Duncan "Thorin" Shields guides us through the epic CS:GO action of the past five editions and previews what we can expect at ESL One Cologne 2019.
2014 - Ninjas in Pyjamas rule at gamescom
ESL One Cologne 2014 was the third overall CS:GO Major. The event featured some unusual new components, such as Valve introducing a randomiser for Group Stage play, the deciding maps of series and two new maps: Cobblestone and Overpass. Both elements famously played a part in the successful run of eventual champions Ninjas in Pyjamas, who overcame their summer slump to produce one of the most miraculous Major runs in history.
Led by a heroic effort by the talismanic friberg, NiP overcame a Group Stage loss and a murderer's row of rising teams all ready to win the Major. Taking down a then-peak-form Cloud9, apEX-fueled LDLC and future era-defining Fnatic, NiP needed a close win on Cobblestone in all three series and a thrilling decider to take the win. This run proved a satisfying cap to this line-up's time as the best team in the world at the time, giving them the Major title they had been denied in two finals previously.
Other results proved markers for the future. Finalists Fnatic were attending their second event with that line-up and would go on to win two Majors themselves and become the greatest team in history up to that point. LDLC's heart-break spawned the "French shuffle", rotating key elements between teams to form the line-up which would win the next Major. The Dignitas core of device, dupreeh and Xyp9x reached their second straight Major semi, showing some of the potential they later delivered upon emphatically as Astralis, the best team of the last 12 months and perhaps ever.