CS:GO Matches of the Week for July 3-9: The best of ESL One Cologne
There is no shortage of CS:GO happening from one week to the next and it can be tough for even hardcore fans to keep track of it all, so we’ve narrowed down your choices to the few must-watch matches of the week.
With ESL One Cologne on the horizon, we’re highlighting two of the most interesting matchups from Round 1 of the Swiss group stage, plus a few fantasy games we’d like to see if the bracket aligns just right.
ESL One Cologne: Immortals vs. Virtus.pro
Virtus.pro don’t have many chances left to improve their play before the Major.
Where: ESL on Twitch
When: July 4
Why: A struggling VP, a rising Immortals
Our first match to watch is Immortals and Virtus.pro, a game that would have been a lot easier to call a few months ago. Last time the roster that is now Immortals played against VP, they were still part of Tempo Storm, and took the set 3-2 at CEVO Gfinity Pro-League Season 9 Finals. Just a month before that, Tempo took out VP 16-9 in a best-of-one at IEM Katowice. Putting that aside though, no one would give the advantage to Immortals against a VP with the Polish team at their best.
But Immortals aren’t looking at a VP at their best. They’re looking at a VP that hasn’t been able to place in the top three of a premier event since the ELEAGUE Major. This is a VP that was relegated from the ESL Pro League and narrowly avoided placing dead last in ECS Season 3.
Meanwhile, Immortals have been punching above their weight class, with wins over SK Gaming at DreamHack Summer and Cloud9 at DreamHack Austin. If Immortals take this best-of-one it will show us exactly how much ground VP have to make up before they can show up and compete at another Major.
ESL One Cologne: Natus Vincere vs. Team Liquid
Liquid look like the best team in North America right now, and Na`Vi could be another stepping stone on their path to dominance.
Where: ESL on Twitch
When: July 4
Why: Liquid’s return to glory
Team Liquid is a star on the rise, and is working their way back to being the best team in North America. At the same time, Na`Vi has fallen very, very far from their glory days. They’ve been in freefall since ESL One New York back in October 2016, and it’s not looking like they have much hope of making it back.
Liquid should beat Na`Vi, but that’s not why you should watch this match. You should watch this match because it’s going to be the beginning of a make-or-break run for Liquid heading into the Major. If TL can keep cool and consistent, and play as dominantly as they have over the past few weeks, we’re looking at a team very much on the rise.
The TL we just saw vs. Fnatic is a top10 team.
if we get that consistently they’ll be knocking on the door of top5 in no time
— Jason O’Toole (@OnFireMoses) June 24, 2017
Anything can happen in a best-of-one, to be fair, and Na`Vi is a super team on paper. No one’s saying it’s impossible for them to win, but you shouldn’t be watching for an upset here. You should be watching for the beginning of North America’s chance at glory.
It’s hard to predict exactly what matches we’ll get in a Swiss group system, so we’re going to take the liberty of sharing a few games we think would be exciting in the later rounds of the group stage.
NA and EU Kings face off
Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid would show us who the real kings of North America are these days. Similarly, FaZe Clan vs. G2 Esports would promise to be an incredible match between two of the absolute best from Europe.
Speaking of G2, it would be exciting to see them play against North in a rematch of the ESL Season 5 finals. G2 defeated North last time 3-1 and with all the trash-talk from k0nfig, the Danes are owed a grudge match.
Battle of the under-performers:
Finally, we’d like to see Virtus.pro play against Na`Vi, if only because seeing too ancient titans swing haymakers at each other could prove entertaining, sort of like visiting your grandparents in the retirement home.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. He insists you pronounce Negev correctly. You can follow him on Twitter.