ESL One Cologne ‘18 Fantasy Preview

One of the biggest and most prestigious CS:GO events of the year is about to take place in Cologne, Germany. An incredibly stacked field of 16 will battle it out for the first place prize of $125 000.

Fantasy Picks:

— The Top 5 Favorites—


Top End Value:

  • dev1ce
  • dupreeh
  • Magisk

Low End Value:

  • gla1ve
Note: Since picking up Magisk Astralis has been on a great run of form. The likes of FaZe and MIBR (formerly SK) would normally be able to challenge them but both teams have undergone roster changes that have negatively impacted their performance as of late. As such, Astralis will be going into this event as the favorite and their players will be a safe pick in most match-ups. dev1ce, dupreeh and Magisk are the top fragging core for the team and make for great picks in any match-up. In-game leader gla1ve has been in really good form, don’t be surprised to see him on the top of the scoreboard now and then. He makes for a solid value pick if he is priced low.


Top End Value:

  • NiKo

Mid/Low End Value:

  • GuardiaN
Note: NiKo is clearly the number one guy for FaZe in terms of fantasy production and is an easy pick in any match-up. Since the departure of olofmeister, GuardiaN had stepped up big time and makes for a really solid pick. Both rain and cromen are intriguing due to their high headshot percentage. Normally, rain would be an easy pick but he has been struggling since olofmeister departed the team and it remains to be seen if he will return to form.


Top End Value:

  • s1mple
  • electronic

Mid/Low End Value:

  • Edward
  • flamie
Note: s1mple is clearly the best player in the world at this point and makes for a great pick in any match-up, the same goes for electronic who would make most people’s top 5 at this point in time. NaVi is a very top-heavy lineup with s1mple and electronic responsible for the majority of the teams fragging. flamie is capable of going off now and then and makes for a sneaky pick on Skrilla where he is priced fairly low in the opening slates. Edward was playing poorly when this lineup was just formed but he has picked up the slack as of late and is starting to catch up to flamie in terms of production. He should benefit from the recent update to CS:GO which saw the M4A1-S get an additional clip.


Top End Value:

  • twistzz
  • EliGE
  • NAF

Low End Value:

  • TACO
Note: Liquid should have a good chance of challenging for the top spot in Cologne. They’re one of the few teams at the event that have been playing with a solid 5 for a while. twistzz, EliGE and NAF are the core of players with the highest fantasy up-side on the team. twistzz especially due to his high headshot-accuracy. TACO played excellently when he first joined Liquid but has since then cooled off somewhat. Regardless he still makes for a good low-end value pick since he has shown that he can put up bigger numbers than he used to do on SK.


Top End Value:

  • suNny
  • ropz

Mid/Low End Value:

  • oskar/chrisJ/Snax
Note: Mousesports is coming off a surprising roster change, adding the Polish veteran Snax in place of STYKO. This will be the first time we will see this lineup in action, so it remains to be seen how they will play. There are a lot of question marks and uncertainties since STYKO played more of a supportive role for the team. Someone’s gonna take a hit statistically but it remains to be seen who that will be. suNny and ropz should be safe picks and it will be a toss-up between oskar, chrisJ and Snax. chrisJ should benefit from the recent update which saw changes to the M4A1-S and the MP7 and makes for an interesting option due to this. oskar is probably the safest pick of the 3 despite the lower headshot percentage, it’s pretty much a guarantee that oskar will have at least a couple of games where he goes off. We don’t know what role Snax will play for the team and he has been very inconsistent for Virtus Pro in recent months. But he probably has more potential upside than chrisJ if they choose to give him positions and spots where he can thrive.

— The Challengers —

MIBR (formerly SK) has really been struggling since adding Stewie2k. fer has really dropped off in terms of performance and the same goes for FalleN. coldzera has been putting up good numbers despite taking on the in-game leader role and he makes for the only safe fantasy pick on the roster. Previously, fer would be an excellent pick but he has had a few games as of late where he has really struggled to put up numbers. With that said, fer and Stewie2k easily have the highest fantasy upside on the team alongside coldzera and we could see them pop-off in some games.

The two Swedish sides, NiP and fnatic have both swapped players and are question marks coming in to the tournament. There’s a lot of veteran savvy on the side of fnatic and I could see them grinding it out to make it out of the group, but they’re gonna need KRIMZ to be at his best. JW should be a very interesting pick in fantasy since draken should now be the main awper for the team. JW is very capable with the AK and will be able to form a very good double awp set-up on maps like train alongside draken. NiP is in really poor form, having dropped out of the CS:GO Asian Championship to TyLoo and struggling in the online minor qualifiers. With this said, they might have one of the most stacked rosters in terms of pure talent and if they hit their stride I could see them cause upsets in a very tough group. f0rest has been the most solid player for NiP for quite some time now and makes for a great pick in fantasy. It’s pretty much a crap-shoot who to pick alongside him since all of the other 4 have high potential up-side. dennis performed excellently when he first joined NiP but has since then dropped off for unknown reasons. GeT_RiGhT is actually in good form leading up to this event, having performed well online in the minor qualifiers. REZ has dropped off a bit and had a disappointing event in China but was in good perform prior to that event. Lekr0 has performed quite well since joining and I could see him have a good tournament for NiP. The interesting part about NiP is who will pick up the AWP for the team. Leading up to this event they have been juggling the AWP around depending on maps, with everyone but GeT_RiGhT using the AWP at least once. dennis should be the one to wield the big green gun the most, having used it on 5 of 6 maps in the pool.

North has been a bit of a meme since formed, vastly overrated for some time and now widely considered a team that just keeps under-performing. Most would agree that letting go of k0nfig and Magisk was a mistake, but Kjaerbye has been performing well for the team since his addition. His combination of high fragging output and high headshot percentage makes him a nice pick in fantasy alongside valde. aizy mixes good with bad, pick with caution. The same goes for mertz. MSL should always be avoided like the plague in fantasy unless he is the only option due to salary constraints. I could potentially see North doing something at this event, they have been playing all right as of late and they’re in the easier group of the two.

Many would consider G2 as a potential dark-horse in this tournament but I don’t have much faith in this roster. They’re gonna need the likes of shox and kennyS to really carry this team if they are to make it out of a very tough group. shox and kennyS would be my go to’s in favorable match-ups in fantasy. bodyy and Ex6TenZ are options at lower price-points and I would fade SmithZz completely.

Cloud9 will be playing this event with a stand-in (STYKO). It will be hard for Cloud9 to make it out of this group and it’s unknown with what type of mindset they will be going into this tournament with. We saw mousesports exceed expectations with n0thing as a stand-in at Bello Horizonte, making it all the way to the finals, so maybe we could see something similar happen here. Personally I don’t have them making it out of groups, but I could see them cause some upsets. If you have belief in Cloud9, look for the likes of autimatic and tarik to play a big part in their wins.

Gambit recently picked up Mir from Vega Squadron to add additional fire-power to the team. Despite this they have really struggled online as of late. This is not something new to Gambit though as they’ve always been more of an LAN team than anything else. Most people seem to be of the opinion that Gambit has close to zero chance here, but I could see them do some damage in group-play. mou has been a bright light for the team recently and if they could just get the likes of Hobbit, AdreN and Mir firing they will be a difficult opponent for most teams. Don’t expect a deep run from Gambit, but they could upset in groups and make a for a good contrarian pick in fantasy.

Good Luck with your selections.

Written by: @VLNGG