SK Gaming, Copenhagen Wolves and TCM Gaming are the last teams of Intel Extreme Masters Cologne. By placing top three in yesterday's Cross Realm Qualifier all three qualified for the $30,000 Amateur tournament taking place November 23rd and 24th in Cologne at the ESL Arena, which also hosts a $50,000 tournament with LCS teams from America and Europe.
Eight teams from EU West and EU East met in a Double Elimination Bracket to determine three teams, which would join Ninjas in Pyjamas in IEM Cologne's tournament.
It's been only a few days after SK Gaming parted with three of their players, one of them being their face and voice for almost three years - Carlos 'ocelote' Rodríguez. The pressure must have been immense, especially for their latest additions such as the lesser known Jesiz. But yesterday's matches never gave rise to any doubts. SK Gaming longstanding support Nyph performed better than ever, filling the gap ocelote left. He continuously secured kills (including taking some for his own) and led SK to two superior stomps in their deciding match over Millenium.
In Cologne, SK will meet Copenhagen Wolves, a team led by SK's former toplaner Joey 'YoungBuck' Steltenpool, who coincidentally superseded SK's new top Svenskeren this Summer. The Wolves underwent a lot of changes after they got knocked out of LCS this Summer. These changes though proved to be effective as they won 2-0 over MeetYourMakers, who were part of LCS' Summer Season unlike Copenhagen Wolves.
ESL Arena (More photos of IEM Cologne 2012 at flickr.com)
Yesterday's biggest surprise was TCM Gaming even though it took them two more matches than SK and Copenhagen before being confirmed as the third and final team for Cologne. Nevertheless, they managed to beat Millenium and H2k Gaming. The British organisation is going to be the underdog of Cologne being the sole team without any LCS experience, which also applies for all of their five players and makes yesterday's perfomance even more noteworthy.
But an even bigger challenge is waiting for them in Cologne, where they are going to face Ninjas in Pyjamas. Just like SK, the Ninjas recently made heavy alterations on their lineup, whereas they still have to give proof of their current strength. NiP won the community vote and didn't have participate in yesterday's qualifier.
All of yesterday's matches are available as VoD on ESL TV commentated by Joe Miller and Jason Kaplan. For detailed statistics of every single match, head over to the bracket and click on the matches you're interest in.