The IEM Cologne Grand Final ended a few days ago, and G2 became the ninth and last team to lift the trophy in CS:GO. The team has now started fighting for victory in Intel Grand Slam Season 5, the next opportunity being ESL Pro League Season 18. As such, they have also joined the club of teams that have won both Cologne and Katowice in the same year, after Fnatic (2015) and FaZe (2022).
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Here they are – G2, who dominated at the beginning of 2023. There were fears that this team – in particular HooXi – had run out of potential, but G2’s patience during the summer break was rewarded with a victory at IEM Cologne 2023 in the LANXESS arena.
Earlier, G2 held out in the semi-finals of IEM Cologne 2023 and did not show any nervousness, moving to the next level. They have been here before, at BLAST Premier World Final 2022 and at IEM Katowice 2023. This is a roster that knows the cost of winning.
Every player contributed, but NiKo and m0NESY were the real stars of the show. We’ll talk about NiKo soon, but we can’t really appreciate how impressive m0NESY was. At 18, this young player already has trophies that most players can only dream of. With a kill/death ratio of 92:52, he was a key player in getting G2 to the finish line. We watch the talent of a generation in action. It’s a real pleasure to see him improve from match to match. The only question is where is its limit?
Meanwhile, HooXi, huNter- and jks continued to level up, preventing ENCE from gaining control of the IEM Cologne Grand Finals. The result was a convincing 3:1.
Nerves failed ENCE
ENCE will look at the IEM Cologne Grand Final with regret because it was actually over before it even started. Clearly the nerves were too strong. They quickly lost the first two maps, which weren’t really close at all. After that, it became clear that the obstacle to success in the IEM Cologne Grand Final was insurmountable.
Many of ENCE’s hopes depended on the performance of AWPer SunPayus, who impressed earlier in the tournament. When he posted a score of 4:17 on the first map of Nuke, everyone began to suspect what direction the IEM Cologne Grand Final was heading.
ENCE still managed to take the third map of the IEM Cologne Grand Final, but even that took a lot of effort. ENCE had a 14:5 lead on Anubis and it looked like they were heading for a complete overcoming in an attempt to recoup. Nerves took over once again as G2 equalized at 15:13 before ENCE could finally finish the match. Despite the victory, damage was done and the stage was ready for an easy fourth map of G2.
After all, ENCE could only rely on Snappi for inspiration. IGL was the team’s best fragger, which is an impossible victory condition for most teams. Of the entire team, no one had a positive kill/death ratio in the series. You just can’t expect to win Grand Finals like this.
It was the perfect farewell dash for NiKo in CS:GO. After the G2 disaster at the Paris Major, it looked like NiKo was destined to end his CS:GO career with a setback. G2 were in terrible shape ahead of IEM Cologne 2023, so it was a sure bet. But NiKo had other plans.
He posted the second-best tournament performance of his entire career (after ESL One New York 2017), winning the official DHL MVP award, as well as the famous IEM Cologne trophy. This is a reward worthy of CS:GO’s greatest riffler, who leaves the game with glory, not tears.
With CS2 approaching, the still 26-year-old NiKo has pretty good prospects to repeat similar performances more than once.