DreamHack Bucharest will be the fourth LAN in three weeks. What makes this event unique compared to to the other three is that both Northern Arena and PowerLAN were regional competitions. The former for NA and the latter for Denmark. StarLadder Season 2 was a large international event with multiple high-level teams.
The event at Bucharest will have seven teams in Tier 2 and the notoriously unpredictable Virtus.Pro. It will be the third event in a row for Cloud 9 and Dignitas and the fourth for Heroic.
Cloud 9 is the defunct best team in NA for a few simple reasons. First, Team Liquid has changed rosters as Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has left the squad and Jacob “Pimp” Winneche has joined. This makes Team Liquid impossible to rate until they start playing some LANs. Secondly, OpTic, which was the other placeholder team, has undergone multiple roster shifts so they are also impossible to rate. Overall, Cloud 9 has had success in their first two outings. They got to the finals in Northern Arena and the semifinals at Starladder.
But looking at the teams Cloud9 has defeated doesn’t tell much. They beat ACE, Rogue, Counter Logic Gaming and Heroic at Northern Arena. In the finals, they lost to Immortals, though there was controversy in the third map. At StarLadder, they beat EnVyUs, which had a stand-in, VG.Cyberzen and Flipsid3. They then got stomped by Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Cloud 9 beat the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the teams that were better than them. The only team that was on their level was EnVyUs, which had a stand-in and didn’t play well that game. They lost to Immortals, but it was close. And they were destroyed by NiP. In the end, all we’ve learned is they are better than teams that have less firepower than them, lost to Immortals under adverse conditions and are worse than NiP, who won StarLadder.
All I can say is they didn’t lose to teams they were supposed to beat. They’ve improved since they replaced Alec “Slemmy” White with Timothy “autimatic” Ta. Jake “Stewie2k” Yip is the clear superstar of the team. Still, they were no match for NiP at Starladder. This next event at DH Bucharest should give a better picture as to where Cloud 9 is relative to the rest of the field.
One of the teams Cloud 9 beat is Heroic. Heroic themselves have been to three events: PowerLAN, Northern Arena and Starladder. They won PowerLAN over Astralis and Dignitas. At Northern Arena, they beat Winterfox, Selfless and OpTic. They the lost to Cloud 9 in the semifinals 2-1. At StarLadder, they beat Astralis and TyLoo to make it to the quarters before falling to Dignitas.
Heroic has been a very fast rising team with their clear star player being Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså. In addition to valde, they brought back Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander from exile and the two of them along with new in-game leader Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer have put Heroic on the map.
As a team they have a lot of tactics and skill and are becoming a real threat to enter into the top 10. With both Cloud 9 and Dignitas at the event, this is a real test to see if they can challenge and beat the two teams that ended their runs at Northern Arena and StarLadder.
Dignitas is the last repeat team. Ever since trading Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye for René “cajunb” Borg, they’ve had issues adjusting their game, but those issues seem to be going away. After being upset by Heroic in the finals of PowerLAN, they were able to get to the semifinals of StarLadder by beating HellRaisers, Godsent and Heroic. They lost to G2 in close maps 16-13 and 16-12.
The composition of Dignitas is different from Heroic and Cloud 9 as they don’t have a clear star player between cajunb and Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif. Also, their overall tactics and team play set by MSL seems to be more sound than either Cloud 9 or Dignitas.
There is an interesting dynamic between the three teams. Cloud 9, led by Stewie2k, has the most firepower among them. There is the fast-rising Heroic, which has slightly less skill and tactics than either Cloud 9 and Dignitas but is good enough to upset both. And then there is Dignitas, which has less overall firepower than Cloud 9 but makes up for it with a stronger tactical base.
With so many teams close in level, DH Bucharest should be up for grabs for everyone. Or maybe Virtus.Pro just plows everyone. You never know with them.
Cover photos courtesy of HLTV.org