ESL One Cologne 2018 Highlights – NaVi Wins, S1mple Takes MVP

ESL One Cologne 2018 played out last week and it is safe to say that the entire event was a rollercoaster ride. Tournament favorites and top team Astralis lost out, BIG had a surprisingly successful run up to the grand finals and NaVi may have just reached their final form with S1mple at the helm once again.

Here is a look at the main ESL ONE Cologne 2018 highlights

BIG Surprised the World

Let’s start with what was easily the biggest surprise of the event – BIG’s performance. During the group stage, BIG performed as expected to begin with. BIG pulled out a hard-fought 16-7 win before losing 2-0 to Fnatic.

They then fell to the lower bracket. It was here where something must have happened because the BIG that entered the tournament certainly wasn’t the BIG that left it.


BIG first took a very close 2-1 win against Renegades, with two games getting close to the 30 round limit and the final being an overtime 19-17 win to BIG.

BIG then faced MIBR, who had looked like they had finally found their footing after fumbling slightly in the group stage and falling into the lower bracket. Once again, games went to the line, but BIG closed it with an overtime game on inferno. This win sent BIG to the playoffs.

BIG had played well, but at this point it was down to some very close overtime games that lead them to victory. They performed well, but everybody thought this would be where BIG would be sent home.

Surprisingly, BIG took an incredible win against G2 in the quarterfinals. The first game was as expected. It went to overtime and BIG won it 19-17. Then, somehow in the next game, BIG won 16-1 on Dust 2 as G2 just fell to pieces.

This must have given BIG the confidence to take the win against FaZe next in the semifinals. The first game was overtime again, but BIG lost it. After that, BIG took one 16-13 win and closed it with a 16-6 win on Inferno.

Finally, BIG lost in the grand finals to NaVi, only taking 1 win out of the potential 5 games.

NaVi Are Finally in Great Strength as a Collective

I’ve said time and time again that as soon as NaVi get their stuff together as far as team cohesion goes, they’ll be on top of the world. That time has finally come.

NaVi’s coordination throughout ESL One Cologne was incredible and even though S1mple unsurprisingly took the MVP for yet another event, the team pulled through together as a unit.

navi wins esl one cologne 2018

Part of that was due to Zeus’ role as an IGL to calm the nerves of NaVi and be the man responsible for calls. Zeus made sure everybody was in check and nobody, S1mple included, fell into the trap of making dangerous plays out of desperation.

Zeus has clearly worked hard alongside the other team members to build better communication throughout the group, and this has helped all players to shine where they do best.

Astralis may have held the crown for a short while, but I feel NaVi is close to taking it from them and they may just close out 2018 as the best team in the world.

What are your thoughts on ESL One Cologne 2018? Did you watch the event? Which matchups did you enjoy the most?