ESL One Cologne 2014: The redemption of the Ninjas

In this series we look back at all of the previous 18 Majors in CS:GO. Today we have reached ESL One Cologne 2014.

Countdown to the Major!

We are less than two weeks away from the start of the Paris Major. To ease the waiting time, we have created a countdown series, where we dive into the history of all 18 Majors.

ESL One Cologne 2014

Date: 14/8-17/8 - 2014

Number of teams: 16

Prize Pool: $250.000

Winner: Ninjas in Pyjamas $100.00 (f0rest, Fifflaren, friberg, GeT_RiGhT, Xizt)

MVP: Adam 'friberg' Friberg

Map pool: Dust2, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Cache, Overpass, and Cobblestone

Big changes had happened before the start of ESL One Cologne 2014. The map pool of the tournament had seen a major overhaul with Train being removed, while Cache, Cobblestone, and Overpass were added. Overpass had only recently been introduced in the game, which gave way for some controversy before the start of the Major.

Once again Ninjas in Pyjamas was deemed one of the top favorites before the tournament. The Swedes had lost the Grand Final at a Major twice in a row, but with Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund back in shape, the expectations were sky-high for the Swedes. Next in line was the previous champions from, while Dignitas, Natus Vincere, Titan, and Fnatic were in the group of potential outsiders for the trophy.

From the get-go, it was two French teams who stole the spotlight. Team LDLC smashed Group B and qualified in first place for the playoffs. Epsilon repeated the feat in Group A upsetting tournament favorites from Ninjas in Pyjamas. The French roster (fxy0, GMX, kioShiMa, Sf, shox) destroyed NIP 16-6 on Cobblestone to claim first place in the group. This raised the question about NIP's candidacy for the CSGO throne. The Swedes made it through their group and were now paired with the high-flying Cloud9 in the first round of the playoffs.

Fnatic narrowly edged out Natus Vincere, while Epsilon was put to rest by Dignitas (aizy, device, dupreeh, FeTiSh, Xyp9x). The reigning champions were upset by Team LDLC, while all eyes were set on the last Quarter-Final. In an intense and dramatic match, Ninjas in Pyjamas fought the North Americans in a ferocious battle that ended 2-1 in the favor of the Swedes.

Sweden vs Sweden

Fnatic qualified for the Grand Final with a clear 2-0 win against Dignitas. Would it be another all-Swedish final? NIP once again lost the first map, after Team LDLC won on Inferno. But again NIP fought back and forced the match onto Cobblestone, where NIP edged out their opponents 16-14.

The two Swedish rivals, Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas were ready for their second encounter in a Major Grand Final. This time NIP started off by winning Fnatic's map pick, but then went on to lose Cache. Inferno was set as the decider. Adam 'friberg' Friberg cemented his nickname "King of Banana" with an incredible ace to revive the Ninjas from a poor start. The support player was later named MVP of the tournament. NIP won the title by defeating Fnatic 16-13 and could raise the trophy for the first and so far only time. Notable was the fact, that none of the five NIP players ended the tournament as one of the top 10 best rated players, which also told the story about a tournament filled with ups and downs for the Swedish roster.

Tournament result:

1. Ninjas in Pyjamas - $100.000
2. Fnatic - $50.000
3-4. Team Dignitas - $22.000
3-4. Team LDLC - $22.000
5-8. Epsilon eSports - $10.000
5-8. Natus Vincere - $10.000
5-8. Cloud9 - $10.000
5-8. - $10.000
9-12. HellRaisers - $2.000
9-12. Copenhagen Wolves - $2.000
9-12. Titan - $2.000
9-12. Team iBUYPOWER - $2.000
13-16. Team Wolf - $2.000
13-16. London Conspiracy - $2.000
13-16. dAT Team - $2.000
13-16. Vox Eminor - $2.000

Highest-rated players at ESL One Cologne 2014:

1. Braxton 'swag' Pierce (iBUYPOWER) - 1.43

2. Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire (LDLC) - 1.38

3. Mikhail 'Dosia' Stolyarov (Hellraisers) - 1.35

4. Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey (Epsilon) - 1.33

5. Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub (Titan) - 1.28

6. Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski ( - 1.27

7. Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist (Fnatic) - 1.24

8. Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev (Natus Vincere) - 1.22

9. Richard 'shox' Papillon (Epsilon) - 1.21

10. Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer Gustafsson (Fnatic) - 1.19

Tomorrow we take a look at the DreamHack Winter 2014 tournament.

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