Cologne: normally a quaint and peaceful city in Germany. Home to many beautiful churches, scenic parks, the beautiful Rhine River that courses through the city. You can take long walks around Cologne and find areas of interests at every turn, just like a bridge that connects west Cologne to east Cologne, adorned with what seems like a million pad-locks—all in the name of love.
But there was a different feeling in the air just a few short weeks ago: a brutally competitive feeling. The sort you might find yourself intertwined in if you were a Counter-Strike: GO player. The sort you might end up in if you and your team managed to enter into ESL One, the biggest, baddest, eSports tournament around. And this time, it was all CS:GO, all the best teams, and all of it in Cologne.
16 of the world's best CS:GO teams descended on Cologne and brawled things out over 6 days of the most competitive matches seen to date. After 4 days however, only 8 teams remained in the quarter-finals:
Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Cloud9, Faze Clan, Team Liquid, Optic Gaming, and SK Gaming.
If we had to pick our cards early on as to which teams were to make it into the quarter-finals bracket, we'd be hedging our bets and making some mistakes. There were surprises and upsets to be sure, but some teams were the fan favorites, with much higher expectations riding on their shoulders.
With Friday as quarter-finals day, only four of the eight teams made it through: Natus Vince, Cloud9, Faze Clan, and SK Gaming. Some expected Team Liquid to pull through but they were ultimately unseated by Faze Clan. However, come Saturday, the stakes were much higher, and only two teams made it through during the intense semi-finals: Cloud9 representing the US, and SK Gaming representing Brazil.
During opening rounds, it all looked good for Cloud9 as Skadoodle shakes things up with several headshots giving Cloud9 a 1:0 lead after a few short minutes. Round 2 however, sees SK Gaming turn things around, with SK Gaming's coldzera landing two well placed headshots as the team's sole survivor to even things out with a score of 1 for each team.
At this point, the game could have swung in other direction. Both Cloud9 and SK Gaming are at the top of their game, and have been leading in the scene. With SK landing the killing shot in pistol round 2, the crowd is cheering and on the edge of its seat.
As the next few rounds progressed, SK Gaming was showing their precision, taking several leads, and applying financial pressure to Cloud 9. With SK Gaming taking a massive financial lead early on, Cloud9 was left with low armor and inferior equipment. Can one of the best fan favorite teams turn things around?
If you didn't get to watch the grand finale of ESL One Cologne 2017, we saved the best moments for you so the action isn't spoiled. Watch the final below in what will likely go down in history as one of the best plays in recent years:
Vertagear had the privilege of being part of ESL One Cologne along with our partners, Lioncast, who had a booth setup fully stocked with battlestations, gaming gear, and the best gaming chairs in the industry.
The crowd was packed, as ESL One ushered in 15,000 spectators. If there was one big event per year that brought together the most passionate gamers with the best teams in the world, this would be it.
Congratulations to all 16 teams that made it to ESL One Cologne 2017—we'll see you again next round.