ESL One Cologne Recap 2019 , Team Liquid Wins Intel Grand Slam Season 2, The Start of an Era?

by in CS:GO | Jul, 8th 2019

It’s official, ladies and gentlemen! Team Liquid created history with their triumph in Cologne, Germany. They won the fourth ESL-organized competition in just four tournaments, a feat that will probably never happen again. We’ve witnessed incredible dominance over the course of the last few months, and it seems as though the greatest NA team has finally broken their second-place curse. And they’ve done so with proper style, if I may add. Winning over $1,000,000 in prize money from both ESL One Cologne and Intel Grand Slam, these five players (together with their coach AdreN) are definitely going down in history books. In fact, many CS:GO community members already started mentioning the beginning of the era of Team Liquid.

From all we’ve seen throughout the last couple of months, these rumors might be true. Astralis, Team Liquid’s biggest (and, realistically speaking, only) nemesis in 2018, is nowhere to be seen. At the moment, several teams look much better than them on the battlefield. Team Vitality, of course, being the main contender here.

The current state of affairs in the CS:GO is as complex as it can be. There seems to be a change of pace across the board. We’re seeing Scandinavian teams fall down the ranks with rapid pace while French and NA CS:GO finally start to flourish. The next month or so will be of crucial importance for everyone in the top flight. With the StarLadder Berlin Major less than two months away, and with the competitive scene being the hectic mess it is at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more upsets in the top ten.

But, enough with the introductory section! Let’s focus on the matter at hand… that would be our ESL One Cologne recap. After that, we’ll get back to rumors surrounding the Team Liquid era, as well as go through the biggest contenders for the upcoming BLAST Pro Series clashes in the City of Angels.

ESL One Cologne Recap | Interesting Facts

Let’s take things slow and start off with the most interesting facts from Cologne with a brief ESL One Cologne recap!

  • As mentioned in the introductory section, Team Liquid triumphed in Cologne, winning not only ESL One Cologne but Intel Grand Slam Season 2 as well. Plus, they’ve done so with a perfect record, a feat that might not ever be repeated. Liquid’s night in Cologne definitely goes down as the biggest accomplishment in the history of North American CS:GO!
  • Team Vitality continues to impress. After winning Charleroi Esports 2019, cs_summit 4, and ECS S7 Finals, they’ve reached the grand finals in Cologne and put up a great fight against the world’s #1. With ZywOo and RpK leading the charge, Vitality took Dust II to level the finals at 1-1, but the duo was overpowered by the Americans on the following two maps.
  • FaZe Clan ventures into another slump, as if all that Tfue drama wasn’t enough. This time around, NiKo and the boys were stopped in the group stage, first losing against NRG in the upper and then against Mousesports in the lower bracket. Their ESL One Cologne performance falls in the same basket as their IEM XIV Sydney, DH Masters Dallas, and ESL Pro League flops.

Group Stage Drama

There was a fair bit of drama in the group stage. The most notable teams on the losing end were FaZe Clan and ENCE, and Renegades. The latter two finished the tournament after just two matches. Obviously, they didn’t win a single one. FaZe Clan, on the other hand, had one win (a tight one against Renegades) but failed to show up against NRG and Mousesports. In the end, Group A saw Liquid, NRG, and NaVI through, while group B paved the way for Astralis, NiP, and Team Vitality.

Unpredictable Playoffs

The first quarterfinals match went according to everyone’s expectations. NaVi cruised to victory against NiP but ultimately failed to deliver in the semifinals against Team Liquid. Natus Vincere losing against Team Liquid is slowly becoming a tradition, so it’s fair to say both of these matches were quite straightforward.

However, that’s where easily predictable outcomes end. The other end of the bracket was packed with surprises. First off, Vitality’s quarterfinals win against NRG took a lot of people by surprise. Don’t get me wrong, we all knew Vitality has the quality to take NRG on, but after their poor group stage performances, many started doubting their chances. That’s when ZywOo showed up for the occasion and snatched 52 kills in two matches. 52 kills in 46 rounds, with average damage per round coming close to 110.

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Even though ZywOo was on a proper roll, Astralis was still the bookies’ favorite coming into the semifinals match. However, bookies didn’t consider the fact ZywOo might actually be the world’s best fragger at the moment. With 75 kills, 1.36 HLTV rating, and 81.5 ADR across three maps, the 18-year old French miracle led his team to the grand finals.

Now, I don’t want to talk too much about the grand finals match. It was great. Amazing, better yet! With Twistzz, EliGE, and NAF doing everything in their power to win the IGS S2 gold, and with ZywOo and RpK pulling on the other end, the ecstatic Cologne crowd was up for a proper spectacle. In the end, mere nuances decided the winner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see Liquid take that trophy but, realistically speaking, it could’ve easily been ZywOo’s and RpK’s night as well.

As I said, mere nuances decided the winners… as it should be in a grand final of this importance!

The Era of Team Liquid | Could it Happen?

Onto the real meat of our ESL One Cologne recap, could this be the start of Team Liquid’s era?

Yep, this is now the million-dollar question. Well, not literally, since as you know Team Liquid already won a million dollars on Sunday. Jokes aside, such marvelous performances by Team Liquid in the last few months really do spark these rumors.

However, even though it seems Astralis is sinking deeper and deeper, they’re the type of team that can easily bounce right back up. If that happens, we could be in for a fair share of titanic clashes, with two top-flight team going back and forth for era-worthy dominance.

In all honesty, Team Liquid’s 2018 team didn’t need much. AdreN at the coaching position and Stewie2K as the entry fragger. That’s all it took to break the second-place curse. Obviously, EliGE has been the first name on TL team sheet during the last month in which TL won four trophies.

The 21-year old prodigy averaged 1.29 K/D rating, with +203 K/D difference in less than 40 maps. NAF, Twistzz, Stewie2K, and Nitr0 have been great as well, with consistency being their strongest virtue. They’re all tightly packed (four digits) as far as rating is concerned, emphasizing their consistency and teamwork in the best possible way.

Considering all that, if all five players get enough rest, find a peace of mind after such an enormous win, and manage to transition their form from Europe, there’s no doubt in my mind TL’s performance can snowball into a mighty era!

BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles 2019 | Expectations

With Astralis out of the picture for BPS LA, I expect to see Team Liquid cement their ticket to the Global Finals scheduled for December. Most of their competition will be from their own region, NA. NRG; Renegades, MIBR, and Cloud9, with only FaZe Clan acting as the European usurpers.

If EliGe and Twistzz are able to transition their form from Cologne to LA, their home soil, I expect nothing but a hugely dominant W here. Yep, this really could be Team Liquid’s moment to shine. After all, this will be their first tournament on home soil after accomplishing the greatest feat in the history of North American CS:GO… and we all know just how electric LA fans can be.

That said, BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles 2019 is going to be a proper spectacle. The timing is perfect, the team sheet is perfect, and it’s going to serve as one heck of a “training” for ESL One New York and StarLadder Major Berlin.

Thanks for stopping by for our ESL One Cologne recap! If you’re anxious for more, no worries, we’ll have a comprehensive BPS LA Preview ready before you know it!


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