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ESL One: Cologne Staff Picks

by theScore eSports Staff Aug 19 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of Dennis Gonzales / ESL/theScore eSports

In this edition of Staff Picks, our experts made several bold statements about ESL One: Cologne and predict how the tournament will play out.

ESL One: Cologne Champion

Jacob Juillet - Prediction: EnVyUs

The hype is real. If kennyS finds his feet EnVyUs will be the best team in the world by a good margin. Not only did they utterly dominate Team SoloMid at IEM Gamescom, but as a newly-built roster, they will come into the event with unmatched confidence as well as an unknown air around their playstyle.

Paul Park - Prediction: Fnatic

It has been a while since we last saw the defending ESL One champions participate in a LAN event, but they should be in full force at Cologne. Their roster is still one of the deepest rosters in the game, and they have the deepest map pool to boot.

Although they haven’t been participating in a ton of events, their recent performances have been impressive. Going all the way back to the middle of June, Fnatic took first place at DreamHack Open Summer 2015 and first place at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals. Most recently, they placed top four at the FACEIT League Stage 2 Finals at DreamHack Valencia. It’s hard to argue against results like these.

Melissa Angilletta - Prediction: Fnatic

Fnatic have been on top since June of 2014. Although they have disappeared offline for over a month, they can beat all 16 teams at ESL One: Cologne 2015. The odds for Fnatic are too good to dispute.

Tournament MVP

Jacob - Prediction: Happy

As the in-game leader and often top contributor in Team EnVyUs’ games, Happy will have the most important role in a French comeback. He is in the peak form of his career and has the talent around him that can let him work his own magic through the event.

Paul Park - Prediction: olofmeister

A true star in the competitive scene, olofmeister is both consistent and explosive. The man is a statistical beast. At the two most recent tournaments where his team has taken first place, olofmeister finished in the top two for kill-death differential, going +42 at DreamHack Open Summer and +41 at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals. When his team wins, he’s always going to be at the top of the statistical charts, and this tournament should be no different.

Melissa Angilletta - Prediction: GuardiaN

Because of the sheer number of good teams, Natus Vincere are a team whose skill is constantly overlooked. GuardiaN plays a pivotal role in his team’s success, and like his team, his performance remains consistent. Whether Na`Vi will ever be considered the best team in the world hinders on the team’s collective performance, but it is predominantly reliant on whether GuardiaN can bear the weight on his shoulders when all the top teams gather.

X-Factor

Jacob - Prediction: karrigan

Team SoloMid have been struggling recently. It seems that in any event they enter, they either stumble early or fail to live up to expectations. The past week is key in whether or not TSM will be able to put up a deep run into the event. If a new team will claim a major title, it will likely be TSM, and if they do, it will be because of karrigan’s leadership.

Paul - Prediction: kennyS

After a rough patch of LAN events previous to the French shuffle, Team EnVyUs and Titan’s recent roster swap has EnVyUs looking like they might be in contention for the title at Cologne. kennyS was the “big name” signing for EnVyUs, and he will have to perform well for the team to truly contend for a major title. Luckily for the French AWPer, he no longer has to perform on godlike levels anymore, but he will need to step up when his number is called.

Melissa - Prediction: kennyS

After undergoing the recent roster change, Team EnVyUs have climbed their way back to the top. Whether it’s because they are catching teams by surprise or whether it’s due to the sheer amount of good players, EnVyUs are showing that they have what it takes to make it to the finals. With Happy leading the team and consistently being one its top fraggers, EnVyUs don’t need to rely on kennyS, but if kennyS can show that he is still one of the best AWPers in the world, EnVyUs will be unstoppable.

Biggest disappointment

Jacob - Prediction: Cloud9

The American heroes have built up too much hype for them to live up to. Their level of play jumped to an insane level over the past month, but having shown their cards early, it will be hard for them to keep it up in the biggest event the new lineup has played in. Of course, seangares will always study his opponents well and the talent on Cloud9 is nothing to laugh at, but they are not as deep as many of the other tournament favorites.

Paul - Prediction: Cloud9

The expectations for this team have bloomed to extraordinary proportions, and it seems that anything less than a top four finish is unacceptable with the way this team has been performing as of late. The group the Americans landed in is tricky to call as well, with mousesports, Virtus.pro and Cloud9 all capable of taking the group handedly. I personally have Virtus.pro taking the group, meaning that if Cloud9 get an unlucky draw for Day 2, they could be out of the tournament without even making the top eight.

Melissa - Prediction: Team SoloMid

TSM can beat Fnatic, but TSM can’t beat every other team they face anywhere near as convincingly. Their showing at Acer Predator Masters was one that could be overlooked, being eliminated early on to HellRaisers, but when they lost again at IEM Gamescom to Team EnVyUs, a red flag went up. This team needs to prepare hard to retain their godlike status.

Tournament dark horse

Jacob - Prediction: Ninjas in Pyjamas

Frankly, NiP have been disappointing in 2015. They have struggled to maintain consistency for most of the year and have had some of the worst results out of all of the previous major winners. Their issues have always come deep into events when their skill alone cannot overcome the teams that are in form. It seems that NiP have used their month off well as they are reportedly doing very well in practice, which when combined with their usual ability to step up at majors, should set them up for their best performance of the year.

Paul - Prediction: Team EnVyUs

To call a top tier team a “dark horse” seems a little odd but no one could argue the fact that the team was struggling before the big French shuffle. Our first look at the new lineup was at IEM Gamescom where they convincing took down Danish rivals Team SoloMid in three straight maps on the final day of the tournament. Although it’s unclear as to whether the team will get back to it’s winning ways with just one tournament (especially one that was as political as Gamescom) but if they play like they did at IEM, it’s definitely a possibility.

Melissa - Prediction: Ninjas in Pyjamas

NiP can be seen as a sleeper team until a Major come around. They are the lowest in rank they have ever been, but at the same time, they have been at all five Majors and have made it to the finals of all of them. It’s clear that they prepare well for Majors, and they definitely have the potential to go all the way even when their chances appear grim.

Biggest blowout

Jacob - Prediction: Virtus.pro vs. Team Immunity

The worst team in the event faces one of the best teams in CS:GO. There is nothing to say other than that this match will likely be a complete landslide that will see the Aussies’ Major hopes disappear in a heartbeat.

Paul - Prediction: Fnatic vs. Team eBettle

Arguably the best team in the world will take on arguably the worst team in the tournament. While eBettle showed some grit at the ESL One: Cologne European Qualifier to take down HellRaisers and Titan, Fnatic are on a completely different level. Unless Grubby’s teddy bear has some magical powers, it’s likely this game will not go long.

Melissa - Prediction: Fnatic vs. Team eBettle

Even with the amount of time given to prepare, this matchup is definitely not in eBettle’s favor. The difference in experience between these two teams is just too overwhelming.

Top 4

Jacob

  1. Team EnVyUs
  2. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  3. Fnatic
  4. Virtus.pro

Paul

  1. Fnatic
  2. Team EnVyUs
  3. Team SoloMid
  4. Natus Vincere

Melissa

  1. Fnatic
  2. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  3. Team EnVyUs
  4. Natus Vincere
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