ESL One Cologne 2020 features the world's leading CS:GO teams, with the European division looking particularly strong. CS:GO fan Boukev runs the rule over all 16 teams in the region with his ESL One Cologne predictions...
Looking at my expected ranking for ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe, I would make a prediction on either mousesports or Complexity to try to take advantage of high odds, while a somewhat safer bet would be on Na'Vi. I do rate Astralis higher than most bookmakers, because even with the break of two main players, I do consider them just as much a contender for the first place as Fnatic, BIG and Vitality.
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When looking to bet on ESL One Cologne would avoid picking G2 Esports, NIP and FaZe as tournament winners since I do not see them being consistent enough to get a win.
Sprout haven't played against any major teams and still lost against minor teams (Hard Legion, Nemiga, Heretics) in the past months. They did have a win against BIG, which only adds to my lessening faith in the BIG team.
The second French team besides Vitality are led by Lucky, who is largely unproven on the big stage. Their recent results haven't shown a steady improvement that warrants them a spot any higher on this list.
14 MAD Lions
With the recent departure of Bubzkji, MAD Lions seem to be scrambling to get their form ready in time for this tournament. They lost five out of six maps played since his departure. They did have some good results prior to his departure, whichis why they're above Sprout and Heretics in my reckoning.
Coming from Brazil to play in the ESL One Cologne 2020 European region, they are definitely not the crowd favorites of the EU who would have rather seen an EU addition to the tournament. MIBR have a lot to prove and do not have a lot of recent results that inspire confidence.
OG have had a very middle-of-the-pack performance in recent months with a 50% win rate against both minor and major teams. OG could be a surprise package in ESL One Cologne Europe, especially since they are placed in the easier group A of the tournament. A surprise playoff spot might be possible but a tournament win seems far-fetched.
Heroic have maintained decent performance levels in recent months, even after the loss of es3tag and snappi from their lineup. They consistently win against minor teams but just as well consistently lose from major teams. Heroic might give us some thrilling matches but a tournament win would be a huge upset.
FaZe have had a 50% win rate since the addition of Bymas as the replacement of Olofmeister. As always, FaZe Clan have plenty of star experience but haven't had a steady performance this year. FaZe have a decent first round matchup so 'only' need to beat Heroic, MIBR and/or G2 to get to the playoffs. The bookmakers have FaZe as potential winners with odds of 10.00 but I am expecting them to falter against the power of group B teams in the playoffs.
9 Ninjas In Pyjamas
The Ninjas have only had a sub-50% win rate since March, so 2020 isn't their yearso far. With an average player age of 22.2, which is a huge change from the veteran team of 2019, it feels like ESL One Cologne 2020 is coming too soon to expect a power spike from the young Swedes.
My surprise ranking goes to Complexity, who have shown a 65% win rate in the past few months and have been doing great since the start of May this year. Their win rate includes victories against Vitality and FaZe but they haven't faced much other top-tier teams lately. Complexity have been placed in the easier group A, so I am betting on them as a surprise pick.
Mousesports are the opposite of Complexity, with the lowest win rate of 45% since March. They seem to be down and out at the moment, dropping in HLTV ranking from 2nd to 14th this year but their roster hasn't changed and I expect them to bring their A-game to this online tournament. As a mixed nationality team they might have had more to suffer from the pandemic than teams based on single nationality. I am picking this tournament for their revival.
6 G2 Esports
While G2 Esports are in a good position to avoid the major teams until the playoffs, they have only been doing so-so since March. Some wins have been gained in recent months (vs ENCE, Fnatic and Na'Vi) but some unnecessary losses have been sustained along the way (vs Godsent, North and FaZe). With consistency being a major problem, I am not expecting G2 to win the tournament even though they do have enough ability within their team.
Team Vitality are rocking the same crew since March and have had solid performances in the few tournaments that took place, with second spots in both BLAST Premier and cs_summit 6. I am expecting decent performances but they will have to face Fnatic or Astralis early on.
BIG are definitely the current newcomers with good potential. Dubbed an "online powerhouse" with a 71% win rate since March, the community was quick to start a discussion about their potential as tournament winners. Bookmakers seem to agree and are putting them right on the top of the list alongside Na'Vi, Fnatic and Vitality as the most potential winners. BIG also have an easy start of the tournament on the side of the bracket with Sprout, OG and/or NIP. The number-one ranked team on HLTV do have a lot to prove, though, with them being somewhat untested when the real marbles are on the line. Will their conquest continue during this tournament or will the more stated teams regain their thrones?
Astralis are joining this tournament with an adjusted roster, with Gla1ve and Xyp9x on breaks they might have only had about one and a half month of practice in the new roster. es3tag and Bubzkji should be great additions but they will have to perform straight away facing against Fnatic in the first round and possibly Vitality in the second round of the tournament. These circumstances are not ideal so not too much is expected for Astralis this tournament. I am however betting on their excellent organization and on the support that the three veterans will give to the newcomers. Even with the circumstances I am feeling an Astralis tournament victory to be just as likely as Navi or Fnatic winning the tournament.
Fnatic haven't made any chances to their line up but have suffered a declining win rate since April. But as the first big tournament in a while I wouldn't count them out. Very much a contender for first place.
Na'Vi's line-up has been steady during these past few months but have shown a few less than stellar results too. With a placement in group A, they should have no trouble reaching the playoffs giving them greater odds for the overall win than Fnatic, Astralis and Vitality who have more 'major' clashes to overcome on their route to the playoffs. Normally, I would rank all these teams at the same spot but with the power of the groups being so skewed I am picking Navi as the most likely winner.
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Pictures: StarLadder / Flickr