It’s that time of year again. The major that isn’t a major is back for another edition, admittedly in some more bizarre circumstances than what most of us are used to seeing though. Plenty of fans and pros will tell you that ESL Cologne is the one event in the competitive CS:GO calendar they want to win the most, and we head into the 2020 edition with the game in (arguably) its most volatile state ever.
With the likes of ESL Pro League Season 12 and then the most hotly anticipated Major Championship in the game’s history looming on the horizon, a win at ESL One Cologne could be the catalyst for a team to go on and establish themselves as the team of 2020. Everything’s up for grabs, and here is our collection of predictions and tips to look out for over the course of the event.
Glory For Vitality?
It was at ESL One Cologne 2019 that Team Vitality really emerged as a serious force within CS:GO. Led by ALEX, the side beat out the likes of Fnatic and NRG before absolutely stunning the world by toppling the mighty Astralis in the semi finals. It was a result that none of the Esports betting tips had ever seen coming and, though Vitality would eventually lose the grand final against Liquid, really helped put the French side on the map.
Since then, the side have remained an ever present at the top table of Counter-Strike; they have been in the HLTV top thirty for 92 consecutive weeks at the time of writing and have only spent one week outside of the top ten this year. Though they have lost ALEX, Apex has really come into his own as an IGL, Misutaaa has grown from strength to strength as the side’s young talisman, and they still boast arguably the world’s best player in Zywhoo.
Coming into the tournament this year, Vitality have found themselves ranked as the second best side in the world after consecutive second place finishes at the BLAST Spring Finals and CS_Summit 6. With some of the best form in the community, and a steely level of experience at Cologne, the stage could be set for Vitality to become the team to beat over the course of the competition.
Expect More Nuke
For years Nuke was almost regarded as being borderline unplayable for pro players within the Counter-Strike community. The unique design of stacking two bombsites on top one another was something the game had never seen before, though the likes of Ninjas in Pyjamas and then Astralis began to prove just how invaluable having a good level of understanding of the map could be in terms of getting ahead of the competition.
Over the past year or so, Nuke has since really come into its own as a map more and more teams have become fans of. The likes of EG, Faze, Natus Vincere and BIG have all established themselves as forces to be reckoned with on the map, and the map even began leapfrogging the likes well established maps such as Dust II, Overpass and Train in competitive play over the past three months.
It’s clear this is a map the pros are loving right now and the increase in competition will only help to bring out newer strategies and more innovative tactics as the tournament progresses along.