ESL One Cologne: Preview
Posted 2016-07-04 Dare_Dev1L
Fnatic will be playing in one of the most hyped Majors of the year this Tuesday. ESL One Cologne will be hosting its 2016 edition with a pot of $1,000,000. The event will run from the 5th of July until the 10th, with the playoffs starting on the 8th.
Sixteen teams will be battling it out at the Lanxess Arena, as they did in the 2015 playoffs. The sixteen participants have been distributed into four seeding pools according to their placing at the previous Major and at the offline qualifier. Fnatic has been placed into the second seeding pool and thus has been placed in Group D with SK (formerly Luminosity) in first seed, FaZe in third seed, and G2 in the fourth seed. So how does Fnatic currently match-up against the so-called “group of death”? Who is Fnatic’s biggest rival and what are the team’s biggest challenges?
Group Stage: Preview
Group D is possibly the toughest group to predict in this Major. The performance of some of the teams has changed dramatically in recent months, but the seeding pools do not reflect their current rankings. The teams are also facing different challenges compared to the last Major or the offline qualifiers. This is especially true for Fnatic.
We’ll begin by taking a look at SK and its first seed placing. SK was previously called Luminosity and has been the talk of the town for the past few months. They have solidified their current position as the best team in the world and are the team to beat. They were favored to battle Fnatic in the ECS final. Interestingly enough, they were defeated in the final by G2, the dark horse of the tournament and the same team that beat Fnatic in the semi-final. Despite both Fnatic’s and SK’s unexpected defeats in the ECS, there are still a lot of people who believe they will face-off in the finals of the Major. First of all, people haven’t forgotten the dominant six event win streak by Fnatic earlier this year and secondly, a large portion of the community believe that Fnatic will return to dominance after Olofmeister’s return. SK is definitely Fnatic’s biggest rival for the upcoming title and this is familiar territory, as SK has been one of Fnatic’s biggest rivals throughout Counter-Strike 1.6’s history.
Recent history places FaZe in an awkward position. They are definitely the underdog of the group but they should not be underestimated. During ELEAGUE they gave Fnatic a major challenge and dominated the rest of the group alongside them. That said, they were defeated rather easily in the group final. We give them credit for topping the rest of the group and taking a map off of Fnatic. In the “group of death,” however, they would require an exceptional performance from their star players to pull off a few upsets and finish in the top half of the group. A battle with Fnatic should, in theory, mirror the results of ELEAGUE and previous events.
The biggest question mark at ESL One Cologne is undeniably G2. G2 was placed as the fourth seed of the seeding pool, which was based on results long before their recent performances. After witnessing their surprise victory at the ECS Season 1 Finals, it is difficult to consider them a fourth seed. After all, they put on a stellar performance at ECS and managed to defeat both SK and Fnatic. This rising star has been placed together with established champions and if they perform as well as they did at ECS, then anything can happen in Group D. It is a challenging group with a lot of potential for surprises and big team eliminations.
After a few months of having stand-ins, the toughest job for Fnatic will be to adapt to other teams while rebuilding our own. Olofmeister has had a fantastic return to activity and it showed in his performance at ELEAGUE. That said, the boys had a tough break at the ECS Season 1 Finals and are not completely back in their comfort zone yet. Nonetheless, we have faith in them to triumph in the group of death.
I could rave on about how well Olofmeister has been doing since his recovery, but in all fairness the spotlight should go to Flusha. Flusha is famously known for being the biggest MVP at Majors. He consistently pulls off huge numbers and is one of the biggest reasons for Fnatic’s Major titles. Flusha was also the star of the team during Olof’s hiatus, remaining consistent as well as calling the shots. Since Olof’s return, Flusha has been pulling off the second best ratings on the team. If there is someone to watch out for at ESL One Cologne, it’s definitely Flusha.
For the group stage on July 5-7, the matches are scheduled to start at 11:00 CEST. On the 8th, the Quarter-Finals will begin at 10:00 CEST. On July 9th, the Semi-Finals will begin at 15:00 CEST. The Grand Final will be on Sunday, July 10th at 17:00 CEST.