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ESL One Cologne 2020: Heroic Break the Monothony

CS:GO
ESL One Cologne 2020

Even without live audience ESL One Cologne delivered on quality Counter-Strike. (Image credit: ESL)

ESL One Cologne 2020 has reached its natural conclusion in all four regions. The first (and hopefully last) online finals of the legendary event did not produce many surprises outside of Europe, but the ones that materialized were so out there that it all balanced out. Let's take a trip around the four continents that took part and see who lived up to expectations and who didn't.

ESL One Cologne Europe

We could have saved the best for last but we like to please our audience, so we're jumping straight into the interesting part. It became fairly obvious that ESL One Cologne Europe is going to be a good one when world ranking leaders BIG failed to win a game. They were atop a list of big names that could not even make the playoffs. This list includes Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, MAD Lions and mousesports, who seem to be falling into a void since the pandemic took over.

All of this left a lot of room for an upset champion. With Astralis going through a transitional period, French heavyweights G2 and Team Vitality were the only surefire favorites left.

Per expectations, Astralis could not return to form so quickly after the player break and fell in the quarterfinals. A different group of Danes was needed to defend the country's CS:GO clout. Enter Heroic. The team whose star player left them to be a bench warmer at Astralis found the necessary ingredients to lift the most famous non-Major trophy in professional CS:GO, proving that pretty much anything is possible in this esport on any given day.

Heroic defeated G2 and Vitality in the final two rounds of ESL One Cologne 2020, just in case anyone thought about devaluing their success. It would be way too optimistic to claim that Patrick "es3tag" Hansen would end up in deep regret over his transfer from Heroic to Astralis in the long run, but at least for a week, Casper "cadiaN" Møller and co. are on top of things.

ESL One Cologne North America

North America was ruled by one team prior to the player break. That team was Evil Geniuses. As it turns out, Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz' men have not lost a beat during the rest period and added yet another title to their quickly-growing cabinet.

Good news for Team Liquid fans. Their favorites might not have returned to the trophies yet, but it is encouraging that just a couple of weeks after a major roster change, TL's only losses at ESL One Cologne came at the hands of the champions.

The group stage clash was an unremarkable event won easily by EG. The final was played to a completely different beat. It turned out to be the only final to fill out the Bo5 format and with a bit of luck, Liquid could have ended up on the winning side. The OT on opening map Nuke would play a bigger role than TL would have liked, however, as the following four maps were split even.

Even with this loss Team Liquid should be happy with the initial signs after replacing Nick "nitr0" Canella with Michael "Grim" Wince. Evil Geniuses meanwhile are enjoying the high point of the roller coaster after a turbulent period in the first few months of the year.

ESL One Cologne Asia

Holding three of the four ESL One Cologne 2020 final spots, China reaffirmed its dominance in the Asian region. The finals themselves did not stray away from that fact as the only non-Chinese roster - Beyond, finished in the last place. The remaining trio of Invictus, ViCi Gaming and Tyloo was to decide the champion.

ESL One Cologne 2020 champions

The four champions of ESL One Cologne 2020 - Heroic, Evil Geniuses, Tyloo and Renegades. (Image credit: ESL)

Tyloo, despite dropping off internationally in the past twelve months, kept their spot as Asia's best for another go-round. Invictus never got a chance to square off with the most successful Asian CS:GO side. ViCi on the other hand went at Tyloo twice and won two maps. The bad part is they came in different matches, which resulted in no victories falling into ViCi's basket.

ESL One Cologne Oceania

While Tyloo encountered at least some resistance from the likes of ViCi, Renegades simply marched through the Oceania bracket without much hesitation. There's not much to be said here. No maps dropped by the champions against any of the three teams competing. ORDER came the closest to stealing one in the semifinal where they lost in the 30th round on Vertigo.

Former Grayhound member Euan "sterling" Moore's AVANT made it to the final where they fought admirably. Being a map down by default did not help either, but a win over Renegades was always a tall task and the match was over in two - 16-10; 16-13.

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Most ESL One Cologne 2020 participants won't have much time to gather themselves. The ESL Pro League is kicking off its 12th season tomorrow.

We're going to follow proceedings througout September right here at EarlyGame and update you as the finalists are shaping up. For some video format content, you can always check out our YouTube channel.

Kiril Stoilov