The Brazilian SK Gaming roster, who won the previous Valve Major in Columbus, Ohio earlier this year as Luminosity Gaming, were considered the favorites heading into the Major in Cologne. What few people expected, however, was that Team Liquid would be their opponents in the grand final of the $1 million tournament.
Playing with a makeshift roster due to Team Liquid’s most recent signing—Jacob “pimp” Winneche not being eligible to compete at the event—the North American roster brought in controversial former superstar Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev as a stand-in for the duration of the event. Despite this, the team fought their way through one of the toughest paths imaginable in order to get to the grand finals: Eliminating mousesports, Na`Vi and Fnatic throughout the tournament, becoming the first ever North American team to reach the finals of a Major.
But none of their opponents came close to the force of nature that is SK Gaming. In two exceedingly quick maps, the Brazilians beat Team Liquid into submission. Winning seemingly impossible eco-rounds with absurd individual performances and running circles around Team Liquid in the gun-rounds.
The ESL One Cologne grand finals also became the official coming out party for Marcelo “coldzera” David, as there is no longer any doubt that SK Gaming’s star is the best player in the world. Seamlessly switching between rifling and AWPing, coldzera’s versatility was instrumental in SK’s complete demolition of their opponents in the grand final. Something that is reflected all too easily in his performance throughout the series; going 44-20 in kills/deaths and averaging a HLTV rating of 1.58, a whole 0.64 more than Team Liquid’s top performer Josh “jdm64” Marzano, who had a total of 29-35 in kills/deaths.
SK Gaming are now officially in the history books of CS:GO, joining Fnatic and EnVyUs as the third ever two-time Major champions. The year is still young, however, and at this point there’s no reason to think that we are not living in the SK Gaming era.