ESL Cologne 2018 starts next week – Here’s all there is to know

ESL Cologne 2018, one of the biggest tournaments of the year, will be taking place next week. Starting on July 3, 16 of the world’s best teams will be fighting for part of a $300,000 prize pool.

Here’s a look at the attending teams, the important dates, and the biggest matchups to expect from ESL Cologne 2018.

Teams Attending ESL Cologne 2018

11 teams were invited, 5 teams fought through qualifying events. In total, there are 16 teams attending ESL One Cologne from all across the globe.

Chances are, you’ve already heard the names of each of the teams participating. This is a very star-studded event and we’re expecting big clashes and excellent games throughout the tournament.

Invited teams:

  • Astralis
  • Fnatic
  • FaZe
  • BIG
  • Cloud9
  • G2
  • Team Liquid
  • MIBR (ex SK)
  • Mousesports
  • Natus Vincere
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas

Qualified teams:

  • ENCE
  • North
  • Gambit
  • Renegades
  • B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape

ESL One Cologne 2018 Dates and Tournament Schedule

If you want to catch as much of the action as possible, make sure to set time aside between July 3 and July 8. Below is a detailed rundown of the tournament stages and schedule throughout these 6 days.

esl one cologne schedule

July 3 – July 5: Group Stage

The Group Stage will see 8 teams packing their bags. We already know the first two groups and the first matches. There will be a double elimination format, so if a team gets eliminated from the group, they’ll fall into the lower bracket.

The first matches will be best of one but all following matches will be best of three.
All first matches for both groups will be held on July 3. Here is a look at the first matchups.

Group A

  • Astralis vs ENCE
  • NIP vs Cloud9
  • Mousesports vs Gambit
  • G2 vs NaVi

Group B

  • FaZe vs B.O.O.T-d[S]
  • Renegades vs MIBR
  • Fnatic vs North
  • BIG vs Team Liquid

The following group stage matches and lower bracket matches will play out across July 3 to July 5.

July 6 – July 8: Playoffs

On July 6, the Playoffs will start. July 6th will be dedicated to the quarterfinals. July 7 will feature the semifinal matches and July 8 will have the grand final match.

The semifinals and quarterfinal matches will be best of three, but the grand final will be best of five.

Where to Watch ESL Cologne 2018

You will be able to tune into the ESL Cologne 2018 matches live by visiting the official English ESL Twitch channel.

esl one stream link

If you would prefer to watch the events unfold in another language, ESL will also have Twitch channels for the following countries:

  • Brazil
  • Germany
  • France
  • Russia
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Turkey

ESL One Cologne 2018 – Who to Watch Out For

There are many great teams attending ESL One Cologne 2018, but the question on everyone’s minds is who is going to come out on top? The easy option would be to root for Astralis. Sure, they have been on fire lately but can Astralis really hold up their lead for this long? We’re still waiting to hear who FaZe’s fifth will be, so they may be out of the question unless they can somehow pull in Olofmeister at the last second.

MIBR has peaked our interest – they are reinvigorated with new energy after the transfer from SK, but I think it’ll be too soon to see real results.
Other teams that will be worth watching are Mousesports, Fnatic, Liquid, and NaVi – all four of these teams have performed exceptionally in recent months.