DreamHack Winter 2016 preview
With the last DreamHack stop of year set to start, we take a look at the eight teams that will be attending DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter 2016 to examine their form and expectations coming into the event.
DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter 2016 will feature the standard DreamHack Open format: eight teams split into two GSL groups, with BO3's for elimination, decider and playoff matches.
The eight teams were split into the following two groups:
|Group A||Group B|
Without further ado, let's delve deeper into the teams and their form coming into the tournament in Jönköping.
* all player ratings are from the last three months (online + LAN)
|Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke||19||1.15|
|Emil "Magisk" Reif||18||1.15|
|René "cajunb" Borg||26||1.12|
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||22||0.97|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||21||0.88|
Dignitas arrive to Jönköping after a swift and efficient ELEAGUE Group D showing, where MSL’s unit first took down Envy 16-12 on cobble, and then moved on to demolish fnatic 16-3 on Overpass—after picking up 12 rounds on the Terrorist side of the map. The Swedes were forced to use Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson instead of Dennis "dennis" Edman, and were attending their first event with Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun, but the two maps still looked pretty good for the Danes overall.
The ELEAGUE result didn’t bump them up in the current rankings, but it did show us that Dignitas did not display their normal level at ESL Pro League Season 4, where they were eliminated in the group stage due to defeats to Cloud9, SK and most importantly—FaZe.
cajunb and co. will be looking for another title at Jönköping
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing a rematch between Dignitas and FaZe as Finn "karrigan" Andersen and co. decided to pull out of DreamHack Winter, but the Danes may have a chance to get back at Cloud9—in the playoffs.
Dignitas shouldn't really need to go into fifth gear to get out of the groups, as it features three not-so impressive teams—with GODSENT at #17 being the highest HLTV ranked one. A best-of-one upset over Dignitas is possible, especially if they end up playing a prepared FlipSid3 in the winner’s match, but the best-of-three safety net should allow the Danes to secure a playoff spot even if that happens.
Looking at the playoffs, OpTic and Cloud9 have had success recently as they won ESL PL S4 and Northern Arena Montreal respectively—but the stability, map pool, and star trio of k0nfig, Magisk and cajunb make Dignitas the favorites to take the event overall.
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||23||1.17|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||21||1.07|
|Andreas "znajder" Lindberg||23||1.05|
|Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson||23||1.01|
|Markus "pronax" Wallsten||25||0.84|
GODSENT’s last offline event was the European Minor, where the team played in a way true champions mostly play—they had a shaky start, but rose in form as the tournament went on, winning the grand final against HellRaisers in the end.
It’s hard to say if we will see that kind of a performance from GODSENT at DreamHack Winter, but if it does happen, it most likely won’t look as impressive or yield the same results as it did in Bucharest, due to a higher level of opposition.
flusha remains the standout player for GODSENT
All in all, not much can be taken out of the small sample size of results GODSENT has had in their short run with Lekr0, but two things are certain: the team has shown impressive stuff on Train which is looking like their best map, and flusha is still their best player.
The Swedes will have one thing going for them though: four out of the five current GODSENT members were part of the fnatic roster that took down NiP in the grand final of the first CS:GO Major—DreamHack Winter 2013. Maybe that, combined with the home crowd support could be enough to inspire pronax’s team to do a bit more than is expected from them at Jönköping?
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||25||1.12|
|Denis "electronic" Sharipov||18||1.08|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||28||0.96|
|Jan "wayLander" Rahkonen||22||0.86|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||30||0.77|
FlipSid3 is one of the two teams at this tournament that has a legends spot at the upcoming major, but is far from a favorite in Jönköping. Since their group stage win over NiP in Cologne, the CIS team attended four offline events—SL i-League StarSeries Season 2, DreamHack ZOWIE Open Bucharest, Adrenaline Cyber League Finals and iBUYPOWER Master 2016—and are yet to have a meaningful result.
We can ignore the latest event, where they used the anonymous Owen "smooya" Butterfield as a standin instead of electronic due to visa issues, but neither of the remaining three tournaments were impressive showings for FlipSid3. Combining their offline results, they have only managed wins over MVP Project, Spirit, Tengri and (a narrow best-of-three against a then struggling) FaZe.
Can electronic reinvigorate FlipSid3?
Talking about the players, FlipSid3’s AWPer WorldEdit has recently become an even more important part of the team in the fragging department so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the likes of JW and cajunb—as he has struggled against better AWPers in the past.
Along with him, the player to look out for is certainly electronic. The young Russian only played one event for the team—Adrenaline Cyber League—and that was shortly after he was introduced into the roster. The 18-year-old has now had almost two months to accommodate to B1ad3’s tactical style, so we should be seeing him in full effect in Jönköping.
At DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter, the CIS team will finally have a chance to show what they are capable of and turn some heads after their post-Major slumber. On the other hand, a bad showing will surely lead to another wave of protests against the current Major spot system.
|Michał "MICHU" Müller||19||1.15|
|Grzegorz "SZPERO" Dziamałek||25||1.09|
|Mikołaj "mouz" Karolewski||21||1.06|
|Damian "Furlan" Kislowski||21||1.02|
|Karol "rallen" Rodowicz||22||0.98|
Kinguin’s road to DreamHack Winter was quite fortuitous, as FaZe dropped out and they got a chance to play an additional match against Epsilon to decide which team will attend the tournament. In the match against the Swedes—whose disco doplan had one foot out of the door and showed that with underwhelming performances—Kinguin managed to win only by the smallest of margins, taking two maps with 22-20 overtime scores.
