ESL One Cologne is just a few days away, and it will mark the sixth year in a row where the world’s leading Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, influencers and fans have all come together for a weekend of action in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike.
The much-anticipated event gets underway on July 5th, with a total of 16 teams doing battle for the $300,000 prize money.
The Best Yet
Each iteration of the tournament has managed to out do its predecessor, and this one is already shaping up to be one of the best yet, with CS-Go’s leading stars all ready to do battle in an atmosphere which is very much unrivalled in the Counter-Strike scene. As one of Counter-Strike’s most distinguished tournaments, everyone is out to impress, and while Astralis looked to be the team to watch, they could have serious rivals this time around.
Team Liquid, who for most of last year were one step behind Astralis, look to be a completely new beast since switching up the team configuration at the start of the year, and this is likely to give Astralis some cause for concern. With Team Liquid having already picked up four LAN title finishes of late; they will be aiming to add the Intel Grand Slam Season 2 title to their haul, which is possible with victory in Cologne.
Two Horse Race
So, in terms of the likely outcome, it’s fair to say that everyone will be firmly fixed on the battle between Astralis and Team Liquid in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike. They’re the juggernauts when it comes to CS:GO right now, and while a result which sees either of the two not running out as winners would be exciting and extremely thrilling, it’s somewhat unlikely to happen this time around.
Many put Team Liquid’s newfound success down to the December arrival of Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, with the fragger having been the one to seemingly unlock the team’s potential. Liquid have found a nice balance through Stewie2K and scene veteran Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella, with patient play being mixed with trademark explosiveness, which has been the route to success for Team Liquid many times of late.
Astralis Can Do It
With so much hype surrounding Liquid, it could be easy to forget about Astralis for a moment, but that should never be the case. They’ve been involved in several LAN skirmishes recently as they look to prepare for Cologne as thoroughly as possible. While Astralis have been defeated by the likes of Liquid, Furia and NRG of late, this shouldn’t distract from the fact they have a solid team and ultimately know how to win when it matters.
Others To Look Out For
As well as the two heavyweights in Astralis and Team Liquid, there are several other teams who will be looking to stake a claim at ESL One. Furia, Team Vitality and Natus Vincere are all ones to watch, and all very capable on their day of pulling off an upset or two. Each of the three teams are made up of world class players, with none of them likely to be walkovers, even for the likes of Astralis and Liquid.