What did we learn from ESL One?
ESL One Cologne 2014, the third CS:GO major, is now in the books. Though the dust has barely settled, we take a look at what we learned from the event.
NiP won ESL One Cologne 2014 over fnatic in the grand final, while LDLC and dignitas shared the 3-4th place finishes. Out in 5-8th place went Cloud9, Virtus.pro, Epsilon and Natus Vincere.
What can we take away from the major that saw a new map veto system, as well as both de_cobblestone and de_overpass introduced? Let's take a look at some of the lessons below.
The confetti has fallen -- let's take a look at what happened before.
Cloud9 are North America's best
Most fans were once again on the iBUYPOWER - or as they're now called on the forums, iBUYPLANETICKETS - bandwagon heading into ESL One. After crashing out in groups at the two previous majors and having a decent run at G3, some expected them to blossom in Cologne. Instead, they added another group stage exit to their resume.
As I explained in my article before G3, iBP's best chance for success was G3, despite the bootcamp they got in before ESL One. Other teams were more vulnerable, and odds are they were psyched enough about their Europe trip that they were actually in better shape, at least on an individual level, than their opponents. Let's take a look at their results, again.
They beat OverGaming, Virtus.pro, and compLexity - twice - at ESEA Finals. Not bad, but not great. At G3 they beat weak NiP and Epsilon with their superstar sick, tied both fnatic and British Infused, and lost against London Conspiracy and Titan. Again, sounds like a resume of a top ten team, but hardly one of a contender.
The other NA team Cloud9 showed up, ready to play, once again in Europe. This isn't the first time everyone underestimates Spencer "Hiko" Martin and company, and they once again delivered. I would even argue this was their best tournament yet, despite finishing a notch higher at the first major last November, when they were knocked out in 3-4th place by fnatic.
Mike "shroud" Grzesiek started off slow versus Titan and really struggled against dignitas, but he was the team's clearly best player in the series against NiP, and should continue improving in the future. Hiko was his usual self, and Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen proved he can lead a team successfully -- something that should've never been doubted by anyone aware of how seriously he's always taken Counter-Strike.
Had Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert not regressed, down to a poor performance very similar to that at EMS One Katowice, they might've bested NiP, and potentially gone to the grand final. On the other hand, Sean "seang@res" Gares played far above his career averages, even going into their quarter-final against NiP with a 0.80 KPR, as his team's top fragger. He seemingly doesn't AWP anymore, and SEMPHIS is the new in-game leader, but it seems to work.
Semphis & co reign supreme in North America
Is it time to blow Titan up?
There are some tough decisions to be made in the Titan camp. Do they blow it all up, and make changes? Does Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans retire, despite his statement before G3 claiming he wouldn't before they're back on top? Who would they even get, seeing as players on LDLC and Epsilon likely wouldn't leave for what now could be considered France's third best team.
Titan caught some unlucky breaks at ESL One, and the way they lost against Cloud9 will haunt these players for a long time. Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt said going out in groups "hurt more than anyone [sic]", which is probably a fair description of how the entire team must be feeling. Two group stage exits for a team not a year removed from world's number one status must be devastating.
They wasted five game points against C9, including a five-on-two, and ultimately lost a three-on-one in the overtime to lose the game. Against dignitas they had no chance. They probably wonder whether Hiko's heroics versus the Danes wound up costing them a playoff spot, as they likely would've been far more competitive in a rematch against C9.
The fact is, whatever Titan are doing, is not working. They had a 1-14 terrorist side half on the deciding game, and had to face another early exit. Kenny "kennyS" Schrub is amazing, but neither NBK- or Patrick "ScreaM" Roth - the team's next two stars - were able to perform at this major. Maybe it's a change in style, maybe it's a personnel change. We don't know what the answer is. Either way, it's time to stop deluding ourselves -- Titan aren't a contender.
Titan are devastated
shox is the most complete, but is he the best, too?
