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G2 Esports Claims the Final IEM Cologne CS:GO Trophy

Zakaria Almughrabi

The last IEM Cologne of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive era has crowned its victor. G2 Esports is the final Cologne champion after taking down ENCE 3-1. This win marks a historic accomplishment for G2, as they become only the third team in Counter-Strike history to win both IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne in the same year.

IEM Cologne G2

Image Copyright: Helena Kristiansson, ESL FACEIT Group

Dominating on Nuke

Map one of the Grand Finals was a surprise ENCE pick of Nuke. While ENCE did have a good Nuke overall, this G2 core has been adept a Nuke for a very long time. They showed it early on, completely dictating the flow of the game on their CT side. Every player on G2 was chiming in as well, including in-game leader Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen who usually receives criticism for his low numbers in the server.

Things didn’t improve for ENCE when they swapped to the defense either. The home team got completely shut out in the second half. In the end, G2 took a dominating 16-4 win on map one with every player clocking in at a 1.40 HLTV rating or higher. If this was the form that G2 was in, ENCE would have a long day ahead of them.

Championship Point

The second map took the teams to Mirage. ENCE got off on the right foot by winning the pistol round and holding off the low buys. They would rack up four rounds before G2 arrived on their T side. The favorites evened things up by winning five of six rounds. A late stabilization by ENCE resulted in a tight 8-7 scoreline in their favor.

With G2 now on the CT side on their home turf, they quickly got to work. ENCE didn’t even get to plant the bomb for the first six rounds of the half. They sometimes made it into the sites, but G2’s positioning and aggressive fighting caught them off guard.

ENCE did get more rounds this time, but the result was the same. G2 easily went up 2-0 in the IEM Cologne Grand Finals with a 16-10. The star duo of Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov and Nikola “NiKo” Kovač were lighting up the server with 27 and 24 kills respectively. ENCE was being completely out-called and out-shot. They did have one more ace up their sleeve to keep them in the running though.

ENCE Fire Back

Anubis was ENCE’s final map pick. This was by far G2’s least played map over the last six months (aside from their permaban Overpass) and ENCE hoped to exploit that. G2 got on the board first with a CT pistol round win. Unlike before, ENCE was quick to get into the game. Their T side fired off three quick round wins in a row to take the lead.

G2 had many chances to win rounds on the defense. Instead, it was ENCE who was winning the tight mid-rounds and clutches, allowing them to rack up the score. By the end of the first half, ENCE had a commanding 10-5 lead. Anubis is the most T sided map in the pool, but this was still a very impressive performance for a team who had trailed all series.

G2 were no slouches on their T side either. Despite losing the pistol and the three rounds following, they made Anubis a close affair. G2 won eight of nine rounds in a row to bring their score up to 13. Unfortunately for them, the earlier losses numbered too many. ENCE secured their golden round with one to spare, keeping them in the race for the IEM Cologne trophy.

The Definitive Champions

Ancient was G2’s map pick. It was one they were very comfortable on, it being their second most played over the past three months. ENCE managed to win the first two rounds on retakes for a fragile 2-0 lead. G2 then wiped the floor with ENCE’s defense for eight straight rounds and looked to be taking over the game. ENCE did salvage some close rounds at the end of the half, but G2 still held a 9-6 lead.

The game was quickly tied up by ENCE in the second half thanks to a pistol round win and conversion. This made five of their nine rounds come solely off the pistol. When G2 got their weapons out on the CT side, the game was over. M0NESY was an especially huge difference maker, shutting down ENCE at every opportunity. He ended Ancient 29-12 with a 1.72 rating.

G2 picked up every remaining round in the game, ending Ancient in a 16-9 victory. The 3-1 scoreline solidified G2 Esports as IEM Cologne’s last CS:GO Champions.

A Legacy Born

With this victory, five new players have had their names engraves on the prestigious IEM Cologne trophy. This G2 roster received a ton of criticism, especially following their disappointing exit at the final CS:GO Major. Even so, they were allowed to stick together and it paid off. As NiKo put it himself, “This is the biggest trophy of my career.”

While G2 may not have a Major title in CS:GO, winning Cologne and Katowice in the same year is the next best thing. They may not be the most consistent team, but their peak is easily capable of hoisting the biggest trophies the game has to offer. G2 won’t get a chance at another prize this important until CS2. But until then, they can hold their heads high at the top of the Counter-Strike world.