DH Tours EU Minor preview
The DreamHack Regional Minor Championship at DH Tours 2016 is upon us. The event will not only feature a $50,000 prize pool but also award two slots at the ESL One Cologne 2016 Offline Qualifier for the top two teams.
This is only the second European Minor Championship to date and although the prize pool won't raise any eyebrows, it is the perspective of participating in a Valve Major qualifier that counts here.
A few teams have already covered a long road as four tournaments have taken place to bring us to this point. We have seen two open qualifiers for this tournament end in two closed qualifiers respectively. The four best teams from each closed qualifier earned a spot at this very event.
The groups can be found below:
|Group A||Group B|
The overwhelming storyline for this tournament seems to be which team can compete best with their stand-in as three out of the eight teams will not have their full line-up present. SK, Orbit, and ENCE will each play with a substitute.
The teams are outlined based on their performance in the previous Minor season. To clarify, this means that the team that made it the farthest will be discussed first, ending with the teams that were eliminated earliest.
It is not without reason that the preview is in order from teams that went farthest in the tournament to teams that didn't make it very far. Most of the teams had very similar line-ups so comparing the teams based on their last performance is possible. Based on only the results from last season's Major qualification campaign, HellRaisers would be the favorite to be one of two teams to advance this time around as well.
It has to be stated, however, that this season's European Regional Minor is much more competitive than last season's. All of the teams are experienced and all have the backing of an organization that can ensure they have the materials they need to grow.
HellRaisers blew through their competition at the last EU Regional Minor earning themselves a spot at the MLG Columbus Main Qualifier. Unfortunately, this was the end of their success as they weren't able to overcome Liquid to make it into the MLG Columbus Major.
Will HellRaisers be holding the same trophy when all is said and done?
Recently, HellRaisers have been showing very consistent top form. They won the ESEA Premier LAN to secure themselves a spot in the ESL Pro League, undoubtedly one of the most important leagues at the moment. Prior to that they were in London for the CEVO Gfinity Pro Season 9 finals where they won their group over Virtus.pro before falling to SK in the semifinal.
Thanks to these results, among others, HellRaisers are solidifying themselves as a future contender for top ten. The team have a spot in the ESL Pro League and CEVO Professional league meaning they are only playing the best teams in the world and what's more important, on a consistent basis.
HellRaisers will be in Group B competing against GODSENT, ENCE and CSGL. They dodged a big bullet by not having to play against any of the Danish teams attending the event that have been showing great form recently. Although this group can definitely go many ways, I expect to see HellRaisers in the winners' match and advancing either from there or via the subsequent decider match.
The Danish team is another team that made it all the way to the MLG Columbus Main Qualifier before being thrown out of the group stages. This team, however, went 0-2, losing to Vexed (now AGG) and CLG, and thus really proved they weren't ready for the Major at that moment. This time around things are looking much better for them, especially considering their group draw.
The major thing that can keep them back is the fact that they're one of the three teams playing with a stand-in. SK will use cadiaN for this event in place of Michael "Friis" Jørgensen who is undergoing surgery. cadiaN knows the team quite well, in fact he is even contracted to SK and recent results have shown that he is leading the way as a fragger in Friis's absence.
cadiaN will be standing in for SK
The Danes have had great results recently as well. At the recent CEVO Gfinity Pro Season 9 finals they finished in second place to a spectacular Tempo Storm. More recently they qualified for the SL I-League Invitational finals. This is all the more important since they qualified for this event using cadiaN.
Putting that optimism aside one can be worried a little bit about how prepared the Danes will be at this tournament. Numbers will never tell the full tale, especially in a team game like CS:GO. This is the most important European event for all teams as earning a spot at the Major qualifier is the top priority for every team in the world.
I'm questioning whether SK will be prepared well enough to surprise some of the other teams at this event. I'm not saying they won't, just that there's a big question mark surrounding them at the moment regarding how prepared they will be for this tournament. That being said I do still believe they will win their group.
It seems that every time we see one of these Danish teams, another one is quick to follow them into an event. In this case it is SK and Dignitas. Dignitas had a very similar showing to SK at the MLG Columbus Main qualifier as they went 0-2 and were quickly knocked out of the tournament.
Almost exactly as SK, the Danes are looking like a better team going into this Regional Minor which is yet another reason how much more competitive this season's Minor is to last season's. The one thing working in their favor over their compatriots is the fact that they're playing with their full line-up.
dignitas will be attending the event with their full team
The power of Dignitas is the fact that once again we have a team that is competing in all of the world's top leagues. ESL Pro League, CEVO Professional, ECS, to just name the most important ones. The fact that they're playing the best teams in the world will definitely go a long way to prepare them for this tournament.
Now the problem with Dignitas is that they're not necessarily a wave maker. While they're without a doubt good enough to qualify and play in the best leagues in the world, they're never a title contender. The Danish team will need to figure that out soon enough as there are only two slots up for grabs here and a few of the teams present are used to winning their respective events.
As I did mention that I do believe SK will win this group I have to address where Dignitas will end up as well. I do think we will see them play a very close match against Orbit in the decider match. Who will advance from the decider is anyone's guess but I am leaning to favor the Danes.
The pride of Finland without a doubt. ENCE participated in the EU/CIS Last Chance Qualifier last season and were not able to advance to the MLG Main Qualifier after losing to SK, 2-0. One thing which is worth noting is that the team didn't take part in the European Regional Minor last season so the last chance qualifier is all we can base our analysis on regarding this competition.
Other than that, the Finnish team will be another team playing with a stand-in. Tom "stonde" Glad will not attend the event due to health issues and in his place we will see naSu. In ENCE's case this is much more worrisome than SK's as they have had almost no time to prepare together.
ENCE will be looking to please their HLTV.org fans
naSu has definitely not have the same amount of time invested into the game as the rest of the players and this change might really mess with the team. There's also the issue of practice time, and this change was announced two days prior to the tournament meaning naSu will not have had a lot of time to learn his roles.
Couple that with the fact that their first match of the tournament is against GODSENT, a team that is expected to do very well at this event, they might be in for a very quick exit.
With this roster change I think that the farthest the Finns will get will unfortunately be the decider match. Should they advance from their group I will be very surprised.
After their performance at DH Malmö, it seemed like we would have a new top team on the horizon, however, things have quieted down around the Swedish team lately. This is another team that participated in the EU/CIS Last Chance Qualifier and weren't able to advance, losing to Team YP which no one expected, even last season.
It must be stated that qualifying for this event wasn't so easy for GODSENT. The Swedes were invited to the first closed qualifier and were unable to advance after losing to CSGL. It was only after the second closed qualifier that the team were finally able to advance to the European Regional Minor.
pronax and co. will be looking to repeat their success from DH Malmö
It's very hard to write anything about GODSENT due to the fact that they haven't been competing in as many events as other teams since DH Malmö. In fact, they haven't played any matches against this level of competition other than against CSGL (matches they all lost).
Without knowing who they have been practicing against it's difficult to state their form. However, judging them from their results since DreamHack I'd have to say it's far lower than it was at the LAN.
I feel like this could be the disappointment of the tournament, considering that they're in a group with a very dangerious HellRaisers team and CSGL, a team they have been recently consistently losing to. To advance from this group, they will need to play much better than what we've seen from them recently.
Last season Orbit just barely missed out from attending the MLG Main Qualifier after losing in the final of the EU Regional Minor to HellRaisers. Immediately after that, they were invited to the EU/CIS Last Chance Qualifier where things didn't go as planned either as they lost to Ancient (now GODSENT).
This is the third and final team playing with a stand-in. In their case the situation is a little better because the Bulgarian team is used to playing with a stand-in as they have played with pNshr at multiple events in the past. However, the loss of arguably their best player in the form of Simeon "dream3r" Ganev certainly can't be overlooked.
pNshr will be Orbit's stand-in once again
Orbit made their road to this Regional Minor much more difficult than it should have been (similar to GODSENT). In the first qualifier, the team were upset by nerdRage in the first round of the tournament. Finally, in the second qualifier the team were finally able to advance.
The Bulgarian team has been trying to break in to the highest echelon of CS:GO for quite some time now. Recently they have fallen out of the HLTV.org Top 20 rankings and they're still struggling to qualify for the most important leagues in the world. This alone puts them at a disadvantage to their first rival, SK.
The team will be the underdog in their first match of the event, but following that they definitely have a chance to advance in second place. Most certainly it won't be an easy task but they should at least finish third in their group.
Although we already know that CSGO Lounge will no longer sponsor the team, they will still be representing the popular betting website for the EU Regional Minor. This development could prove to be a distraction for the team as they are surely in the process of finding a new home which could complicate things for them mentally.
One thing surely working in their favor is the team's experience together. They have been playing with the same line-up for quite some time now and aren't plagued by any roster issues as some of the other teams are.
MICHU and co. might have too much to think about at this event
This team surely has the potential to upset teams in their group. Of special note is a potential match-up against GODSENT. In recent times it's the Polish team that has been consistently defeating the Swedes, and should the two meet, say in the decider match, we could have a shocking defeat on our hands.
Being able to defeat GODSENT won't be enough, however, and the team will be quite evenly matched against ENCE and will open their tournament against HellRaisers. I do expect them, however, to be the dark horse and advance from this group.
The Swedish team is without a doubt the least experienced of all the teams present at this event. In fact, they're the only team here that qualified all the way from the Open Qualifiers which has to be respected in its own right.
That being said it has to be considered what kind of competition this team usually plays against and it's nowhere near the level of play we will see at this event. For this reason it will be very hard to bet on this team to advance from their group.
Epsilon attended the last EU Regional Minor as CG
Although the Swedish team does have some experience, particularly in last season's Regional Minor they showed precisely there that they're not ready yet to compete at this level regularly.
Any victory at this event will be considered a success for them to grow off of and they will end up treating this event precisely as that; a platform to grow as a team.
The DreamHack Regional Minor Championship at DH Tours 2016 will kick off tomorrow at 12:00 when Epsilon will take on Dignitas and Orbit will take on SK in the Group A opening matches. Be sure to check out the viewer's guide here.
The prize distribution will be as follows:
1. $30,000 + ESL One Cologne 2016 Offline Qualifier
2. $15,000 + ESL One Cologne 2016 Offline Qualifier
mki writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter