July 10, 2016

ESL One Cologne 2016 comes down to SK Gaming and Team Liquid

The finals here at ESL Cologne have come down to Team Liquid and SK Gaming. The two powerhouse teams did not have an easy road to the finals here on Sunday.

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SK Gaming had to reach new depths against Virtus.pro (VP) in the semi-finals, scrapping together a 2-1 win over a VP that seemingly put everything on the line and had a nearly god-tier performance.

And Team Liquid had to performance in match after match that they were predicted to fail. Defeating Na’Vi and Fnatic to get into the finals was an absolute triumph, and they’ve had to beat two of the top three teams in the world to get where they are.

To everyone’s surprise, there seems to be a huge amount of teamwork, synergy, and trust in Team Liquid, and they’ve got a legitimate chance to overthrow the current favorite: SK Gaming.

The only question is, can Team Liquid keep this unbelievable streak alive and beat the current world champions in CS: GO? A lot of factors will need to line up: s1mple needs to continue his dominant performance, EliGE and nitr0 need to continue to show up, and Hiko needs to bring a few more match-changing performances.

It’s going to be a hell of a match, I’ll tell you that.

A quick look at the live production, event setup, video productions, and game observing is all overly positive. PGL has brought a lot of great production values into CS:GO, and the matches are always fun to watch. The various videos sprinkled around are incredibly well done, and it’s always a pleasure to see how seriously ESL presents CS:GO. It never feels like they treat it as just a game”: it’s a sport to them, and something with a lot of passion and excitement.

The only real complaint is there’s some obvious mixups in the observer feeds here and there, something you don’t see as often in ELeague or MLG. And when casters talk budget, you don’t normally see the money of players (opening player tab). Favorite tweet on the matter:

However, the mistakes are very minor compared to the overall kickass production values. Seriously, hats off to all the people behind the scenes, and of course to the analysts and commentators who bring yet another awesome event under their wings. The tier 1 talent pool in CS:GO is a very sharp, funny, and engaging crew: always a pleasure to watch.

Being here in Cologne has been an awesome experience, this is the first CS:GO Major I’ve attended in person, and have had an great time watching the games with the rest of the crew at DOJO MADNESS.

We’ve also had a chance to chat about our new, upcoming CSGO statistics toolset with a few people around the industry, and we’ve gotten some awesome feedback (and some very positive reactions) about what we’re doing. It’s a very innovative, interesting project, which I’ll be writing more about in the future.

The games are about to start here in Cologne, and look forward to watching the matches. In the meantime, keep an eye out for this exclusive drinking game.

Matt Mattc0m” Richards, reporting live from ESL Cologne, rooting for that American dream. Let’s go USA!

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