One of the most hyped CS:GO tournaments of the year, ESL One Cologne offers teams the chance to prove their worth and claim victory on the mainstage. With group play starting tomorrow and $300,000 in prize money up for grabs, lets dive right into what are currently the top 10 teams in competitive CS:GO.
The undisputed best team on the list, Astralis has proved again and again that they are the best team in the world. They’ve made four consecutive finals and won three of them, crushing other top 3 teams Na`Vi and Team Liquid in the process. With a strong fundamental base and yet the ability to adapt quickly, Astralis is truly a well-oiled machine. And while they aren’t invincible, teams will have to put on an absolutely tremendous performance to beat them. Heavy tournament favorites, we’ll just have to wait and see if they can continue their streak of dominance.
2. FaZe Clan
Though Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson, one of FaZe’s best players, has been missing from the lineup since April, FaZe continues to perform. Under in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen, they’ve won two big events with two different stand-ins in the last three months. Na`Vi appears to be closing the gap, but with FaZe having two main titles to Na`Vi’s one, they still remain at the number two spot.
Coming in third is of course Na`Vi, who have slowly but surely rose their way to the top. In the past five LANs, they’ve only lost once in the semifinals or worse, and now have two titles under their belt in recent showings. But despite their consistency, the inconsistency of Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko and Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev individually still poses a glaring weakness, causing them to on various occasions blunder man-advantages in rounds. They’ll have to step things up if they want to overcome FaZe or Astralis this tournament.
4. Team Liquid
Entering ESL One Cologne as the top North American team, Team Liquid has displayed a rather up and down pattern of play. After losing miserably in Marseille, they bounced back handily at EPL Season 7, only to fall at StarSeries right after. They followed it up with an outstanding performance at ECS Season 5 Finals, losing only to the heavyweights Astralis. With so many erratic showings, it’s uncertain which Team Liquid will play at this tournament — the one so good they can challenge Astralis, or the one that will under perform.
Though mouz has been pretty consistent so far, their many roster changes, including the most recent one — subbing out Martin “STYKO” Styk for Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski — has left a lot of uncertainty as to how the team will perform. Even more confusing is that mouz has performed its best in a while without Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný, typically considered their best player. Despite all the roster mania, the team still continues to win against teams below them in the rankings, making them a solid number five pick.
With the recent removal of William “draken” Sundin for former Fnatic player Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson, ESL One Cologne marks the second tournament NiP will enter with its new roster. Its first LAN went poorly, with a defeat to Tyloo marking an early exit. But a decent performance at StarSeries along with lackluster play from lower ranked teams keeps NiP at sixth. With four aggressive riflers on the roster, NiP should be an exciting team to watch.
Formerly the SK Gaming team, MIBR has yet to breakthrough in 2018. Though they’ve gotten a little better in recent LANs, they continue to struggle in best-of-three series against Top 10 teams, with only one major victory against Team Liquid at StarSeries. But with such a talented roster, including Brazilian superstar Marcelo “coldzera” David, things could change for the better at ESL One Cologne.
Despite a crushing loss in a best-of-three series to Imperial recently, North has stabilized, now consistently beating below Top 10 teams like Red Reserve, Hellraisers, and AGO. However, recent LAN loses to NRG and Optic demonstrate that North isn’t on the level they should be on. ESL One Cologne offers a prime opportunity for them to prove their worth.
Though they won two titles this year, Fnatic’s roster still saw significant changes. They removed in-game leader Maikil “Golden” Selim and core fragger lekr0 for AWPer draken and new leader Richard “Xizt” Landström. With Golden and lekr0 doing so well at the time, it’s a confusing decision. It’s uncertain whether the new leadership of Xizt can carry Fnatic to success.
Struggles have plagued the French team over the past six months. In recent events, AWPer Kenny “kennyS” Schrub returned to form, but shox — coming off injury — didn’t. ESL One Cologne offers G2 an opportunity to make a statement and establish itself as a top team in the CS:GO scene.