DreamHack Open Bucharest preview
As only a little over 24 hours remain before DreamHack ZOWIE Open Bucharest kicks off, we have put together a preview for the eight-team, $100,000 event running from September 16-18.
DreamHack's Bucharest stop will begin with a GSL group stage, with the upper side played in best-of-one matches and best-of-three series in the elimination and decider matches.
|Group A||Group B|
DreamHack ZOWIE Open Bucharest will feature seven teams from the recently concluded SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals, as only Dmitry "hooch" Bogdanov's side have not attended the Kiev event.
Due to that we'll go through a lot of what happened during last week's StarSeries, which has given us much-needed context after a month-long break from offline events, and see what we can take away from it going into the $100,000 event kicking off tomorrow afternoon.
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||23||1.08|
|Paweł "byali" Bieliński||22||1.03|
|Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski||28||1.00|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas||30||1.00|
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||29||0.98|
|Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski (coach)|
* Ratings used in this article are from the past three months
Had DreamHack Bucharest taken place prior to StarSeries, we would have considered Virtus.pro, who remain seated on the edge of second place of our ranking for the time being, quite clear favourites due their win at ELEAGUE.
However, the results in Kiev gave us good enough reason to alter our expectations of some of the seven teams. Virtus.pro are on top of that list, having bombed out of StarSeries in last place.
The fashion in which the Poles bombed out was absolutely stunning, as they lost to underdogs VG.CyberZen and a Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt-less Envy on two maps that had been their best for the past several months - Mirage and Cobblestone.
Virtus.pro hit rock bottom in Kiev, the only direction they can go now is up
That Cobblestone loss was their first on LAN in over four months, while they only dropped one Mirage out of six in the last three months previously, against world's best team SK in Cologne.
Like I mentioned in the "What we learned from StarSeries" article, the event served as a wake-up call for VP, and I do believe they'll be able to shake it off. Their group is far from easy though, as it features the Frenchmen again, the quickly-improving Heroic and a wildcard in Gambit.
|Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså||21||1.14|
|Andreas "MODDII" Fridh||27||1.07|
|Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander||21||1.04|
|Michael "Friis" Jørgensen||27||1.01|
|Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer||26||0.96|
| Frederik "LOMME" Nielsen (coach)
They added another close domestic victory to their already rich resumé in Kiev, winning Train over Nicolai "device" Reedtz's squad and following it up with another 16-13 over TYLOO on Cobblestone, securing first place in Group C.
A random draw assigned another domestic battle to them in the quarter-finals, which proved to be too much for Snappi's team as they fell short after three narrow maps.
Heroic's map pool is a double-edged blade in Group A
It's hard to argue against gla1ve and company nowadays, they're probably the most quickly-improving team at the moment, but they're still not clearly favoured in any of the potential match-ups due to the maps. They won't get to play Nuke in any of the best-of-one's, and two of their best maps, Cobblestone and Train, are also good for the other team in every scenario.
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||21||1.17|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||24||1.06|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||22||1.02|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||23||1.00|
|Timothée "DEVIL" Démolon||21||0.95|
Envy travelled to Kiev with Christophe "SIXER" Xia, who stood in for NBK-, but still managed to make it out of their group. Losing Cobble to Cloud9, the Frenchmen decided to leave it in anyway against Virtus.pro and sent the Poles home with a clean victory.
Surviving the decider with VG.CyberZen, Envy were matched up to G2, two teams who haven't met each other for nearly a year offline, and put up a fight despite attending with a stand-in. The Cobblestone showdown was especially entertaining, as it was very much a battle between Richard "shox" Papillon and kennyS rather than the two teams.
How far can EnVyUs go with a full lineup?
Prior to the event, Envy had made a few changes, moving Happy back to his original leading role, and we got to see the fruits of them in Kiev. The 24-year-old put in a solid performance overall but more importantly adjusted his lurking role to have more impact in their strategy.
It left us wondering whether nV would have been able to go further than quarter-finals with their stable player NBK- as opposed to SIXER, but since we'll get to see the full roster in play this weekend, we should be able to find out just how much better kennyS and company are.
|Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev||26||1.16|
|Rustem "mou" Telepov||24||1.03|
|Ivan "spaze" Obrezhan||19||0.94|
|Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov||28||0.94|
|Dmitry "hooch" Bogdanov||29||0.88|
| Alexander "BeAst" Yakovlev (coach)
Gambit are the only team we haven't seen in play last weekend, as they failed to make it past the group stage of the Europe qualifier for StarSeries.
