Article written by guest author Umesh "Kripz" Kripalani
Action packed games, magical comebacks, emotional moments. The Quarter-Finals of ESL One Cologne had it all.
NRG vs Vitality
Vitality picked up Dust2 and justified it by getting a smooth 8-1 lead on the T side. They were able to hit the A site at breakneck speeds and NRG could not hold up against that. Finally, NRG decided to just give up defending A. They decided to play for retakes instead. It turned out to be a good decision as NRG were able to salvage 3 rounds in a row because of that. Vitality closed the first half with a 10-5 lead.
The second half came a storm of bullets. Vitality was too potent on their CT side. They secured the map 16-7 with no effort.
NRG were leading 4-1. Zywoo stepped up with two back-to-back quad kills, bringing the score to 5-3. NRG scored two more rounds to get to 7-3, without knowing that was as far as they would get in this tournament. Every player in Vitality stepped up. Body bags, trade frags, Vitality snagged every remaining round in the half, leading 8-7.
The second half showed us how prepared the French side was for NRG. They read their setups like an open book, throwing NRG off balance by taking mid control effectively and getting a player into sniper’s nest every round. This cut off rotations for the North American team. Vitality followed up with a flurry of kills and completely outclassed NRG, not letting them win a single round in the second half. Vitality won 16-7 and proved that they their offensive side is not to be taken lightly. They will face Astralis tomorrow.
Natus Vincere vs NiP
Na`Vi decided to start on Inferno. They let s1mple go berserk on the T side. He picked up a quad kill on the pistol round, but somehow NIP still managed to take it. Enraged, s1mple bought an AK47 and showed us why the Hero-AK meta is so viable. He single handedly cleared up the B site and won his team the round. The boys in yellow went on to win 6 rounds in a row right after that. But NiP had been causing severe economic damage, which undermined Na`Vi. NiP called for a timeout and gathered themselves back on their feet. They too, went on a winning spree to tie the score at 6-6. The half ended 8-7 in the favour of Na`Vi.
NiP’s T side was shaky. Na`Vi made them really uncomfortable with wise utility usage which chewed away at their health and time, softening them up before they finally put them out of their misery. That being said, we need to give NiP enough credit as Lekr0 hit some pretty sick shots with his AWP. GeT_RiGhT got an impressive quad kill in a crucial round which put a smile on his face - not something that we see him do very often. The audience cheered seeing the old legend frag like he used to in his glory days. Na`Vi sealed the deal with a score of 16-12.
Up next was Mirage, NiP’s pick, on which they started as terrorists. The Swedes had a pretty simple game plan based on gambles. They brought nothing but vanilla smoke executes on bombsites. This surprisingly got them to 4-4. Na`VI realised that if they keep playing into this gamble, the half will end with an even scoreline. That isn’t something Na`Vi could afford, so they took charge and started pushing up mid. This heavily constricted the terrorists. Na`Vi dictated the pace for the rest of the half end ended with a 10-5 lead.
Na`Vi continued their domination, getting to 14-5 very quickly. But NiP still had some magic left in them. They delivered some of rounds which can be best described as “beautiful chaos”. Unfortunately, it didn’t get them much farther than 16-10.
Na`Vi will face Liquid in a rematch tomorrow in the semifinals. Liquid were the ones who put them in the lower brackets in the first place because of S1mple’s incident. Somewhere in Cologne, s1mple sits there, sharpening his knife.
The day ended on an emotional note. GeT_RiGht broke into tears when asked if this was his last tournament. “F**k no”, said the 29-year old veteran, making the crowd go wild.
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Image Courtesy of ESL