Though Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund showed up big time in the most important maps of the tournament, overall he hasn't been his consistent self for quite a while now. That opens up debate for who might be the world's best player, and I believe the next player in line for the title is unquestionably Richard "shox" Papillon, who also is the most complete player in the world -- by a mile.
There is no other player who can be considered world's best with rifles and pistols, world class with an AWP, and has proven he can lead his team. shox did all of that, while averaging his career rating of 1.21 -- just 0.04 short of Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg's, who doesn't call the shots for NiP. shox also played some really tough spots on all the maps, and hardly plays a lurker role on the terrorist side.
Many hoped to see him return to Titan as they struggled, but it's now entirely conceivable that he might be better off in Epsilon -- if they keep improving at this rate. He is good enough to carry Epsilon to a tournament win, though realistically they are probably one move away from a true contender status.
shox might be the world's best CS:GO player
CZ-75 & Scout need tweaking
We couldn't go through all the demos in time for this article to get exact numbers for this, but having watched every match from ESL One Cologne 2014, it's clear that both CZ-75 Auto and Scout need tweaking. They simply led to far too many easy defensive anti-eco wins -- especially considering the game is already fairly counter-terrorist sided to begin with, with no dominant terrorist sided maps in the pool.
Being able to do 85 damage with a single shot with a weapon you can run around with super fast, and shoot accurately when mid-air is brutal. We saw multiple rounds where a player picked up the Scout and scored three hits, thus nearly eliminating three opponents, all for a price low enough that anyone with one kill on the pistol round can afford it on round two.
Combine that long-range tool with the ridiculous firepower and firing rate of the CZ-75, and you'll quickly understand why so many CZ-75 rounds - which, by the way, only cost $1,500 for an entire team - were won during the event. It's not ideal that no save rounds are ever won; that makes them boring. However, a good balance was struck earlier on in CS:GO, when the P250 reigned as the weapon of choice.
Currently it seems maybe around one of every three - if not more - CZ-75 rounds are won, and it's far too much. If we slowed down its rate of fire or lowered the damage it deals, or even made the magazines smaller, it could be fixed. A more realistic number would probably around 20-25%; still enough to make you want to watch, but not an instant buy for every team.
Almost everything is good in moderation. Current CS:GO fans are basically addicted to heroin with these save rounds wins; no matter how much they get, it's never going to truly satisfy them anymore at this point. We should keep the economical aspect of CS:GO intact -- it's one of the things that truly separates Counter-Strike from other games.
sgares' Scout wreaked havoc against dignitas
dignitas can't get over the hump
Safe to say this is the case. Looking back at dignitas', who were previously known as Copenhagen Wolves, past five tournament exits, they all have something in common. At DreamHack Winter they were underdogs versus VeryGames - but a good match-up - and came within a few close rounds of upsetting the giants in the quarter-finals, ultimately going home in 5-8th place.
At EMS One Katowice the Danes were blown away by a NiP squad firing on all cylinders, and at Copenhagen Games they came close to besting the Ninjas, with an overtime loss on de_inferno, followed by a fairly even game on de_nuke. A few weeks later René "cajunb" Borg departed the squad, and dignitas added in his place a rising star in Philip "aizy" Aistrup.
Fast-forward three months to early August, when dignitas attended G3 following a long vacation, and dismantled NiP in the quarter-finals. Once again they were stopped in the semi-finals though, this time by the Poles of Virtus.pro, who came back from an early loss on de_dust2 to dominate de_cache 16-2 and win the deciding map de_inferno 16-12.
Their most recent exit comes from ESL One Cologne, where they once again went into the semi-finals - this time probably as slight favorites, as was the case in London - but blew their chance to win de_dust2 against fnatic, and to add insult to injury, lost the second map de_overpass 14-16 after a four-on-two after plant situation in the B bombsite.
Looking at these final two semi-final exits, with Aistrup on the team, statistically, we see no one has performed exceptionally well for them. All of their players average a sub-1.00 rating, though their star players Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen's performances have fallen the most.
