Astralis had opted out of attending the ESL One Cologne event the Danish organization has announced. ESL One Cologne will have its playoffs taking place from July 7 to 9, an important time for top tier Counter-Strike teams and Astralis in particular as the defending Major champions.
The PGL hosted Major set to take place in Poland is scheduled to take place just a week later from July 16 to 23. Astralis released the following statement in regards to its decision to not attend the Cologne event.
"A very tight schedule combined with our ambition to defend the Major title means this time around, unfortunately we will not be able to attend ESL One Cologne.
We would love to play both tournaments and have always enjoyed playing and participating in Cologne, but it's all about preparation and our biggest dream for 2017 is to defend the title and win back to back Majors.
All the best to teams and fans going to Cologne!"
Astralis began running hot towards the end of 2016, building up to a finals appearance at ELEAGUE season two before a first place finish the following weekend at the Esports Championship Series finals in California. The success would transfer into 2017 when the Danish squad hoisted the ELEAGUE Major trophy and became world champions. These accolades have earned Astralis the spot as No. 1 in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings.
No. 2, 4, and 5 in the rankings, Virtus.pro, SK Gaming, and FaZe clan have all committed to attending ESL One Cologne already.
SK has fallen from its place on top of the scene and the WWG CSGO Team Rankings, resulting in the removal of Lincoln "fnx" Lau for Joao "felps" Vasconcellos. Results have been overall positive outside of a surprising group stage exit at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice. Another surprising team to be eliminated early from that event was Virtus.pro. Virtus.pro has held a trophy much more recently, however, winning DreamHack Masters Las Vegas following a second place finish at the ELEAGUE Major to open up 2017. FaZe will be joining top teams prior to Cologne, however, as it travels to Kiev, Ukraine for the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season Three Finals. Online results have varied after the initial success following the addition of NiKo culminated in a second place finish at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice.
ESL One Cologne will feature sixteen teams competing at the LANXESS Arena from July 7 to 9. Ten teams will receive direct invitations while four will earn their way through qualifiers with details not yet announced.