Their recent results have been fairly mediocre as they managed to get to the final of Predator Masters 3 only to then get smashed by Gambit in it. Going a bit more back, they were 2-0’d by Tricked in the round of 16 at ESWC 2016 and only managed to take one map off of VG.CyberZen in a best-of-three at the ZOTAC World Cup.
MICHU will have to roll up his sleeves if he wants Kinguin to get to the playoffs
Player wise, their star player is MICHU, the young Pole whose name is often thrown around in the context of joining Virtus.pro whenever the Polish powerhouse has a bad patch of results. After that, SZPERO was one of the players who stood out, but he recently took over the IGL role so it will be interesting to see how that will affect his game.
Kinguin will start the tournament with a best-of-one match against Dignitas, which they have almost no chance to win, and will then have to get best-of-three wins over most likely FlipSid3 and GODSENT to make it out. With the way the teams were seeded, the Poles will most likely end up being a non-factor in the way the group plays out.
|Timothy "autimatic" Ta||20||1.18|
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.10|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||22||1.08|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||23||1.04|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||26||1.04|
Cloud9, the first seed of group B, has recently went through a similar period to Dignitas, the first seed of group A. After winning a big tournament—ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in the case of Cloud9—America’s sweethearts went on to IEM Oakland and got eliminated from a six-team group by losses to NiP, SK and FaZe, ending the tournament with a 2-3 record.
The team has had renaissance since adding autimatic, with a second place at DreamHack Bucharest and a 3-4th at SL i-League StarSeries leading up to the aforementioned ESL Pro League title. The ex-TSM player has fit with Stewie2K beautifully, with the two becoming one of the more dangerous duos in the game at the moment.
Group B teams will strugle to contain Stewie2K and autimatic
Looking at their group, it’s hard to not see them as favorites, but there are two hazards Cloud9 must look out for. The first is Gambit—although they have been quiet recently, they could use that to their advantage and surprise someone at the event if they show up in good form. The second is OpTic—not only do they have a an inform Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas and are high of the victory at Northern Arena Montreal, but there is also always a higher chance of an upset in domestic matches.
|Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas||21||1.14|
|Tarik "tarik" Celik||20||1.06|
|Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz||22||1.04|
|William "RUSH" Wierzba||22||1.02|
|Keith "NAF" Markovic||18||1.02
After a few roster shuffles and a bit of indecision in the post-Major period, it seems that OpTic have finally found some balance in their current squad. At Northern Arena Montreal it was the latest addition tarik that rose to the occasion and helped mixwell bring home the title.
The uptick in performance was first seen at ESL One New York 2016, where OpTic finished 5-6th, and then they managed the same result in the ESL Pro League Season 4 finals.
tarik stepped up at Northern Arena, can he keep it up at DreamHack?
That alone wasn’t enough to think much about OpTic, but their Northern Arena victory, that included BO3 wins over Heroic and G2, as well as a solid performance at ELEAGUE Season 2, where they made it out of the group over Envy and fnatic, added a lot of credibility to the North American team coming into DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter.
They open the event with a best-of-one against Gambit, which could be a dangerous map, but similarly to Dignitas in group A, I see them making it out through to the playoffs even if they drop the opener.
|Aaron "AZR" Ward||24||1.16|
|Justin "jks" Savage||20||1.10|
|Ricardo "Rickeh" Mulholland||24||1.10|
|Karlo "USTILO" Pivac||23||1.09|
|Yaman "yam" Ergenekon||27||0.94|
The Aussie representatives at DreamHack Winter are coming in with their usual “OK, but unimpressive” form. Renegades have recently attended three LANs: eXTREMESLAND, where they finished second to VG.CyberZen, the Asia Minor, where they finished second to TYLOO, and iBUYPOWER Masters, where they lost to Immortals and FaZe to end 5-6th, missing out on IEM Oakland.
Renegades are still struggling in the most important matches
Their track record doesn’t instill much confidence coming into the Swedish event, even though their team doesn’t look bad individually. AZR took over the main star role, but we can see jks, Rickeh and USTILO regularly contributing to the fragging, each in their own way. yam’s stats have fallen off since he took over the IGL role, but it isn’t as drastic as for eg. Denis "seized" Kostin’s drop-off to warrant a major concern.
Renegades certainly could do damage in this group—in theory—but the past has learned us not to expect too much from the Australians when they face tougher opposition.
|Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev||26||1.21|
|Rustem "mou" Telepov||25||1.13|
|Abay "Hobbit" Khasenov||22||1.10|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||29||1.03|
|Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov||28||1.00|
The second legends spot holders at the event are also one of the older and experienced teams at the tournament. The trio of AdreN, Zeus and Dosia have been in the top levels of Counter-Strike for years, with AdreN being the one with the star role this time around.
Similarly to FlipSid3, Gambit didn’t have a lot of good results since the Major, but they did one-up their CIS rivals by winning Adrenaline Cyber League and taking the title at Predator Masters 3. The bad results are similar though: 7-8th at DreamHack Bucharest (with Dmitry "hooch" Bogdanov and Ivan "spaze" Obrezhan in the roster), 5-8th at ESWC 2016, and most recently losing 2-0 to iGame.com online, missing out on the WCA World Finals.
We still haven't seen enough to judge the new Gambit roster
There is obviously some potential in the roster with the Kazakh fragging trio of AdreN, mou and Hobbit, the leadership of Zeus and Dosia’s unique style of play, but it doesn’t look like the team hasn’t gelled quite yet and will have a hard time making it out of the groups in Sweden.
If they show any signs of life in the few opening games however, they could prove to be a dark horse of the tournament, with upsets on the card—especially in best-of-ones.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.