A look at the teams for ESL One Cologne: Part 6 – Team Kinguin
Kinguin is one of the challenger teams, and with the team only being a couple of months old, as well as changing one of their initial players, SKYTTEN, with dennis it is somewhat difficult to judge them as a team.
The first time we saw this current Kinguin lineup of Maikelele, ScreaM, fox, rain and dennis in action was at FACEIT 2015 Stage 2 at DreamHack Valenica where they received a last minute invitation due to the roster changes between EnVyUs and Titan.
Their first match was against Cloud9 where a well-playing Skadoodle and shroud coupled with seang@res making the right calls ending the match 16:7 (Dust2).
Virtus.pro was their next opponent, and while it wasn’t the strongest Virtus.pro that we have seen it was a match that put Kinguin on the radar as a serious team, as they beat the Poles 17:21 (Train), 16:12 (Dust2), 16:0 (Cache) where ScreaM showed that he can still shoot people in the head.
In the group decider match they faced Natus Vincere to who they lost 9:16 (Dust2), 16:11 (Inferno), 6:16 (Overpass). While they didn’t make it out of the group stage it was by no means a poor display from Kinguin, who have had little time to prepare against their opponents as well as playing some of the strongest teams on the scene.
A week later they were at the ESL One Cologne 2015 EU Offline Qualifier, where first took out PENTA 16:9 (Dust2), as well as KILLERFISH with the score 16:8 (Cache). In their third and last match against Dignitas, who was not playing at the level you would expect from them, they demolished the Danes 16:8 (Dust2).
On the online qualifier for PGL they beat HellRaisers 16:2 (Dust2), 14:16 (Cache), 16:11 (Inferno) and in the Grand final against mousesports they took them out 16:5 (Cache), 16:7 (Dust2), 16:13 (Train) and while it was online and it by all means was an underperforming mousesports, it was also a well-functioning Kinguin.
When the lineup and team was first announced I didn’t think that the team would have much chance of being a success due to communication barriers, and that I thought that the players mainly was using it as an opportunity to keep their brand and name relevant until a better offer arrived. However, with the recent addition of dennis they now have the firepower to contend with the top10, with the entire lineup having the potential to win rounds single handedly. With fox perhaps being the weakest player on the team, and having given up the AWP for Maikelele he has embraced the new more support orientated role, and while he rarely boasts as impressive numbers as the headshot machine ScreaM, then is he playing an important role in the team as you need someone play the lesser attacked bombsite and flash for your teammates when entering a site as T. I do also quite enjoy watching Kinguin play with the aggression they usually throw in as CTs, because they have some strong aimers they seek out the opponents and often force engagements in positions where their aim skill will balance the engagement out in their favor.
In terms of the map pool their strong maps are Dust2 and Cache, and their decent maps are Overpass, Inferno, Mirage and Train with only Cobblestone being an unknown quantity as they always ban it out. Their Inferno could be a strong map if they managed to develop their T-side, as most of their wins on it have been with lock-down CT sides, and only winning T-rounds due to someone putting 3 or 4 enemies in the grave. Taking into consideration how long time these 5 players have been playing together, and what obstacles they have had in terms of communication, which they seemingly have solved, I do think that their T-sides on the more execute heavy maps will become better. With LEGIJA coaching the team for the major they might be able to build on the good fundamentals that they have, and also having someone else to look at their opponents tendencies while they can focus on their own gameplay.
With their first match at Cologne will be against the Brazilians from Luminosity Gaming I do expect Kinguin to win that match, as I see them as the second strongest challenger team aside from Cloud9, and while one could make the case for Titan there is little information regarding their current level aside from the Offline Qualifier, and while the team previously performed fairly decent with kennyS and apEX the change have left the team significant weaker with shox and SmithZz or that is my opinion.
I do not think that Kinguin has the capability to win or make it top 4 placement, however, I do expect them to finish 5-8th as they do have the skill to reach that rank, however, I do expect them to fall short of FNATIC, Team SoloMid, EnVyUs, Virtus.pro who can all boast an equal or higher combined skill level, but Kinguin is definitely a team that I will be watching play.
Links taken from HLTV.org and Liquipedia.