DreamHack Open Austin Preview
Updated: Oct 31, 2018
Yet another DreamHack event is upon us, but this time around things are a little bit different. We will be seeing up and coming teams like Fragsters to Major attendees like Space Soldiers competing for the $100k prize pool in Austin, Texas. Without teams like FaZe or Astralis in the way, it creates the perfect opportunity for some of the lesser-known players to get some attention. There are eight teams attending this year and today I will be going over each one to give you an idea of what you should expect this weekend.
Fragsters is one of the two teams who had to fight their way through a qualifier to secure a spot in Texas. During this qualifier, they beat Sprout and Imperial with ease quickly snagging a spot in the grand final. The final ended up being a swift victory against Godsent who they up beat 2-0. Then at the beginning of May they went on to win the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier in an even more convincing fashion (not giving up a single map). This is a team that has been slowly on the rise for quite some time now, but the real question is if they can bring that same mentality to a $100k LAN event.
This won't be their first semi-big LAN, they competed at the Bets net Masters in Kiev, Ukraine in April and placed 3rd. They Managed to beat Gambit and VP, two teams that even in their bad form are statistically much better and more experienced than Fragsters. Sadly when it came to the real challenges, North and HR, they couldn't pull off a single map victory. Luckily for Fragsters, they are in the easier group of this event. The only team I don't see them beating being Heroic. Since their top three finish at Bets net Masters, we haven't seen much from them. In fact before their MDL game against Spirit, they had not played since the first week of May. I would assume Fragsters have been practicing hard for this upcoming LAN, and a lot of their opponents will probably be underestimating them. I am actually quite confident that they will at the very least have a 5th place finish.
OpTic has been experimenting with various “super teams” since getting into the CS:GO scene, and this Danish squad is their newest set of test subjects. Their first event as a team was at the EPL Finals, another event that took place in Texas about 10 days ago. Considering how little time the OpTic players had to prepare, they had a shockingly good finish. Placing 7th overall, they even managed to outlast Major legends Cloud9 and NiP. Since their mini-run of success, they have been practicing at the OpTic Headquarters in Texas to prepare for DreamHack Austin and I doubt they have done anything but improve during this time.
cajunb, k0nfig, and JUGi were on fire during the teams first LAN event, making them the second highest rated team in Dallas. Placing above Liquid who went on to get 2nd place at the LAN as well as FaZe and Navi, two of the best teams in the world right behind Astralis. So far the only problem I see is that even when just one of these guys are having a bad day, it impacts the whole team. Maybe they just don't like online games or maybe they were tired from EPL, either way they did very bad at the ESL One Cologne Qualifier. Losing to RNG twice and then barely beating eUnited is not the kind of performance you want to show after doing so well at a $750k tournament. Despite their recent online games, they have proven they feel pretty comfortable as a team and I am confident that they will be the ones taking home the trophy.
For the LG org, this will be their first LAN event not just with Steel but since the ECS Season 4 Finals back in December of last year. So far the games we have seen with Steel on the roster have been super inconsistent. They have gone from beating a team like SK to getting 2-0 by eUnited in just a few weeks. However they have been winning when it counts, most recently qualifying for the ECS finals as well as DreamHack Valencia.
All of these players have the experience needed to win in Texas, it's just a matter of which LG we see. Their biggest challenge will be facing Heroic, this match will more than likely decide how far we see them go. LG hasn't shown us anything super impressive yet and I doubt we see them advance from groups. Right now they are not playing consistently enough to win, even at a smaller event like this. I am predicting that they will be placing 8th overall.
The players of Space Soldiers have been on what appears to be a strike since the end of the EPL finals. So far the org has yet to come out and make a statement about what's going on, so the state of the team is unknown. The Turks have been on a long streak of super bad luck the past few months, gaining the title of “onliners” with their early LAN exits. Most recently they placed 15th at DreamHack Marseille, and at the EPL finals they had to play without Calyx. However, even with a stand-in they managed to finish 8th. Which is a much better result than a majority of people expected.
Just a few days ago they played in the ESL One Cologne Qualifier which went poorly, Losing to HellRaisers and Gambit isn't what we are used to seeing from them. A major factor to this could be the strained relationship that the players currently have with the org. Space Soldiers are in the harder group of this tournament, they will have to face OpTic and Complexity to advance. Taking into consideration their recent form as well as all the drama that's going on I am predicting that we won't see them place higher than 4th.
