ESL One Cologne is set to kick off tomorrow in both Europe and North America.
Cologne is traditionally one of the most prestigious events on the CS:GO calendar. But this time, it’ll be played online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament has been split into four regions: Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania.
Sixteen CS:GO teams will be playing in it from Europe, while the North American event will have eight squads. ESL One Cologne 2020 will feature all of the top 10 teams in the world, including BIG, Vitality, Evil Geniuses, Natus Vincere, G2, Fnatic, FaZe, FURIA, Complexity, and Liquid.
Here’s everything you need to know about ESL One Cologne Europe and North America.
ESL One Cologne will be broadcast on ESL’s two Twitch channels since the matches in the group stage will be played simultaneously. If your favorite team isn’t playing on the main broadcast, you can follow them on the second channel.
ESL will use a GSL double-elimination best-of-three group stage format for both regions. The European teams have been split into two groups of eight, while the North Americans have been separated in two groups of four. In Europe, the top four teams from each group qualify for the playoffs, while in North America, only the two best will make it.
The playoffs will use a single-elimination best-of-three bracket for Europe and North America. Only the grand finals will be played as a best-of-five series. ESL will distribute $325,000 of the prize pool for Europe and $135,000 for North America.
Europe – Group A
- Coach: tow b
- Coach: B1ad3
- Coach: keita
Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Coach: THREAT
- Coach: ruggah
- Bymas (sixth player)
- Coach: Rejin
- Coach: peacemaker
- Coach: enkay J
Europe – Group B
- Coach: XTQZZZ
- Coach: maLek
- Coach: Samuelsson
- Coach: YNk
- gla1ve (on medical leave)
- Xyp9x (on medical leave)
- Coach: zonic
- Coach: dead
- Coach: HUNDEN
- Coach: B1GGY
North America – Group A
- Coach: guerri
- Coach: Elmapuddy
- Coach: ImaPet
- Coach: mCe
North America – Group B
- Coach: zews
- Coach: moses
- Coach: T.c
- Coach: tacitus
Tuesday, Aug. 18
- 8am CT: BIG vs. Sprout
- 8am CT: OG vs. NiP
- 11:30am CT: Vitality vs. Heretics
- 11:30am CT: Fnatic vs. Astralis
- 3pm CT: FURIA vs. Chaos
- 3pm CT: 100 Thieves vs. Gen.G
Wednesday, Aug. 19
- 8am CT: Na`Vi vs. mousesports
- 8am CT: Complexity vs. MAD Lions
- 11:30am CT: FaZe vs. Heroic
- 11:30am CT: G2 vs. MIBR
- 3pm CT: EG vs. Triumph
- 3pm CT: Liquid vs. Cloud9
Thursday, Aug. 20
- 8am CT: Europe Group A lower bracket round one first match
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B lower bracket round one first match
- 3pm CT: North America Group A winners match
Friday, Aug. 21
- 8am CT: Europe Group A lower bracket round one second match
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B lower bracket round one second match
- 3pm CT: North America Group B winners match
Saturday, Aug. 22
- 8am CT: Europe Group A upper bracket first semifinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B upper bracket first semifinal
- 3pm CT: North America Group A elimination match
Sunday, Aug. 23
- 8am CT: Europe Group A upper bracket second semifinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B upper bracket second semifinal
- 3pm CT: North America Group B elimination match
Tuesday, Aug. 25
- 8am CT: Europe Group A lower bracket first semifinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B lower bracket first semifinal
- 3pm CT: North America Group A decider match
Wednesday, Aug. 26
- 8am CT: Europe Group A lower bracket second semifinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe Group B lower bracket second semifinal
- 3pm CT: North America Group B decider match
Thursday, Aug. 27
- 8am CT: Europe first quarterfinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe second quarterfinal
- 3pm CT: North America first semifinal
Friday, Aug. 28
- 8am CT: Europe third quarterfinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe fourth quarterfinal
- 3pm CT: North America second semifinal
Saturday, Aug. 29
- 8am CT: Europe first semifinal
- 11:30am CT: Europe second semifinal
- 3pm CT: North America grand finals
Sunday, Aug. 30
- 11:30am CT: Europe grand finals
BIG have been steamrolling opponents during this online era of CS:GO. The Germans won three meaningful events in a row—DreamHack Masters Srping Europe in June, cs_summit six Europe in July, and DreamHack Open Summer Europe on Aug. 16. Although BIG won’t be playing in front of the German crowd this year, a first-place finish at ESL One Cologne Europe would mean the world to them. TabseN and crew almost won it in 2018 but were stopped by Na’Vi in the grand finals.