Aside from probably being highly psychological at this point, there are probably also some issues in leadership within the team, as per the same assumption used in analyzing the old fnatic team's propensity to always fall short in close games -- only this one seems to affect big games, and so far these semi-finals have been the biggest in these players' careers.
In tough games young teams - dignitas' average age is just 20, and if we remove their in-game leader Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen from the equation, the other four members average out to just under 19 years old - tend to take on the personality of their leader. If Christensen was the kind of cold-blooded killer this team needs, they'd probably act similar.
Instead we saw dignitas throw away a game against Cloud9 where Rasmussen's three entry kills gave them a five-on-two advantage at 14-14, after blowing an earlier 14-11 lead. Obviously the team's 27 year old leader isn't the only one to blame - far from it - but he's the one who holds the keys to solving this problem.
dignitas are an incredibly consistent team, and with such young players they are far, far removed from reaching their cap. These Danes will continue making deep playoff runs at tournaments in the future, but for now they can't seem to get over the hump. If you're a dignitas fan it's hardly a time to worry; they should get there, but it will simply take a little longer.
dignitas still stuck in the semi-finals
The group stage format
After three days of solid action, some may have forgotten how flat-out underwhelming the opening day of ESL One Cologne was. Twelve matches were played, and a strong case can be made for only two of them being interesting -- Epsilon's 16-1 thrashing of HellRaisers, and Cloud9's thrilling double overtime win against Titan later on in the day.
ESL opted to use a schedule that made teams play very little each day - dignitas, for example, made it through to the final day and never played more than two maps a day - and with one or two clearly weaker teams in each group, it made the matches of the opening day boring for the viewer as well. The average margin for wins on opening day was 16-6, and almost every game featured a clear favorite going into it -- aside from the two games that wound up being exciting.
There's also the issue of having teams such as Vox Eminor, iBUYPOWER and Wolf - to name the ones with longest travel time, and highest costs - only able to play two or three maps after months of preparation. If ESL instead used two massive groups of eight teams each, we could get two full days of amazing action, each team would be guaranteed seven games, and everyone would be happier.
The other option would be to use a best-of-three GSL group stage, which NBK- also suggested. At the very least, to save time from the schedule, we could make the winner match and the knockout match best-of-threes. That wouldn't help the teams who finish 0-2 and exit early though, and we probably should cater to those teams too -- it's in the scene's best interest that teams such as Vox Eminor gain experience so they can improve.
At ESL One Cologne, basically 25% of the tournament - one day out of four - was practically pointless, and that should never be the case. The organizers should aim to provide us with four days of excitement, if their event lasts four days. It shouldn't be a problem to gather a few extra PCs to run eight team groups, and on paper it seems everyone would benefit from it.
A few extra rows of PCs could make the tournament more exciting
Who over or underperformed?
A few things must be pointed out, again, before we start analyzing the numbers listed on these tables below. First, the real differences are slightly bigger than shown here, as the career numbers we're using are post-ESL One -- which means the players' play has already been taken into account in them.
Another important factor is that almost every team at ESL One Cologne was competitive, whereas these players rack big numbers up in smaller tournaments, and in online matches against weaker teams. Matches against weaker opponents inflate numbers to their natural level, and therefore small declines are to be expected at these major events.
Finally, we decided that a +0.05 increase would be the cut-off point for overperforming -- as anything less than that would've been too insignificant, and it would've only added four more players. Only three players played to their career averages as well, so naturally a large part of the players performed worse, statistically, than they have over their CS:GO careers.
|Braxton "swag" Pierce||1.43||1.15||+0.28|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||1.33||1.06||+0.27|
|Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov||1.35||1.09||+0.26|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||1.38||1.12||+0.26|
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||1.27||1.11||+0.16|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||1.24||1.11||+0.13|
|Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen||1.01||0.89||+0.12|
|Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev||1.22||1.11||+0.11|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||1.01||0.92||+0.09|
|Sean "seang@res" Gares||0.97||0.88||+0.09|
|Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer||1.19||1.11||+0.08|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||1.17||1.09||+0.08|
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||1.28||1.21||+0.07|
Top of the board belongs to two Frenchmen in kioShiMa and apEX. The former was in incredible shape, even outfragging his superstar teammate shox and posting a ridiculous 28/8 score for +20 against NiP in their group stage upset win on de_cobblestone. Madesclaire's strong play is the main reason LDLC bested Virtus.pro and made the final four.
