ESL One Cologne will be one of the most competitive majors of all time, with various teams tipped as potential victors. Among these is French powerhouse EnvyUS, who come into the tournament with a couple of fresh faces.
On June 20, Titan and Team EnvyUs partook in the “French shuffle,” a dramatic roster carousel that saw star AWPer Kenny “Kennys” Schrub and Dan “Apex” Madesclaire switch from Titan to Envy, while Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux and Richard “Shox” papillon went the other way.
The new-look EnvyUs claimed their first trophy at IEM gamescom, and now they come into ESL One Cologne expecting more success. Their attempt at the title started with a 2-0 win in the group stage, securing their berth in the playoffs.
“I think our performance in the group stage was pretty great,” said new acquisition Schrub, who claimed a 19-16 overtime victory over Brazilian side Luminosity Gaming to qualify out of the group stages. “Our first match vs flipsid3 was really good as well and we expected some difficulty from Luminosity but we won in the end which is all that matters.”
It’s not common to see a roster with two major roster changes in one summer be considered a major contender for a title, however Schrub is at peace with the expectations.
“I’m always pretty pessimistic actually, but I would say that if we play at our highest level we will win this event,” he said. “Though actually a semifinal finish would be great too even if we expect to win. We have the level to win, but so do Fnatic and many other teams.”
Quite like the experts, Schrub also agrees that this could be one of the most competitive majors yet, with various teams hitting their stride right before the tournament. He went on to talk about some potential underdog head-turners in attendance.
“Luminosity are there… We were with Renegades at our bootcamp place and we could see that they improved a lot, I’m pretty sure they can upset some teams.”
A strong performance against his own team does suggest that Luminosity Gaming could find themselves grabbing a spot in the top eight of the tournament, meanwhile Australian side Renegades were able to push TSM to a close game before falling. Despite these possible upsets, Schrub thinks the main contenders will be some familiar faces.
“My top 8 will be: Navi, Fnatic, TSM, Cloud9, us [Envy], Titan, NiP, and someone else depending on how the group draw goes.”
On day one of the event the top team of each group will progress to the playoffs and earn “legend” status, ensuring their qualification for the next major, while the remaining teams will be re-drawn into new groups, where they will do battle Friday to decide the final four teams that will progress.
Schrub on the other hand only has his mind on the trophy. As some question how the changes will affect his own performance after being considered the main carry on his former lineup, to now being one in a team of star performers.
“Actually I don’t think it changes much for me personally, now all I want to do is win some tournaments with my new team.”
EnvyUs defeated Flipsid3 and Luminosity to secure their spot in the playoffs and will get to enoy a day off tomorrow as the teams who didn’t progress today will face off to try and grab an elusive spot in the next round. Schrub and his teammates will return to action at the Lanxess arena on Saturday to compete in the quarterfinals, and continue their drive to ESL One Cologne success.