Liquid beat Vitality to win ESL One Cologne 2019
If there were any doubts over just how strong this Liquid side is, they were dispelled at the Lanxess Arena, where the North Americans ran out 3-1 winners without ever looking that they required to spend all their energy to win the series. They were the better team for the vast majority of the match against a Vitality side that always required moments of individual brilliance by Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut to have a say in the game.
The French prodigy showed once again why he is regarded as one of the best in the world, if not the only one capable of challenging Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev for the throne at the moment, but his talent was not enough to take down a well-oiled machine such as Liquid, who had in Keith "NAF" Markovic and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken their main driving forces.
An overtime victory on Dust2 will come as little solace for Vitality, who simply had no response to Liquid's teamplay on the other three maps, where they were constantly outplayed and continued to make too many mistakes against force buys.
"Last year, we just lived in their [Astralis'] shadow, and that gave us all this drive. We knew we were going to be the best this year, and we are living up to it," an emotional Twistzz said after the match. Liquid won their fourth ESL/DreamHack event on the trot to get their hands on the $1 million Intel Grand Slam prize, making Astralis' reign look like a distant memory.
ZywOo made his presence felt within moments of entering the server with a trio of USP kills to give Vitality the pistol round and an early lead on Overpass. It was not to last, though: Liquid responded immediately courtesy of a triple kill by Jake "Stewie2K" Yip, the only player in the team that had some sort of equipment.
Throughout the first half, the French team kept repeating the same mistakes that had proved so costly during the group stage and that had already been identified by Alex "ALEX" McMeekin. They were limited to just six rounds on their CT side, but it could have been a completely different story had they not lost three rounds against very weak buys, one of which following a miraculous 1v4 clutch by Twistzz.
Liquid capitalised on that momentum and further added to their lead with a flawless pistol round, shutting down Vitality's B execute. That was the start of a dominant CT side by the North American team, who swept through their opponents with ease to pick up a 16-6 victory.
It looked like Dust2 would follow the same pattern as Overpass as Vitality gave away an anti-eco round in the early stages after attempting to push the B site, gifting Liquid a way into the game. NAF led the way for the North Americans as they began to put together a string of rounds, but Vitality refused to let things get out of hand and fought back to bring the deficit to just one round before the end of the half.
A quad-kill by Cédric "RpK" Guipouy in the pistol round lit a fire in the French veteran, who inspired Vitality to take a 14-12 lead with a series of multi-kills thanks to his dominant presence in long. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, who was struggling to have any sort of impact in the game, finally woke up and powered Liquid to hit map point before the Frenchmen equalized on a desperate buy, much to the delight of the crowd.
With the momentum back in their favour, the French side piled on the pressure and took two rounds on their CT side. A massive 1v2 clutch from Stewie2K restored hope among the Liquid faithful, but Vitality kept their composure and locked down the map with a clutch of their own, from the ever so impressive ZywOo.
The first half of Inferno turned out to be the most lopsided of the series up until that point as Vitality simply could not string rounds together. Any round that was won by them was quickly countered with a round by Liquid, who raced to an 11-4 lead despite a solid showing by ZywOo, who went into half-time with 15 frags, just two fewer than the rest of his team combined.
Vitality kept their hopes alive as they secured the second half pistol, but the same old issues kept cropping up for them as Liquid hit back immediately. ALEX's troops made a slight comeback after being down 5-14, but their efforts were futile as the North Americans were simply too far ahead and wrapped things up in the 26th round in a 2v4 clutch by Twistzz and EliGE.
Mirage began with a solid start by Liquid, who secured a 3-0 lead on the CT side, but once Vitality had money in the bank, the landscape of the game changed instantly. The French team kicked into a higher gear ran all over the CTs seven rounds in a row, but then they suddenly ran out of steam. The North Americans tightened up their defense to finish the half on top with a string of five rounds.
Once again, ZywOo came to Vitality's rescue with a stunning quad kill in the first gun round of the second half after the previous two had gone Liquid's way. But it was too little, too late as the North Americans continued to play at a really fast pace and reached championship point off the back of a quad-kill by EliGE in a 2v4 situation. With no money left, the French team were simply helpless to prevent their opponents from taking the map and adding yet another trophy to their cabinet.
|Vitality||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Mathieu 'ZywOo' HerbautZywOo||87 - 73||+14||77.0||1.10|
|Cédric 'RpK' GuipouyRpK||73 - 78||-5||68.8||0.90|
|Nathan 'NBK-' SchmittNBK-||59 - 84||-25||67.2||0.84|
|Alex 'ALEX' McMeekinALEX||56 - 85||-29||65.7||0.76|
|Dan 'apEX' MadesclaireapEX||49 - 85||-36||64.9||0.72|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||84 - 71||+13||92.1||1.33|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||89 - 57||+32||85.2||1.31|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||90 - 69||+21||89.4||1.23|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||77 - 57||+20||70.7||1.15|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||65 - 70||-5||70.0||1.07|
ESL One Cologne 2019 final standings:
1. Liquid - $125,000
2. Vitality - $50,000
3-4. Astralis - $22,000
3-4. Natus Vincere - $22,000
5-6. NiP - $11,000
5-6. NRG - $11,000
7-8. mousesports - $7,500
7-8. Heroic - $7,500
9-12. FaZe - $6,000
9-12. fnatic - $6,000
9-12. BIG - $6,000
9-12. FURIA - $6,000
13-16. ENCE - $5,000
13-16. MVP PK - $5,000
13-16. Renegades - $5,000
13-16. MIBR - $5,000