The ESL One Cologne 2019 is all set to take place in the early hours of the 3rd of July. The tournament will host some of the best teams, including Astralis, Team Liquid, and Natus Vincere. Will the Danes add a much-needed title to their cabinet? How will Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov perform in his first tournament with NAVI, and will the Team Liquid era finally be ushered in? Here we tell you what to expect from the competition in Germany.
Team Liquid eyeing a million dollars
Despite the fact that the prize fund for the championship is $300 thousand, Team Liquid has a chance to win a million, thanks to the Intel Grand Slam. Before arriving in Cologne, the North American team won the IEM Sydney 2019, DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, and the ESL Pro League Season 9. If, before the end of the year, the lineup finishes first in another major championship in an ESL or DreamHack competition, then it will additionally earn a million dollars on top of any prize winnings.
The first season of the Intel Grand Slam was won by Astralis. Many athletes later admitted that they wanted to prevent the Danes from achieving this, but they were unstoppable. The situation is similar in Cologne, as there are many players who hope to disappoint the Team Liquid grand slam attempt in their series’. This time around, there is also a financial motivation. If a team with three active victories loses in the final of a major tournament, their opponent receives $100,000.
It’s Boombl4 time!
ESL One Cologne 2019 will be the first tournament for the new Natus Vincere roster. At the end of May, the team dropped John “Edward” Sukharev and signed the Russian Boombl4 in his place. Mikhailov definitely strengthens the lineup in terms of firepower. He was chosen because Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev wanted some role changes on the map.
Another question is how quickly Boombl4 will adjust. The team trained the entirety of last month, spending eight days in bootcamp in Kiev. Prior to this change in the team, Na’VI had not made a roster change since November 2017. The arrival of a new player is always difficult. At first, the team will likely great results, but no one is immune from the problems of a new team dynamic. Lets see how Na’Vi will adapt to the situation.
Moment of truth for Astralis
After getting beaten in the quarterfinals of ESL Pro League, Nicholas “device” Ridtts commented:
“We are first going through hard times with the current structure, but we continue to move forward.” At the moment, the Danes have their fair share of struggles. The team took 5th and 6th places at the ECS and EPL, and their last major victory wasn’t since March. Emil “Magisk” Rafe admitted that the championship in Cologne will be important for the team.
However, there are many questions regarding Astralis’ form. The squad only had a week to prepare for Cologne, and right after the tournament, the players will go on vacation. After Cologne, their next championship will be the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019. They’ll be aiming to give it their all in Germany.