Gambit and FaZe with Katowice wins
Gambit and FaZe have both secured opening wins at the ESL One Cologne Main Qualifier in Katowice, Poland after defeating OpTic and dignitas, respectively.
The next match at the ESL One Cologne Main Qualifier in Katowice following the EnVyUs versus Immortals match-up was a Cold War showdown between the North American OpTic team and the Russian-Kazakh Gambit lineup.
William "RUSH" Wierzba got things rolling for his team with a Glock triple kill on their T-side pistolround and OpTic's famous aggression continued unabated for much of the first half, with Gambit only securing a few rounds here and there (including Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev clinching three kills on the twelfth rounds thanks to a MAG 7 buy) and the half finishing 11-4 in OpTic's favour.
spaze put in work for Gambit's 16-14 comeback
It was perhaps destined to go South since a North American team was involved but Gambit quickly began recovering in the match after winning the second pistolround, although a quad kill from Keith "NAF" Markovic on the 19th round did suddenly nudge OpTic forward to a 12-7 scoreline.
However, with Spanish hotshot Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas unable to make an impact on either side of the map, and with Gambit's newest addition Ivan "spaze" Obrezhan making impact kills right, left, and center, Gambit completed the comeback against the tilted North American team and won Cobblestone 16-14.
K - D
23 - 19
21 - 22
19 - 18
15 - 21
17 - 22
The following match was a showdown on Mirage between two second tier European outfits: FaZe and Dignitas. A successful FaZe retake on the first pistolround (and two USP kills from Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey to open the round) meant that the pan-European team were able to enter the game early with three rounds on the crucial CT-side of Mirage.
dignitas went into classic execution mode thanks to the strategies of Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen and managed to pick up the first gunround and actuall equalise the score thanks to a series of set pieces. The rounds then flipflopped between the two teams as both entered into a battle over controlling each other's economy in the first half.
rain was the point man for FaZe against dignitas
The eleventh round however saw Håvard "rain" Nygaard pick up a triple kill, including a one-versus-two, and this was the momentum that FaZe needed to suddenly pull away on their defensive side and finish the half with a comfortable 10-5 lead.
A perfect dignitas CT hold of the B bombsite on the second pistolround seemed to turn the game back in the favour of the Danish-Norwegian team but the next round suddenly saw FaZe accumulate Tec 9 kills and CZ75 kills and yet again turn the momentum in their favour.
Despite a few more desperate dignitas CT rounds to remain in the game, it was therefore FaZe who closed the map out 16-8.
K - D
25 - 12
23 - 13
14 - 10
16 - 15
15 - 14
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter