ESL One Cologne Group C preview

This is our official preview for Group C of ESL One Cologne 2016, featuring Virtus.pro, EnVyUs, Liquid, and mousesports.

As the ninth official CS:GO Major, and the second $1 million Major, ESL One Cologne 2016 builds upon a busy season of CS:GO action by bringing together 16 teams to Cologne, Germany to fight over $1 million and re-establishing the order of top teams in the scene.

The format for ESL One Cologne 2016 is unchanged from MLG Columbus: best-of-one games in the groups with two wins to reach the playoffs and two losses to exit; the decider games for each group will meanwhile be best-of-three matches.

The playoffs will be a single elimination best-of-three bracket and they will be played inside of the LANXESS Arena, which so memorably hosted the ESL One Cologne 2015 playoffs.


The Major returns to Cologne

We have already set-up a special event page for the Major which is constantly being updated for the latest info going into the Major week. If you haven't seen it already, Group C for the Major is as follows:

Group C
United States Liquid
Poland Virtus.pro
Germany mousesports
France Envy
Initial matchups
United States Liquid vs. France Envy
Poland Virtus.pro vs. Germany mousesports

Continue reading for our official Group C preview, with teams being based on their current ranking on our Team Ranking page rather than based off of their seeding order going into the groups.

Poland Virtus.pro (ranked 7th)

Player Age Majors Maps Rating Highest placing
Poland Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski 23 8 50 1.19 Winner (Katowice 2014)
Poland Paweł "byali" Bieliński 22 8 50 1.10 Winner (Katowice 2014)
Poland Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski 29 8 50 1.10 Winner (Katowice 2014)
Poland Filip "NEO" Kubski 29 8 50 1.05 Winner (Katowice 2014)
Poland Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas 30 8 50 0.98 Winner (Katowice 2014)

Coach: Poland Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski

Team history:

This legendary Polish team have the distinction of having attended all eight Majors until now and with the same five man lineup. Aside from DreamHack Winter 2013 where they went under the UniversalSoldiers name, which is also notable in that it was TaZ & co.'s only group stage exit at a Major, the Poles have played every other Major as Virtus.pro.

This lineup is of course the continuation of the Pentagram G-Shock/Meet Your Makers/AGAiN core from 1.6, with the only change having been removing kuben (currently the team's coach) and Mariusz "Loord" Cybulski at the beginning of CS:GO and bringing in youngsters Snax and byali.

Virtus.pro have always hovered around the elite (i.e. top five) watermark in CS:GO with various ups and downs, although they currently sit outside of it due to 2016 being a particularly grim time for this storied team. Notable past achievements include winning the EMS One Katowice 2014 Major and winning the $250,000 ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational. In 2016, VP have only won the $100,000 SL i-League Invitational #1 so far.

Previous Major cycle:

Virtus.pro came into MLG Columbus as Legends, having finished in 5-8th place at DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015 after taking down Liquid and Titan in the group stage and then losing to a resurgent G2 (now FaZe) in the quarter-finals.

Having crashed out of tournaments such as DreamHack Open Leipzig and the Counter Pit Season 2 finals earlier this year, Virtus.pro already entered MLG Columbus being billed as weaker than ever and it can be argued that making the playoffs and retaining their Legends spot was their biggest achievement at the last Major.

In Columbus, VP crushed G2 in their opener (16-1 on Train), were crushed by Na`Vi in the winners' match (16-4 on Cobblestone), and edged out G2 2-1 in an emotionally fraught decider match. The Poles then surprised the world by taking Major champions Luminosity to the limit in the quarter-finals.


Virtus.pro will seek to avoid their own deluge in Cologne, with fire and sword if possible

Major history:

As mentioned already, ESL One Cologne 2016 will simply be the continuation of a sustained team intiative for Virtus.pro, with all five players having attended all previous Majors together in the same squad. Their highest achievement was winning EMS One Katowice 2014 and they have also been semifinalists three times: DHW 2014, Katowice 2015, and Cologne 2015.

Currently 30 years of age, team doyen TaZ will be the oldest player competing in Cologne, with 29-year-old and partner-in-crime NEO the fifth oldest and 28-year-old pashaBiceps, a late addition to the team in the 1.6 days, the ninth oldest player at the event.

Although in some sense they are a bit of a "grandpa team," VP have won two $250,000+ events in CS:GO which is more than many teams can lay claim to having done, and they have been dangerous contenders at many offline events and frequently catch opponents off guard with their confidence.

This will also be the eighth official Major for the Virtus.pro organisation, as the Russian organisation were not fielding a team at the time of DreamHack Winter 2013, having shut down their CIS-based lineup earlier in the year.

Achievements since Columbus:

If anything, Virtus.pro's achievements since their middling run at MLG Columbus have been somewhat reassuring and point to the continued "danger factor" of this team. First we have a 5-8th place finish at DreamHack Masters Malmö that saw them take down FaZe and Tempo Storm in their group and then lose in the quarter-finals (two 16-12 maps) against event winners NiP.

The 3-4th place finish at the CEVO Gfinity Season 9 finals was admittedly a bit of a flop as the Poles were heavy favourites to win there (and once again lost a close series to the event winners, this time Tempo Storm) but they made up for it with a confident victory at the SL i-League Invitational #1, which included beating Na`Vi in the grand final.


Majordomo Snax will need to be in full steward mode for VP to succeed 

VP competed in ELEAGUE this week and generally appeared much reinvigorated after their lengthy break from competition, aside from the Group F final loss late on Friday evening in Atlanta. Ranked seventh in the world, they are considered highly likely to retain their Legends spot in Cologne.

What to expect in Cologne:

ELEAGUE Group F gifted us with the fact that both Virtus.pro and EnVyUs played four recent games against each other as both teams had taken a long hiatus from offline competition in the May-June period.

With the teams exchanging maps (19-16 for VP on Mirage and 16-11 for nV on Cache) in the group stage and EnVyUs then solidly defeating the Poles 2-0 in the Group F final, this tells me that the two still have a raucous tendency when competing against each other, especially since both are considered fairly strong on Cache (64% overall winrate for nV and 56.2% for VP) and Mirage (58.2% winrate for nV and 65% for VP). After the ELEAGUE final, EnVyUs now have a 20-12 head-to-head advantage against the Poles.

However, Virtus.pro are going to open against mousesports rather than EnVyUs and here the data is also a little grim. The Poles lost their only offline match versus mouz 5-16 at DreamHack Leipzig and have lost three of the four online maps they've played against mousesports this year as well.

Since this is the Major however, and since mouz have looked extremely wobbly at recent offline showings and are generally wobbly on the big stage, I will hand the opening match win to Snax and his teammates, especially with the aforementioned player being one of the best rated Major players ever (only behind Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Marcelo "coldzera" David and tied with Oleksandr "Shara" Hordieyev).

VP should have the edge over Liquid by dint of their anti-NA abilities (though match-ups in 2015 were against a wildly different and less skilled Liquid) and matches against nV should be a toss-up; regardless I expect the Poles to be able to exit this group due to the unpredictable and mysterious "Plow factor." A group stage exit here will surely wreak irreparable damage to this longstanding lineup.

France Envy (ranked 9th)

Player Age Majors Maps Rating Highest placing
France Dan "apEX" Madesclaire 23 7 38 1.12 Winner (Cluj 2015)
France Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer 24 8 55 1.09 Winner (2x)
France Kenny "kennyS" Schrub 21 7 35 1.06 Winner (Cluj 2015)
France Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt 22 8 52 1.01 Winner (2x)
France Timothée "DEVIL" Démolon 21 1 2 0.79 Group stage (Columbus 2016)

Coach: N/A (Analyst - Germany Niclas "enkay J" Krumhorn)

Team History:

The core members of this current EnVyUs lineup, four-fifths of whom have Major championships, are NBK- and Happy, who were both in the LDLC lineup who won the DreamHack Winter 2014 Major and who then transitioned into the EnVyUs organisation at the beginning of 2015.

After a few event wins in the first part of the year, the famous French shuffle of summer 2015 happened and both kennyS and apEX came on board in lieu of Richard "shox" Papillon and Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux. That EnVyUs lineup made the final of the Cologne 2015 Major and finally took the gold medal at Cluj-Napoca 2015.

nV began their downward spiral out of being an elite team in late 2015 and despite winning the relatively small Game Show GEC Finals, they finished in 11-12th place at IEM Katowice, which facilitated the team removing longtime core member Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey and bringing in the relatively unproven DEVIL.

As we will see in later sections, results with DEVIL have been less than promising, including a 13-16th place bombing out of the Columbus Major, which entered the record books as a Major winning team failed to exit groups at the next Major for the first time.

Previous Major Cycle:

EnVyUs of course won the DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Major with four-fifths of their current lineup. They came into MLG Columbus as Legends, albeit with DEVIL in the team and having already shown a less than flattering result a few weekends before at the Counter Pit Season 2 finals (a 5-8th place exit).

New addition DEVIL clearly had a tough time adapting to the team, and lurker/sometimes caller/impact player Happy also seemed as if he had lost his way.

EnVyUs came into MLG Columbus and lost 8-16 to CLG and 13-16 to Gambit and just like that the previous Major winners were humbled by guillotine and had to attend the Cologne Major qualifier in Katowice as bottom eight finishers in Columbus.


apEX de Montaigne's "What do I know of slow play?" is an entry-fragger's classic

Major History:

Both Happy and NBK- have attended all eight Majors to date, although the two players have separate paths for the early portion of the game.

After making the semifinals with VeryGames at DHW 2013, NBK- was part of those two hyped Titan lineups who tragically went out in groups at Katowice 2014 and Cologne 2014. The player soon abandoned ship and was with Happy on LDLC when they won DHW 2014 and has kept pace with the other veteran ever since (semifinals at Katowice 2015, finals at Cologne 2015, winning DH Cluj 2015, groups at MLG Columbus).

Happy broke his impressive streak of making the playoffs of every single Major at MLG Columbus. He was part of the dark horse Recursive lineup (alongside current teammate kennyS) that made the quarter-finals at DHW 2013, he made Major playoffs with LDLC for Katowice and Cologne 2014, and then he won his first Major at DHW 2014. Since then, he has been a part of all of EnVyUs' toils.

apEX and kennyS both have seven Major attendances each. They were both part of Titan when their teammate Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian was banned and they were thus tossed out into the cold for DreamHack Winter 2014, despite being considered a very strong team around that time (they won DreamHack Stockholm that autumn).

apEX exited in the group stages of DHW 2013 with Clan-Mystik, he was then part of LDLC's quarter-finals at Katowice 2014 and semifinals at Cologne 2014 (he was famously the highest rated player at that event with a 1.38 rating). The move to Titan of course saw him miss DHW 2014 and his team went out in the group stages of Katowice 2015; apEX's move to EnVyUs for Cologne 2015 turned his Major fortunes around.

kennyS has an even less storied early Major history, after his quarter-finals with Recursive at DHW 2013 he suffered group stage exits with Clan-Mystik in Katowice and with Titan in Cologne of 2014 before missing DreamHack Winter that year due to the KQLY factor. After the Titan group stage exit at Katowice 2015 he joined up with nV for Cologne alongisde kennyS in the French shuffle.

Finally, DEVIL is the rookie here and MLG Columbus was his first Major. Compared to his high-octane teammates who all hold 1.0+ ratings across the Majors, DEVIL fell short on his first attempt and will be looking to improve a dismal 0.79.

Achievements since Columbus:

Since MLG Columbus, EnVyUs have had a few twists and turns and are currently ranked ninth in the world. They followed suit with many other teams and attended less events than they had done during earlier in the year and their first offline showing after Columbus was an impressive 3-4th place finish at DreamHack Masters Malmö.

To do so, they eliminated FaZe and Tempo Storm in their group (after an opening loss to the latter) and then had a very easy time of a quarter-final against the less-skilled dignitas team before finally being swatted aside by Na`Vi in the semifinals.


kennyS' fine display in the ELEAGUE final against VP might be a harbinger of a good Major for nV 

nV's next event afterwards was the Cologne Major qualifier in Katowice where the French team were among the middle of the pack to qualify (3-1 record) and they did so over Cloud9 in the end.

Finally, EnVyUs finally had a taste of victory this past week at ELEAGUE Group F, where they triumphed over a group including Virtus.pro, Gambit, and compLexity and defeated the Polish team to make it into the playoffs of the $1.4 million event.

What to expect in Cologne:

EnVyUs are a tough nut to crack lately. Before their Group F final at ELEAGUE, where both kennyS and DEVIL played well against Virtus.pro and helped take down the Poles, I would have put them as a team likely to either exit in the losers' match or put up a fight in the decider match.

But in the ELEAGUE final, and with DEVIL calling, the team looked formidable and organised. This group is increasingly becoming the lesser brother of the infamous Group D.

I think EnVyUs now have a true mental edge over Virtus.pro and can obliterate mousesports if they play seriously. They open against the cipher of the group in Liquid however, a team who looked quite deadly against top opposition at the ECS Season 1 finals.

EnVyUs may have looked coherent in Atlanta but they will have to go against an unpredictable team who have the horsepower to overwhelm the French team should something go wrong. If EnVyUs lose their opener, I would say they will then be in a much weaker state psychologically and could fall out in two maps.

