The groups and subsequent schedule for this year's ESL One Cologne event have finally been revealed - throwing up a number of interesting opening match-ups.
This year's event promises to be one of the most explosive yet, with 15 of the world’s top 30 teams heading to Germany in a bid to claim the top crown. Of course, all eyes will be on Team Liquid and Astralis - who are separated in the group stage - but there are plenty of other storylines to consider too.
The tournament kicks off on Tuesday, July 2, with best of one matches running alongside each other starting at 11 AM GMT/ 7 AM EST/ 4 AM PST. Team Liquid, the newly crowned #1 team in the world, will get the action underway against MVP PK, while Natus Vincere and Mousesports do battle at the same time.
Following them, FaZe Clan will take on Renegades while NRG - with new addition Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz at the helm - will battle Brazilian upstarts FURIA.
However, fans will have to wait just a little bit longer before being able to see the new line-ups of Ninjas in Pyjamas and MIBR. MIBR will take on Fnatic at 1:20 PM GMT/ 9:20 AM EST/ 6:20 AM PST alongside Astralis’ match against hometown favorites BIG. Once those two games are concluded, NiP’s new acquisition Nicolas 'Plopski' Gonzalez Zamora is in action against Team Vitality.
From there, the matches move from best of ones into best of threes as the group stage winds down and the road to the playoffs begins. The action rolls right through until July 7, with July 5 deciding the quarter-finals and July 6, of course, settling the semi-finals.
The prize pool split for the event has yet to be announced, but whoever claims the top prize at the Cathedral of Counter-Strike will have truly earnt it through a best-of-five grand final.
|Team Liquid||North America|