The ESL One: Cologne 2019 kicks off on July 2nd. The championship will be played at the Lanxess-Arena in Cologne, Germany. It boasts a total prize pool of $300,000, which will be contested by 16 top-tier teams from across the globe. This will be the sixth edition of the competition since its inception back in 2014. Let’s have a look at some interesting facts about the competition.
Where it all began
Inaugurated in 2014, ESL One: Cologne was the third Major in the history of CS: GO. The event brought unusual elements to the competitive circuit, such as the introduction of the random distribution of teams in the group stage and two new maps: Cobblestone and Overpass. ESL has been in charge of the tournament since its inaugural year. They are a renowned producer of other esports tournaments, including those for: Dota 2, Rainbow Six: Siege, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars
In 2014, the 16 ranked teams came with two statuses. The Legends won direct tickets to the second phase for finishing in the top 8 of the IWC Katowice. Meanwhile, the Challengers had to make their way through the qualifiers in North America, Europe, India, and Oceania. In the group stage, the teams faced each other in a double elimination system. The eight finalists played in a best of three series (BO3) to be crowned the champion.
The most successful countries
Sweden and Brazil are tied with two ESL One: Cologne titles. The Swedes won the title in 2014 with Ninjas in Pajamas, whose lineup included: Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, Richard “Xizt” Landström, Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson, and Adam “friberg” Friberg. Their second title came in 2015 with Fnatic, represented by de Jesper “JW” Wecksell, Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Markus “pronax” Wallsten, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer, and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson.
In 2016, SK Gaming was crowned the champion. This team consisted of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Marcelo “coldzera” David, Lincoln “fnx” Lau, and Epitácio “TACO” Melo. The team won its next title again in 2017, with João “felps” Vasconcellos also in the cast.
2x champion Brazil
Two of Brazil’s most iconic titles in CS: GO came from ESL One: Cologne. In 2016, SK Gaming campaigned victoriously, with no defeat in the group stage. In the playoffs, the Brazilians beat Flipside Tactics and Virtus.pro to secure a spot in the final. There, the team defeated Team Liquid 3-0 and won the title. In 2017, SK had a modest campaign, ranking sixth in the group stage. In the playoffs, however, the team was victorious against OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan. The final was against Cloud9, which they again won with a 3-0 victory, retaining their championship.
The MVPs of Cologne
Five players have truly stood out as the MVPs of the tournament. Friberg was the star of 2015 with a 1.14 Rating, and flusha was the highlight of 2016, with 1.38. Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, MVP of 2018, had the same rating as MIBR’s coldzera, 1.37. FalleN, MVP of 2017, had 1.24, with 263 kills and 78.9 damage per round.