Jan 11 2017 - 4:07 pm

Battle of the Tier-Two Teams: DreamHack Leipzig Event Preview

Here is your event preview, complete with team breakdowns and all the information you need for DreamHack Leipzig.
Contributing Writer

This weekend marks the first of many DreamHack Open events. With the major just around the corner and WESG 2016 on the same weekend, the teams attending aren't exactly tier-one, however, it promises to be just as competitive. The eight teams attending and the groups for this $100,000 event are as follows:

Group A:

Group B:

qwerty

This team hasn’t been together very long, so DreamHack will be their first official tournament. With that being said, I do not have much to say about these guys. Maikelele and wenton have both featured on some top tier teams and Maikelele even won a tournament with Ninjas in Pyjamas while he was filling in for Jacob “pyth”  Mourujärvi. wenton was featured on Fnatic alongside some of the greatest players in the world, but had a quite a few underperformances. In terms of what we can expect from this lineup, my gut says not a lot considering the other teams attending. It’ll be interesting to see the inner workings, and perhaps we may see the beginning of a new strong Swedish team.


Rogue

This Danish/Bulgarian mix team has been doing work recently, beating GODSENT in a best-of-three in order to qualify for the Global Challenge and then going on to win the ESEA Season 23 Global Challenge. At that event, they only dropped one map, which was a best-of-one against LDLC. Later on in the tournament, they beat them 2-0 in the finals, which included a 16-2 win. These guys stand a strong chance of placing high at this event and I pit them as one of the favorites for the championship.


Vega Squadron 

  • Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov
  • Nikolay “mir” Bityukov
  • Dmitry “jR” Chervak
  • Sergey “Keshandr” Nikishin
  • Pavel “hutji” Lashkov 

What more can be said about these guys? They took down one of the greatest lineups in all of CS:GO history at the Major Main Qualifier, beating NiP 16-2 and sending them home empty-handed. The team seems to have some explosive players in the form of chopper and mir, and I am excited to see this squad at another tournament. I’m painting these guys out as my dark horses of the tournament, as they will either do some major damage or crash out early. I hope it is the former, as it’ll make this event that much more exciting to watch.


LDLC

  • Kévin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans
  • Antoine “to1nou” Pirard
  • Alexandre “xms” Forté
  • Alex “ALEX” McMeekin
  • Valentin “mistou” Balbastro

LDLC has a huge amount of potential. The leadership of Ex6TenZ, backed up by the star power of to1nou and xms, makes this squad scary. To1nou has the ability to come alive in a match with his AWP and xms is a pretty good rifler. You’ll often find these two at the top of the scoreboard, win or lose. There is evidence of some inconsistency, for example, in the final vs. Rogue. Not a single player looked comfortable on the first map and their whole team had nine fewer kills than v1c7oR and bubbles combined. In map two, the team made a comeback but to1nou was non-existent. This tournament is going to more difficult than the ESEA Global Challenge, so it will be good to see how they fare against tougher opponents.


Heroic

  • Michael “Friis” Jørgensen
  • Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen
  • Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså
  • Andreas “MODDII” Fridh
  • Macro “Snappi” Pfeiffer

Heroic was, for a short time, considered the best Danish team. After the rise of Astralis and North, however, Heroic will hold that number three spot in Denmark for a little longer now. These guys are ranked 18th in the HLTV world rankings, and after a rough European minor, we haven’t seen much from them. They lost 26-22 to Epsilon and 2-1 to HellRaisers. The team won the IGL 2016 Grand Final, which featured some pretty good Chinese teams in the form of VG.CyberZen and 5POWER, but in terms of tier one/two teams, we haven’t seen much. They failed to qualify for DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, losing to FlipSid3 Tactics in a best-of-three. If they can make it out of their group (which I think they can), Heroic may have a chance at revenge.


FlipSid3 Tactics

FlipSid3 Tactics has been a name ingrained in Counter-Strike for many years now and some of their players have been around for awhile. B1ad3 has been considered one of the all-time greats when it comes to in-game leading, while markeloff has been a staple name on FlipSid3 for almost two years now and played alongside Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Mikhail "Dosia" Stolyarov before then. WorldEdit has long been considered a star AWPer, but he and his team are yet to show us any real promise of battling at the highest levels of Counter-Strike. When you place a team like FlipSid3 among the teams at this event and you consider their past, you’d think this is a pretty easy win for them. The reality is that I am not so sure, because these teams are so equally matched in terms of skill and upset potential. If FlipSid3 did not make it out of the group stage, I would still consider it an upset as they are the only ones who are in the major. Regardless, this tournament could be a good gauge of how well they will perform at ELEAGUE.


Fnatic Academy 

In all honesty, I am not sure what to expect from these guys. They are a young team battling among some of the oldest talent in the game, as well some up-and-coming teams; Rogue, Heroic and Vega are all on the precipice of making it into the top-20. If you look at their group, consisting of qwerty, LDLC and Heroic, they are going to have a real tough time getting into the playoffs. Plessen had a small stint on Fnatic while Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer was injured, but he severely underperformed, so it will be interesting to see how he has improved.


BIG

  • Fatih “gob b” Dayik
  • Kevin “keev” Bartholomäus
  • Johannes “nex” Maget
  • Johannes “tabseN” Wordarz
  • Nikola “ LEGIJA” Ninić

The trio from NRG has united alongside nex from mousesports and LEGIJA from PENTA to form the player organization BIG. The one thing I see this team struggling with is key players underperforming. gob b has been struggling recently with his consistency in terms of fragging, whether that is during games his team has won or lost. To put this into perspective, he has had an HLTV rating above 1.0 six times in the last 45 matches he has played. Although he is a good in-game leader, his personal performance will need to improve if BIG is to perform, as LEGIJA has also been known to struggle. The key player for me is nex. If he can be positioned well and hit his shots, BIG could get some upsets.


The tournament will be running Jan. 13-15 and will be streamed on Twitch.tv/dreamhackcs. The event is set to start at the follow times:

Friday: 2:00 p.m. CET

Saturday: 12:00 p.m. CET

Sunday:  10:00 p.m. CET


This event will be covered live from the event itself in Germany this week by @GAMURS_tnm and @clootch_cs. Keep an eye on our Snapchat for an exclusive look at the event from the ground and make sure you are following @GAMURS_CSGO for match-by-match recaps and live tweets as the games go down.

Feb 18 2017 - 4:58 pm

Thorin's Threads - Revenge Against the Old Enemy and 5 Other DH Vegas Storylines

Thorin outlines six storylines for the quarterfinals of Dreamhack Masters Vegas.
Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder
Contributing Writer

Eight teams remain as the Dreamhack Masters Vegas playoffs finally begin. A new look SK Gaming battle a troubled but still tantalising Na`Vi side. Zeus's Gambit seek the scalp of MSL's expensive North squad. NiKo faces the final bosses once more looking to complete this quest before joining a new guild. Here are six storylines for the Dreamhack Masters Vegas quarterfinals.

1. SK Gaming face a test of talent

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

While Na`Vi has rarely been able to exhibit the skill potential of all of their members at any one time in a match or series, the CIS squad remains one of the most talented and theoretically dangerous in all of CS:GO. The new look SK Gaming impressed with their easy progression through to what has become a routine playoff berth for the core, but as such, they still remain to be tested. 

Bringing in felps, similar to Aizy's arrival on North, forces discussion towards who will receive focus, resources and priority on the team. In the former case, it seems a waste to place such a clear future star into an elite team if he is not going to be catered for and given a chance to blossom further. felps has the skillset to take SK to the level they consistently fell just short of in the post-Cologne era of no more titles won. That gamble requires others in the team to accommodate his talents and playing style preferences, though.

