IEM XVI Cologne is entering its Playoffs Stage today and only 6 teams are left in the race. These teams will compete for a prize pool of $820,000, which guarantees that we’ll see some spectacular matches. This phase of the event takes place between July 16th – 18th. The location is in Western Europe, so expect the matches to start around 4 PM CET. There are 2 of them on Friday, 2 on Saturday, and one on Sunday.
IEM XVI Cologne Group Stage Results
Intel Extreme Masters XVI Cologne started with 24 teams. Only 16 of these teams played in the Group Stage. The other 8 were eliminated in the Play-In Stage. And of these 16, just 6 of them survived.
Group A had the following 8 participants:
- Gambit Esports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Liquid
- G2 Esports
Gambit and G2 had an easy run, as everyone expected. But what’s surprising is that G2 won the group, beating Gambit in the Upper Bracket Round 3 (2 – 1). The match was a thriller and the French squad managed to narrowly win it. The score on the 3rd map was 16 – 14.
In the Lower Bracket, the battle for the 3rd Playoffs spot took place between BIG and Virtus.pro. In the Group Stage, the Germans had defeated the Russian organization with a score of 2 – 0. But this time, Jame and his crew managed to turn the tables. However, both maps needed extra time to conclude.
In Group B, the contestants were the following:
- Natus Vincere
- FURIA Esports
- FaZe Clan
- Team Spirit
In Group B, there were a lot of teams that could have qualified. Ultimately, Na’Vi won the race and Astralis came in second. The fact that s1mple carried his squad to a victory is not surprising. But this performance by Astralis definitely is.
After losing dev1ce, the Danish squad was expected to disappear from the top 6 at important CS:GO events. Somehow, however, they’re still capable of getting top results. So it looks like there’s still some life left in them after all. In the global rankings, Astralis is currently 10th. Their glory days are clearly gone, but perhaps they can remain relevant for a while longer.
IEM XVI Cologne Playoffs Predictions and Analysis
Here’s a brief analysis of the 6 teams that compete in the Playoffs of Intel Extreme Masters XVI Cologne.
G2 is currently ranked 3rd on hltv. The French team has proved in recent months that it has great skill, even if it didn’t succeed in winning some important tournament. Their consistency is spectacular though: 7 consecutive top 4 results. Only the likes of Astralis and Liquid could do that during their glory days. So quite clearly, G2 is in great shape right now and its victory over Gambit in the Group Stage indicates that they are the favorite.
Natus Vincere has had an apparently strong run so far. But I think they are much weaker than it seems. The team is heavily reliant on s1mple and he usually delivers. But the maps lost by the CIS squad in the Group Stage of IEM XVI Cologne indicate that something’s wrong. Make no mistake, the team did manage to win 3 consecutive matches. But all of its victories were a bit too close for comfort and against relatively weak opponents.
Na’Vi lost a map against Renegades, Vitality, and Astralis. In all 3 cases, they easily won the other 2. But this kind of inconsistency will get punished by the likes of Gambit and G2. And most probably, Na’Vi’s next opponent will be Gambit.
Gambit is currently the number 1 team in the world. The CIS squad encountered 3 scary opponents in the Group Stage: mousesports, NiP, and G2. They won the first two matches (2 – 1) but lost the third (1 – 2). Overall, the team looked strong and I think there’s a huge chance we will see it play in the Grand Final.
Gambit’s first match of the Playoffs of IEM XVI Cologne is against FaZe Clan. Based on what Gambit showed in the Group Stage, the most likely result here is 2 – 1 in their favor.
Astralis managed to beat FaZe Clan (2 – 0) and Heroic (2 – 0) in the Group Stage. And they even won a map against Na’Vi. The Danish team clearly has the potential to regain some of its former glory, but I think it will be a while longer until we see them play as they did in previous seasons. As you probably know, dev1ce is not exactly easy to replace and Bubzkji still has a lot of work to do to maximize his potential.
Astralis has a decent chance of beating Virtus.pro in the Quarterfinals, but it’s going to be challenging. In my view, it’s a coin toss. As for the Semifinals, that’s even less likely to go well for them. Because G2 looks very hard to beat.
Virtus.pro is currently ranked 9th (globally), so in theory they’re not much stronger than Astralis. The team has had a lot of inconsistent results lately, losing against the likes of Entropiq, 100PG, Spirit, Vitality, and even OG. But in the Lower Bracket of IEM XVI Cologne, where they ended up after losing against BIG (0 – 2), they managed to win 3 consecutive matches against Complexity, NiP, and BIG. So it’s quite difficult to say how strong or weak is VP at this point. One thing is certain: they are highly inconsistent.
FaZe Clan is ranked 17th at the moment, which means that being in the Playoffs of IEM XVI Cologne is already a big achievement for them. Of course, that’s in theory. In practice, this crew is full of legendary players and has the potential to surpass all expectations. The only problem is that they’re up against Gambit in the Quarterfinals and that match will be very hard to win.