DreamHack has recently announced the groups for its next tournament to be held in Malmö, Sweden on the 12th of April until the 17th. There has been a shake-up in the tournament participants however as Fnatic announced they will not be attending the tournament due to Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer’s wrist injury. Following this, Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs of Natus Vincere also announced that he was uncertain if he would be in attendance due to a hand injury of his own. Yesterday, Na’Vi announced that the team will be competing and that GuardiaN will be recovering from his injury in the weeks leading up to the event. This however, also means the star AWPer will not be practising with the team as he recovers, if even playing CS at all.
Fnatic and Na’Vi were no doubt two favourites to win the whole tournament, but now that Fnatic has withdrawn and Na’Vi’s star player is injured and won’t be practising, I hope to examine who now may be the favourites to make it out of their groups in first place and who I will be putting my money on in Sweden.
Group A (Luminosity, Team Liquid, Mousesports, Tyloo)
Many would look at this group and of course expect the new CS:GO world champions Luminosity to dominate. LG secured first place at the most recent CS:GO Major Tournament, MLG Columbus, beating Na’Vi 2-0 with a convincing 16-2 score line on the final map of Overpass. The team houses some of the best players in the world. Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo, who many consider the best in-game leader in the world, lead his team to victory sporting a rating of 1.29 in the match up. Accompanied by his star line-up which includes Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David, the highest rated player of the tournament at 1.36, FalleN is expected to bring his team to victory once more at this event, or at least to place very highly. The only team in Group A which I feel can challenge LG is Team Liquid. In the semi-final of MLG Columbus, Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin and co. took LG to overtime twice in the series on both Mirage and Cache. In the end however, it was a 2-0 for LG. My money is on LG to top this group, although I am very excited to see a rematch of TL Vs. LG. Perhaps Liquid could cause an upset the second time around, it will be interesting to examine the odds on this potential match-up.
Conclusion: Expect a great performance from Luminosity keeping in mind Team Liquid’s ability to potentially beat them in a best of one.
Group B (Na’Vi, G2, CLG, Godsent)
GuardiaN’s absence from the game in the week leading up to the event, and with G2 replacing Fnatic, this has to be the most open group. Na’Vi without their star AWPer on point may not turn up at all like on that second map of the MLG Finals. G2 put on a dreadful show at the major going out in the group stage to a ‘slumping’ Virtus.Pro, only securing 1 round earlier in their group match Vs. VP on Train. Godsent is a new team lead by former Fnatic IGL Markus ‘pronax’ Wallsten. An inexperienced team of experienced players, they have only 38 maps played at the time of writing this article. This will be the squad’s first big tournament, and we shall see how the new team fairs against some tougher competition than the mostly tier 2 teams they have been facing recently. CLG put up an impressive performance in Columbus, beating Envyus 16-8 and reaching the quarter finals but finally being knocked out by Team Liquid in a 2-0 series.
CLG to me always seem like a team who can put up some great fragging performances (especially their star AWPer, Josh ‘jdm64’ Marzano) and show off some excellent tactics, but never seem to make it any deeper than a quarter-final (usually through some one map upsets in their group). We do not know what to expect from Na’Vi, we can never seem to count on a consistent performance from G2 and Godsent is a brand new line-up. The interesting thing about this group to me is the upset potential of CLG Vs. Na’Vi. With Na’Vi more than likely not on top form due to GuardiaN’s injury, and with CLG’s one map upset history, this could mean CLG coming out on top of this group and upsetting Na’Vi.
Conclusion: Na’Vi could possibly be off-form due to GuardiaN’s injury and the heavy reliance the team places on him. Big upset potential from CLG Vs. Na’Vi.
Group C (Astralis, NiP, Team Dignitas, Lounge.GG)
This group is possibly the most exciting one in the tournament. The famously entertaining match-up between Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas is sure to spark the attention of many as we see the Danes face the Swedes once more. Astralis were on a hot streak at MLG, topping their group and taking down Fnatic 2-0 in the quarter finals, reaching the semis where they were finally shut down by Na’Vi in a ‘heartbreaking’ 2-0. NiP also felt the wrath of Na’Vi, but in the quarter-finals (2-0). NiP have announced recently the departure of Jacob ‘pyth’ Mourujärvi after securing a quarter-final spot with their coach Björn ‘THREAT’ Pers as a stand-in. THREAT has now taken up a full time position as a player for NiP over the coaching role after an impressive performance in Columbus. Now we shall hopefully see a rematch of the famous game at Cluj-Napoca where NiP downed Astralis in the quarter-final with a convincing 2-0 victory. This time however, NiP boast an arguably more powerful roster. Astralis famously play extremely well in the group stage only to ‘choke’ when the stakes are higher. My bet here is for Astralis to repeat what they did at MLG. They are for certain the most powerful team in the group and should be able to battle their way through the Swedish team. I think this time Astralis will have their revenge.
As for Team Dignitas and Lounge.GG, they seem to be teams that often qualify for tournaments like this, but never really seem to make it out of the group stage. While Dignitas do have the fragging power to potentially upset an off-form NiP, I don’t see it happening here. NiP played extremely well at MLG, even with a stand-in at the time and Astralis seem too dominant to even give them more than 8 rounds if they were to face off.
Conclusion: Expect a dominant group stage performance from Astralis, while keeping in mind the potential for NiP to beat them in a best of one.
Group D (Virtus.Pro, Envyus, Tempo Storm, FaZe Clan)
Virtus.Pro are currently at the bottom of the table in the ESL Pro League with a record of 2-14, potentially facing relegation to the Premier Division. Almost nobody could have foresaw the performance that they had at the Major however. ‘Virtus.Plow’ was engaged and they destroyed G2 in a 16-1 victory on Train. They later went on to make the quarter-final where they were they became the only team at the event to take a map off Luminosity, winning overtime on Cache 19-17. The series did however end in a 2-1 victory for LG, but VP showed us that they can be on top again, potentially giving us a taste of whats to come at Malmö. Envyus on the other hand went out at the bottom of the group. Beaten by CLG and Gambit, and showing us the definition of a ‘slumping’ team. I had hopes that Envyus would be able to do as VP did and turn up at the most important CS:GO LAN in history. Following their disturbing performance at MLG, I am now afraid all hope is lost for them in my opinion. I do not expect them to turn up at all in Sweden.
Tempo Storm here I feel have the biggest upset potential. Boasting an impressive Brazilian roster, especially Henrique ‘hen1’ Teles who has been on good form in recent weeks. If Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub and co. don’t perform like the days of Cluj-Napoca, Tempo Storm could absolutely knock Envyus out of the group in partnership with Virtus.Pro.
As for FaZe, they have been off form recently, losing to teams like Mousesports, G2 and SK Gaming and dropping out of the group stage at the Major only taking one map from Splyce. To be fair, they did meet Fnatic in the elimination match. In addition, the roster for DreamHack is slighty unclear at the moment with Maikel ‘Maikelele’ Bill announcing on Twitter that he will no longer be continuing with the FaZe team. I do not expect much from FaZe at this event, especially if Maikel drops out. We will need to keep following along on Twitter to get the latest updates on the future of the team.
Conclusion: High upset potential from Tempo Storm Vs. Envyus. Expect Virtus.Pro to activate ‘plow’ mode once again on LAN.
Ewan ‘Em’ Mullane – @YesImEm