ESL One Cologne 2016 Group B Preview



Group B at the Major consists of the four teams namely NIP, Optic Gaming, Flipside and NaVi. This Group seems fairly straightforward at first glance but the group can easily turn into an upset group. All four teams have been looking up recently. 


Ninjas in Pyjamas


NIP Roster with Pyth


NIP are the group favorites and probably one of the tournament favorites as well. Ever since they got in Threat and Pyth the former world champions have been improving their gameplay. They understood a unique way of playing the game and playing with the opponents economy. Several times, teams used to hunt for frags and in turn weaken their own economy by losing guns to the sole survivor. However NIP refused to do that and prioritized their own economy over their opponents. NIP were fairly successful with their tactic initially as they almost always had superior weapons and allowing 1-2 members of the enemy to save their guns inadvertently forced them to force-buy in the subsequent round. However soon teams were able to counter NIPś style of gaming. Gamers2, Fnatic and Godsent all have had success against NIP in the recent past.


NIP during the recent Dreamhack Summer actually looked quite forlorn and not so happy about their gameplay. They were dejected and not too happy about their game. However the raw skill and the performance by the team in the recent past is not something that can be ignored. They are ranked 5th u right now which is two places below their last month’s ranking of 3rd. However at the same time a few months ago, they were ranked 6-8th in the rankings. This pretty much tells the story of how the team has been faring so far.


Despite all of this. NIP are definitely the favorite team coming into this tournament. The event is to be held in Sweden which is a home map for the team. They have already proven themselves in the last event held at Sweden



NaVi Dreamhack Malmo 2016


The CIS side have been inactive for a long period of time. They have not player many matches in the recently concluded tournaments. Their last event was at E-League which they which they won with ease. However these matches were up against much weaker teams and that definitely should be accounted for.


NaVi’s gameplay is a measured gameplay and they depend heavily on their AWP’er. While it is not similar to the situation where KennyS used to be the sole pillar for Titan in 2014, the team’s performance definitely reaches highs and lows depending on Guardian’s performance.


NaVi has a very limited but deep map pool. They never pick Cache as a map. They are just bad on it. However their better maps include Mirage, Train, Cobblestone, Dust2. They are also decently good on Mirage, which used to be their best map once upon a time.


NaVi are a close second in this group and it can be definitely possible that they can become the premier position in the Group.

Flipside Tactics


Flipside 2016Flipside Tactics are notorious for the Majors. They always qualify for the majors via the qualification process. They always bow out in the Group stage after surprising everyone at the Qualification process.


The current Flipside roster is the weakest roster for the organisation in a long time. They do not have Simple or any star player. But under the tutelage of B1ade, this roster has worked wonders so far. The team does have very good members in the form of Waylander and Markeloff, who have been very good so far this year. Waylanders addition to the team has definitely improved their fragging capability and improved their performance on maps such as Cache.


However when compared to the top two in this group which include titans such as NIP and NaVI, flipside’s chances do look bleak. Their only hope would be to actually get a favorable map such as Cache vs NaVi or an Overpass / Mirage vs NIP.


It is their match against Optic that would be really interesting as there is not much separating these teams.

Optic Gaming


Optic Gaming 2016


Optic have been a real revelation in the NA scene. They have been improving and improving over time. The roster consisting of Mixwell, daps, NAF , Stanislaw and RUSH. Mixwell and Stanislaw have been equally responsible for the team’s success so far. They also had a recent addition to the team in the form of Devilwalk as Coach. He will add a much needed perspective to the team when it comes to playing the big guns of Flipside, NIP and NaVI.


The main aim for the team has to be to qualify to the playoffs. Optic’s best maps include Train, Cache and Cobblestone. This team is the dark horse in this group as they can upset the balance in the group. They have the potential to win Best of one’s against the aforementioned teams which could alter the match-ups later on.


Group B is a pretty straightforward group in expecting NIP and NaVi to qualify out of the groups. Despite not being in the best of form, both these teams have never had problems dealing with the lower skilled teams in groups at the Majors before. This time should not be any different.


There are two pre determined matches in Group B. They are :


  • NaVi vs Flipside

NaVi has never had problems in disposing off any local competition. This time will not be any different. NaVi’s map pool matches that of Flipside and even outdoes it. NaVi also play Dust2 while Flipside are very bad on it. The Flipside roster has historically never made it out of groups, while NaVi have almost always made it to the semi finals. NaVi should be able to win this match with ease. The only map I would see Flipside causing an upset is on Train.


The Bet : High on NaVi

  • NIP vs Optic

NIP have been at the pinnacle of their form from the last two years. Optic despite being really good in the North American scene have been improving with their performances. Their best maps include Train, Cache. THese are strong maps for NIP as well. NIP have almost always managed to crush opponents in the Group stage ( despite suffering upsets all along). This match should be a win for NIP despite their poor form in the recent past.


The Bet : Low on NIP