ESL One Cologne 2020 Online has officially kicked off this morning, offering two weeks of high-stakes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament that will be played online due to COVID-19 offering travel restrictions that even the most thorough staff couldn’t surmount in the end.
Yet it’s still Counter-Strike, whether it’s played online or offline; sure, everyone would be a bit more excited to see the best teams in the world compete against each other, but competing within their regions still offers more than enough storylines and dramatic moments for even the most jaded esport viewer to appreciate.
ESL One Cologne 2020 Online has just completed its very first match, and it was an absolute banger as BIG (GS#1) faced off against Sprout(GS#40).
From the global rankings alone, BIG was expected to absolutely dominate in the first match of the tourney, facing off against a relatively unproven Sprout who just yesterday crumbled against AGO in the ESEA MDL Season 33 Europe Finals. You could read that as Sprout being a comfortable Tier 2 team.
The match started on Sprouts’ pick of Mirage in the domestic match-up of the two German teams, with Sprout starting the Bo3 on CT. Sprout put up 9 points on the board in the first half and BIG with six. Johannes ‘tabseN’ Wodarz managed a post-plant 1v2 clutch and Florian ‘syrsoN’ Rische picked up an AWP 4K to make BIG appear viable enough in the hotly contested first half, yet Sprout was able to clutch the first map at (12-16) even after an additional 1v3 pre-plant clutch coming again from tabseN.
In a move that was considered fool-hardy, Sprout did not ban Nuke which is considered to be BIG’s best map, and BIG showed why in the first half with a (10-5) as Ismailcan ‘XANTARES’ Dörtkardeş won a 1v4 to lose the Ace to ‘Denis’ Howell.
The second half looked predetermined with Prout on the backfoot, and BIG picked up four of the first five rounds of the second half with relative ease without Sprout succeeding in a plant.
Then something broke within BIG; XANTARES would consistently hold ramp and was tested again and again by Sprout searching for the B site for a plant, in a series of points that were punctuated by a slew of smokes being flung across the map. Sprout was able to return BIG’s scoreline themselves, bringing the match to overtime after a (5-10) half.
Excuse me WHAT? 🤯
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) August 18, 2020
The idea that overtime would be plausible against the current number one ranked CS:GO team by a rank forty, on BIG’s preferred map, proved to be what many considered as a mental crack by BIG. Sprout picked up four rounds after BIG picked up one, and the match ended at (16-19).
BIG has been knocked to the lower bracket in their first match-up by a T2 team to kick off the ESL One Cologne 2020 Online. The tourney promises only more interesting results moving forward from some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike.