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The first surprises in groups A and B of ESL One Cologne

Philipp Saedler's picture
Philipp Saedler
Senior Editor
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The first visitors day of gamescom also marked the kickoff of ESL One Cologne 2014. The third major tournament in CS:GO with a US$250,000 community-funded prize pool brought together the 16 best teams in the world, with all-star teams such Ninjas in Pyjamas, HellRaisers and LDLC competing alongside new faces on the scene like London Conspiracy and MTS GameGod Wolf.

Group A: Will Wolf surprise the fans?

Despite being matched against the most consistent top team in CS:GO history, MTS GameGod Wolf managed to have a quite good start as CT on dust2 against Ninjas in Pyjamas, keeping the score quite balanced while taking crucial shots on eco rounds that forced the Ninjas to surrender some of them. However, NiP got their strength back and took the first half 11-4. Wolf did not back down in the face of the lost rounds, however, taking both the pistol round and the quite tense follow-up round. NiP once again came back to underline their ambitions of victory in their third CS:GO major, winning the map 16-7. Even though NiP took the match, Wolf might have already demonstrated enough good plays to silence their critics.

Epsilon put a lot of pressure on HellRaisers, going on to lead on inferno 6-0. Picking up the seventh round didn’t help HR’s money management, with shox and his mates showing some impressive CT play and almost no weak link in their defence. Round after round, HellRaisers did their best to swing the game in their favor, but Epsilon’s big team performance gave them the strength to take the first half 14-1. Carrying on in this dominating style, Epsilon was able to follow up this impressive first half by taking the pistol round as well as the follow-up to bring the match home 16-1. An impressive come back for the Frenchmen after a bad finish at G3 has put them in a good position for a shot at the group win.

Even though they trained hard for ESL One, HellRaisers were pushed into an all or nothing game against the surprisingly well-playing MTS GameGod Wolf, who were able to take away a notable number of rounds from NiP. Mirage was the map to decide which team went home first. With Wolf picking up the first round due to HR being hunting players, the game got into its final stages early on as Wolf took the score up to 4-0. HR came back big and, finding a way to stop the Indians, dosia and his mates took the game to 11-4 in their favor by the end of the first half. The second half saw the CIS allstars bringing the score up to 16, with Wolf still giving some good plays but not being able to pick up any more rounds.



As most fans expected, MTS GameGod Wolf are the first team to go home. With a total of eleven rounds, their results were not the best, but against both NiP and HR they were able to compete to a certain degree. With some more time to prepare for this kind of challenge, we might see them be a match for the top teams yet!

Results:
  • MTS GameGod Wolf 7-16 Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Epsilon eSports 16-1 HellRaisers
  • MTS GameGod Wolf 4-16 HellRaisers

Group B: Could the Scandinavians dominate?

Team LDLC.com started off as CT against London Conspiracy on nuke, taking the lead right away. After winning the pistol round, LDLC went to 8-0, playing an almost flawless defense and stopping both rushes as well as timed pushes before LC were able to take home the first round. However, LDLC kept fighting hard to ensure that LC had little to no chance of scoring more T rounds. By the end of the first half, only two rounds went to LC, leaving them with a hell of a job as CT. However, LDLC was able to take the pistol round by storm, pushing the game further in their direction. In the end, LC was unable to take another round, letting the game finish 16-2 to LDLC.

On inferno, Natus Vincere took on the very strong-looking Copenhagen Wolves, who made themselves a rival out of Dignitas for the Danish crown in recent months. But Na’Vi, starting as the favored CT side, took the pistol and following rounds as well as the first equipped round from CPH Wolves. However, a nicely played fifth round became the first point scored by Karrigan and his mates. Despite this, Na’Vi stood strong, leaving quite some rounds for the Danish to plant the bomb but still able to make the first half finish 12-3 in their favor. CPH Wolves came back as CT, winning the pistol round in confident style with a good retake on bombsite B. After taking the more or less safe two rounds, Na’Vi struck back hard. With last-minute pushes with less than 20 seconds on the clock, the CPH Wolves found no real defence to prevent them bringing the score up to 16-6.

On cache, both London Conspiracy and Copenhagen Wolves faced an early ticket home, with only the winner able to make it to the second day of ESL One Cologne. LC started off lucky by winning the pistol round as T only to see CPH Wolves come back strong in their eco and take the second. This back and forth continued for the following rounds, but eventually saw the Danes finding their defensive strength and starting to pick up round after round bringing the score to 8-3 before LC was able to win another very close round. However, CPH Wolves took the lead back after that to bring the halftime score to 11-4 in their favor. Starting strong into their T half, cajunb earned the Wolves another round as well as the follow-up before LC was able to defend their ground for the first time. However, as the game unfolded further and further, CPH Wolves, pushed by a very competent cajunb, managed to end the game 16-5, sending home LC on the first day.



London Conspiracy had been one of the teams most predicted to cause upsets in Cologne, but the results of the first day soon put a stop to this. Some very well-played rounds weren’t enough, with them dropping out with only seven rounds won. This is certainly a blowback for the young team, but definitely not the last we will hear of them. 

Results:
  • London Conspiracy 2-16 Team LDLC.com
  • Natus Vincere 16-6 Copenhagen Wolves
  • London Conspiracy 5-16 Copenhagen Wolves 

Catch all the upcoming action on our stream, which you can find on the ESL One homepage. Which team’s performance has surprised you the most? Leave your vote in the comments below!