Na`Vi is still a team plagued with leadership issues and identity as a unit. Their individuals seem to have pieced together some better-than-nothing understanding, finally allowing them to see good performances from most of their players, but they are still not the force their names would suggest. When SK goes against Na`Vi, they can certainly emerge victorious on the basis of stylistically countering the gambling CT style of the CIS squad, by being better than them in the team-play department and through championship pedigree. In the realm of skill, however, the Eastern Europeans still very much retain a potent, if not always reliable, puncher's chance to threaten such victory on the Brazilian's behalf.

coldzera, FalleN and fer have all delivered legendary carry performances, particularly in playoff settings. Will they give felps the room to begin the creation of his own legacy or will we see him resigned to letting one of them take to the forefront of ensuring SK move on to the familiar and expected ground of the semifinals?

2. Is Na`Vi deep anywhere in their map pool?

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

Na`Vi's run to the playoffs of the major showed us a revitalised strength on cbblestone, this time emphasising the opposing CT side to the traditional slow but prodigious T side of old. With dust2 departing the map pool, the CIS squad have shown a surprising level of width in their map pool, playing the majority of the maps, with inferno yet to be witnessed, and coping satisfactorily on most.

To be able to play so many maps is a positive, with the team of late last year hamstrung in their map pool and losing seemingly everywhere. The problem for Na`Vi is that they have yet to stake their claim as one of the world's best on any particular map or maps. Victory in best-of-three series requires either consistently elite level performances, allowing one to have an opportunity to win on all of the maps played in the series, or specialisation on at least two maps, allowing one to always be picked and thus theoretically ensuring the minimum of a deciding third map to close the series. Na`Vi lacks that killer pick still and that will not be good enough to contend for the title, if it remains the case by the end of this competition.

SK Gaming has the burden of integrating felps into their map pool and said selection had shrunk somewhat, in terms of reliability, towards the end of their era with fnx and into their time with fox. Still, FalleN's understanding of most of the maps and his team's history in their system ensures SK will still be at least competent on most of the map pool. This means SK make a good test for whether this is indeed a new Na`Vi or simply a slightly improved upon but still flawed side.

3. Gambit seeks another legitimate scalp

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

Gambit Gaming had many intrigued after their victory at Dreamhack Winter, but a key reason why so few experts had them making a top-four run at the major was the lack of series wins against top tier competition. Victory over Cloud9 was the only result sized up to fit that bill and the more said team is seen to play the less notable that win appears, with the NA side clearly in free-fall ever since their EPL victory.

North is a team who has lacked top finishes themselves in the months since their inspired victory at EPICENTER, but they have routinely lost their series to elite level competition, such as SK Gaming and Virtus.pro. As such, one narrative cannot continue further. Either Gambit will score a legitimate scalp from a ranked team or North will be forced to admit that their playoff failures have not been due to facing potential champions too early in the tournament.

3. North look to drown Gambit in their map pool

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

Ever since the arrival of Magisk on this lineup, MSL's men have made their name and posed a threat due to their wide map pool, encompassing five of the seven maps previously and altering their ban based on the opponent's strengths. While that approach did not yield many series wins, it did allow North to compete against practically any opponent they faced and seemingly always make it to the third and deciding map.

The significance of such a wide map pool, in this instance, is that Gambit Gaming has yet to show much in that regard. With cache being a ban they have inherited with Zeus's leadership, matters become even more tricky for the CIS men, as North famously rotate that as one of their own frequent bans. A win on inferno perhaps adds to the tools in Gambit's arsenal, with North looking more than uncomfortable on it in their opener against OpTic; but beyond that, there are advantages all over for the Danes.

Gambit is undefeated with this lineup on cbblestone, but as OpTic learned, North is more than happy to allow that to be the opponent's pick, as the map has always been one MSL's teams have enjoyed playing. As a result, a team which picks cbblestone against North finds themselves giving an opening to MSL's side to gain victory outside of their own pick, as even Virtus.pro almost found at the major.

To beat North, Gambit will be forced to showcase more than their cbblestone, with MSL gifted the opportunity to push them towards the likes of overpass and nuke if he pleases. This series is not just about Gambit winning a full series against a ranked opponent, but also about seeing how wide the Gambit map pool really goes.

4. Another order of revenge against the old enemy

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

When device and dupreeh's Copenhagen Wolves and Dignitas lineups were steadily climbing towards contendership in 2013 and 2014, the consistent name blocking their progression to championship status was the core of this very NiP lineup. 2015's breakthrough, winning a total of five events, saw the Danes seemingly banishing said demons and beating the Ninjas when it mattered. The exorcism was far from perfect, though, and a difficult 2016 for Astralis did not just mean poor placings, but more importantly, reverting to seeing themselves bested by NiP in so many elimination series.

The gla1ve era of Astralis saw his team overcoming NiP convincingly and going on to become the major champions they had always teased potential towards becoming. As the old saying goes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, "hang in there when you are the nail and then smash them all when you are the hammer." Now that Astralis is the best team in the world, with advantages in every area against NiP, this is their time to pay back their old nemeses with yet more revenge and another early elimination of their own.

5. Does NiP retain a strong mentality?

Courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder

As Virtus.pro has routinely demonstrated, even during times of individual slumps and strained chemistry, a strong collective mindset will keep a team in a match and provide opportunities to win nonetheless. NiP was another team which always fit that bill, and thus could not be overlooked for teams who were less resilient psychologically. Astralis was so often a team who could fall apart when put under pressure and NiP won many series largely thanks to that, more than out-playing or out-performing the Danes.

The problem for GeT_RiGhT and company is that this NiP has been unable to maintain such mental strength for prolonged periods. They concede maps mentally when beaten down early and show difficulty recovering from back-breaking rounds. NiP's only real chance against the major champions is to hope they can invoke a similar dynamic as past years. To do so will require NiP to put Astralis consistently under pressure, though, something only Virtus.pro has thus far managed to accomplish with said degree of consistency.

If NiP cannot make device and the gang feel the weight of the playoffs, then they face a team more than capable of picking them apart stylistically, beating them from a talent standpoint, out-matched in the map pool and at risk of seeing the Danish side frontrunning early to avoid any danger.

How much of that NiP magic can be summoned once more?

6. NiKo gets a chance to right his most memorable wrong in final mouz outing

Courtesy of ELEAGUE

The peak of NiKo's career accomplishments in mouz was his carry performance pushing the lowly mouz through to the semifinals of ELEAGUE Season 1. When there, though, and with the world watching to see what he could do, the Bosnian prodigy was frozen and frustrated, incapable of even playing up to the level of being the best in his team, nevermind the best player in the server, which would have been required for mouz to possess even the hope of victory.

With this competition as NiKo's final hurrah in mouz, the superstar has found himself and his team playing with much more abandon and seemingly none of the frustrations which so frequently plagued them last year. Even better, the long awaited arrival of oskar and the Czech player's own considerable talent has given NiKo a potential sidekick, the likes of which he could never have hoped for in past lineups.

NiKo will be throwing up FaZe hang gestures soon enough, but what could be his last match in mouz colors provides a chance to show the world and Virtus.pro that he can deliver his hall-of-fame worthy individual performances even in the playoffs of a big competition and against world class competition.

Today - 5:21 am

SK eliminates Na'Vi after triple overtime thriller: DreamHack Las Vegas Day 4 Recap

NiP, Gambit, mouz, and Na'Vi have run out of luck in Vegas.
Image via DreamHack
GAMURS Writer

All of the quarterfinal matches at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas have concluded and four teams have moved on to the semifinal stage of the playoffs. Check out our brief rundown of the games that took place in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.


Quarterfinal #1

North vs. Gambit Gaming

  • [Nuke] North 16 - 11 Gambit Gaming
  • [Inferno] North 22 - 20 Gambit Gaming

Quarterfinal #2

Virtus.pro vs. mousesports

  • [Train] Virtus.pro 16 - 8 mousesports
  • [Mirage] Virtus.pro 16 - 14 mousesports

Quarterfinal #3

Astralis vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas

  • [Inferno] Astralis 16 - 6 Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • [Mirage] Astralis 16 - 7 Ninjas in Pyjamas

Quarterfinal #4

SK Gaming vs. Natus Vincere

  • [Mirage] SK Gaming 25 - 22 Natus Vincere
  • [Train] SK Gaming 16 - 5 Natus Vincere

Who do you think will win big tomorrow at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas? Tell us what you think with a tweet @GAMURScom.