Relive some of the greatest hits IEM Cologne had to offer.

The first LAN in over a year has come and gone with Natus Vincere as the champions once more. To revel in the stardom the tournament possessed, we take a look at the top 5 IEM Cologne 2021 highlights.

5: Gla1ve’s Prodigal Pistol

Summary: The backs are firmly against the wall for Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander on Dust 2. After the A site falls to Na’Vi’s hands, the Danish IGL frantically runs off to save. However, the CIS squad doubles back in a shocking turn of events to plant the bomb on B and is met with the waiting arms of Gla1ve’s USP-S.

Popping off three heads in the final seconds of the round, the prodigal pistol of Gla1ve saves the round and the map for Astralis.

Background: The upper-bracket final was not where Astralis thought they would be after the loss of Nicolai “device” Reedtz. Nevertheless, they fought against the eventual champions of Natus Vincere for a spot in the semifinals. Their map pick of Nuke collapsing left the Danes in dire straits on Dust 2. Still, the squad pulled through to overtime and chipped away at Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s dominance.

Left with an impossible task it seemed all hope was lost, even after pushing the game to extra time. Gla1ve’s clutch however, gave the ever important momentum to propel the squad to a third map. Although the team eventually fell on Inferno, this clutch was crucial in keeping Astralis alive.

4: Broky’s AWP Sings Under Pressure

Summary: Team Spirit had FaZe Clan right where they wanted them. Double entries onto the B site of Overpass, all that was left standing was Helvijs “broky” Saukants. All the odds were stacked against the young Latvian, but under the pressure of IEM Cologne elimination, he delivered.

Dancing between the pillar, broky refused to miss against his opposition and Team Spirit were left stunned. A sublime 4k dug FaZe out of a building rut.

Background: The lower bracket run of FaZe started with their first elimination game against Team Spirit. Although the team was off to a great start, FaZe’s economy was still quite flustered from the dragons’ first round win. Tasked with a near impossible clutch, broky went above and beyond to keep the money, confidence, and hopes alive for the international roster early on into the BO3.

He went onto perform exceptionally at this event and carried the team along with Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken to new heights for their organization. A semifinal finish had a substantial effect on their ranking, and it all started here against Team Spirit.

3: The Last Stand of Twistzz

Summary: In their very next BO3, FaZe Clan was threatened by Team Vitality’s sudden resurgence on Dust 2. A light buy on pistols had the international roster playing for overtime at 14-14. However, an electric set of kills from Twistzz’s sensational Desert Eagle had other plans for FaZe.

While the B site was caged with utility, the Canadian ripped through the Vitality defenses in middle and with a mere one bullet in his magazine, Twistzz managed to get the penultimate kill he needed to reload. The final shot onto Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut left the French camp dumbfounded and the FaZe roster in elation.

Background: Their next tribulation on route to the playoffs was against the rising French on Team Vitality. Looking to stave off a French comeback on Dust 2, a final stand of a B-split was one of the last attempts karrigan had in the tank. The upgraded pistols had not previously worked for FaZe, but when the going got tough, Twistzz answered the call.

This eco victory left the Vitality economy in tatters on the punishing CT-side. The momentum to carry the FaZe lineup over the line rose tremendously and the team eventually closed the game out in regulation. They would then go on to shock Heroic out of contention for playoffs and then stun the favorites of Gambit out of the quarterfinals as well.

2: NiKo’s AK-47 Heroics

Summary: Coming off a full buy loss, G2 only had one rifle going into their next CT round. Luckily for them, it was in the hands of the Bosnian superstar Nikola “NiKo” Kovac. NiKo took to a quick boost onto the catwalk of Dust 2 and took matters into his own hands.

First he checks for any mid door peeks and finds nobody there. Suddenly, NiKo spins to tap away at the top-mid player and stuns the world with a seamless burst fire transition. From there, the Bosnian switches back to tapping and leaves it down to a 1v1. Reading the game to a tee, NiKo has no problems closing out the round and pulling an incredibly heroic play to save G2’s CT campaign.

Background: G2 began their run to the grand final with a momentum building series against Complexity. A labored affair on Vertigo found the Europeans ahead of schedule and looked to close out the series on Dust 2. After some confident gun rounds from the Juggernaut stumbled G2 down to an eco, NiKo’s importance in saving this round potentially ends any chances of a Complexity comeback.

The team did have a buy in the next round regardless of the result, but a middling economy still left a lot of room for failure. After this clutch, NiKo’s squad pulled together to quell the brewing storm of Complexity and continued to soar through the upper bracket.

1: S1mple’s Fourth Ace

Summary: The brilliance of s1mple is undeniable, unescapable. IEM Cologne was his greatest individual performance to date and it clearly showed. In the grand final against G2, s1mple splattered any hopes the European roster had in coming back on Dust 2.

A quick contact play was met with s1mple’s fury immediately. One, two, three, the Ukrainian tapped away four kills for himself. Pulling the wool over huNter’s eyes for the final frag, s1mple locked down his fifth ace at the event.

Background: G2 had battled back from quiet the deficit against the red-hot Natus Vincere. HuNter had kept the team floating and wanted to get right back into the game by shutting down the CIS squad’s economy. But without utility on s1mple, it’s impossible to win.

Incredibly difficult shots seemed so easy to the Ukrainian and although G2 had found some momentum, it was suddenly snuffed by s1mple. Now the economy was destroyed for the Europeans and the hope to win Dust 2 quickly dwindled. Eventually, they were silenced by Na’Vi and swept aside for the trophy to be collected by the CIS titans.

Anirudh Ajay - Writer of the Month: July

Anirudh Ajay

Writer of the Month: July | Twitter: @DatPaladin

Anirudh "Paladin" Ajay has been a passionate CS:GO fan since its inception. Writing about team analysis, crafting story-lines, and breaking news are at the forefront of his content. Anirudh has previously written for ESL, DreamHack, thegamehaus, and his own blog paladinsalliance.com.