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Day 1 of Intel Extreme Masters Cologne was defined by some massive upsets. Movistar Riders continued their hot streak with a dominant victory over G2 Esports; Team Vitality showed some fight with a win over ENCE. To make these wins happen, a lot of individuals stepped up to propel their team forward in the upper bracket. These are the top five players from Day 1 of the IEM Cologne group stage.
Who else but Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev? Even though the GOAT hasn’t been fragging at his top form recently, Day 1 of IEM Cologne was a good one for s1mple. Natus Vincere took a scrappy win over MOUZ, much of it off the back of s1mple. The Ukrainian posted a 1.36 rating across the three maps and he was really the only reason Mirage was as close it was (a 14-16 loss for Na’Vi). S1mple comes in at fifth because of a quiet Inferno where Denis “electroNic” Sharipov swooped in to pick up the slack.
Cloud9 look to be in IEM Dallas form. The team absolutely dismantled Outsiders with a quick 2-0 upper bracket victory. In all honesty, all five players are deserving of recognition for their Day 1 performance, but it was Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov who stood a shade above the rest. This was the Ax1Le who won the MVP at IEM Dallas — fearless and sharp. If this version of C9 continues to show up, they’re a real contender for the trophy.
It may not have been the most surprising upset of the day, but Ninjas in Pyjamas certainly weren’t favored in their match against Heroic. Apparently NiP wasn’t told that because they were able to notch a close 2-0 sweep against the Danes. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Fredrik “REZ” Sterner or Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin doing the heavy lifting. Patrick “es3tag” Hansen went huge in the series on the AWP; he credited a more passive T-side play style for his newfound success.
When NiP is succeeding — especially on their T sides — we shouldn’t be surprised that Hampus “hampus” Poser is leading the charge. The in-game leader notched a 1.40 rating against Heroic and looked unstoppable doing it. He was truly the tip of the spear for NiP, cutting a hole in Heroic’s defense.
Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia was the best player on Day 1 of IEM Cologne. The young AWPer was everywhere, finding opening kills on both T and CT side. He ended the upset against G2 with a +21 kill/death and a 1.41 rating. The match was truly a story of two AWPers as Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov struggled to find impact while SunPayus was an unstoppable dealer of death. If the Spaniard can keep it up, there’s no telling how far Movistar Riders can go.
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.