There are 9 Open stops for the DreamHack organization in 2017. Leipzig will be the first of them, featuring 8 teams from across Europe. These are not the most skilled teams on paper; many rosters are relatively new (with one being created this month), and only 1 team in the field is attending the ELeague major. But that being said, many of these matchups look to be very even, with all 8 teams having a chance to finish on top of their group and get a step closer to that $50,000 grand prize. Let’s have a look at each invited team and see who is the most likely to finish on top.
The mostly-Danish side was a hot team in 2016, but they lost a lot of steam when gla1ve went to Astralis. 1.6 legends Friis and MODDII needed to figure out how to live in a world without their reliable support player, and so Snappi stepped into the strat-caller role. The results were mixed – while they bombed out of ESWC, Northern Arena, and IEM Oakland, they scored a huge upset win over SK at IGL 2016, and ultimately won that tournament. The little success they have had is due to valde putting the team on his back. He looks like one of the best players in this tournament, maybe even 2nd behind WorldEdit, and other teams are going to have a hard time out-aiming him.
[INDENT]Valde is good... I mean, really good[/INDENT]
Any team with Ex6TenZ on it has a shot at winning any tournament. LDLC has shown significant improvement under his leadership, making it to the grand finals of ESEA-P and finishing as runners up at ESWC. Fellow Belgian to1nou has been a huge help to Ex6, consistently rating above 1.0 in the matches he has played. LDLC is not without their disappointments, however. Youngster xms was thought to be one of the best up-and-coming French players, but has struggled mightily on a larger stage. And so far, ALEX’s below average performances have us looking elsewhere for the next big thing from the UK. These facts were well on display at last weekend’s ESEA Global Challenge, where LDLC dropped 2 maps in the final to Rogue. And with rumors in a French superteam world of Ex6 an to1nou leaving LDLC to pick up the French/Belgian scraps, one has to wonder how motivated this team actually is.
This team had some average results at the end of last year – 5th-8th at ESWC, 4th at Predator Masters 3, and wins against some decent Chinese and Korean teams. jayzaR is probably their best player, but he is extremely hot and cold at times. However, any of these 5 have been known to take the reins when the team needs it. The issue is that one player is not going to be able to carry the Academy past better teams than they are used to playing. The majority of these guys need to be on point, and only then will have a shot at getting out of this group.
This team is a complete wildcard coming into their first tournament. The journeyman Maikelele is without a doubt the most skilled player on the roster, but ex-fnatic players pita and wenton also have experience at this level of CS. Slap and atter are two guys who have been in the scene for a while and who will have a big chance to break out in the tournament playing alongside their more experienced teammates. The success of qwerty will mainly rest on pita’s shoulders. The 24-year-old had a disastrous venture as the coach of CLG, but now has another chance to lead a team, this time in-game. We will see if his aiming has gotten better or worse over time as it will be tested against some other aim heavy teams in this group.
[INDENT]Pita makes his return to competitive play[/INDENT]
Prediction – Heroic > LDLC > qwerty > fnatic Academy
Heroic gets through their 2 maps without a hiccup. LDLC has the potential to be upset in a BO1, but they win at least one of them and then take the final BO3 against whichever team is left. I give qwerty the edge over fnatic simply because no one on Academy can match up to Maikelele and wenton.
Although this is the only team in the tournament also going to the next major in January, Markeloff’s boys were having serious issues after making it to the quarterfinals in Cologne. They decided they had to make a change and brought in electronic after losing at the Epicenter qualifier and Dreamhack Bucharest. The pickup has paid some dividends. They managed to qualify for Dreamhack Winter and got an impressive win against dignitas there. But they also lost to Echo Fox at iBUYPOWER just a week prior to that. Results are still mixed for the CIS team, but luckily, they can always rely on WorldEdit to carry them when things get rough. He has a 1.10 rating even on a struggling team, so expect him to hulk out in this tournament against lesser opponents.
Just as Flipsid3 made the next major by slaying NiP in the group stages of the previous one, Vegas’ claim to fame is steamrolling NiP at the major qualifier in one of the biggest upsets in CS:GO history. The CIS team will need a similar combination of extremely sound team play and a little luck to make it through their group at Leipzig. Mir seems to be the big fragger on the roster even when Vegas is playing significantly stronger teams, which is promising. The teams in this group are weaker than NiP and Immortals, and he will need to maintain his consistency against them. Vega Squadron needs to remember to play to their strengths and not try to anti-strat their opponents, which was the key to their NiP win. If they can, they have a solid chance to prove that their breakout performance in Atlanta wasn’t just a fluke and move up in the rankings.
Rogue is an unusual mix that pairs Bulgarian fraggers v1c7or and bubble with Danish AWPer cadiaN. Lately the experiment is working well, with the team taking matches off Godsent, Kinguin, and 2 teams in this tournament, LDLC and fnatic Academy. Much of the success is due to cadiaN and bubble stepping their form up since the team was created. Rogue just won the ESEA Global Challenge and should be feeling confident going into this tournament that they can beat anyone in the field. Expect them to do some damage if they perform the way they did this past weekend.cadiaN
[INDENT]cadiaN is on fire coming into this tournament[/INDENT]
The NRG experiment in which gob b, LEGIJA, and tabseN went to America to test their luck was almost a disaster, with their one saving grace being able to slip into the ESL Pro League Finals as the worst North American team. The organization decided to part ways with the Euro trio at the end of the year, leaving them free to make their own team. They paid the buyouts for nex, from mouseports, and keev, from ALTERNATE, to create a player owned organization called BIG. Nex was warming the mousesports bench, so a change of scenery might come as a huge relief to the German. This leaves him as a complete wild card coming into the tournament, and BIGs success will greatly depend on how close he can come to his late-2015 form. Gob b is far from the best aimer these days and getting his two new players up to speed in two weeks will be a tough test for BIG. The two things going for them are that they are on home soil in Germany and the 4 fraggers all have high ceilings.
[INDENT]gob b gets a chance to test out his new lineup[/INDENT]
Prediction – > Rogue > BIG > Flipsid3 > Vega Squadron
I predict that Flipsid3 will not want to give too much away before the major and use this tournament as a practice session. They will be able to beat BIG with raw firepower, as will Rogue with Vegas, but Rogue will get the better of F3 and win the group. Then BIG will take down Vegas in a close match, leading to a BO3 rematch with F3. Despite being the better team, F3 elects to save strats, essentially handing the semifinal to BIG in a 2 map series.
Who do you think will make it out of the group stages in Liepzig? Let me know in the comments below.
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