Their record against the Poles, who will be their first opponent in Bucharest, isn't great - five out of six maps lost (all at ELEAGUE) and only one of the losses was close, an overtime on Dust2, one of the least played maps of Virtus.pro.
AdreN needs a helping hand if Gambit are to advance
The EnVyUs match-up is a considerably better prospect, even if they only encountered twice, and they also share the same instant veto in Overpass while both like Dust2, Cobble and Train.
Lastly, their likely encounter with Heroic in a best-of-three scenario could very well come down to Dust2 and two of Nuke, Cobblestone and Train, depending on whether the Danes are confident enough on the newest addition to the Active Duty map pool.
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.14|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||22||1.13|
|Timothy "autimatic" Ta||20||1.09|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||25||1.09|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||23||1.08|
They lived up to that promise at the big event and took down Envy and VG.CyberZen convincingly on their way to quarter-finals. FlipSid3 managed to take Train off them in the playoffs, but the Americans had little to no trouble on Overpass and Mirage.
Can Cloud9 take it one step further?
They will have FlipSid3 in their group again, whom they'll meet first, and considering Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's team's starts at most events, it's almost certain the Americans will be able to prevail. The second best-of-one will be tougher however, as it'll be between Dignitas and FaZe, both of whom have enough skill to counter Cloud9's aggression.
|Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke||19||1.13|
|Emil "Magisk" Reif||18||1.11|
|René "cajunb" Borg||26||1.10|
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||22||0.93|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||21||0.86|
| Casper "ruggah" Due (coach)
Dignitas' journey at StarSeries began with an awful showing versus GODSENT, who decimated the Danish-Norwegian lineup on Mirage 16-3. MSL's team then took HellRaisers down on Nuke to re-match the Swedes in the decider, on Dust2 and Overpass.
dignitas are in a good position to grab another semi-final finish
Considering FaZe's showing at StarSeries, I'd put my money on the Danes to pull through and match Cloud9 for first place in the group, but it's very possible it'll come down to Dust2 or Nuke, two maps that are often quite hard to predict.
As for the Cloud9 option, we could see Cobblestone, Dust2 or Overpass come into play, all of which are solid maps for both.
|Aleksi "allu" Jalli||24||1.12|
|Håvard "rain" Nygaard||22||1.04|
|Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad||22||1.02|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||20||1.01|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||22||0.98|
| Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström (coach)
FaZe kicked off StarSeries with a bang, destroying FlipSid3 on Train 16-2, and rain's roster also put up a solid fight against G2 on Dust2 despite practically playing 3v5, as he and allu put in most of the frags.
FaZe are looking to take revenge for StarSeries
They disappointed in the decider however, dealing another huge blow on Train but falling short on Nuke (leading 11-4 before switching to Terrorists) and Cache, all despite a huge performance from jkaem. rain was a stable contributor throughout the event, but he wasn't the star he often is, which needs to change if FaZe want to make it out of groups alive in Bucharest.
As mentioned above, they have a solid chance against Dignitas, but their two best maps, Mirage and Train, will most likely get vetoed. If they fall to a FlipSid3 match-up, they'll have a free win on Train again, but they need to figure out where the decider went wrong, at least on Cache. A potential Cloud9 match-up will be a premiere, but they should know better than to play Mirage, which is great for both but so far perfect for the Americans, and that leaves them with few options, especially if it's in a best-of-three scenario.
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||24||1.07|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||28||0.94|
|Oleksandr "Shara" Hordieyev||24||0.88|
|Jan "wayLander" Rahkonen||22||0.86|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||29||0.78|
After FlipSid3 recorded an awful losing streak online, many had little hopes of them advancing through groups at StarSeries, but they proved us wrong once more.
Starting with an atrocious display on Train against FaZe and beginning Mirage versus MVP Project with a deficit, B1ad3's team were in disarray, but they managed to turn the Korean match-up around and advance to the quarter-finals from the re-match with FaZe, explained above.
wayLander needs to come alive again for FlipSid3 to have a chance
The problem is, not only can FlipSid3 meet FaZe again, who came very close to coming out on top, their first match-up is Cloud9, to whom they lost the StarSeries playoffs series in fairly one-sided fashion, save for Train.
At nearly every event F3 begin with a loss and even the in-game leader admitted to slow starts. But they'll have to step it up even more than usual in the lower part of the group if that trend continues.
At StarSeries, WorldEdit was their point man as usual, but we haven't seen much from wayLander, who had a few good games throughout Cologne and ELEAGUE, and he'll have to come back to that form if FlipSid3 want to advance.
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