Article by Tomi "lurppis" Kovanen.
DreamHack Winter 2014, one of the year's biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments, will be held in Jönköping, Sweden on November 27-29, and will play host to the fourth community-funded $250,000 CS:GO major (livestream schedule here). 16 teams will be hoping to remain in competition come Saturday, and in this preview we will take a deeper look at the squads most likely to make a difference.
(flusha, JW, KRIMZ, olofm, pronax)
Champions of the first major a year ago, fnatic changed two players in July and since then have won four of the seven tournaments they have attended, including three dominant victories in a row. They also placed second at the previous major in August. KRIMZ has been their best player recently, but virtually anyone aside from in-game leader pronax can carry them in a series. They are clear favorites going into DreamHack, but their players have been named as suspects in the recent cheating scandal, which could affect their play even if none of the rumors turn out to be true.
(Happy, kioShiMa, NBK, shox, SmithZz)
Built in the French reshuffle in September, LDLC have made the final in four of five tournaments they have attended. They can’t seem to beat fnatic, yet consistently defeat everyone else. LDLC are favorites to reach the semi-finals unless they face their kryptonite early in the playoffs. Happy is the team’s in-game leader and a solid fragger, NBK is the most versatile player, and shox is the superstar of the team. They play a skill-heavy style that suits the current counter-terrorist heavy meta-game of CS:GO, but as a result struggle on the terrorist sides.
(byali, Neo, pasha, Snax, TaZ)
Virtus.pro won the second CS:GO major, EMS One Katowice, but have since then struggled to play at the same level. They won Gfinity 3 in August, but otherwise have mostly crashed out in the quarter-finals of the biggest tournaments. They are known for stepping up during the majors, but a win would require strong play from all three of their heavy hitters, namely pasha, byali, and Snax. The Poles haven’t been able to fire on all cylinders since Katowice, but a strong individual showing could propel this team over their competition. They may be the world’s best terrorist side team at their peak.
(f0rest, friberg, GeT_RiGhT, Maikelele, Xizt)
The most storied and successful team in CS:GO, they recruited Maikelele to replace Fifflaren earlier this month. Despite winning the most recent major, ESL One Cologne, they have struggled since then. GeT_RiGhT and f0rest are the superstars of the team, and if they wish to make the semi-finals they will need those two to play to their potential—which hasn’t been the case in recent months. Their current level remains a mystery as no one has seen them play much with Maikelele, thus adding to the intrigue surrounding the team.
(Edward, GuardiaN, seized, starix, Zeus)
Na`Vi broke out in May with a victory over Titan and NiP at SLTV StarSeries IX Finals, and have since then been a consistent top five team with multiple top four finishes in recent months. Their team relies heavily on star AWPer GuardiaN, though riflers Edward and seized can also take over matches at times, but neither is very consistent. They play a very strategic style with one of the all-time great leaders Zeus running the show.
(Hiko, n0thing, Semphis, sgares, shroud)
After adding shroud, Cloud9 exceeded most expectations with their ESL One Cologne performance, but most recently failed to advance from the group stage at two tournaments in Europe. They have been bootcamping in Europe for all of November, so this is a do-or-die event for this team—it’s hard to imagine they will ever get better conditions than now to perform. Their star player is hiko, but n0thing and shroud are just as, if not more, explosive at times.
(cajunb, device, dupreeh, FeTiSh, Xyp9x)
These Danes were one of the most consistent teams in the world for the first eight months of 2014, but have since then seen their level of play, as well as consistency, drop. They removed aizy to bring back former member cajunb, adding more skill to an already skilled lineup that may lack in leadership. Their star player device is one of the most skilled all-around players in the world, but often chokes in big matches. dignitas should be one of the teams competing for a top four finish, and this exact roster made top four at the second major.
(ANGE1, Dosia, kucher, markeloff, s1mple)
HellRaisers are a team who seemingly hold endless potential, but can never realize it in a best-of-three setting, or at the right times. They are incredibly skilled with players such as Dosia, markeloff, and new recruit s1mple leading the way, but lack in team play and tactics. Since their last event they have added well known ex-dAT in-game leader B1ad3 as a coach, so depending on how effective he is we could see a much improved HellRaisers squad at DreamHack.
(AZK, desi, nitr0, Skadoodle, swag)
iBUYPOWER failed to make the playoffs in Europe for a long time despite a few good showings in North America, until finally scoring a second place finish in late October. However, the team was then stripped as they cut their in-game leader DaZeD and another versatile member steel to add two inexperienced players, who likely still need more time. There is a lot of pressure on their star rifler swag, and very skilled AWPer Skadoodle. Making the playoffs would be a good showing for this American side.
(cadiaN, gla1ve, Kjaerbye, Pimp, tenzki)
The second Danish team got into DreamHack Winter through the Last Call qualifier on Saturday, and therefore likely aren’t in the best shape going into this tournament. Their biggest strength is gla1ve’s leadership and the skills of Pimp and youngster Kjaerbye, but they are not favored to reach the playoffs from their group.