United States Liquid (ranked 10th)

Player Age Majors Maps Rating Highest placing
Ukraine Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev 18 2 10 1.15 Semifinal (Columbus 2016)
United States Josh "jdm64" Marzano 26 3 15 1.10 Quarter-final (Columbus 2016)
United States Spencer "Hiko" Martin 26 6 29 1.04 Semifinal (2x)
United States Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski 18 2 8 0.94 Semifinal (Columbus 2016)
United States Nick "nitr0" Cannella 20 3 11 0.87 Semifinal (Columbus 2016)

Coach: Brazil Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu

Team History:

The core of this team is clearly Hiko, EliGE, and nitr0 and has been since September 2015 when the 26-year-old Hiko decided that teaming up with the two young guns was his best bet at finally securing a Major trophy for North America.

Despite a few promising local results over the next few months, such as second place at the iBUYPOWER Cup and 3-4th place at IEM San Jose, Liquid were still clearly lacking a winning ingredient and the team quietly parted ways with Jacob "FugLy" Medina and first tried out Finn Aleksi "allu" Jalli, formerly of NiP, before settling on Ukrainian asset s1mple.

Liquid continued falling short in certain scenarios, such as failing to qualify for IEM Katowice, and the team decided to sign Kenneth "koosta" Suen to replace Eric "adreN" Hoag. Due to Valve's roster rules however, adreN had to play at the Major qualifer, more of which we will read about in the next section.

In any case, Liquid's roster no longer features koosta nor adreN nor even s1mple, with the last mentioned player finishing out his playing days for the organisation at this Major. Instead, the team boast former CLG AWPer jdm64 and will commence playing with Jacob "Pimp" Winneche after the Major.

Liquid's greatest achievement to date is undoubtedly their semifinal Major finish at MLG Columbus.

Previous Major Cycle:

As bottom eight finishers at DH Cluj-Napoca, Liquid came into the MLG Columbus Main Qualifier with adreN in tow. That player had a phenomenal event, especially considering his otherwise poor form, and we all still remember how Liquid managed to edge out HellRaisers in their group decider match to qualify for the Major.

This match was widely considered to be a turning point for the team as hothead s1mple came to realise he could rely on his teammates to perform. And Liquid came into the Major with flair as they brought down FaZe and then the world's best team fnatic in a double overtime thriller to qualify for the playoffs early.

The North American-Ukrainian team easily dispensed with CLG in the quarter-finals and then played one of the most infamous matches of all time against event winners Luminosity, where the team squandered two significant match point advantages on both maps to lose in overtime and forever cemented their status in the Meme Hall of Fame.


Ukrainian Holden Caulfield struggles to trust those around him

Major History:

26-year-old Hiko is the most decorated North American player in CS:GO as he is the only one to possess two semifinal runs under his belt for that region. He made his first semifinal with that super star compLexity lineup at DHW 2013 and made the quarter-finals with coL at the next Major in Katowice as well.

Another quarter-finals finish with Cloud9 at Cologne 2014 was followed by a group stage flop at DHW 2014 and Hiko was soon off the team as it was not one that was hungry enough to win, in his own words. What followed was an entire year of soul-searching and trying to build a winning lineup but Hiko was only back at the Majors with two of his current teammates for DH Cluj 2015, where they went out in groups. The next shot struck gold however with the semifinals run in Columbus.

The other two core members, EliGE and nitr0, also hold the Columbus semifinals run and the Cluj group stage flop under their belts. nitr0 however has one more Major attendance to boast of, as he played for iBUYPOWER at DreamHack Winter 2014 (alongside Derek "desi" Branchen in a rather hurried decision) and despite going out in groups, it was there where the player gained notice.

jdm64 has three Majors racked up, all of them with CLG. Two group stage exits in 2015 (Cologne and Cluj) were finally topped by CLG's quarter-finals run at MLG Columbus.

And finally s1mple has a complete different trajectory to his teammates as he only entered the North American scene in 2016 and was a CIS region player before that. Aside from his semifinals finish in Columbus, he was the driveshaft which led HellRaisers to their quarter-finals run at DHW 2014 and thus has two Majors to speak of.

Achievements since Columbus:

Liquid are of course Legends and did not have to qualify for ESL One Cologne 2016.

When we speak of this team's achievements since Columbus, we have to of course consider their extreme roster instability, which saw koosta come into the team for DreamHack Masters Malmö and then s1mple exit the team before DreamHack Austin and the return of adreN, and finally the departures of both koosta and adreN by the time of the ECS Season 1 finals and the brief return of s1mple for ECS S1 and the Cologne Major.

