A look at the teams for ESL One Cologne: Part 16 – Team SoloMid.
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
Part 15 – Counter Logic Gaming
Since the former Dignitas squad signed for Team SoloMid in January, and having replaced the longtime ingame leader FeTiSh with karrigan in December, they have finally managed to break into the absolute top tier of teams. Team SoloMid was until recent slightly different than any other of the top teams, as they attended less events than their rivals as both device and Xyp9x was attending school.
At ESL One Katowice 2015 they finished 5-8th as they lost in a close game to Cloud9 14:16 (Nuke), then won against 3DMAX 16:10 (Nuke), and claiming revenge against Cloud9 16:8 (Overpass) where due to the POV streams this entertaining bit came out. In the quarterfinal they met Ninjas in Pyjamas who won 16:8 (Dust2), 4:16 (Inferno), 16:12 (Nuke).
Natus Vincere knocked the Danes into the lower-bracket at StarLadder StarSeries XII by beating them 11:16 (Inferno), 19:15 (Dust2), 16:11 (Overpass). There they faced Virtus.pro who they narrowly beat 16:12 (Cache), 12:16 (Inferno), 19:17 (Overpass), then in the lower-bracket final they faced Titan who lost 14:16 (Inferno), 16:14 (Cache), 5:16 (Dust2) to the Danes. In the consolidation final they met the Ninjas, who again beat them 6:16 (Dust), 13:16 (Nuke).
The only real competition at Copenhagen Games 2015 was their fellow countrymen from Dignitas, and the Poles from Virtus.pro, who also won the event after beating Team SoloMid first in a close match with the result 12:16 (Mirage), 16:14 (Nuke), 16:14 (Cache), and when they faced again in the Grand final Virtus.pro again proved as a stronger team winning the match 16:14 (Cobblestone), 16:10 (Inferno).
They got revenge against the Poles at ESL Pro League, where the Danes came with a weaker lineup as device was ill and they had to bring in a last minute replacement, however, they still managed to beat Virtus.pro 16:12 (Overpass), 14:16 (Cache), 16:12 (Mirage). Then they clashed with Dignitas who was beaten 9:16 (Inferno), 16:9 (Cache), 13:16 (Mirage) by their countrymen. Their tournament ended with Titan in the semifinal where they lost 17:19 (Cache), 16:10 (Dust2), 14:16 (Inferno), but it was still a decent performance as while cadiaN played well he is not at the level of device.
The breakthrough tournament was CS:GO Championship Kick-off Season where they first won against FNATIC 16:12 (Dust2), 16:13 (Inferno), and then doing the same thing to the other Swedes from Ninjas in Pyjamas 16:12 (Inferno), 16:14 (Dust2). In the Grand final they once again faced FNATIC, who they beat 1:0 (Default), 16:11 (Mirage), 11:16 (Dust2), 16:11 (Overpass).
At FACEIT League 2015 Stage I they showed that the previous event wasn’t an anomaly, as they won against Natus Vincere 14:16 (Overpass), 16:13 (Cache), 16:8 (Dust2), and then lost to Virtus.pro 16:4 (Mirage), 6:16 (Inferno), 16:12 (Overpass). In the group decider they battled Natus Vincere, and again the Danes came out on top 6:16 (Overpass), 16:8 (Cache), 16:13 (Mirage). In the semifinal they faced FNATIC, who they again beat 16:13 (Mirage), 16:11 (Inferno). Ninjas in Pyjamas was the opponent in the Grand final and in spite of losing the first map 1-16 the Danes bounced back and won the final 1:16 (Inferno), 21:18 (Dust2), 16:12 (Cache).
At Fragbite Masters Season IV they won against HellRaisers 16:6 (Mirage), 25:23 (Cache), but this time they lost to FNATIC 19:17 (Mirage), 8:16 (Cache), 8:16 (Inferno). In the consolidation final they barely edge out a win against Natus Vincere on two maps 19:17 (Overpass), 19:17 (Inferno). This meant that they faced FNATIC in the Grand final and they won against the Swedes 16:5 (Cobblestone), 7:16 (Mirage), 16:11 (Inferno), 16:7 (Dust2).
The Danes then got beaten twice in the group stage of ESL ESEA Pro League Season I. First they got outplayed by Keyd Stars 16:12 (Inferno), and with FNATIC also being upset they had to battle each other for tournament survival. It was FNATIC who came out on top with 16:14 (Overpass) in a match that could be sumarized as cajunb vs. olofmeister.
After the disappointing result at ESL ESEA Pro League the Danes had the opportunity to redeem themselves at FACEIT 2015 Stage 2 Finals at DreamHack Valenica, and they did so by beating Ninjas in Pyjamas 16:13 (Mirage), and FNATIC 16:10 (Overpass). In the semifinal they dispatched of Natus Vincere 6:16 (Mirage), 16:5 (Train), 16:5 (Dust2). In the Grand final they met Cloud9 who battled close on the first map, but then utterly stomped the North Americans on the second finishing the event 16:14 (Cache), 16:2 (Mirage).
Acer Predator Masters was a small tournament with mainly tier 2 teams aside from Dignitas and mousesports, and most people expected Team SoloMid to win it, however, they ran into the upcoming Bulgarian team E-frag.net, former G-play, who they lost to 16-4 (Inferno), 12:16 (Mirage), 8:16 (Overpass) as the Danes got mauled by dream3r and v1c7oR on the last two maps. In the lower-bracket they then faced HellRaisers, and again the Danes were unable to mount any form of offense or defense ending the match 16:10 (Dust2), 16:14 (Mirage) to HellRaisers.
The last event was IEM Season X – gamescom where they first played the new EnVyUs lineup, and also lost to them 16:11 (Cobblestone), they won against Renegades 16:6 (Mirage), while Counter Logic Gaming put up a decent display on Train they still lost to the Danes 12:16 (Train). Against the upcoming mousesports team the Danes emerged as the stronger team winning the match 16:8 (Dust2), and when they faced Counter Logic Gaming again device displayed why he is considered a star by having 29 frags during the first 15 rounds, and ending the match at 38 kills at the overall score 16:7 (Inferno). Facing their countrymen plus NiKo they played close, but in the end Team SoloMid was able to pull ahead winning 19:15 (Cobblestone), but it was not at any measurement a good performance from TSM. When they faced SK again they did show their superiority beating them 16:6 (Overpass), and after doing the same to Renegades 16:4 (Dust2) they were alone with EnVyUs in the tournament.
It could have been 5 maps played due to both teams having three lives, but the French squad was too strong for Team SoloMid and won 16:3 (Cache), 16:9 (Cobblestone), 16:12 (Inferno), and while the first two maps favored EnVyUs it was not a full functioning Team SoloMid, but nor was it a EnVyUs who had figured everything out after the addition of kennyS and apEX.
Until the creation of this new EnVyUs lineup I would have placed Team SoloMid as the team with the most combined skill, and with karrigan as ingame leader the team have finally been able to win events, something they were unable to do before where they would often be called ‘choknitas’ as they would fall flat against opponents in the semifinals. karrigan is a solid ingameleader and while he might not put up as many frags as e.g. Happy he is one of the ingame leaders who can win rounds by himself. The combo of dupreeh and device is deadly with both being excellent at their roles, and both capable of winning a match for their team. Xyp9x is one of the underrated support players who is so crucial for a team, and while he usually is not boasting a huge number of kills he is one of the best clutchers in the world. The player who can push Team SoloMid across the finishing line against almost all opposition is cajunb, as he can be an absolute unstoppable force, but he is also the player who can have the worst performance although through the last couple of months he has been the most consistent player on the team.
In terms of map pool I would say that their strongest maps would be: Dust2, Mirage, Train, and due to recent results I would put their decent maps as: Inferno, Overpass, Cache, with their undoubtedly worst map as Cobblestone.
I still see their Mirage as one of their strongest maps, but they haven’t looked that dominant on it the last couple of months, however, of those games I can recall it has been partly due to individual mistakes. Going back 2-3 months and I would have argued that their Inferno was the best in the world, but currently I would put it as a decent map as for them to have a good Inferno they need both Xyp9x and karrigan to play well, and they have been underperforming recently. Aside from their miraculous win over FNATIC their Cobblestone has been poor, but as it is their only real weak map they are one of the teams with the strongest overall map pool.
Team SoloMid is one of the top contenders to winning ESL One Cologne along FNATIC, Virtus.pro, EnVyUs and Natus Vincere. While their recent results have been somewhat inconsistent they have also stated that they haven’t been practicing a lot due to exams and vacation. The question would then be if they have had enough time to refocus, and that everyone has been able to get back to their old level, and how much time karrigan have had to study demos as he is handing in his Master’s Thesis a week after Cologne .
Their first match is against Renegades, who they recently beat convincingly at IEM – gamescom, so I doubt that the Aussies will be able to upset the Danes. I do expect Team SoloMid to reach the semifinals, as they should matchup fairly well against most of the other teams as they are one of the teams with most firepower, and they do also have a decent tactical approach plus I doubt they dare to underestimate any teams after the upset at ESL ESEA Pro League to Keyd Stars.
As a Dane I am going to cheer for Team SoloMid, but there is no clear favorite for the event as the field is very strong, and almost every single one of the top teams have had some form of flaw or issue over the last couple of months, but I am looking forward to a lot of good matches.
Links taken from HLTV.org and Liquipedia.