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Four Underdogs to Watch For At the IEM Cologne Play-Ins

The IEM Cologne Play-Ins are shaping up to be a potentially one-sided affair for the favorites to qualify. However, the Best of One format in the first round could allow for some players to take over games and secure a deeper chance to qualify for the main event. One day before the event, here is a look at four underdogs that could shock the best into dicey situations.

ViCi Gaming’s Kaze

The Malaysian AWPer Andrew “Kaze” Khong has silently made a name for himself in Asia as the best his region has to offer. Few remember his statements during the Katowice qualifications in 2019 and his appearances at the ELEAGUE Major in 2018. The Malaysian single-handedly dragged ViCi Gaming through the final stages of qualification and eliminated North from contention.

Kaze has plenty of international LAN experience and has certainly been around the block in the Asian region. Alongside Yi “JamYoung” Yang, ViCi Gaming has a real shot at surprising in the opening rounds of the Play-In. Looking to replicate his form at IEM Katowice 2019, Kaze looks to repeat history and qualify for another Masters level tournament.

LDLC’s Maka

Maka @ DreamHack Open Tours (Courtesy of DreamHack)

Bryan “Maka” Canda has remained a bright spot on the many teams he has played for during his career. He aided 3DMAX into relevancy in 2018, made some upsets happen in 2019, and truly revitalized his career in the Tier 2 scene with Heretics. Showing dedication to the AWP, Maka turned into a man possessed, dropping incredible statistics against the world’s best left and right.

Now the French hybrid returns to Tier 1 Counter-Strike with veterans Christophe “SIXER” Xia and Ali “hAdji” Hainouss in LDLC. A new challenge fast approaches Maka at the IEM Cologne Play-Ins and it would certainly make a statement if his band of French outcasts spoils NiP’s return to the LAN stage.

Renegades’ INS

Joshua “INS” Potter is shaping up to be the new face of Australian Counter-Strike. All the best in the region, including Justin “jks” Savage and Christopher “dexter” Nong, had their start on the Renegades and INS is no exception. The rifler has amassed a whopping 1.34 rating during his last three months with the squad and is looking to pull the Aussies into the limelight of IEM Cologne.

The youngster has struggled against international competition alongside the rest of his compatriots on the Renegades lineup. However, his confidence is certainly sky-high after qualifying for ESL Pro League Season 14 and winning Oceania’s 37th edition of ESEA Premier.

TeamOne’s Pesadelo

Pesadelo’s on his debut team of RED Candids (Courtesy of DRAFT5)

Matheus “pesadelo” Panisset has not particularly jumped off the page under TeamOne until most recently. Having the tournament of his career, the Brazilian had an incredible showing during North America’s ESEA Premier Season 37 and surprisingly lifted the heavy underdogs to qualify for ESL Pro League Season 14. The trip from RED Candids to TeamOne was quite the rough transition for the rifler but shows great potential to compete against top international teams.

The Brazilian roster does have the opportunity to destabilize the European OG roster in their first round of the IEM Cologne Play-Ins. While people look to Mario “malbsMd” Samayoa and Pedro “Maluk3” Campos to do the heavy lifting for TeamOne, pesadelo remains the key to their success tomorrow.


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