If that sounds confusing that is because it is confusing. In Malmö we already got a glimpse of the old Liquid lineup being a trainwreck due to friction between s1mple and koosta over the AWPing role and stupid plays from the former player. Liquid lost to mousesports and TyLoo and were out in 13-16th place.

DreamHack Austin saw the brief return of adreN and Liquid matched their rival Cloud9 in making the semifinals and then losing to a Brazilian team, with Liquid doing so to Luminosity. The team then went to London for the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals and exited in 5-6th place, with an infamous opener choke loss to NiP, a victory over Cloud9, and a decider loss to fnatic.


With liquid being recently claimed the most volatile state of matter, scientists must work to find a solution 

And Liquid topped off this poor form with a 0-6 blowout group stage at ELEAGUE Group A and were also defeated in the semifinal and found themselves out in 19-24th place in the $1.4 million league.

Changes were again on the horizon and the team dispensed with koosta and adreN and managed to secure the services of jdm64 and Pimp. However, due to roster rules and Pimp having played for SK at the latest European Minor, the team needed a workaround and resorted to their still-contracted player s1mple for the ECS Season 1 finals and the Major.

At ECS S1, we saw a Liquid who were still trying out their strengths and they managed to take two maps off G2 and get close against Luminosity and ultimately went out in 5-6th place.

What to expect in Cologne:

Clearly packing an insane amount of raw skill and firepower, this Liquid lineup is the dark horse of their group.

Their offline map statistics in 2016 are very poor but the problem with this team, currently North America's best in terms of rankings, is that their roster flip-flops render some of the statistical picture fuzzy.

In ECS Season 1 finals, we saw that they were good on Cobblestone (with double wins against G2) and decent on Train (against Luminosity). They certainly seemed shaky on Nuke and weak on Dust2.

Somewhat interestingly, Liquid have only played one of the teams in their current Cologne group in an offline 2016 match, that being a close loss to mousesports in Malmö. This fact makes them even more of a dark horse.

I think jdm64 will be utilised properly by the team and make an impact; s1mple, on the other hand, wil always remain a toxic asset for the team, both when considering his previous tensions with some of his teammates and his continuing inability to find some inner semblance of peace. Should s1mple be hitting his shots, and all of Liquid following along, then they can do anything from topping their group to triumphing in the decider.

Germany mousesports (ranked 13th)

Player Age Majors Maps Rating Highest placing
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola "NiKo" Kovač 19 2 10 1.16 Group stage (2x)
Netherlands Chris "chrisJ" de Jong 26 4 14 0.96 Group stage (4x)
Germany Denis "denis" Howell 21 5 22 0.91 Quarter-final (2x)
Germany Timo "Spiidi" Richter 20 4 17 0.91 Quarter-final (2x)
Germany Johannes "nex" Maget 24 5 19 0.88 Quarter-final (Katowice 2015)

Coach: Serbia Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović (on trial)

Team History:

The core of this team have been together for a long time and much of the latter part of 2015 saw the five players together, although at one point Spiidi was a back-up and the team were of course led by tactician Fatih "gob b" Dayik.

gob b was soon on his way out (he was often perceived to be the weak link in the team then) and Spiidi back into a starting role by late 2015 and the team entered 2016 with some promising showings, but they have always and to this date been hounded by a baffling ability to lose their mental composure and fall apart in matches, which has not been ameliorated by 19-year-old NiKo calling the shots as captain.

Their greatest achievement to date is either their surprise second place run at the CEVO Season 8 Finals last year or their victory at the Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals this year (versus slightly weaker competition).

Previous Major Cycle:

mousesports went out in 9-12th place at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca (back when gob b was still leading the team) and they thus came into the MLG Columbus Main Qualifier as bottom-eight finishers.

The team have often proven to be one step above competition of a similar level to them, especially in qualifiers, and such was the case in Columbus where they destroyed YP and edged out HellRaisers in an overtime game to qualify for the Columbus Major.

They struggled to leave a mark at IEM Katowice the weekend afterward (7-8th place finish after losing knife's edge best-of-ones to fnatic and Luminosity) and were soon back in Columbus for the Major. The big stakes tournaments always seem to harm this team as they narrowly lost to Luminosity on Mirage (13-16) in the opener, edged out FlipSid3 in a marathon multiovertime elimination match (31-28 on Cobblestone), and lost 1-2 to NiP in the decider to exit in 9-12th place and fail to become Legends.


