Following the ELEAGUE Premier, players among the top percentile of CS:GO teams took a much-needed player break after a busy stretch of international events this summer. First on the agenda to rekindle that Counter-Strike flame is Dreamhack Masters Stockholm, next week from Aug 29 to Sept 2 and counts towards the Intel Grand Slam. Last week showed the group reveal as well as the opening matches happening in Stockholm – we’ve got your breakdown of the groups in this week’s ESI Gambling Report, powered by Thunderpick.
This first group is an all out race for the second seed for those teams unlucky enough to have been pitted against Astralis in Stockholm. Having maintained a consistently celestial form over the last several months, they are the squad to beat this tournament – however, their recent track record shows that’s no easy feat. We’ve seen other top teams challenge the Danish troupe but having seemingly found the perfect configuration in terms of players and roles, beating them is an entirely different story. With that being said, let’s turn our heads to the other squads in Group A – North, TyLoo and Grayhound.
Between the three, this should be a quarrel between North and TyLoo to survive the group; orbiting around similar skill levels, there’s room to believe that either team could break out into the playoff stages. After showing some adroitness earlier this month at Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Shanghai the Chinese organisation is looking to be in moderately good form ahead of Stockholm. North, on the other hand, has been absent from LAN events since mid-July when they took first place at DreamHack Open Valencia. Not to be overshadowed by the addendum of firepower that is Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen’s loan though – North may be able to string this together if they find a way to fit the Danish fragger into the lineup. While most individuals are favouring North out of the two, TyLoo has a fair chance at gaining the upperhand in this matchup based on their consistency alone.
Projected: Astralis & TyLoo
The second group should be the most interesting to watch in terms of teams able to contest one another; Na’Vi is coming in as the clear favourite, however, that’s not to say they won’t at least be challenged by Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG or Ghost. Not to steer anyone in the wrong direction though, all miracles aside, Na’Vi should and will most likely come out on top of Group B. The team was on the up and up prior to the player break, discounting their 3-4th finish at the ELEAGUE Premier, Na’Vi placed first in their last three events; this winning series included successful conquest at StarSeries & i-League Season 5, Asia Championships 2018 and most notably, ESL One Cologne 2018 where they upset Astralis on their way to the top of the leaderboard.
There’s good reason to believe the team has potential to take first at this event too; led by the expert technique of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov, the squad can very easily catch fire if the rest of the team is performing on-par with the two superstars. Despite an extremely disappointing finish at the FACEIT Minor, NRG is a team with a point to prove in Stockholm. Since their hardship in London, they managed to finish first in the StarSeries & i-League Season 6 NA qualifiers then trounce TyLoo to secure first at IEM Shanghai. Once the most prestigious name in Counter-Strike, Ninjas in Pyjamas have loathed in the shadows of their former selves since. The team has struggled to get back to their winning ways but there’s certainly reasonable belief that NiP can channel that hometown energy into their gameplay as we saw BIG do in Cologne.
Projected: Na’Vi & NRG
The third group is another pool with opportunity for some mixups; while it seems every group at Dreamhack Stockholm has its clear favourite – Group C’s being FaZe Clan – the rest of the contenders are surely within each other’s grasp. But first, let’s talk about FaZe – the team has seen a lot of good results as of the last several months in wake of Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer’s prolonged absence. Although they haven’t been able to string together many title finishes besides ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018, the team is certainly regarded as one of the best at this event. Olof’s return garnered a lot of hype around the team making a drastic comeback, although that wasn’t the case. Olof somewhat unexpectedly jumped right back into the mix after such a lengthy exit from competitive Counter-Strike, however, the team fell short at the ELEAGUE Premier in a dispiriting 7-8th placing. Looking past that, their still one of the better teams in the third group – likely to be seeking revenge against Fnatic here, they’ll at least be granted what we’re pinning as a warm-up against Heroic in their first match of the tournament.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that this is a race between FaZe and Fnatic, and for the most part they’re right about that; however, we’re thinking given the shakiness of these world-class squads, OpTic Gaming might be able to sneak past Fnatic for the second seed. OpTic may not be on anyone’s radar considering their tournament placings haven’t been all that great, but a closer look at the team during the FACEIT Europe Minor brandishes some vigour from the team. We’re thinking if the stars align, they have a strong chance at surviving the group – we’re going out on a limb here and saying OpTic swipes the second seed by surprise.
Projected: FaZe & OpTic
Maintaining the position that each group has its clear favourite – Group D’s is Mousesports. A top-ranked team that can often be a wildcard at LAN events, Mousesports showed the world they should still be regarded as one of the best in the business. After coming out of the gates strong at the ELEAGUE Premier, there was speculation that the European troupe could potentially run away with the show; now, that pipedream might have been crushed pretty heavy-handedly by Astralis in the semi-finals, however, we saw Mousesports finally start to show ticks on their heart rate monitor.Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski was the player to stand out the most with a fiery showing that seemed infectious within the rest of the team; it wasn’t long before we saw Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný and Robin “ropz” Kool follow the lead of Snax and start making plays of their own.
As for the rest of the pack, the most sensible option for the second seed in Group D points towards MIBR – however, if the newly rebranded SK Gaming hasn’t found their footing before flying out to Sweden, there may be an opportunity for HellRaisers to ride in as the dark horse. MIBR is the better team between the two, but if HellRaisers can continue on showing the prowess they have in recent matches, they might be able to wreak some havoc and steal the second seed – it’s a stretch, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Projected: Mousesports & MIBR
Dreamhack Masters Stockholm is boasting a stacked lineup following the player break; with the FACEIT Major right around the corner though, we’re assuming this time-off was less of a break and more of a boot camp. Regardless of who spent time doing what during the August intermission, Dreamhack Stockholm should prove to be a fight of the ages – if you do decide to wager on any of the matches, Esports Insider reminds you to bet responsibly!
The ESI Gambling Reports are powered by Thunderpick. You can check out the Dreamhack Stockholm odds and markets within them right here.