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"The tournament couldn't be more cutthroat": Jason Kaplan, Machine and Pansy talk ESL One Cologne 2015

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The biggest CS:GO event in the world is shaping up to be the most competitive tournament to date, with an incredibly stacked lineup made up of the world’s very best teams. Yesterday, we had Joe Miller and Leigh “Deman” Smith give us their predictions for ESL One Cologne. Now, we have our very own Jason Kaplan, Alex “Machine” Richardson and Lauren “Pansy” Scott giving us their views on the outcome of this epic event.

Jason Kaplan

“The tournament couldn't be more cutthroat, with three teams from North America, two from Oceania and eleven from Europe. Everyone is looking to see who will be crowned the new champion, but the team I’m looking forward to seeing in action most is EnVyUs for a couple of reasons.

With shox and SmithZz having been traded with Titan and apEX and kennyS coming onto the EnVyUs lineup, it has changed the way both of these teams play. For Titan, kennyS was seen as the guy who had to step up in the past if they wanted to win games. Now, in this new roster with so many individually skilled players, he doesn't have to be the one to do that. What also makes him joining the team so deadly is the fact that Happy can AWP at a top level as well. Whoever is feeling confident can run the AWP and this allows them to be unpredictable. We have seen a lot of top teams with two capable AWPers - Fnatic with jw and olof, VP with pasha and neo, TSM with device and cajunb, etc. This makes teams really hard to stop once they get a stable economy going and can afford the double AWP setup.

apEX seems to have been unleashed, playing a more comfortable style of entry fragging which has allowed him to excel. You pair him with kennyS and you have a very scary team. I would expect EnVyUs to get top four at least, but I expect them to be in the finals.”


Jason Kaplan enjoying CS:GO

Alex “Machine” Richardson

“Oh man, there is so much to be excited about at the coming major. Fnatic are coming into this as both defending champions and only team to hold two major titles. On the other hand, their previous grand final counterparts Ninjas in Pyjamas are coming to Cologne with a surprisingly lacklustre few months under their belt. However, then there are the two new French rosters after the shuffle, leaving a very fresh-faced EnVyUs and a motivated Titan, both of which I look forward to seeing after the preparations they’ve made.

While most eyes are locked on the European favorites, North America and Oceania are not to be ignored, most notably Cloud9, who have recently been much more recognised as a valid threat after rising off the back of the two roster swaps. Behind them sit CLG and Renegades, who both showed good signs of growth and development, but CLG more so with close-cut losses versus EnVy and TSM. I expect to see the Danes fight tooth and nail both for their shot at a major final but also being the sole Danish side at the major after an upsetting finish for both Dignitas and SK in the qualifiers.

Kinguin, the group of outstanding individuals who have been thrown together and as of late posting good wins against the top four both online and offline, are most definitely a team I wouldn’t be surprised to see making progress in the playoffs.

With all these names dropped, I haven’t even begun to mention Na’Vi, Virtus.pro and Titan - the list goes on! There are far too many teams and individuals I’m looking forward to seeing in action on the big stage.”

Lauren “Pansy” Scott

“This is probably the toughest major to select a top three for for me. There are so many teams who could shine - Fnatic, the current reigning champions, are still tipped as being ahead of the bunch, but with TSM not too far behind, Virtus.pro and EnVy biting at their heels, this is going to make for one hell of an event.

Let’s not forget those were the favorites here - the list of teams who could upset is just as long. If I HAD to make a prediction, I think the most logical would be Fnatic making it to the finals, TSM not too far behind and then third going to whoever turns up on form.

There is almost no way to predict this perfectly, but that's also the beauty of it. The teams have kept their cards close to their chests - no one knows what they are going to bring to this event, but it’s the one everyone wants to win.”

ESL One Cologne is almost here!

There’s still time to join us at the LANXESS Arena for ESL One Cologne 2015! Tickets are almost sold out, so be sure to secure yours here. If you can’t make it to Cologne, you can also watch the finals on the big screen of your local movie theater thanks to the Esports in Cinemas project - get your ticket here!

For all the important updates about ESL One Cologne, be sure to visit the event’s official website and follow @ESLCS on Twitter.