StarLadder Major rookie: DreamEaters
Five squads will be going into their first Major event come Friday, and as part of our run-up coverage of the New Challenger Stage, we have prepared a series of introductory articles educating you about these teams. Fourth on our list are DreamEaters.
The New Challengers stage of the Berlin Major is kicking off in mere days, seeing 16 teams duke it out for eight slots in the New Legends stage. Among this list of contenders are five teams that are breaking the seal on their Major endeavors, three of which have already been introduced.
For the StarLadder Berlin Major we decided to produce articles covering the five rookie teams going into the 15th CS:GO Major. In these columns we introduce you to the history of the team, their results and evolution, quizz an individual from the roster on a list of topics and present our prediction for their performance in Berlin.
The fourth team we study is DreamEaters.
Defying the odds
DreamEaters recently demonstrated a miracle run at the CIS Minor, ensuring a spot in the New Challengers stage of the Major off the back of a victory over INTZ in the second match-up of the Minor Play-in. The team booked their Major spot against the odds and at the expense of CIS Minor long-timers such as Spirit and Nemiga. While nervousness was apparent in the final stage of the Minor circuit, expressed both physically and in-game, the squad eventually outperformed their Brazilian opponents, putting the series to bed on Dust2 after giving up a massive lead on Mirage. Prior to this LAN event, the squad had only participated at a handful of CIS-based offline events.
The current roster was assembled around Krad, Forester and kinqie, who got into the team in May 2018, joining speed4k. A fourth member, Albert "Leo" Islamov, also joined at the time, but his tenure ran its course in seven months, after which he assumed a managerial role in the organisation. The team experienced a period of stagnation, and in looks to push things forward, added Aleksandr "zoneR" Bogatiryev, former player and coach for a list of CIS-based squads, including Quantum Bellator Fire. Despite the addition, the team still struggled to ascend to a new level, and recruited a new in-game leader in svyat, who had shared squads with both Krad and Forester in the past.
Upon the arrival of their new in-game leader in December 2018, DreamEaters commenced improvement efforts. The duo of svyat and zoneR worked together on introducing a more structured and professional approach to the game and, similar to forZe, upon achieving stability, the team found gradual improvement that subsequently allowed the squad to qualify for the Major. A testament to the degree of their improvement are previous failed attempts to make the cut for the FACEIT Major and IEM Katowice, with the team falling short in the qualifiers on both occasions.
For some time the team showed solid performances against local representatives in online matches but struggled to pose a threat when it came to facing more experienced European rosters. Gradually, through the accumulation of experience and development of synergy, DreamEaters were able to pick up form and began to grind out results against established CIS sides as well as teams from the second and third competitive tiers of Europe. In what has now proven to be more than just a coincidence, the squad will be venturing into their first Major tournament, facing top tier competition that they only used to meet in practice.
Star player – Krad
Purely from a statistical standpoint, Krad is the highest impact component of the roster, but for all intents and purposes the role of the star player is shared between him and speed4k. The two players are key components in the team, where Krad’s effective rifling combined with speed4k’s AWPing can cardinally change the course of rounds. While the duo share the burden of performance on DreamEaters, a large contributing factor to the team’s success is consistency on the part of the remaining three players, as seen at the CIS Minor and Minor Play-in.
As presented above, the player’s statistics aren’t otherworldly, sporting a 1.10 rating and 1.13 impact across all competitions in 2019, but that was never the point when looking at Krad’s role on the roster. The Russian is not a star player in the traditional sense of the title, rather he is the star player in the context of his team, assuming the role of an irreplaceable supporting pillar that the team relies on.
This year, the player has sustained a sub-1.00 tournament rating just twice (both times online). Looking at LAN matches in particular, he is top of the pile in his team for both rating (1.13) and impact (1.16).
Five questions with Krad
In the run-up to the New Challengers stage we spoke with Krad to discuss a list of topics, including the nervousness described by svyat in a recent HLTV.org interview, the team's goals going into the Major and the preparation the team is undergoing prior to kick off.
The CIS Minor was your third attempt to qualify for a Major. How did the team get to a performance level where this was possible?
Prior to this Major we were unable to even make the cut of a Minor, but after the arrival of zoneR and svyat we obtained discipline, a training schedule and motivation to play with this roster, seeing as svyat brought a lot of innovation. Step by step, we improved our gameplay and subsequently made it to the Major in Berlin.
Talk about the significance of svyat's arrival - how has his in-game approach impacted the team?
Before we asked svyat to join, both myself and forester had played with him and we knew that his leadership would help advance the team to a new level. When he arrived, we started off with a blank slate - he helped us build a foundation, which we use as a baseline when we play. Additionally, he helped every member of the roster break down individual issues.
svyat mentioned that the team had issues at the Minor when it came to nerves - how do you aim to minimise the impact of this when you return to Berlin?
We didn't have time to address this prior to the Major, so everyone will be preparing individually for this specific issue. After the Major we'll need to discuss and re-adjust our approach to training and our daily routines. We will definitely be looking to introduce physical exercise and a proper diet into our regimens.
What preparation is the team undergoing before kick off on the 23rd?
Before the Major we will be going through a week-long bootcamp, where we'll be preparing new setups and work on our individual form. After the bootcamp we will be going straight to the Major.
In terms of your ambitions for the New Challengers stage, what goal has the team set out?
Our main goal is to gain team experience, and our aim is to demonstrate a respectable level of CS, but I think that the latter will change depending on our performance.
DreamEaters enter their first-ever Major with the goal of accruing as much effective experience as possible. Underdogs usually find themselves in one of two situations when the odds are stacked against them – either they play knowing there’s nothing to lose, or the LAN jitters and inexperience rear their ugly heads, getting in the way of potential upsets. DreamEaters will need to ensure the prior is adopted to be able to fulfill their goal of obtaining as much effective LAN experience against top tier contenders as possible.
With all outlined factors in mind, the prediction for DreamEaters going into the New Challengers stage is to be one of the first teams to depart from Berlin. Nervousness, lack of experience against top tier contenders and limited LAN exposure create a difficult situation for the ambitious Russian quintet. This is by no means an insult to the team, more the product of a natural progression, and Berlin is sure to provide the squad with colossal amounts of motivation moving forward, and perhaps the Russians will return come the next Major, looking to advance even further, this time with experience in hand.