Snax was Virtus.pro's best player at the event, while flusha and olofmeister helped power fnatic to a second place finish. The former was especially impressive, and should be widely regarded as one of the game's premier stars now. Christensen was much better than he has been over his career, as was Gares, but both of their comparisons are to mediocre ratings.
Schrub once again showed his amazing form from G3, despite being absolute rocked by dignitas in a 1-16 loss, and playing only three games. Just take a look at his score for the first two games. Edward also showcased form similar to his top days in CS 1.6, and Grzesiek played good Counter-Strike, after a lackluster LAN debut at ESEA in June.
Finally, another French player towards the bottom of the list but with a rating that'd be good for eighth in the world over his career was Happy. He is also the in-game leader of LDLC, and finished Cologne with 0.83 kills per round -- a huge number, even for a fragger. He is growing to be one of the underrated stars of the game, and should start receiving more recognition as LDLC climbs the world ranking ladder.
Now, let's take a look at the underperforming players. Something to note is that there are a few on this list - namely Giancarlo "nico" Arróspide, Jacob "Pimp" Winneche, ScreaM and NBK- - who only played three games, as they failed to advance to the playoffs. Furthermore, Titan lost the deciding game 1-16, devouring their players' stats. Keep that in mind when looking at their numbers.
|Denis "seized" Kostin||0.96||1.08||-0.12|
|Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez||0.84||0.97||-0.13|
|Markus "pronax" Wallsten||0.80||0.93||-0.13|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||0.94||1.07||-0.13|
|Lars "guardiaN" Wickler||1.04||1.18||-0.14|
|Giancarlo "nico" Arróspide||0.97||1.11||-0.14|
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||0.91||1.06||-0.15|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||0.82||1.01||-0.19|
|Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow||0.85||1.04||-0.19|
|Patrick "ScreaM" Roth||0.90||1.13||-0.23|
|Joey "fxy0" Schlosser||0.95||1.18||-0.23|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||0.85||1.08||-0.23|
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||1.06||1.30||-0.24|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||1.01||1.25||-0.24|
|Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson||0.71||0.96||-0.25|
|Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev||0.71||1.00||-0.29|
|Jacob "Pimp" Winneche||0.78||1.09||-0.31|
|Emil "kUcheR" Akhundov||0.69||1.00||-0.31|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||0.74||1.11||-0.37|
|Joshua "steel" Nissan||0.67||1.07||-0.40|
|Sam "DaZeD" Marine||0.67||1.08||-0.41|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||0.62||1.12||-0.50|
First thing you probably notice is that both Alesund and Lindberg are among the biggest underperformers -- as is their teammate Fifflaren. NiP had a rocky event, barely squeaking by all their opponents, and that certainly makes it tough for their two superstars to keep up stats that are the world's best, by a fair margin.
Lindberg only had one map in the entire tournament where he played to his usual standard - de_cobblestone versus fnatic - while Alesund had huge performances on de_cobblestone versus Cloud9, as well as the two maps NiP won in the grand final. Johansson was underwhelming across the board, finishing zero maps with a plus-1.00 rating.
shox's brother in arms fxy0 was a big disappointment in Cologne, and could have been what Epsilon was missing as they got knocked out by dignitas. Gilbert played a sub-par tournament, and it for sure lowered the team's ceiling -- though he was equally unimpressive at EMS One Katowice, the previous major.
Three Na`Vi players also surface on the list, most notably guardiaN who seemed very inconsistent when watching the team play. seized also took a step back after seemingly becoming a true star in their recent events, while Zeus's event started with a mouse breaking, and never truly got back on track.
