentumental upsets to reach the ESL One: Cologne Grand Finals

Monumental might be an understatement when considering the type of day Big Clan, the only German-native team, had at ESL One: Cologne. The team that some thought didn’t even earn the invite to this event are three map wins away from doing the unthinkable and winning the whole damn event. It all comes down to one huge game, in front of a massive crowd of rabid Counter-Strike fans in Germany.

The storylines coming out of this event, aside from an early exit from Team Liquid, were all focused on the insurgence of the German side. The former NRG team, headed by tabseN and gob b, who is looked at as influential leaders on BIG, were certainly not a popular pick to make a deep run. After losing early to Fnatic on day two, BIG came together and strung together a strong performance after another.

TabseN’s and nex went absolutely off in the win: a combined 155 kills, and a staggering +44 that ultimately sealed the deal for FaZe Clan and their hopes of winning the intel grand slam. On all three maps, these two players made it increasingly difficult on Rain to clutch out rounds, and they essentially shutdown Guardian, who was having a strong ESL before the loss. FaZe looked like the team to beat once again, but after gaining momentum in that the third and final map of the match, BIG Clan never slowed down. The 12-3 first half sealed any hopes of a FaZe win.

Who Wins the Finals?

Picking between these two teams is tough considering both are coming off emotional, upset wins. Both teams enter Sunday with an amazing sense of momentum at their backs, and it feels as if the intangibles will make the difference. Natus Vincere definitely has the experience advantage, but it’s going to be a full-house of German fans feverishly chanting for their new German heroes.

For Na’vi, it took all they had in them to get past the Dutch side, Astralis. Seeing Zeus pop-off on Inferno and Electronic play a consistent, frag-heavy game is the main reasons this team was able to pull it off. Astralis is going to overwhelm teams top-to-bottom, but with Simp1e playing, at arguably an MVP level all it takes is a few other Na’vi players to step up. That’s how this team got over the hump and have a serious chance of winning it all.

Now, despite all the hype surrounding BIG Clan, and the crowd support they’ll surely receive tomorrow, Na’vi has to be looked upon as the favorite. BIG Clan looked like the best team overall, but it’s tough to see them duplicating their peak performance like they did on map three against FaZe. If that team shows up, Na’vi’s in for a treat, but with Simp1e playing at his mind-blowingly strong level, it’s going to be tough to shut down that firepower.

Featured Image courtesy of ESL

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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

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

 

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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