Just when you thought the final nail had been hammered into the Dignitas CS:GO team’s coffin, the predominantly Danish roster has started to show some serious signs of life once more. A win over the wavering mousesports roster over the weekend has secured them a spot in the $200,000 Game Show Global eSports Cup LAN finals, due to kick off this Thursday in Lithuania.
The comprehensive online victory over Chris “chrisJ” de Jong’s mousesports team was not the first glimmer of hope in recent weeks though – DreamHack Leipzig also went better than most would have guessed with a 3rd-4th place finish amongst stiff competition. A 2-0 win, once again against mousesports backed up with an even more impressive 2-1 victory over Polish giants, Virtus.Pro certainly came as a surprise to many pundits. Despite losses against Astralis and Natus Vincere in their other matches, the Danes and single Norwegian certainly put up a fight and proved that the loss of two of their best performers from 2015 in the form of Jacob “Pimp” Winneche and Philip “aizy” Aistrup in particular, would not keep them down.
Part of the underdog’s success in Germany must be put down to the coming of age of youngster Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye. The 17 year old has always struggled to live up to his potential, especially in high pressure LAN matches where nerves have seemingly gotten the best of him. This all changed in Leipzig, though, where he produced the second best HLTV rating of the entire tournament and a +40 kill to death difference. The stand out performance of the event for the young Dane was certainly the last map thriller against Virtus.Pro on Cobblestone where he posted a 45-26 score to help his team take a 22-20 overtime win.
To hang all of your hopes on Kjaerbye after one stellar LAN event may be risky but his +20 score against mousesports this weekend suggests that he is still feeling confident online at least. Perhaps escaping from the shadows cast by the likes of aizy was just what this young star needed in order to find his groove. Alongside Kjaerbye, 18 year old Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke has also proven to be a revelation and seems to settling into life on a top team fairly quickly while captain Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen appears more comfortable in his in-game leading role than ever before and happy with his personnel.
The GS Global Cup will be an interesting event with the likes of Cloud9 and CLG making their first LAN appearances with their new players, ex-Titan making their first outing in Gamers2 colours and both Astralis and Team EnVyUs looking to put recent disappointments behind them. While the latter two teams will certainly still be the favourites going into the tournament, there is not a single team in attendance that is coming in without any serious doubts around their current form.
The Team Liquid wiki currently shows Dignitas as being in Group A alongside Team EnVyUs, FlipSid3 Tactics and Counter Logic Gaming. Assuming that the groups are correct, Dignitas should certainly be capable of advancing to the Playoffs based off of current form. Realistically they should be expected to lose to EnVyUs but win their other matches in the groups, especially if they are confirmed to be best-of-three games as expected. Judging off of current form, anything worse than a trip to the semi-finals will surely be a disappointment to Dignitas who have certainly looked better than the likes of Cloud9 and are currently ranked 10th in Duncan “Thorin” Shields’ World Rankings just behind Gamers2.
Dignitas is a roster of young, largely inexperienced players when compared to many of their colleagues in the upper echelons of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Nerves have often appeared to play a factor in their performances in the past and emotions are rumoured to run high when things aren’t going to plan. The team has definitely not proven itself to be consistent at this point in time but while things are going so well for them and confidence is at an all-time high, they are probably more dangerous than they have ever been. Of all the teams that could cause an upset and make it to the grand finals of the event, Dignitas is the most likely and has the least weight on their shoulders. For me, they are the dark horse of the Game Show Global eSports Cup without a shadow of a doubt.