Featuring two “legend” teams, Natus Vincere and Ninjas in Pyjamas, as well as two challengers Flipsid3 Tactics and OpTic Gaming, Group B is a little bit more interesting than Group A, having two true world class CS:GO brands instead of one. Still, when two teams are way stronger than the rest, it doesn’t exactly provide the viewers with many great high stakes matches.
Natus Vincere vs. Flipsid3 Tactics
Obviously, Natus Vincere failing to defeat Flipsid3 would be… shocking. While watching the match, the only doubt in my mind was concerning on how hard Flipsid3 is going to fight. Turns out, not that hard.
The map was Train, the score was 16:7 (13:2; 3:5). Flipsid3 won the first pistol round but Na’Vi didn’t let them get the ball rolling, taking the next round and several more after that, dominating the first half. Flipsid3 tried for a comeback in the second half, however, a team of Na’Vi’s caliber usually doesn’t let a victory get away from them when it’s so close.
As is often the case when the game isn’t very close for at least most if not all of it, all Natus Vincere players performance better than the average, with their lowest rating of 1.06 earned by Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev, while their MVP Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács got 1.59. Flipsid3 was carried by their IGL Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy, who had 1.48.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. OpTic Gaming
Similar to the previous match, this was also strongly in favour of NiP, just as Na’Vi were clear favorites in the match before. Unfortunately for OpTic, the map randomly selected after the bans were over and dealt with, was Dust2, one of NiP’s better maps. While Flipsid3 at least lost by single-digit number of rounds, OpTic did no such thing, getting blown out by 12 points, 16:4 (11:4; 5:0).
The most baffling thing about that game was the performance of Adam “friberg” Friberg, who died 13 times for 7 kills and had a rating of 0.61. Of course, the rest of his team, especially Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi, Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, and Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund more than made up for it.
After this match, NiP will go on to face Natus Vincere for a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, while OpTic will play Flipsid3 in a decider match to earn the right to face the loser of the NiP vs. Na’Vi matchup for a chance to earn their ticket to the playoffs.
Natus Vincere vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
Predicatably the second day of play in Group B started with the favorites NiP and Na’Vi facing off in the Winner’s Match. In the first half of the match, Ninjas in Pyjamas somewhat successfully tried to choke out the team from Eastern Europe, winning the half 9:6 on Cobblestone. The second half of the match didn’t go as expected for the Swedes, however, because the Na’Vi team with Egor “flamie” Vasilyev at the front managed to catch up and eventually overcome their disadvantage, winning the match 16:12 and scratching their way to the playoffs.
Flipsid3 Tactics vs. OpTic Gaming
Before ESL One Cologne 2016 began, Group B was the one group where most people were sure of the teams that will still play on Friday. As a result, the other two squads were written off as doomed. With the group turning out as expected, there wasn’t much interest in the matchup between the two outsiders.
While OpTic did better in the first half, winning it 9:6, Georgi “WorldEdit” Yaskin, Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy, and Yegor “markeloff” Markelov, with the help of Jan “wayLander” Rahkonen and Aleksandr “Shara” Gordeev, showed up in force at various times during the match, paving the ways for their comeback in the second half, where Flipsid3 won 10 rounds to the 4 from OpTic. The Spanish import of the European team, Óscar "mixwell" Cañellas, tried to carry his team on his back with 32 kills, however, it just wasn’t enough, when the rest of his North American squad had a negative Kill/Death ratio. In the match nobody cared about, Flipsid3 came out ahead, having to face Ninjas in Pyjamas for their playoffs spot. The outcome was assured, or so everyone thought…
Flipsid3 Tactics vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
Wow. If you were a betting man who bet $100 on Flipsid3 Tactics in this matchup, you would have been called a total idiot before the match started. At the end, you would have come away laughing like crazy, because Flipsid3 handed out the biggest upset in ESL One Cologne 2016, winning against Ninjas in Pyjamas 2:1. You would have made more than $900 dollars. For that lucky bastard who actually did bet a big sum of money on Flipsid3 (I’m sure there’s at least one of them), I salute you. It was either genius or insane.
The start of the series on Overpass didn’t imply that anything was going to go awry for the NiP team, with them winning the first five rounds before Flipsid3 managed to pick a point. After that, the teams traded rounds for a couple of rounds. NiP managed to keep a five point lead after the first half was over. The second half wnt in Flipsid3’s favor with the score of 6:9, however, it wasn’t enough to overcome Ninjas’ lead. It was a close matter, however. Was it a prophecy of crazy things to come? Perhaps.
On the second map of the match, Cache, NiP were looking to dispatch their opponents and secure the playoffs spot that was already theirs in their minds, however it went wrong in the beginning of the match, when Flipsid3 won the first pistol round and kept on rolling, winning round after round, only giving up one each in both halves and winning the map, 16:2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Swedish team felt as if they were socked upside the head with a bag of wet cement. You know what? I don’t blame them.
The deciding map was Mirage. The first half was an exciting nailbiter, where Flipsid3 Tactics had a 1 point advantage over their opponents at the end of it. The second, however, went a little bit differently, when Flipsid3 won the pistol round and kept going, having a 4 point lead before Round 19, where NiP managed to pick up a point and start their comeback. It wasn’t to be, however. Flipsid3 sensed blood in the water and weren’t about to give away their big break with victory within grasp. They buckled down, put on their wizard hats on and won the match, upsetting Ninjas in Pyjamas 16:11, winning the series 2:1.