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Fabio | 31. August 2020

Heroic Take ESL One Cologne EU Trophy

For the Grand Finals of ESL One Cologne, Team Vitality took on Heroic. In the lead-up to this match, Mathieu “ZywOo” and his colleagues were regarded as the absolute favorites. On the server, however, they stood without a change against a much stronger Heroic and were unable to secure a single map victory.

Heroic really didn’t have an easy time in the playoffs. While they did perform decently well against Complexity, they showed a lot of flaws in their Semi Finals against G2 Esports. The Frenchmen brought Heroic to their very limits, but eventually, the Danes set themselves on top. Their chances against Vitality were rather slim. Leading up to the Grand Finals, ZywOo had basically wiped the floor with every other team. On the day before, he had dismantled the Ninjas in Pyjamas almost by himself. How could Heroic possibly go up against this beast?

THE GRAND FINALS OF ESL ONE COLOGNE

On Mirage, they quickly demonstrated that Vitality were in fact not invincible. Despite the Frenchmen winning the pistol round, Heroic soon took a 9-6 lead at half time. Switching to the CT side, they only dropped one single round. With a 16-7 victory, they proved to be able to hold their own in this match-up. Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen secured a 2.0 KDR, 120 ADR, and a 1.73 rating.

Entering Inferno, Vitality could finally play on their own map pick. They certainly had an easier time getting rounds on the board. On the CT side, they won the pistol round and played up to a 13-8 lead. Heroic struggled to even get onto the bomb sites, let alone set up a convincing afterplant. At that point, Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen must have forced himself into the conversation. Following a timeout, the Danes began to systematically attack the B site. They were able to string rounds together by focusing on this bomb spot, mostly because Vitality failed to rotate their A players in time.

HUNDEN IS A GENIUS

HUNDEN was obviously aware of the fact that, at some point, the Frenchmen would just start to stack more players on B. He correctly predicted the round in which this would happen, sending the Heroic players onto A site, where they found an almost empty spot and another easy round win. The teams continued their cat-and-mouse game, until Heroic closed the round gap and eventually surpassed Vitality. On a 16-13 scoreline, they secured the map and a 2-0 lead in the Grand Finals. Obviously, the guys on the server played the biggest role in making this happen. Still, this map went to show how big HUNDEN’s impact on Heroic’s decision-making actually is. Vitality weren’t defeated through individual performance, rather they were outmaneuvered.

On Nuke, Vitality were required to finally bring a map win home. Otherwise, they would drop this Grand Finals match in record-breaking fashion. On the CT side, they were able to utilize the map’s natural CT advantage. The first few rounds went to the French team. But then, Heroic were able to adapt once again – running away with a 9-6 half on the T side of Nuke! Quickly, they jumped onto a 15-7 lead. Vitality tried to mount a comeback, but eventually faltered against a well-timed and coordinated push from the CTs.

ARE HEROIC THE BEST EUROPEAN TEAM NOW?

One single tournament victory is hardly enough to justify such a statement. Nonetheless, in the Grand Finals (and indeed the entire event), they displayed insane individual prowess. With niko, René “TeSeS” Madsen and Martin “stavn” Lund, the team consists of future CS:GO superstars.

We can definitely state that Heroic are growing into one of the most tactically proficient teams in the world. Their comeback on Inferno was a prime example of how they are able to react to in-game events and adapt their strategies in real-time. At every point in the match, Heroic knew the positions and intentions of their opponents, playing into the minds of Vitality. Surely this is not an easy feat!

But how much of this can be attributed to the in-game-leader, Casper “cadiaN” Møller? How big is HUNDEN’s contribution to all of this? This question is crucial with regards to offline events, as the coach won’t be able to influence the match to the same degree at stadium events. Should cadiaN be able to maintain this leadership level, Heroic can actually become the next top team.