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Top 5 Plays of the IEM Cologne Playoffs

Zakaria Almughrabi

The IEM Cologne 2022 Playoffs delivered on all fronts. Not only did we get to see some underdog teams show their stuff on the big stage, we got the Grand Finals matchup of dreams between FaZe Clan and NAVI. The series went to five full maps and will go down as one of the best CS:GO matches ever played. And of course, there were no shortage of amazing plays. Here are our picks for the top five plays of the IEM Cologne Playoffs.

IEM Cologne Best Plays

The IEM Cologne Playoffs were full of fantastic plays, many of which came from Twistzz. (Image Copyright: ESL | Eric Ananmalay)

5. broky vs NAVI – Perfectly Timed Flank 4K

Map one of the IEM Cologne Grand Finals was FaZe Clan’s pick of Inferno. The map was coming down to the wire, with the teams tied at 12 apiece. After NAVI found two opening picks onto FaZe, round 25 seemed to be going in their favor. That was until Helvijs “broky” Saukants saw a pixel of Denis “electroNic” Sharipov’s elbow heading to the B bombsite.

Flanking down mid, broky came up behind the entirety of NAVI as they were staging their push. He took down the first, then the three remaining members in the blink of an eye. While not the most mechanically skilled play, broky made the absolute most of the situation to put his team in prime winning position. FaZe would take map one 16-13.

4. Twistzz vs Movistar Riders – Precise Aim to Win the 1v3 and Ancient

FaZe Clan’s semifinal matchup was against the upstart Movistar Riders. The underdogs chose Ancient as their map pick. While they did get off to a rocky start against the world number one, Movistar was making a comeback on the heavily favored CT side. In order to shut it down, FaZe’s Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken pulled off a 1v3 post-plant clutch while on 41 HP.

This play was just the beginning of Twistzz’s highlight-filled IEM Cologne Playoffs. The North American was one of, if not the best player in the entire tournament. Him not winning MVP is perhaps one of the biggest snubs in CS:GO history. Even so, the IEM Cologne trophy is likely enough for Twistzz, which FaZe would be one step closer to winning after closing out against Movistar 2-0.

3. dexter vs Astralis – dexter Picks Apart Astralis for the Ace

The first CS:GO match in the LANXESS Arena in three years took place between Astralis and MOUZ. Despite being underdogs, MOUZ was able to take their own Mirage pick with ease. The teams then headed to Astralis’s Nuke. Down at the half, MOUZ needed to mount a strong T side if they wanted to close out the match in two. Christopher “dexter” Nong got his team rolling with this play.

MOUZ managed to bring the score within three after this, but they just couldn’t find any consistent avenues into the bomb sites. Astralis equalized the match score with a 16-9, then bested MOUZ on Ancient 16-12 to advance. Despite going one and done in the Playoffs, MOUZ showed that they have a lot of promise as a team.

2. oSee vs Movistar Riders – Immaculate Aim and Game Sense in the 1v3 Clutch

The second quarterfinals matchup of IEM Cologne was between Team Liquid and Movistar Riders. After dropping their own Ancient pick, Liquid needed to win Inferno to stay alive in the tournament. Things didn’t look good early, as Movistar won 10 rounds on their T side. Someone on Liquid had to step up to win crucial rounds on their offense to keep pace. That person was Josh “oSee” Ohm.

After winning this round, Liquid went on to win five of the next seven rounds and take the equalizer 16-14. Unfortunately for Liquid, they couldn’t complete the reverse sweep and fell to Movistar on the Vertigo tiebreaker 16-12. While they didn’t manage to advance at the IEM Cologne Playoffs, the future looks bright for a rebuilt Liquid with talent like oSee.

1. Twistzz vs NAVI – “Magic from Van Dulken”

Map two of the IEM Cologne Grand Finals was NAVI’s Overpass. After failing to take a winning half on CT side, FaZe had a lifeline with a second pistol round win. In the first gun round of the half, NAVI were primed to put a stop to FaZe’s momentum. In the 1v3 retake scenario against the second-best team in the world, Twistzz pulled off what can only be described as magic.

Every move he made was perfect. From avoiding bullets behind the smoke, to spraying the bomb without seeing it, to swapping weapons and baiting s1mple’s shot, to that nasty headshot into instant spray transfer. Twistzz was on another level this match. FaZe didn’t end up winning Overpass, but they got the job done in the end. The IEM Cologne title is now deservedly theirs.