The sorrows of a young CS:GO Werther

Major History:

The team's Samson, NiKo, is humorously the least experienced player at Majors as the 19-year-old only had his real breakout moment last year. Thus, two group stage exits at both DH Cluj 2015 and Columbus 2016 are the extent of his Major achievements.

Dutchman chrisJ and German Spiidi have both been to four Majors: the former has four group stage exits with the mousesports organisation, three of these are from Cologne 2015 onwards but he was also part of a much different mousesports team that went out in groups at Katowice 2014; the latter player actually has made the quarter-finals twice (with the sleeper team that was PENTA in early 2015) at DHW 2014 and Katowice 2015 and he then missed out on Cologne 2015 compared to the rest of his teammates and has matched them since.

Finally, nex and denis have been to five Majors. denis has a similar history to Spiidi and made two quarter-finals with PENTA, except he was part of the starting five at Cologne 2015. nex meanwhile matches Spiidi and denis from Katowice 2015 onwards (and thus has a quarter-finals finish), but he was part of a Planetkey team that went out in groups at DHW 2014.

Achievements since Columbus:

After Columbus, mousesports at first seemed formidable at their next event: DreamHack Masters Malmö. They beat Liquid and upset Luminosity to make the playoffs, only to lose the quarter-finals to the dark horse GODSENT team and go out in 5-8th place.

mouz then went quiet for awhile and the only piece of news ahead of the Cologne Major Qualifier was that they would be trialling kassad as a new coach. They started slow in Katowice, winning an overtime game against Fluffy Gangsters, but then beat Cloud9 and demolished G2 to be one of the first two teams to qualify for the Cologne Major from that event.


chrisJ will need more focus and less questions about missing smokes on Cobblestone 

Finally, the German-Dutch-Bosnian team seemed in fine form in their ELEAGUE group stage, going 4-2, but they surprisingly lost the semifinal to FlipSid3 rather convincingly. Luckily for NiKo and his team however, they amassed enough group stage points to be one of the two teams to make it to the Last Chance Qualifier.

mousesports thus qualified for ESL One Cologne rather convincingly but have also been a silent team at times, thus explaining their slide in the rankings.

What to expect in Cologne:

mousesports will always be a team who can fight to be in the top ten, regardless of their occasional nihilistic moments of self-harm when the team's communications go bad and firepower slows down.

They can harness the constant pole star talent that is NiKo, and you will often get another player who decides to help carry the load too, sometimes it can be chrisJ, sometimes Spiidi or nex, and even rarely it is denis.

In terms of Majors, nex is somewhat of a problem as he is the lowest rated player on his team at those particular events and it has been openly talked about that he struggles in high pressure, spotlight-fixating kind of environments.

In general, mouz have strong offline winrates on maps like Cache (83.3%) and Dust2 (85.7%) whereas they struggle more on more tactics-oriented maps like Mirage (55.6%) and Cobblestone (50%). Curiously, with twelve maps played, Cobblestone seems to come up a lot for this team after the pick-bans as well.

I think mousesports' dangerous style of skill has always been a threat this year, but it has been shut down time-and-time again, whether from the outside or the inside. Although Cologne could be their breakthrough Major, I'm going to play it on the safe side and say they are likely to not clear groups in such a strong group.

 

The ESL One Cologne 2016 Major will run from July 5-10. The first three days will take place behind closed doors while the playoffs will move to the LANXESS Arena, the same venue used for last year's playoff games.

We will continue releasing ESL One Cologne 2016 content on a daily basis and the Group D preview still awaits. The Group A preview can be found here and the Group B preview here.

The prize-pool distribution for ESL One Cologne 2016 is once again:

1. - $500,000
2. - $150,000
3-4. - $70,000
3-4. - $70,000
5-8. - $35,000
5-8. - $35,000
5-8. - $35,000
5-8. - $35,000
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750
9-16. - $8,750

Remember to keep reading HLTV.org in the run up to the Major as we will continue releasing a batch of content up until the day of action commences.

stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter

France Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1652
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.20
Maps played:
1039
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.12
France Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
1161
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
France Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer
Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1432
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.12
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1176
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Germany Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.85
Maps played:
975
KPR:
0.56
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
United States Eric 'adreN' Hoag
Eric 'adreN' Hoag
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
597
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.15
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1531
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
United States Jacob 'FugLy' Medina
Jacob 'FugLy' Medina
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1024
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Oleksandr 'Shara' Hordieyev
Oleksandr 'Shara' Hordieyev
Age:
27
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
373
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.14
Poland Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1445
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Germany Timo 'Spiidi' Richter
Timo 'Spiidi' Richter
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1246
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.15
United States Spencer 'Hiko' Martin
Spencer 'Hiko' Martin
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
917
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.14
Germany Denis 'denis' Howell
Denis 'denis' Howell
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1240
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.14
Germany Johannes 'nex' Maget
Johannes 'nex' Maget
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
999
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
France Hovik 'KQLY' Tovmassian
Hovik 'KQLY' Tovmassian
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
250
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
United States Josh 'jdm64' Marzano
Josh 'jdm64' Marzano
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
823
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.10
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1486
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.16
Serbia Aleksandar 'kassad' Trifunović
Aleksandar 'kassad' Trifunović
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.75
Maps played:
99
KPR:
0.52
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.13
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1094
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
United States Derek 'desi' Branchen
Derek 'desi' Branchen
Age:
26
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
349
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.13
France Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1177
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
United States Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
787
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Germany Niclas 'enkay J' Krumhorn
Niclas 'enkay J' Krumhorn
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.84
Maps played:
170
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.14
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1738
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
United States Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1148
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.16
Poland Jakub 'kuben' Gurczynski
Jakub 'kuben' Gurczynski
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
168
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.16
Poland Mariusz 'Loord' Cybulski
Mariusz 'Loord' Cybulski
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.90
Maps played:
369
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Poland Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1681
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Netherlands Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1426
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Sweden Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1452
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.18
Denmark Jacob 'Pimp' Winneche
Jacob 'Pimp' Winneche
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
976
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Finland Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1371
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.11
France Timothée 'DEVIL' Démolon
Timothée 'DEVIL' Démolon
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
569
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Poland Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1524
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Poland Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' Jarząbkowski
Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' Jarząbkowski
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1592
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.23
Maps played:
1035
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1542
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.11
ez 4 pelitalo
2016-07-03 00:39
wtf fukishima top comment
2016-07-03 04:01
glhf
2016-07-03 00:39
ez 4 ENCE
2016-07-03 00:39
#20
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
ez group 4 liquid! good luck BRAZIL! We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL!
2016-07-03 00:40
peacemaker to be the only brazillian to get out of groups
