A look at the teams for ESL One Cologne: Part 15 – Counter Logic Gaming.
Part 1 – Cloud9
Part 2 – Immunity
Part 3 – mousesports
Part 4 – Virtus.pro
Part 5 – FlipSid3 Tactics
Part 6 – Kinguin
Part 7 – Luminosity Gaming
Part 8 – EnVyUs
Part 9 – Titan
Part 10 – Natus Vincere
Part 11 – eBettle
Part 12 – FNATIC
Part 13 – Renegades
Part 14 – Ninjas in Pyjamas
Counter Logic Gaming made fine entry to the International scene by beating LDLC at MLG Aspen, who went on to become EnVyUs, in a close match on Dust2 with the score 16:14 (Dust2) due to a massive performance from ptr. However, in their last two matches they got a combined 12 rounds against Liquid and FNATIC. They managed to qualify for ESL One Katowice 2015, where the Americans won against HellRaisers 16:14 (Nuke), however, they were unable to challenge Ninjas in Pyjamas who beat them 16:7 (Mirage), and they also lost to Keyd Stars 8:16 (Dust2).
After a couple of events where the team had troubles repeating their performance the team parted way with ptr, but they had no direct replacement ready and were open for applications, and also tried cadiaN before deciding to reintroduce jdm64 to their roster.
The first real test with international competitors was at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 where Counter Logic Gaming managed to beat FNATIC 16:12 (Mirage) and was quite surprising, as the Americans played well, but also had done their research with FNATIC and scouting their tendencies and abused it to their advantage. They then beat Keyd Stars 16:9 (Cache). In the semifinal they ran into their North American rivals from Cloud9, who cemented their claim as the best North American team by beating Counter Logic Gaming 16:5 (Cache), 16:8 (Dust2).
They didn’t manage to impress at ESWC 2015 where they first lost 13:16 (Cache) to Renegades, they did win against Bravado 16:7 (Dust2), but as they faced EnVyUs they fell short against the French squad 10:16 (Cache).
At CEVO Season 7: Professional they had to play with a standin as FNS was unable to obtain a VISA. They faced Cloud9 and while they lost the match it was a closer match than last time ending 16:10 (Cobblestone), 19:17 (Cache) to Cloud9 . Against Liquid the Counter Logic Gaming team proved victorious 16:5 (Train), 3:16 (Mirage), 16:12 (Dust2), and then they faced Cloud9 again, who again was too strong beating CLG 16:12 (Dust2), 16:9 (Cache). As it was not their full squad attending it was not a bad display, but the revitalized Cloud9 simply were too strong yet again.
At the ESL One Cologne 2015 NA Offline Qualifier they beat eLevate 16:11 (Overpass), and narrowly winning against Mythic, ex-Luminosity, 16:14 (Dust2) and in the qualifying final for Cologne they won against Liquid 16:9 (Cache), 16:14 (Mirage).
The team came last at IEM Season X gamescom, however, due to the format as well as how the teams made alliances and played each other, as it was the only reason Renegades came third, their first match was against SK who they played close, but in the end NiKo, who was standing in, proved too strong and SK won 16:12 (Overpass). Their next match was against the other Danish team there, Team SoloMid, and while they lost again it was a respectable loss at 12:16 (Train). When they faced the new EnVyUs lineup they ended up on Inferno, a map that CLG is not very strong on, and they lost 13:16 (Inferno), but it was actually a fairly impressive display by the Americans if you take into the account that they aren’t strong on the map, and they were playing one of the teams with the most talent in the lineup.
Their last match was against Team SoloMid, where device went absolutely ham and had 29 kills after the first 15 rounds, and CLG were unable to recover from the onslaught by device and the match ended 16:7 (Inferno).
While they didn’t win a map during the tournament the only map where they got beaten comprehensible was against a device on fire, as they played close in their two other maps against EnVyUs and Team SoloMid. They should perhaps have won the match against SK, and they most likely would if NiKo had been playing slightly worse, but he can carry a team to victory and he did several times for SK during the tournament. Their overall display was much better than their placement would suggest.
Counter Logic Gaming is in my opinion the second strongest North American team, but they are nowhere near Cloud9, and while their results since reintroducing jdm64 has been decent it is not a perfect fit. While they do not play Inferno that much or well it might be due to practice, but Inferno is not an amazing map to AWP on as T as unless you go for a pick-play and hopes he can catch a defender he will be without much effect for the push on either of the sites, as most tactics revolve around smokes and flashing yourself into close quarters. The amount of times that jdm64 had to save his AWP as T because everyone else had died was extremely high, and while he did have some pretty good rounds as CT with the AWP his T AWPing was hardly with any impact. To put it into perspective over the last three months at LANs 61% of his kills have come from the AWP , whereas kennyS is at 46% and chrisJ at 38%, and I would put both of these players in a league above jdm64 in terms of AWP capabilities, but they can also play with rifles something that jdm64 struggles with.
I was quite impressed by their constant change in CT setups they had when playing Inferno, and if they can approach their T-side in the same manner they do hold some upset potential, as a player like tarik can be the best player on the server.
In terms of their map pool I would say that their strong maps would be: Train, Dust2, and their decent maps being: Cache, Mirage, and their worst maps is in my opinion Overpass, Cobblestone and Inferno. Their Inferno wasn’t too bad at IEM gamescom, but up until that point it had been pretty poor, and while a site like CSGONUTS would tell you that they have a 75% win record on Overpass is it vastly inflated by playing tier 3 and 4 teams from North America.
They are playing Ninjas in Pyjamas in their first match, and while it would be fun if they could provide another upset against one of the top Swedish teams then I seriously doubt it, as since both teams are close in terms of what maps they are good at and which they are poorly on. Unless either almost everyone on the Counter Logic Gaming squad is going to perform above their level, and/or the players from Ninjas in Pyjamas will be underperforming greatly I do not see them winning the match, and while I would rank them as the 4th best challenger team I think a reasonable placement for them would be 9-12th, but with an upset here or there they might even make 5-8th as they do have a capable squad.
Links taken from HLTV.org and Liquipedia.