The Qualifiers for ESL One Cologne 2016, the second Major of the year, are over. The Qualifier provided us with some upsets, making teams who were thought to be favorites have to struggle to secure their spot in the tournament.
Somewhat surprisingly, the first team to qualify for the Major was mousesports. The team faced FLuffy Gangsters, having some actual trouble in dispatching their opponents, as the score was 8-7 after the first half, in FLuffy Gangsters’ favor. Fortunately for the redshirts, they came out ahead after 35 rounds, with the score of 19-16.
Their second opponent was the American Cloud9 team. On Mirage, mouz managed to blow their opponents out of the water during the first half, winning 11 to 4. The Americans managed at least attempt a comeback in the second half; however, the Germans held off the Blitzkrieg, winning the map 16-12.
The last hurdle on the team’s quest for glory was the French G2 Esports. The match went just like World War II, with the Germans blowing the French up, after a shocking first half, won by mouz with the score of 14-1. Crushed by the surprising loss in the first half, G2 didn’t manage to mount a comeback, losing the map 16-1.
The second team to qualify was FaZe, on the back of Rain’s dominating performance during the whole tournament. His HLTV rating was a whooping 1.46, which sure helped the team win against Team Dignitas on Mirage, with the score of 16-8.
They continued their strut through the tournament, destroying FlipSid3 Tactics 16-5 on Cobblestone. The final hurdle to get over was the Russians, Gambit.
The first half had them with a small advantage, 8-7. FaZe came back in the second half, however, winning 8 rounds to Gambit’s 4, winning the map and earning their golden ticket to the Major. This game saw one of the nastiest sprays I have ever seen, when Rain killed 4 Gambit players with one magazine, never stopping his rain of bullets.
The third ESL One Cologne 2016 to be filled was taken by OpTic Gaming. They secured their spot in the Major after defeating HellRaisers in a close match, with a score of 16-14. OpTic started their victorious journey on a bad foot by losing to Gambit Gaming, managing to rally in the second round, vs. FLuffy Gangsters and following up on their success by coming out ahead of FlipSid3 Tactics.
One more team to qualify was EnVyUs. With a somewhat clean run, defeating Immortals (ex-Tempo Storm) by 10 match points, they ran into the immovable wall of Gambit Gaming. nV found their footing, however, quickly finishing off Splyce 16-4 and going on to face Cloud9.
The Americans finally brought a fight to the doors of the French. Envy won the second half 8-7, but then, they took initiative against their C9 opponents, winning the first 5 rounds of the second half. Cloud9 rallied and responded in kind, winning the next 5. Then, nV managed to take back the momentum after winning a save round, coming out ahead on the map, 16-12.
The Russian team managed to qualify for the Major after managing to traverse a very difficult road that had them face OpTic Gaming (Gambit won 16-14 on Cobblestone), following it up with a win against Envy by six points on the same map.
They appeared to be on their way towards qualifying, only to smack into a wall when they had to face FaZe. Gambit lost the contest on Train, with the score of 11-16. Following that, the deciding match was played vs. G2, one of the favorites of the tournament.
Needless to say, Gambit’s odds were looking grim, however, after the first half of play on Train, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, as Gambit had a small lead, 9-6. After winning the second pistol round, they continued rolling over the French team, winning the game 16-10.
The tumultuous road to ESL One Cologne 2016 led Team Dignitas to ultimate triumph, however, it was a very hard-fought success. To qualify, Dignitas had to play all five maps. First, they were defeated by FaZe, 8-16 on Mirage, only to recover vs. Gambit, managing to eek out a narrow victory on Nuke, 16-13.
Then, they were met with defeat once again, when HellRaisers got the better of them on the same map, 10-16. To keep their hope alive, Dignitas rallied and won against Renegades on Dust 2, in a close match that ended 16-12.
The final hurdle to get over on their road towards the Cologne Major was Chinese TyLoo. Not to bedenied, Dignitas showed up in the match, taking the first half with a devastating score of 12-3. Tyloo didn’t recover in the second half, finally losing 16-3.
This match should be called The RUBINO Show, because the player had an astonishing HLTV rating of 2.07, getting 26 kills over 19 rounds, while dying only 8 times.
While they started quite well, winning against Renegades 16-9, that was followed by a loss to FaZe Clan with an 11 point deficit. Trying to come back from the loss, FlipSid3 faced OpTic.
The redemption story didn’t happen, as they lost once again, 7-16.
With their backs against the wall, FlipSid3 entered Train, facing off against the strong Immortals team. It took 28 rounds, but they managed to win 16-12.
The final obstacle for FlipSid3 were HellRaisers, with an ex-FlipSid3 player, Vladyslav “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk in the front.
Bondik’s replacement, wayLander, brought a smackdown on the HellRaisers lineup, getting an awe-inspiring 1.88 HLTV rating in the match, helping his new team to win 16-9, qualifying for the ESL One Cologne 2016.
The final slot in the Major was clinched by G2 Esports, after knocking out Cloud9, 16-8, despite both teams being expected to easily make it into the main event.
While G2 had a promising start to the tournament, winning against TyLoo 16-9 and HellRaisers 16-8, mousesports smacked them upside the head by crushing them 16-1.
The whiplash stayed with the French, allowing the Gambit team to qualify for ESL One Cologne 2016, leaving G2 to face C9 in a last ditch effort to get a spot that was thought to be theirs by default.
The teams faced off on Cache. Both teams played the first half neck-to-neck, with the score being 7-8 in favor of C9. With the game within reach after the first half, G2 and shox especially had so spinach, got their arms pumped and won 9 rounds in a row, winning the map 16-8, and qualifying for ESL One Cologne 2016.