EG outlast Liquid in five-map thriller to win ESL One Cologne NA
The BLAST Premier and cs_summit 6 champions made it three event wins in a row after besting their North American rival in a long match that lasted six hours.
Evil Geniuses won their third tournament in a row following a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Liquid in the grand final of ESL One Cologne's North American division, while also stretching their winning streak to 11 matches across all competitions.
After going seven matches without dropping a single map, EG were given a run for their money by a combative Liquid side, who looked the better team heading into the fifth map of this series following dominant performances on their map picks of Vertigo and Mirage. But EG — who had struggled on Nuke and looked unconvincing on Inferno — pulled off a miraculous comeback from 11-6 down on Dust2 to add another trophy to their 2020 cabinet and pick up their fifth victory in a row against their North American rival.
"It was so exhausting, this entire series; it took so long, it's hard to stay focused and energised," Tarik "tarik" Celik said after the match. "I want to give props to them [Liquid], throughout the series they played really well, it was a hard match and they just made a roster change. It's really hard to go into a series and play so well against a team like us. Kudos to them for putting up a good fight."
The defeat will certainly sting Liquid, who were chasing their first trophy in almost five months, in particular Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, who deserved a better result after being the best player on the server on three of the five maps. He and his team will get a chance to rebound next month as they will compete in ESL Pro League Season 12, taking on Chaos in their first match of the tournament.
Liquid came out guns blazing as they raced to a 6-0 lead on the CT side of Nuke, with Michael "Grim" Wince leading the charge with 11 kills to his name and zero deaths. Liquid's grip on the game loosened as EG's menace grew, however, and only three rounds separated the two teams at the break following a period of dominance from the cs_summit 6 champions.
Keith "NAF" Markovic opened up the action in the second half with a 1v3 clutch — even knifing the last opponent — to kick Liquid further into the lead. The shape of the game changed dramatically when Evil Geniuses finally had money to work with as they kept the Ts at bay with a water-tight defense, taking the lead for the first time in the game at 15-14. They would fall at the final hurdle, however, as Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken rescued his team with a trio of frags in the final round, but they came alive once again in overtime, winning four rounds in a row after losing the first to lock up the map.
EliGE lit the game up on Vertigo, racking up 16 frags in the first eight rounds of the game as Liquid cruised to a 7-1 lead. He slowed down after that blistering start but his team remained in the driving seat as they continued to slice apart the EG defense for a 13-2 half.
The second half brought some sense of revival from Evil Geniuses, who began to eat away at Liquid's lead with a string of rounds. Having posted a 10-1 run on this map against FURIA the day before, Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz's charges were confident in their comeback chances, but then their hopes were dealt a blow when Twistzz went huge with a Desert Eagle. That round swung the momentum back in the favour of Liquid, who took the upper hand and quickly wrapped up the game.
EG were on an 11-game winning streak on Inferno heading into the third map of the series, but they looked sluggish during the early stages of the game as they fell behind 2-6 after failing to string rounds together. After threatening to overwhelm their opponents, Liquid shockingly faded, winning just two of the next 15 rounds as EG took over the game, reaching map point off the back of a stunning triple-kill spraydown by tarik in a 2v5 situation. Liquid still dug deep in search of an equaliser before a 1v3 clutch from Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte sealed the deal for the current world No 3 team.
EliGE carried his impressive form from the previous two maps into Mirage as he put his team in the lead with a 1v2 clutch in the opening round. That was the start of a dominant half from Liquid, who went into the break sitting on a three-round cushion. A quad-kill from Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov in the final round of the half kept EG's fans dreaming of a comeback, but Liquid were back on the front foot after the break and won seven rounds without response to level the series once more.
Liquid picked up where they left off as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Dust2 thanks to a clutch by Jake "Stewie2K" Yip in the pistol round. EG started to put some rounds together, bringing the deficit to a solitary round, but Liquid were in control for the rest of the half and went 9-6 up. The game appeared to be heading towards a victory for Liquid, who further added to their lead after switching sides, before back-to-back clutches from Ethan "Ethan" Arnold and tarik changed the course of the game. Evil Geniuses took the reins and finished the game in style with a run of seven rounds as Liquid's players appeared dazed.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||128 - 95||+33||95.6||1.40|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||101 - 91||+10||79.5||1.15|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||94 - 91||+3||78.0||1.10|
|Michael 'Grim' WinceGrim||97 - 95||+2||68.9||1.08|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||68 - 98||-30||62.6||0.88|
|Evil Geniuses||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Ethan 'Ethan' ArnoldEthan||103 - 98||+5||85.0||1.17|
|Vincent 'Brehze' CayonteBrehze||112 - 97||+15||76.7||1.11|
|Tsvetelin 'CeRq' DimitrovCeRq||91 - 97||-6||66.6||1.03|
|Tarik 'tarik' Celiktarik||81 - 103||-22||70.9||0.89|
|Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguzstanislaw||80 - 99||-19||67.7||0.88|
ESL One Cologne 2020 - North America final standings: