DreamHack Summer 2013 preview
With DreamHack Summer 2013 right around the corner it's once again time for our full length feature preview of the 200,000 SEK (~$30,500) CS:GO tournament.
Defending champions Ninjas in Pyjamas are obviously favorites heading into this weekend's Counter-Strike feast but having lost a couple of online matches in recent times will have to show up in form.
As Richard "shoxie" Papillon's VeryGames are not going to be present in Jönköping, Virtus.pro, donning Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács as their AWPer, are one of the favorites to upset NiP.
How bad will the communication issues in Virtus be?
Other big names in attendances include the likes of Copenhagen Wolves, ESC Gaming, fnatic, Western Wolves, LDLC.com and the sole team coming from overseas, Curse.
What should you expect from the teams starting this Saturday at Elmia in Jönköping? Continue reading and find out below. Action will kick off on Saturday evening at 18:00 .
Group A ( NiP, ESG, Western Wolves, Publiclir.se)
While there is no doubt NiP are favorites to escape group A with a first place finish, their recent struggles, albeit online, certainly have made this group just a bit more interesting. After their vacation they lost against both Copenhagen- and Western Wolves, and only yesterday they lost four maps out of five, including a de_mirage loss against Publiclir.se.
It's hard to say if NiP are simply a bit too relaxed, lacking practice or if something else is possibly going on, but one thing is clear - even if they don't care much about online results - they can't be happy about the way things are going. Whether NiP claims two more championships in Jönköping will be decided on Sunday, but I can't imagine them not escaping this group.
Western Wolves, despite being one of the worst managed teams in terms of deciding which online leagues to participate in and which to leave (StarSeries, ESEA Invite) or not take part in at all (RC EMS One), and having issues staying together as a team, are likely still a top five team in the world despite a lack of LAN results since early April.
Nico will have to be on for WW to do well in Jönköping
The Danes are a fun team to watch due to their strategic approach to the game, and I think that is what will set them apart from the two challengers for that second playoff spot in group A. If they are in tip top shape and NiP struggles they could even top this group, but you can't really count on NiP losing on LAN. Expect WW to advance, regardless.
ESG looked promising at the Inferno Online DreamHack qualifier where they bested Epsilon for a DreamHack Summer berth, but have since then lost their star fragger Olof "olofm" Kajbjer. As a result, it's hard to expect the Swedes, some of whom have been a mainstay in the groups of DreamHack since CS 1.6 days, to do much in Jönköping this weekend.
Finally, we have Publiclir.se. While the team built around some former Absolute Legends boasted some known players such as Markus "pronax" Wallsten, I doubt many expected them to take down NiP yesterday in RaidCall's EMS One group stage. Unfortunately for them, an upset online is much more likely than an upset on LAN, and with two tough teams in group A, they will probably face an early exit.
Prediction: 1. NiP, 2. Western Wolves
GeT_RiGhT has been a monster recently in online matches
Group B ( Copenhagen Wolves, Curse, Epsilon, /10/)
This very stacked group features not only Copenhagen Wolves, who have defeated NiP online on de_nuke_se and been on an upswing for a while, but also North American Curse, Swedish Epsilon and German /10/. This group could have the most random results out of any of the four groups, and the addition of a North American team makes it that much more interesting.
Curse made big changes after a disappointing, albeit promising ESEA Finals event, where they took NiP to their limit on one map. So far so good for their new team in ESEA, but they have yet to face any real competition just three matches into the regular season. Their Copenhagen Games success largely relied in Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham, who needs to have a big event for his team to do well.
Epsilon have struggled since those two impressive best-of-three series versus fnatic and Natus Vincere. They did well in fnatic's FragOut league as they made it all the way until the semi-final, where LDLC.com blasted them out. They've also recently lost André "berg" Kjellberg, who will be replaced by Martin "cENTRYZ" Brandal in Jönköping.
A lot relies on Skadoodle in Curse
The German team /10/, who recruited two members of n!faculty, have had some impressive results in recent times. Starting with online victories during the TCM-Gaming times, they took down ESC Gaming in Minsk and are looking strong in StarSeries. Could see them advancing, although they aren't favorites.
With so many question marks looming on top of the other group taking place on Saturday evening, it's hard to predict what will happen. I think Copenhagen Wolves are favorites to clinch the first place based on online results, but after that it becomes harder, and even that is not by any means set in stone.
If I had to bet money on it, I'd go with Curse for second place. At least on paper their roster has gotten stronger, and they have a solid foundation to build on from the previous team. Having bootcamped in Sweden for a week doesn't hurt, either. Epsilon and /10/ have a chance, but odds are they will head home a bit too soon to their liking.
