The Intel Grand Slam has been claimed by Liquid as they have gone on to win their fourth official Intel event
Team Liquid have been crowned champions of ESL One Cologne and the coveted Intel Grand Slam. Read on as we recap one of the most competitive tournaments in recent history.
Team Liquid have defeated Vitality in the final of ESL One Cologne 2019 to take home the Intel Grand Slam. The win nets them a cool $1,000,000 on top of the $125,000 first place prize for winning the tournament. The North American side bulldozered their way through the group stage, beating MVP.PK, NaVi and lastly NRG which earned them a spot in the semi-finals, where they squared off in a rematch against NaVi. The rematch was a wipeout, as Liquid beat NaVi 16–12 on both maps to advance to the final against Vitality.
In the final, Team Liquid came out of the gate swinging, defeating the French side 16–6 on Overpass. Vitality answered straight back with a win of their own in overtime on Dust2 off the back of great performances from RpK and ZywOo in particular. The following two maps were dominated by Team Liquid as they defeated Vitality 16–10 and 16–8 to seal the win in front of a packed crowd in the Lanxess-Arena in Cologne.
Team Liquid were able to seal the Intel Grand Slam in just five events after a perfect streak of wins, taking down IEM Sydney, DreamHack Masters Dallas, ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals and lastly ESL One Cologne. In comparison, it took Astralis 11 events to win the Intel Grand Slam last season.
With so many excellent teams in attendance, ESL One Cologne is an event worthy of a major. There were a ton of excellent matches, but the best one might just have been the semi-final matchup between Vitality and Astralis. The match had it all, from incredible clutches to crazy multi-kills, a stunning ace from device, ZywOo firing on all cylinders and even a molotov from apEX that would make Dosia proud. The match also had top tier commentary from Anders Blume and Jason “Moses” O’Toole which made the match all the more exciting to watch. Ultimately, it was Vitality that came out on the winning side of the equation after taking down Astralis 16–9 on Overpass to seal the win against the former number one team in the world.
The win meant that Vitality would deny Astralis their chance of going up against long-time rivals, Team Liquid, in yet another final. Astralis have now failed to make the final in their last three events, and as such, it is safe to say that their dominant days are over. Instead, we now enter an era of Team Liquid as the undisputed number one team in the world. In addition, there are exciting times ahead, as ZywOo of Vitality is looking to give s1mple a run for his money in the race for player of the year.
An honorable mention goes to Liquid’s match against NaVi in the group stage. The match was incredibly close on both Dust2 and Overpass, with an excellent performance from s1mple who played a big part in just about everything that happened for NaVi — including a knife moment gone wrong which led to NaVi ultimately losing Dust2 in overtime.
The French superstar, ZywOo, is our featured player of the tournament. ZywOo played a huge part in Vitality’s run to the final, putting up monstrous numbers in all but Vitality’s loss to NiP in the opener. Despite losing to Liquid in the final, ZywOo ended the tournament with a K/D ratio of 1.47 for a +132 K/D differential, outscoring his fellow competitors by a large margin. In addition, ZywOo came up big in clutch situations with 11 clutches won. The Frenchman also scored an average of 411.32 fantasy points per match, which made him a must pick in just about every slate on Skrilla. ZywOo has quickly established himself as one of the world’s best players and few can rival his impact on the server at this moment in time.
The creme tends to rise to the top at ESL Cologne and this proved to be the case for this year’s tournament as well with Team Liquid taking it down at the odds of 3.70.
The BO1 opening matches proved to be profitable on underdogs in this competition with both Heroic and NiP scoring upsets. Both Renegades and bottom seeded MVP.PK were able to cover the spread after narrow 16–14 losses to FaZe and Liquid. Other big upsets that paid out big profits were BIG’s win vs MIBR in the group stage (3.05) as well as Vitality’s win against Astralis in the semi-final (3.30).