This year was looking bright for Na’Vi. The Russians had a great run at BLAST Premier Spring Series and won one of the most prestigious events of the year, IEM Katowice—the last big event held on LAN in February. But since the transition to online play, things aren’t going as well for s1mple and his teammates. Na’Vi have failed to reach the grand finals at meaningful tournaments and have only won two minor events—Gamers Without Borders in May and WePlay! Clutch Island in June, the last one with CIS teams only. Na’Vi will look to make a deep run at ESL One Cologne Europe.
Astralis will debut two players at ESL One Cologne Europe: Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen and Patrick “es3tag” Hansen. The duo will replace gla1ve and Xyp9x, who are still on medical leave due to feeling symptoms related to burnout in May after the team won the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament in Europe—ESL One Road to Rio. With gla1ve out of the picture, Magisk will be responsible for leading the Danes at ESL One Cologne Europe. How will they play? What changes will we see? Will Astralis keep up with the tactical approach they’re known for or go for more individual plays? There are a lot of questions surrounding Astralis at the moment and we’ll know more after this tournament ends.
G2 have been one of the most exciting teams to keep track of since they added huNter- and nexa in September 2019. The Balkan duo changed how the French squad plays CS:GO and have reignited kennyS’ fire. G2, however, seemingly lost steam at the end of the first half of the 2020 CS:GO season and failed to make deep runs at BLAST Premier Spring Europe finals and cs_summit six Europe in June. They’ve finished as the runners-up at three big events this year—IEM Katowice, ESL One Road to Rio Europe, and DreamHack Masters Spring Europe. Is this the time for G2 to finally lift a big trophy after three years? Their last one was at DreamHack Masters Malmö in September 2017, when G2 still featured the super French lineup with shox, kennyS, NBK-, and apEX.
FaZe likely had the most unexpected addition of 2020. The international team signed Kjaerbye this month after the 22-year-old mutually parted ways with North in July. The Danish talent’s versatile playstyle could help rain on entry or play as a hard lurker. With Kjaerbye, FaZe CS:GO will also return to its roots since they have four star players and the last player, broky, is unarguably on his way to becoming one. Will NiKo know how to use all this firepower? Although Kjaerbye’s addition was considered good by many analysts, there are still doubts regarding NiKo’s in-game leadership skills. The best way for the Bosnian and the rest of the team to prove people wrong is to make a playoff run at ESL One Cologne Europe.
Moving on to North America, the competition has seemingly lost a bit of force due to MIBR playing in the European tournament. There are still five big teams, though, in EG, FURIA, Liquid, Gen.G, and 100 Thieves. EG have looked great since adding zews in April. They won the two last big tournaments ahead of the player break in July—BLAST Premier Spring Americas finals and cs_summit six North America.
But are EG capable of beating FURIA and Liquid again? The last two attended DreamHack Open Summer North America last week and reached the grand finals, with FURIA beating Liquid 2-1 yesterday. All of these three teams have an immense amount of firepower, especially Liquid after they replaced nitr0 with Grim, the hottest North American prospect. We’ll see if EG, FURIA, and Liquid will crush the opposition or if teams like Gen.G and 100 Thieves have worked on their game during the player break in July. One thing is for sure: There’s no favorite to win ESL One Cologne North America.