Prediction: 1. Copenhagen Wolves, 2. Curse
cajunb's Cph Wolves are favorites in group B
Group C ( Virtus.pro, ESC Gaming, BYOC, Cursive)
The third group at DreamHack, as it stands right now, is likely the least interesting of them all. Cursive (former RAIDERS) have not only been disappointing for a while, but also lost two of their members, including online super star Joel "jOELZ" Aalto prior to DreamHack and aren't likely going to be in good shape. Depending on who the BYOC team is this group could get a little more interesting, but with no idea about who is taking part in the on-site qualifier, we'll focus on the three known teams.
Virtus.pro have, without any doubt according to the data we have right now, gotten worse after losing Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev to inactivity, despite recruiting a much stronger player in terms of statistics and pure fragging ability, Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács. Communication is probably the culprit, not Kovács' abilities in-game, but it's going to keep hindering VP's performances.
It's much tougher to say where ESC Gaming stands as they seem to have stabilized themselves in some sort of a yo-yo moving pattern where they will surprise people with a few good results and then nose dive into a series of disappointing losses. I have them upsetting Virtus in the group stage due to best-of-one format and the CIS-based team's communication issues, but it's hard to see the Poles going much further unless they can step up their game.
Can Virtus keep up their performances without AdreN?
It's not that ESC Gaming don't have potential to do well - they do. They also have the ability. They're just missing that X factor in CS:GO that seemed to always push them over the top in CS 1.6, and that just may be Filip "NEO" Kubski's performance level. Kubski hasn't become the dominant player he has been for a better part of the last decade in 1.6, and ESC definitely needs a boost in the fragging department.
Having spoken to Aleksi "allu" Jalli prior to their trip to Sweden, it seems like they're realistic about their chances. They know their odds of making it through aren't very good, but knowing Finns that's probably the best case scenario for them as it will help ease all the pressure. I don't see them going through, but I wouldn't be shocked if they beat the BYOC team and got some rounds on one of the top two squads.
Group C will give us a good idea of how we can expect Virtus.pro to perform in Jönköping. If it seems like their individual skill can overcome their communication issues, they could still be an exciting team to watch, although it's a huge bummer not to see their old lineup face NiP again. However, I'm going to give ESC the benefit of the doubt to upset the Russians in the group stage, and advance as first seed.
Prediction: 1. ESC Gaming, 2. Virtus.pro
Can NEO & co take advantage of Virtus' communication issues?
Group D ( fnatic, LDLC.com, ALTERNATE, BYOC)
Final group of DreamHack Summer 2013 features fnatic fresh off a win over NiP on de_cache, LDLC.com with Kenny "kennyS" Schrub set to prove VeryGames made the wrong choice (not that he'd necessarily even want to go back anymore), and a very inconsistent and streaky ALTERNATE squad. Once again we're going to ignore the BYOC team, as we have no information on who it may end up being.
LDLC.com are, together with Copenhagen Wolves, the two hottest teams traveling to Jönköping this week. They've been playing extremely well lately, scoring wins at RaidCall EMS One Summer Cup #4 and fnatic FragOut league in recent days, including a best-of-three victory over Ninjas in Pyjamas - something kennyS could never muster together with VeryGames, not even on one map.
I'm looking forward to seeing how well the Frenchmen can do at DreamHack as I think there's a legitimate chance they will become the force to be reckoned with in France while the Kevén "Ex6TenZ" Drooléns led VeryGames continue to suffer from massive mental errors and poor crunch time play under pressure. With the rest of the field visibly weakened, this is the best chance LDLC will get to stake their claim.
fnatic is a revolving door for MODDII
fnatic have come and gone as far as their performances go. It's impossible to say if they will be good or not, and they usually seem to go against whatever it is that I predict. Beating NiP probably boosted their morale, but as long as the old issues remain in this team, I can't see it working out in the long term. Luckily for them this preview is about this coming weekend, and they do have a chance to do well there.
Ironically enough ALTERNATE is exactly the kind of a team that I could see fnatic drop a map against after some mistakes and exiting early, while LDLC is a beatable team on a good day. I think fnatic will go through and put up a fight versus LDLC, but beyond that it's hard to say. The Germans have a history of pulling off some questionable upsets in group stages, but I doubt they'll make it out alive.
Expect the Frenchmen to come out strong and finish on top of the group, while fnatic will likely claim the second seed for playoffs from group D. This group could become very random especially if a strong team qualifies from the BYOC qualifier, but as it stands right now there's clear favorites. I expect Kenny "kennyS" Schrub to do well, and he will need to, too, if LDLC.com is to place in the top three.
Prediction: 1. LDLC.com, 2. fnatic
Can kennyS help LDLC make top three at DreamHack?
We will post a separate preview for the final day of competition, set to feature X matches. HLTV.org will be on-site in Jönköping to provide you with full coverage of the event.