Other players who underperformed from the top finishers were pronax - the in-game leader of fnatic, who clearly did his job - and Maniac, whose efforts LDLC could have probably used in the three map thriller against NiP. However, it's important to remember that players with sub-1.00 career rating are the ones who are almost expected to underperform at major events - due to inflated stats against weaker opposition - which should always be taken into consideration.
kioShiMa was ESL One's biggest overperformer
New maps, veto process
Let it be known I am a fan of the seven map rotation as a viewer, and I do believe adding new maps is a good idea. However, it does seem like neither de_cobblestone or de_overpass is quite ready for serious play, after seeing them used at ESL One Cologne. Furthermore, there's already a great alternative out there in de_season, and rumours say de_tuscan could, once again, be released soon.
Titan's NBK- made the point on Twitter that de_cobblestone is probably too large, considering how all rounds seem to come down to the very last second. Add in the fact there are still very few choke points and the map seems awfully defensive sided, and it's starting to resemble its CS 1.6 counterpart. We'll see if Valve will change it, or force the next major to use it, but for now, the map could use some fixes to allow for more creative terrorist play, or to at least make it harder for the defense. Terrorists won only 59 of 154 rounds played - good for 38,3% - and a lot of them came from won pistol rounds and the save rounds that followed.
Unfortunately de_overpass doesn't seem much different - though it's easier to fix - it's a very, very defensive sided map. It's near impossible to get into the bombsites as a terrorist, and even the retakes seem to favor the defense. In four matches on the map, the terrorists only won 41 out of available 110 rounds, good for 37,3% - including pistol rounds and the following save rounds, which probably contributed roughly 15 of those rounds. It's simply not good enough.
More preparation - remember, everyone's biggest issue with these maps being usd was the fact they were announced a month or so prior to the event - would lead to more creative terrorist play on both maps, and might change the balance. However, considering how flawed de_overpass is with the fast rotations and easy-to-retake bombsites, it probably needs changes in any case.
|de_cache||3/38 (7,9%)||2/20 (10%)||1/18 (5,6%)||-|
|de_cobblestone||6/38 (15,8%)||3/20 (15%)||3/18 (16,7%)||2/7 (28,6%)|
|de_dust2||9/38 (23,7%)||4/20 (20%)||5/18 (27,8%)||-|
|de_inferno||7/38 (18,4%)||3/20 (15%)||4/18 (22,2%)||2/7 (28,6%)|
|de_mirage||3/38 (7,9%)||2/20 (10%)||1/18 (5,6%)||-|
|de_nuke||6/38 (15,8%)||3/20 (15%)||3/18 (16,7%)||2/7 (28,6%)|
|de_overpass||4/38 (10,5%)||3/20 (15%)||1/18 (5,6%)||1/7 (14,3%)|
Potential fixes for de_overpass include removing the house of death in A, removing the ability for the defense to jump on top of the sandbags and spot any terrorist looming outside of the B site, and slowing down the counter-terrorists' rotations on the map. Currently you can over-rotate at the first sign of trouble because it's so easy to retake the sites, and they're very close to each other.
As for the veto process, it also clearly needs work -- though it's unclear how much Valve is willing to budge going forward. NBK- said it's for matchmaking, and Reedtz said it favors the higher seed too much -- and remember, Reedtz was the higher seed in every single one of dignitas' matches, and would be at the next major against everyone but fnatic and NiP, so that says something.
It also seems like a bad solution to allow a random map draw to determine the outcome of a series, which happened in Na`Vi vs. fnatic -- though it was clearly Na`Vi's fault. Instead, we should opt for a more reasonable approach, which still allows teams to have control, yet keeps the option open for any of six maps to be played at any point, thus promoting more maps.
What we should try using is a ban-ban-pick-pick-ban-ban process, with the final map left as the third one. That would force each team to practice six different maps - as did Valve's approach - but a random draw couldn't decide the winner of a series. Teams could still practice both "custom" maps (whether those remain the same or not, on top of the five standard maps) and gain an advantage -- but it wouldn't be random.
Should a random draw really decide a series?
fnatic prove they're among the best
After eight months or so of fairly average results by the winners of the first CS:GO major, fnatic reloaded their roster by adding Kajbjer and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson from LGB, and shifting Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg to the position of a coach. These moves instantly paid dividends, as the Swedes finished 3-4th at G3 and now second at ESL One Cologne.
Though the team donning black and orange clearly benefited from their decision to practice both de_cobblestone and de_overpass, it can't exactly be held against them -- as is the case with NiP. One of their strengths is the leadership skills of Wallsten and the creative setups and strategies he often comes up with, and that's the kind of thing that carries over well to new maps, as seen in Cologne this past weekend.
It's also encouraging to see Rönnquist return with a superstar level performance. He became a true star late in 2013, and has continued playing like one throughout 2014, but hasn't been noticed with his team underperforming. Another breakout player was his new teammate Kajbjer, who played the best tournament of his career - considering opposition they faced - and seems like a very good fit to fnatic. He's a very versatile player, which helps in Wallsten's system.
Ultimately it was only a few minor mistakes on de_cobblestone against NiP that kept Rönnquist and company from winning their second major, and they will likely be kept awake for a few nights just thinking about that two-versus-one situation against Friberg in the A site, when the score was still 11-10 in fnatic's favor on the opening map.
The comeback win versus Virtus.pro showed real character, and though fnatic almost blew de_nuke against Na`Vi despite a strong terrorist half, they easily overcame dignitas, and put up a real fight against the greatest CS:GO team of all-time. This is still a new team, so there's plenty of potential for improvement. Now they face the hardest challenge yet.
After winning DreamHack Winter, fnatic seemingly got lazy and it led to them struggling for over six months. This is an achievement of almost the same level, and especially for the two ex-LGB players winning their share of $50,000 could affect their motivation. Only future will tell how the players deal with it -- will it motivate them, or will fnatic struggle again, until a change is made.
cArn should be proud of what fnatic accomplished
CS:GO is becoming huge
We've said this before, but we'll say it again. ESL One Cologne broke all the records for CS:GO with 409,368 concurrent viewers tuning in during its peak in the grand final, and 272,192 players playing the game at one point during the weekend.
Something interesting to point out also is that League of Legends' LCS Europe Finals were held simultaneously at Gamescom, and CS:GO actually topped LoL in terms of viewership -- a huge accomplishment that should once again get our game added to more events.
Finally, we explained before ESL One how much money the stickers bring in for the game. Skins do the same -- Valve make money from every transaction in the Steam market. These events are profitable for them, so we'll likely see more in the future.
Hopefully one day Valve will host a The International -type mega tournament for CS:GO, but while we wait for it, it's hard to complain about multiple $250,000 tournaments year. There is still time for one more major before 2014 is over.
The CS:GO developers posing with NiP
NiP winning ESL One Cologne 2014 truly shows how great they are as a team. They came into the event in questionable shape, lost against Epsilon in the group stage, and then had to overcome a two-on-four terrorist side pistol round against HellRaisers to even pass the opening group stage. Hardly sounds like the start to a tournament winning run.
In the playoffs they were pushed to their very limits in every round. First by Cloud9, whom they beat 16-14 twice in maps two and three, and then by LDLC, who also rocked them on map one, and who they overcame 16-14 on the third and final map. No team was tested as much as NiP, and yet they were still able to overcome all those obstacles.
It's somewhat ironic NiP wound up winning this major -- they were in better form at the previous two, and played better overall. However, it's the fashion in which the win finally came that truly shows their character. Friberg carried them early on in the tournament, and when going got rough, Alesund woke up and pulled them across the finish line.
Though Richard "Xizt" Landström remains the team's in-game leader and the man in charge of calling out the plays, it was clear that Faruk "pita" Pita contributed to the team. When contacted by HLTV.org, Pita pointed out the 3-7 deficit against LDLC on the opening half of their deciding map, de_cobblestone, in the semi-finals. He directed the team to do the connector attack that spread LDLC's defense and ultimately allowed them to win two more rounds. It's clear his late addition was a net-positive for NiP, and he will only improve on his role as he gains more experience with the team.
With no events in the near horizon for the Ninjas, I am curious to see whether they opt to go on another - well deserved at that - vacation after becoming the world champions, or if they may want to buckle down and put in some extra hours, considering how close they were to getting defeated far earlier than they're used to in these events.
Johansson likely isn't going anywhere - they did win a major after all - but if he has any plans of retiring, now would be the perfect time. He'd go out at the top of the game, having won the biggest tournament there is. It's also worth pointing out that he'd make for a terrific coach. He knows everything there is to know about NiP, their playing style, and what works for them. There is no reason to change right now, but if they had any plans of doing it in the future, now would be the best time for Johansson's legacy.
With that being said, NiP have seemingly made up their minds -- they're sticking to this roster through thick and thin, and so far it has always paid dividends. They caught some lucky breaks at ESL One - two deciders on de_cobblestone, for instance - but every champion gets lucky sometimes. They're the world's best, and the greatest, CS:GO team -- and it's not even close.
GeT_RiGhT was spent after their win
Points that did not make the cut:
Coaching is a go
Multiple teams at ESL One Cologne employed a coach. That list includes winners NiP, runner ups fnatic, 3-4th place finishers dignitas, as well as Wolf and Titan, who went out during the group stage. With Pita proving a valuable addition to the team with the best team work, most chemistry and likely strongest communication, it's clear a good coach can help any team improve. Expect more teams to pick up coaches in the future -- this trend is here to stay.
World rankings update
I know you're waiting for the official ranking update now, but you'll have to wait a little longer. Though the combination of results from G3 and ESL One has basically settled every question we had going into August, we will wait out SLTV StarSeries X Finals - taking place on August 30-31 - and aim to update the official HLTV.org world rankings in mid-to-late September.
Na`Vi messed up with maps
How can you show up at one of these events knowing you can be forced to play six maps, with every team in the world fully aware you don't play de_nuke, and then decide to only practice five? Though it was obviously very unlucky, and probably shouldn't have happened, it was still stupid on their part.
pasha's 'struggles' continue
Let's make sure one thing is known -- Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski had a good event at ESL One Cologne. He finished with a rating of 1.11, and was a huge reason Virtus almost beat LDLC on de_dust2. However, he's now multiple events removed from being considered one of the world's best players, like he was earlier in the year. He was great earlier, and he's still very good -- just not in conversation for the best.
LDLC keep steadily improving
We ranked them fifth in the world in our July world ranking, and this 3-4th place finish, with a nail-biting loss to NiP in the third map's final round, will only move them higher up on the ranking. They are France's best team now - there's no question about it based on results - and it will be fascinating to see if they can still keep getting better with the same roster built around Madesclaire.
What will happen to HellRaisers?
They came into ESL One with high expectations having skipped over G3, and having bootcamped for a long time, but disappointed by losing 1-16 against Epsilon and getting knocked out by NiP on de_overpass. They also previously lost to Epsilon at DreamHack Valencia, in a humiliating 0-16 fashion. Oh, and did I mention this was their worst tournament result since the team was founded last July as Astana Dragons. Can they go on without changes? I'm not sure.
Where is flamie headed?
After a ton of criticism started by Mikail "Maikelele" Bill and Marcus "Delpan" Larsson, Egor "flamie" Vasilyev showed great form at ESL One Cologne, racking up 0.82 kills per round and some thoroughly impressive headshots while his team got devoured by two clearly stronger sides. Don't be surprised if he winds up with one of the two powerhouses in his region.
LDLC are a real team
According to ESL's Alexander "carni" Holtz Shedden, the question about the next ESL One major isn't if, but when. Let these results sink in for awhile, but just know we may get another one in 2014.
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