The addition of Stanislaw and ShahZam to CoL is a major upgrade and a huge step for the org in terms of making a CS:GO team that can compete at a tier 1 level. Both of them are very experienced players, the real struggle will be trying to get their younger teammates to keep up and adapt to a new style of play. This is going to create a very good learning opportunity for the other players. However so far we have seen little to nothing that proves that they are going to be able to compete with teams like OpTic or even Space Soldiers.
In the 8 games they have played, ShahZam has been having a blast. He has averaged a 1.53 rating over 15 maps and has been at the top of the leader board for just about every game they have played. With the help of yay and ANDROID-X23, the team has only had one loss since picking up the ex OpTic players. Keep in mind they haven't actually played any big name teams yet. Almost all of their matches have been against lower level NA groups so CoL has yet to be truly tested. These guys have been practicing none stop and they will definitely be the crowd's favorite for this tournament. If they have actually been practicing hard, and the younger players have been using Shah and Stan to their advantage I wouldn't be surprised to see a 3rd place finish in their future.
gMd has been replaced by ex-CLG player Rickeh, this is a huge upgrade for the NA squad and a much needed change after their recent months of struggle. Since his departure from the now disbanded NA team, Rickeh has only played a few games with ex-Splyce. During this short period of time he manage to keep the team from being relegated by securing their spot in the next season of EPL. Even with all the time he took off from competitive play he still managed to average a 1.38 rating over 8 maps. Hopefully he will be able to bring the same kind of game play he did a few weeks ago to this LAN with Rogue.
This is a huge upgrade for Rogue, however I don't think we will see the impact of this roster move hit until after their games in Texas. So far this month they have only won 3 of the 8 games they have played, cadian and sicK being the only somewhat consistent players on the team. Things have been going downhill for Rogue for a while, not making it to the EPL finals by just two points and then barely making it to the next season of ECS. I don't think that gMd was the only problem this team had and it's going to take more than a few days to be able to compete with the likes of OpTic, Complexity, and Space Soldiers. I predict that they will be placing 6th overall at this years DreamHack Open in Austin.
Coming into the EPL finals Heroic had lost two of their star players, JUGi and Snappi, to OpTic. To top it off they also had to play without RUBINO and ended up using Cromen as a stand-in for the $750k event. Despite all these sudden changes, the team gave it their all and had a very solid 8th place finish. The Heroic players performed beyond expectations and it will be exciting to see if we will see that same mentality at their second tournament in Texas. In their first few games, they started out with a super convincing win against NRG and continued their run with a close 2-1 loss against Navi. In both of these matches Heroic where the underdogs, in fact most people thought that Navi would 2-0 them. However, they came out and surprised us all and continued to do so with their confident 2-0 victory over Cloud9 before being shut down by Mouz.
Heroic is showing lots of promise even with the continued absence of RUBINO looming over their heads. They have shown that they are capable of competing with some of the top 10 teams in the world. Coming into this event though, their opponents will of had time to study them which is something nobody had the resources or time to do at the EPL finals. Hopefully they have taken time to look back at their games from last week and have come up with an even better game plan. They definitely have a long way to go, especially since Cromen isn't actually going to be sticking with them in the long run. For this event though I am not super worried and looking at their opponents I am guessing they will be making it to the grand final and placing 2nd overall.
eUnited is a fairly new team, so far only showing us a handful of good games. During the ECS season they managed to beat some of the best teams in NA. Ending the 2 month stretch of online games in 6th place overall. However this has all been online play and like most of you know, LAN is a much different experience. A great example of this is NRG or Space Soldiers, these are two teams who had extremely good runs online. But when it came to playing in the arena they struggled to even make it out of groups. So far these young players have only attended one LAN event, the ESEA Season 27 MDL Global Finals. They managed to place 3rd overall but they also had a pretty easy path to get there. Only playing three games, two of those just being Bo1’s against Torqued and Yeah!.
A third-place finish at your first LAN event as a team is very good, but taking into account who and how they played it isn't what they need to win against the teams they will be facing in Texas. Right now everybody on the team except for dapr has been super inconsistent, which is to be expected from such a young team. They aren't playing at a level needed to compete with the likes of Heroic or even Fragsters for that matter. eUnited is definitely making moves in the right direction. Qualifying for not just the next season of ECS but EPL as well will help them develop even more, both individually and as a team. These are some super young players and believing they can win a $100k LAN event isn't realistic. They are capable of winning at least one game though, especially if they get a chance to play LG. They won't go any further than that though and will probably finish in 7th place.