Fabio | 4. September 2020

Key Takeaways From ESL One Cologne

After both ESL One Cologne Grand Finals have been held and another week has passed, we look back at the online event. How did the teams perform? Which squads were able to set themselves on top and who is going a downward route already?


After their victory over Team Vitality, pretty much 22 had hours passed before the news reached us that the Heroic coach had engaged in an illegal practice. A bug in the game had allowed him to switch into a free view during rounds, giving him information on the opponents’ positions and economy. Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen admitted to abusing this bug in two online competitions.

The consequences for the coach were obviously severe. He will be barred from entering ESL and DreamHack tournaments for an entire year. The bug was fixed for ESL One Cologne, however, so the team’s victory there remains legitimate. But how do the players now manage themselves without HUNDEN?

In their first match after Cologne, they suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of ENCE in ESL Pro League. While they did win Train, they seemed absolutely lost on Nuke. A narrow 13-16 loss on map #3 helped to avoid a blowout loss. Still, this isn’t the same roster that took down Vitality for the Grand Finals trophy. The question isn’t whether Heroic can retain their top spot, but whether they can ever reclaim it.


Technically, they belong to the NA division. But as they have competed in the European ESL One Cologne bracket, we feel the need to discuss them in the context of their bootcamp on European soil. But, honestly speaking, we don’t really want to do that, since their results are an absolute mess. For a roster bursting at the seams with vetaran star players, the match outcomes are much too bad.

During Malta Vibes Week 9, they barely made playoffs and decisively lost to MAD Lions, who can hardly keep up their level themselves. In Week #10, they got beaten down by PACT and Galaxy Racer, thus leaving the tournament in last place. Obviously, the loss of Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia plays a huge role here. The coach has suffered a similar fate to HUNDEN after abusing the coach bug himself. Fortunately for him, he only has to spend half a year on the bench. However, this doesn’t explain the terrible results in recent weeks and during ESL One Cologne.


The departure of Özgür “woxic” Eker seems to have had a positive effect on the team. While the Turkish player is objectively more individually talented (or at least appears to be) than Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras, they were immediately able to post better results. In EPL, they are currently sitting on 3 points after proving themselves against FaZe Clan. During ESL One Cologne, they were looking considerably worse. Back then, they were handed losses by Natus Vincere and MAD Lions, leaving in last place. Maybe Bymas is able to fill specific vacancies within the team, maybe he is beneficial to a good interpersonal climate and communicates better – who knows. In any case, the results after his addition are certainly going in the right direction already.


Virtually half of the Tier 2 scene has already made the switch to RIOT’s VALORANT. So far, the teams led by Pujan “FNS” Mehta, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan and Matthew “Wardell” Yu are playing more than great. Overall, most of the VALORANT scene appears to be dominated by former CS:GO talent anyways. The biggest transfer, however, was Nick “nitr0” Canella. The player left the Team Liquid Counter-Strike roster in favor of 100 Thieves’ VALORANT division. This means that NA has lost one of its most valuable callers.

Joshua “steel” Nissan is heeding the call as well. The former IGL of Chaos just recently said his goodbyes to the team and rumors suggested a move to VALORANT. This was completely correct, as 100 Thieves have now secured this top talent as well. For Chaos, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Things had been going so great recently. They had firmly established themselves as #3 in North America and had already managed to claw at Team Liquid. But for the Valve-banned player, accompanying his team to Major events is not an option at all. At this point, his CS:GO career cannot advance one single step further.


Coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen confirmed it yesterday – all 7 Astralis players will be shuffled into the active lineup in the coming months. So the Danes will actually deliver on the announcement they had made some time ago. In this regard, they are pioneers of the CS:GO scene, as no other organization has attempted this before. We still have no idea whether this will actually work out for them. Their results during ESL One Cologne certainly looked promising. Even without their star caller, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, they made the Quarter Finals.

Now, with gla1ve back in action, they had to concede two 17-19 maps to Complexity. However, it is much too early to draw any conclusions from this. Tomorrow, the team will be back in action against FaZe Clan, trying to get their first EPL points on the board.


The North American players appear to get stronger with every single match. While they did lose to Evil Geniuses in single-digit fashion during the Group Stage of Cologne, they were able to bring EG to the brink during the Best-of-Five Grand Finals just a week later. Michael “Grim” Wince is performing well and appears to gel with the rest of the roster. Jake “Stewie2k” Yip’s calling is still somewhat lackluster on the T side, but they’ll have plenty of time to work on this. Evil Geniuses might not be able to retain their top position in NA for much longer.

ESL One Cologne has certainly uncovered some interesting details about the top teams of the two regions. Some lineups have reshuffled as a result of the event, some have used their matches to improve – and it shows. But others are seeing their standing within the scene slowly dwindle.