The Brazilians take ESL One: Cologne 3:0 over Cloud9

This year’s iteration of ESL One: Cologne is the last premier tournament before the Krakow Major – and though previous Major winner Astralis is not in the lineup, there are certainly some powerhouse teams looking to prove themselves before the Major even begins.

In a surprising turn of events, the top seed off the Swiss stage was taken by Team Liquid and the new lineup of Ninjas in Pyjamas (which traded long-time player Adam “friberg” Friberg for Fredrik “REZ” Sterner). The 3-1 seed was claimed by Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, and OpTic Gaming, while the last teams to make it through the group stage with a 3-2 score are SK Gaming, Cloud9 and FaZe Clan.

The round of 8’s opening match was a battle of the big names, as CIS all-star line-up Na’Vi faced off against French super-team G2 – odds heavily favored the French squad thanks to their recent good results, and the poor recent results in contrast for Na’Vi, but things seem to be picking up for them as they took the matchup 2:0, winning 19:17 on Overpass and a surprising 16:13 win on Nuke – a map they haven’t had success in for months now. This marked the first time Na’Vi has made it to the semifinals since last year’s EPICENTER, and is definitely a good sign for them in the upcoming Major.

The second match between NiP and Cloud9 went to a full three maps, with Cloud9 taking the first map, Train 16:10, and losing the second map, Cache 16:11. The final map of Cobblestone was somewhat a shut-out in favor of Cloud9 however, taking the series with a convincing 16:6 round score.

The third series saw FaZe Clan versus Team Liquid, a heavily one-sided match-up in favor of FaZe, which saw them take two maps with very little trouble: 16:9 on Overpass, 16:5 on Train.

The final series of the round-of-eight saw OpTic take SK to three maps, winning the first one, Mirage, 16:10. The Brazilians then proceeded to take the series back with a convincing back-to-back win on Cache (16:9) and Cobblestone (16:17) to cement their spot in the semifinals.

The semifinals both saw the same 2:0 score, with Na’Vi losing out to Cloud9 13:16 on Mirage and 14:16 on Overpass, while SK handily took their first map versus FaZe, Overpass, 16:4. FaZe made them work harder for the Grand Finals spot in the second map, which went into overtime, but eventually they also fell to the Brazilians, 16:19 on Cache.

The Grand Final matchup between SK and Cloud9 heavily favored SK’s side, and it showed on the opening map, Cobblestone, which they took 16:9. Cloud9 rallied however, and gave a much better showing on the next two maps, but ultimately fell short, scoring 12:16 on Train and 14:16 on Inferno.

With this win, SK Gaming has taken their sixth championship title since the ELEAGUE Major, and are coming in as favorites into next week’s Krakow Major alongside the Danish powerhouse of Astralis.

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