On Aug. 20, the biggest names in Counter-Strike will clash at ESL Cologne for a chance at winning a piece of a $250,000 prize pool. Over the weekend, four more teams secured their spot at the tournament after 16 European squads met in the region’s offline qualifier.
Group A featured a determined team Kinguin, who blazed past PENTA sport and Killerfish Esports in the opening two rounds, setting up a clash with Team Dignitas to decide who would be the first to qualify. While some expected a closely fought match, Kinguin took the win in dominating fashion, securing their spot with a 16-8 victory over the Danish side.
Meanwhile, in the lower bracket, Ukranian Flipsid3 Tactics put together their own string of good results after being knocked down in a shock upset against Killerfish. The team almost lost out immediately, requiring an overtime victory over Penta to progress. But after that, there seemed to be no looking back. The squad pushed aside Team property in a stylish 16-3 victory and then extracted revenge on Killerfish in a tense 16-14 win, then met Team Dignitas in the do or die lower bracket final. With both teams clearly pushing hard for the final spot of the group, Flipsid3 came out on top in a 19-16 victory in overtime.
The shock of the tournament happened in Group B, which saw Team Ebettle scrape their way through the winner bracket to secure the first spot. The Polish side required two overtimes to progress past the first round, defeating Finnish side Epiphany Bolt 22-19. Most viewers figured they would meet their end at the hands of Hellraisers, yet Ebettle surprised, securing a tense 16-14 victory to set up a final against Titan. Even with their recent roster changes, Titan was considered the easy favorite. So it was a surprise when Ebettle forced the game into overtime, and then another overtime, and then yet another overtime, before eventually taking the victory at 25-23. Ebettle’s Bartosz “Hyper” Wolny ended the match with 53 kills to 30 deaths.
Unfortunately, this meant the team that squeezed their way through the lower bracket would inevitably have to face off against the now-angry Titan. After their respective defeats in the winners bracket, Norweigan LGB and Hellraisers met to decide which would challenge Titan for a spot in the major. LGB was the eventual victor. But in the lower bracket final, Titan stepped up when it mattered most, proving they belonged in the major by dismantling LGB with an outstanding 16-2 victory on Dust 2.
With the offline qualifier over, we now know the European Challengers that will be joining the pre-qualified teams: Fnatic, Ninjas In Pyjamas, Mousesports, Virtus.Pro, Ex-Keyd Stars, Na’vi, Team EnvyUs, and Team Solomid.
Elsewhere, the Australian sides dominated the Asian qualifier with Team Immunity and Renegades claiming the two up-for-grabs qualifying spots. North America will host its offline qualifier on Aug 1, as Cloud9, CLG, Team Liquid, Luminosity Gaming and more chase after two more spots in Cologne.
Image via Valve
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