ESL One Colonge 2016 marked the greatest peak in Brazilian Counter-Strike, with Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo’s SK Gaming becoming only the second side in history to win back-to-back Majors.
The Major was also the first to feature two sides from outside of EU in the grand final, making the event one of the game’s most defining points. So, with talks continuing to persist about a potential Brazilian super-team in the making, Gamelevate takes a look back at the region’s proudest moment.
SK Gaming had only acquired their lineup for ESL Cologne about a month or so before the start of the tournament, however the FalleN-led core had been at the summit of the world rankings since their MLG Columbus Major win under the Luminosity banner a few months earlier.
The team were undoubtedly one of the greatest meta disruptors the game had ever seen, bringing a uniquely Brazilian flair to the server through FalleN’s aggressive style of AWPing and calling as the IGL.
He was backed up superbly by his trusted deputies with Fernando “fer” Alvarenga’s rifling and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo’s anchoring. Lincoln “fnx” Lau was the team’s lurker, and Marcelo “coldzera” would establish himself as the best player in the world at the event, with his jumping AWP 4k in the grand final against Team Liquid earning a graffiti on Mirage’s B bombsite and going down as one of the best moments in the game’s history.
SK would only drop one map throughout the entire tournament, an overtime loss to Virtus.Pro on Cobblestone in the semi-final;in what was one of the most dominant performances the game had ever seen.
Coldzera won his second consecutive Major MVP award with his 0.89 kills per round, 1.22 impact and 1.37 overall rating at the tournament. SK would maintain their number one position in the world until the end of October that year, and remain one of CS:GO’s best sides up until their lineup was acquired by MiBR in June 2018.
Other Headline Grabbers
Team Liquid stole headlines with their remarkable run to the grand final, becoming the first North American side to make a final at a CS:GO Major.
Whilst the side had finished in the top eight at MLG Columbus, guaranteeing them Legends status at the tournament, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella’s side still had to take down Team Envy and mousesports containing the likes of Kenny “kennyS” Schrub and Nikola “NiKo” Kovač to book their passage into the playoffs.
It was in the playoffs that Liquid’s tournament really kicked into life, however, beating both NAVI and Fnatic, ranked 3rd and 4th in the world respectively at the time, with a young Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev earning his fateful move to the former on the back of a stellar 1.18 performance over the course of the event.
Elsewhere, G2, the second highest-ranked team at the tournament, suffered a dismal campaign that saw the French org eliminated with a 0-2 record at the hands of SK and Fnatic in the group stage.
ESL Cologne: 2014 Major winners NiP were also eliminated in the group stage, losing to NAVI and another CIS lineup in FlipSid3 Tactics (containing current NAVI coach Andrei “B1ad3” Horodenskyi as a rifler), in what was the tournament’s biggest shock result.