ESL One Cologne's first match-ups have been announced along with the two groups, featuring eight CS GO teams each. The tournament will kick off on 03 July, while the biggest addition to the competition is arrival of the reforged MiBR.
Group stages will consist of a double-elimination format with best of one being played for the opening matches. All the remaining matches however will be played in a best of three format.
Teams that qualify for one of the top three spots will automatically advance to the playoffs. The teams that land the first place in their groups will qualify for semi-finals, while the second and third placed teams will play in quarter-finals.
Among the latest additions to the competition are Made in Brazil, former SK Gaming's CS GO line up. It would be unfair to draw any premature conclusions, but it certainly will be interesting to see how they fare vs. top teams like Astralis and FaZe. The opening match features Astralis and ENCE, who will face off on 03 July in the Lanxess arena.
Group A will consist of Astralis, NiP, ENCE, cloud9, mousesports, G2, Gambit and Natus Vincere, while the group B will feature FaZe, Renegades, B.O.O.T-d[S], MiBR, Liquid, North, Fnatic, and BIG.
The $300,000 tournament is part of ESL premier events that counts towards the Intel Grand Slam, which will reward one team with $1,000,000. In order for teams to be crowned Intel Grand Slam CS GO champions they have to win four premier events organised by ESL or DreamHack.
FaZe is the closest to the champions title, as they've got three premier events in their pockets, with Danish flavoured, badum tss, Astralis close behind.
The opening group stage matches will be played as follows:
- Astralis vs. ENCE
- NiP vs. Cloud9
- mousesports vs. Gambit
- G2 vs. Natus Vincere
- FaZe vs. B.O.O.T-d[S]
- Renegades vs. MiBR
- fnatic vs. North
- BIG vs. Liquid