2016-07-03 00:46
#34
Poland n1u 
"We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL!" Please, die or something like that. In every thread some monkey paste these shit. No, u are not smart and friendly - gtfo.
2016-07-03 01:04
#40
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
Sorry if VP will stay at groupstage in cologne 2016! Don't hate us if u haven't lot of title than us!
2016-07-03 01:23
I hope thats a bait
2016-07-03 02:17
hitler/favela/incest&vodka what a thread
2016-07-03 04:02
Ikr? +Kangaroos
2016-07-03 06:15
amazing... all we need is brexit losers and the biggest loser of cs blackiejesus
2016-07-03 10:17
#84
Poland n1u 
LG has more titles than G5? are u drunk monkey?
2016-07-03 20:00
Smart?!? They were to stupid to read so they are now owned by sk. Friendly?!? See hltv comments. Loyal?!? Another word for stupid
2016-07-04 11:31
#22
 | 
Luxembourg Hargreaves 
wtf stich
2016-07-03 00:41
#23
 | 
Azerbaijan Talley 
chrisJ will need more focus and less questions about missing smokes on Cobblestone Shut up!
2016-07-03 00:42
#35
 | 
Germany lawlig 
Shat ap!
2016-07-03 01:06
nV VP Ez prediction
2016-07-03 00:42
Couldn't be more svaying :D
2016-07-03 21:45
Liquid & envy
2016-07-03 00:44
#26
 | 
Canada smoo 
ez
2016-07-03 00:44
EZ ENVY
2016-07-03 00:46
#29
Poland wed 
vp - mouz nv - lq winner vp - nv 50-50 loser mouz - lq decider bo3 vp/nv - lq
2016-07-03 00:48
#37
Germany mkai 
vp - mouz nv - lq winner vp - nv loser vp - lq 50/50
2016-07-03 01:08
#47
 | 
United States Ronaldofanboy 
vp has never won mousesports
2016-07-03 02:10
#66
autist | 
Poland rHin00 
??
2016-07-03 11:38
#69
 | 
Poland TheSchei 
They won in final CEVO S8
2016-07-03 12:26
#70
 | 
United States Ronaldofanboy 
but in 2016 no win against mousesposts! and vp bad form since they lost to envy in eleage
2016-07-03 12:38
You are talking about their form after one bo3 lost to envyus, n1 favela
2016-07-03 19:42
#32
byali | 
Poland vezz. 
Obviously Liquid will win with nV, mouse will win VP. Losers - nV > VP, Winners - Liquid Decider - nV VP DISBAND INC
2016-07-03 01:03
#33
Snax | 
Poland Mval 
go go virtus plow
2016-07-03 01:03
#36
shox | 
Germany rakFABI 
go mouz go i want you to see at lanxess arena <3
2016-07-03 01:06
#38
 | 
Bulgaria AboveYall 
Nikola "NiKo" Kova&#269; 1.16 Chris "chrisJ" de Jong 0.96 Denis "denis" Howell 0.91 Timo "Spiidi" Richter 0.91 Johannes "nex" Maget 0.88 LEL NikoSports for a reason XD
2016-07-03 01:16
NV, mouse it's time for you VP to say goodbyyeeeeeeee
2016-07-03 01:17
nt
2016-07-03 19:43
#41
chrisJ | 
France Escher 
EnkayJ is coaching nV now? :D
2016-07-03 01:28
#42
 | 
United States PinoyStyleG 
Just realized my top 3 fave teams are in this group ;-;
2016-07-03 01:34
if you stop liking liquid you will be fine.
2016-07-03 07:59
vp ez
2016-07-03 01:38
Lul clg had 3 group stage exits either way was fun reading
2016-07-03 01:47
#87
 | 
United States jaeger_steam 
lul clg had 3 group stage exits but jdm was only on the team for 2 of them either way was fun reading
2016-07-04 14:30
error: Schrub has an even less storied early Major history, after his quarter-finals with Recursive at DHW 2013 he suffered group stage exits with Recursive in Katowice kennyS was in Clan Mystik at katowice 2014, not recursive.
2016-07-03 01:53
god damn it that's the second time I've gotten trolled by teamids in our stats section that have changed names since
2016-07-03 02:03
#48
 | 
United States Ronaldofanboy 
rip vp out in groups they have never won mousesports. :D and envy > vp so rip
2016-07-03 02:13
this
2016-07-04 15:19
#50
f0rest | 
Germany Gloin 
:DDDD will be so ez for mouz this time
2016-07-03 02:21
#51
 | 
Spain akproxx 
Envy Liquid
2016-07-03 02:57
"they won ESWC that autumn" They only won the scrappy ESWC France, but lost in quarter against LDLC. It's Fnatic who won the real ESWC event.
2016-07-03 03:05
#53
 | 
Germany GeoRg___J 
"chrisJ will need more focus and less questions about missing smokes on Cobblestone " i.imgur.com/xRo55sK.gif
2016-07-03 03:38
#54
Europe bueR 
nV through. Second place is a coin toss.
2016-07-03 03:52
shut up,shut up!!!
2016-07-03 05:16
Stich trying to be funny again, EleGiggle
2016-07-03 07:27
there weren't that many jokes in this one actually, if anything just subtle literary references
2016-07-03 16:14
Happy's last name isn't schopenhauer trolooo. Nice article though
2016-07-03 07:39
#63
 | 
Australia closet 
shaddup!!!
2016-07-03 08:59
Envy Virtus or Mouz
2016-07-03 11:24
#68
 | 
Germany 1criT 
I think this is actually the 2nd hardest group to predict. Liquid and mouz are imo both capable of getting out of the groups.
2016-07-03 12:24
#72
 | 
Poland mamba99999 
It's funny how all the people saying mouz can get out of the groups, are German.
2016-07-03 13:12
Mouz can definitely get out of groups, this is the second hardest group to predict right after group D. Wouldn't be surprised if mouz and Liquid made it through, although VP and nV have better shot IMO.
2016-07-03 13:14
#75
 | 
Germany 1criT 
I don't like mousesports at all but I think both Liquid and mouz got a good chance :]
2016-07-03 13:16
funny that all people saying vp will get out are polaks
2016-07-03 14:06
#77
 | 
Poland mamba99999 
I don't think all those 590 peps are Polish: docs.google.com/forms/d/11TWspS7dwwINX8v..
2016-07-03 14:09
IIRC, current group D was originally drawn as group A. I like how they changed it to D to make that the last covered group - real climax before the Major starts!
2016-07-03 13:12
Either VP and nV (if KennyS start hitting his shots...), or VP and Mouz (if they shat ap and play).
2016-07-03 14:50
I would have loved to see the map statistics from past 3 months that Striker provided for the Group B preview for every group.
2016-07-03 18:59
Mouz NV ez lmao
2016-07-04 15:18
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