Three days of main stage competition has concluded in Germany and SK walk away with a title which came fairly easily, despite tough opponents. Join us for the ESL Cologne Recap.
ESL Cologne Recap: Finalists
The Brazilians of SK had a disastrous group stage by self set standards. They finished 3-2 with losses to Space Soldiers and G2. However, having secured a spot on the main stage, the Brazilian team had a fairly smooth course, first dismissing OpTic in a relatively closely fought series, closing it out 2 maps to 1.
Moving deeper into the bracket, SK met FaZe in a match to excite all fans of competitive CS:GO. It was a LAN best-of-three between the top two ranked teams in the world. However, this particular match was not one to behold, with SK eliminating FaZe in consecutive maps 16-4 and 19-16.
The American squad of Cloud9 are a team which many would not consider worthy of a finalist role in Cologne. Through sheer perseverance and gripping play, Cloud9 secured a finals berth.
Firstly dismissing NiP in three maps, the American side looked threatening from the start. On cache, Cloud9 looked to struggle against a NiP side which looks unstoppable on the map right now.
In the semis, Cloud9 dismissed Na’Vi in a series which looks simple on the surface, being 2-0, but both maps were a slog for both teams, going 30 and 29 rounds respectively. However, the entirety of the semi final against Na’Vi wasn’t as long as the marathon match which these two teams had in group stages which went into quintuple overtime.
ESL Cologne Recap: The Final
The final status of SK shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, as they were picked as favourites prior to the event. On the other hand you have Cloud9, a team which often struggles in major tournaments but are currently showing up when it matters, just prior to the Krakow Major.
The final started on cobblestone, a comfort pick for SK which they made clear, dismissing Cloud9 16-9. Next came Cloud9’s pick of train, which although is fairly good for the Americans of C9, SK proved their dominance on all maps by winning 11 offensive rounds to close the map out.
Being on the ropes after falling in consecutive maps, Cloud9 looked to be competitive in inferno, a map which had historically been very good for the American squad. After putting an impressive defensive performance, going up 10-5, in similar fashion to train, Cloud9 once again faltered in the second half.
Once more, SK proved to be too much for Cloud9 by showing them the door in three consecutive maps. They were crowned ESL Cologne champions for the second year in a row.
ESL Cologne Recap: Looking Forward
Going into the major, SK should look to consolidate themselves when it comes to dismissing lower class teams. This event exposed a weakness of SK’s in ability to take care of group stage games. Should SK be able to take care of their minor weaknesses in the upcoming week prior to Krakow, the squad will look in fine form to contest for the biggest title in the game.
Their opponents however should look to focus on the immediate tasks, rather than the big picture which SK looks at. Due to historical non performance at the majors, making it out of groups would be a massive achievement for Cloud9 while simultaneously being the furthest that the Americans had made it.
What did you think of ESL Cologne? Tell us in the comments below!