In the second part of our four-part DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca preview, we take a look at four more hopefuls who are not favored, but unlike the earlier bunch, could realistically all make it to the playoffs. Here comes the next tier of competition at the $250,000 major.
Brazil – boltz, coldzera, FalleN, fer, steel
The Brazilians had a solid showing at ESL One Cologne, scoring their second consecutive top eight finish at a major. In the group stage they bested Kinguin, and after multiple overtimes, FlipSid3, before ultimately being knocked out of the event by fnatic in the quarter-finals. Luminosity has a strategic approach to the game, and that combined with the fact Europeans don’t see them play too often and them now getting quality practice in North America helps their game tremendously.
In the right group Luminosity could have a very good shot at advancing—think having the likes of Gamers2 or Titan in theirs—but unfortunately a lot of it will come down to luck. What they do have going for them is the legend-seed, due to their top eight finish in Germany. FalleN’s troops will be hoping for another top eight finish, one that would definitely solidify them as a top eight team in the world despite being fairly inactive as a team outside of the majors.
Europe – chrisJ, denis, gob b, nex, NiKo
I’d been saying for months that NiKo would replace either Spiidi or denis in mousesports after the major, and that their ceiling would, as a result of getting the highly skilled Bosnian rifler onboard, increase. However, so far it seems that the fragging load has simply moved towards NiKo, while nex has seemed to struggle individually after the change. Obviously some spots and roles had to be shuffled around, but if mouz want to compete for a playoff spot, they need nex to get back to the level of play he showcased during the late spring and throughout the summer.
chrisJ has finally started playing like a top level AWPer should, more consistently. He has a very explosive playing style that can win rounds for mousesports at any point—not unlike NiKo’s, though the latter is far more consistent. If nex can step up his game and gob b comes into Cluj-Napoca sleeves filled with new tricks, I would not be at all surprised to see mousesports continue through to the playoffs. However, at this point based on what we have seen, it is more likely that they will once again fall short. And if they do, I’m not sure this team can continue as it is.
USA – fREAKAZOiD, n0thing, sg@res, shroud, Skadoodle
Every North American’s favorite team has officially started struggling badly right after the incredible streak of top two finishes in July ended. Following second place finishes at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals, ESWC and FACEIT Stage 2 Finals, they first went out in the semi-finals at the CEVO Professional Season 7 Finals, then crashed out in groups at ESL One Cologne against what should have been an inferior Kinguin team, and then went out in last place at the ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational. In other words, the magic, if there was any, is far removed from this team.
Skadoodle is the team’s star and will always put up the necessary numbers for Cloud9 to have a chance. The issue, therefore, lies elsewhere. Shroud is still incredibly inconsistent and until he figures out how to show up more often, must be considered one of the most overrated players by today’s fans. Sure, in Cologne in July he had an incredible showing, especially in the grand final versus fnatic, but it’s been nearly four months since then. Sg@res will have to make all the right calls, while fREAKAZOiD and n0thing will need to put up impact rounds. There are a lot of question marks here, which is why I do not expect Cloud9 to advance from its group.
Denmark — aizy, Kjaerbye, MSL, Pimp, schneider
Dignitas looked promising throughout the summer with Nico on the roster, though there were probably a grand total of zero people who expected that to last, even if the final blow was not his choice this time around. On paper schneider seems like a strong pickup, a former fnatic player who has won the first major ever held for the game. However, it is unclear how effectively he can communicate with the rest of the team due to only speaking Swedish, and this team actually seemed to be quite reliant on their tactics. Besides, Pimp moving to an AWPer role has not worked out whatsoever.
There is potential here for sure. Kjaerbye will someday put it all together—remember he is still incredibly young at just 17 years old—and he can become a fourth wheel if this roster sticks together. They have four capable fraggers as it is, and MSL has proven to be a decent leader in this situation. This team will figure all their issues out sometime in the next twelve months, most likely, and start competing for semi-final spots. In the past they would have become a farm team—someone the top tier teams poach players from—but stronger contracts have changed all that. Expect dignitas to go out in the groups, but not without a fight.
You can reach @lurppis_ on Twitter.
Update: After this article was written, dignitas removed schneider and added tenzki as a stand-in.
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