ESL One: Cologne 2016: From irrelevancy to World Champions

In this series we look back at all the previous 18 Majors in CS:GO.

Countdown to the Major!

We are less than one week away from the start of the last ever Major in CS:GO history. To ease the waiting time, we have created a countdown series, where we dive into the history of all 18 Majors. Today we have reached ESL One: Cologne 2016.

ESL One: Cologne 2016

Date: Jul 5th – Jul 10th 2016

Number of teams: 16

Prize Pool: $1,000,000

Winner: SK Gaming


Marcelo “coldzera” David

Map pool: Cache, Cobblestone, Dust2, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Train.

ESL One: Cologne 2016 was the ninth CS:GO tournament in the history of the game and was held from July 5 – July 10, 2016 in the Lanxess-Arena in Cologne Germany. Like the previous Major, this one also featured 16 teams and a total prize pool of $1,000,000!

The previous two events in Cologne were all about the Swedish giants from fnatic and NiP. But by the time ESL One: Cologne 2016 came around, the Counter-Strike landscape had changed. The Ninjas had fallen off drastically, while fnatic were still among the world’s top four teams. The previous event marked the definite end of a dynasty. For the first time in CS:GO Major history, Ninjas in Pyjamas failed to get past the group stage and weren’t even able to qualify for the following two Majors.

New teams were on top, and none of them from Sweden.

2016 was the year of the Brazilian nation. While the team won their first Major as massive underdogs under the Luminosity banner, by the time of Cologne 2016 SK Gaming were undisputed best team in the world. The famous and proud Brazilian winners were FalleN, fer, coldzera, fnx, and TACO.

All the focus was on the Brazilians squad going into ESL One: Cologne 2016. The Brazilian godfather, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo literally took his team from the depths of irrelevancy to Counter-Strike world champions within one year.

s1mple are you serious?

If a professional CS:GO player gets his own graffiti on a map, he’s clearly done something extraordinary. Only few players received this special honor by Valve and one of them is Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who achieved immortality at ESL One: Cologne 2016.

What is this clutch from s1mple? What, are you serious? What is that? You can’t do that, s1mple! That’s not allowed! This is not FPL, this is a Major!

Those were the words from the renowned caster, James Bardolph when he witnessed s1mple’s outrageous play in the semi-final of ESL One: Cologne, where Liquid took upon the Swedish side from fnatic. The Ukrainian beast outdid himself by presenting a completely ridiculous double no-scope on the B-site of Cache. The iconic play perfectly illustrated his inhuman skills and mechanical capabilities, and the sequence will forever be a part of Counter-Strike history.

Watch the iconic play from s1mple right here:

SK Gaming win ESL One: Cologne 2016

On their way to the Grand final, the Brazilians from SK Gaming had to overcome some of the biggest names at the time including FaZe Clan, G2, FlipSid3, and, while Liquid took down teams such as Envy, MOUZ, NAVI, and fnatic to secure their spot in the final.

It is July 10, 2016, and the Lanxess Arena in Cologne Germany is filled to the brim. Nearly 14.000 spectators are ready to watch a nerve-racking Grand final at the tournament between SK Gaming and Team Liquid.

The action of the Grand final began on SK Gaming’s pick of Train, where the Brazilians started off things on the offensive side, storming to a 3-0 lead. It looked like the first gun round between the two teams would go SK’s way, but the Brazilians couldn’t hold down the site and Liquid grabbed their first round. However, the Brazilians would immediately hit back in the following round, resetting Liquid’s economy. SK Gaming were full of momentum, especially coldzera who went huge and delivered a clutch to give his team an even more substantial lead. Down 1-6, Liquid started to wake up and managed to climb back one the scoreboard, thanks to praiseworthy performances from Hiko and s1mple who helped their team add seven rounds to the scoreline, before the second half.

Liquid was on the verge of securing the second pistol round and turn the tide in their favor, but their hopes were crushed by fer, and instead, SK Gaming went on to win all the remaining rounds to draw the first blood to the series.

Map two was Cobblestone, on which both teams had incredible moments throughout the entire tournament. But the map was especially one of Liquid’s favorite picks and the North American squad with s1mple tried their best to live up to that billing as they got out to an early lead after securing the pistol round. coldzera and SK Gaming were able to steal away the third round against the odds, winning an eco and eventually running away with the lead. From there on, the Brazilians showed no signs of slowing down, with the scoreline blooming to a 10-5 advantage. In the second half, SK Gaming only allowed s1mple and company to grab one single round before locking down Cobblestone 16-6 and securing another Major title.

SK Gaming became the second team in CS:GO after fnatic to win back-to-back Majors. They proved their critics they can win no matter what.

Tournament results:

1. SK Gaming - $500,000
2. Liquid - $150,000
3-4. Fnatic - $70,000
3-4. - $70,000
5-8. FlipSid3 - $35,000
5-8. NAVI - $35,000
5-8. Gambit - $35,000
5-8. Astralis - $35,000
9-12. NiP - $8,750
9-12. MOUZ - $8,750
9-12. Dignitas - $8,750
9-12. FaZe - $8,750
13-16. Envy - $8,750
13-16. G2 - $8,8750
13-16. OpTic - $8,750
13-16. CLG - $8,750

Highest rated players at ESL One: Cologne 2016:

1. Marcelo “coldzera” David (SK Gaming) – 1.37 Rating

2. Nicolai “device” Reedtz (Astralis) – 1.28 Rating

3. Epitacio “TACO” de Melo (SK Gaming) – 1.25 Rating

4. Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson (fnatic) – 1.22 Rating

5. Gabriel ”FalleN” Toledo (SK Gaming) – 1.19 Rating

6. Oscar ”mixwell” Canellas (OpTic) – 1.19 Rating

7. Lincoln “fnx” Lau (SK Gaming) – 1.19 Rating

8. Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (Liquid) – 1.18 Rating

9. Georgi “WorldEdit” Yaskin (FlipSid3) – 1.17 Rating

10. Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev (NAVI) – 1.16 Rating

Tomorrow we take a look at the ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017

(Photo credit: ESL and SK Gaming)

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