One of the great aspects of having a packed tournament season is that you can track how various teams are doing from week to week. In this particular case, DreamHack Austin has ended just in time to serve as the prologue for DreamHack Tours, which begins Friday. Here is the progress of how the teams are doing as they fly from Texas to France. (It should be noted that the event had headset problems so that it was much harder for teams to communicate)
HellRaisers: Prior to StarLadder Kiev, HellRaisers won a lot of games online against notable teams, and its form translated to LAN, where HellRaisers reached the StarLadder semifinals. It was an impressive first showing and a possible portent of things to come. At DreamHack Austin, all that promise came crashing down. The only team HellRaisers beat was Luminosity, an underdog team attending its first event. HellRaisers was soundly defeated by Gambit in a best-of-one on Nuke and wiped out by Heroic in the following best-of-three.
The biggest difference between the two LANs was individual performance. Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk showed at Austin he remained a consistent force for the team. Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow performed well in his role, too. Yet the other three were unable to repeat the showings they had at Kiev. This is especially worrying for Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz as he is often the star of HellRaisers. This team’s results will suffer as long as DeadFox stays fickle in the fragging department.
Heroic: Heroic’s results at DreamHack Austin were about par for the course. Heroic nearly defeated Gambit on Train in a game that went to triple overtime. It wiped out HellRaisers in the deciding series of the group stage then lost to Immortals in the playoffs. Once again, Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså stood out as the team’s highest impact player. Both Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen and Jakob “jugi” Hansen had good games, but Heroic was unable to get all three stars firing at once on any map. This has been the team’s biggest problem since the start, and Heroic won’t ascend to Tier 1 status as long as its firepower fades in and out.
G2: DreamHack Austin was supposed to be G2’s victory. The French superteam was easily the most venerated team at the event and on paper should have easily outstripped everyone in name value and individual skill. At Starladder Kiev, G2 finally delivered on some of the promise inherent in the lineup. At Austin, we saw that skill shine through, especially from Kenny “KennyS” Schrub and his intimidating dominance with the AWP. Despite that, G2 fell victim to an upset by Gambit, 2-1 in the semifinals.
If we look at the event as a whole, the two most concerning things are Richard “shox” Papillon’s inconsistency and G2’s T-sides. Shox has flashes of brilliance or halves that are brilliant, but he’s unable to deliver time after time — reminiscent of last year’s results with G2.
The best example of this was on Cobblestone against C9. Shox was having a bad half on T-side and on an eco round, G2 was able to save an AK. As he was the only one with a gun, shox was given leeway to do whatever was necessary to win the round. Once turned loose, he instantly cleared B-site by himself with three crisp headshots to win the round. G2 proceeded to throw fast paced scrimmy attacks against Cloud9 and demolished the CT-side that had caused them so much trouble previously. This was emblematic of their entire tournament run. The skill is clearly there but the structure, teamwork and approach to T-side still need work.
It’s also worth talking about Gambit, which won in Austin. Gambit was supposed to attend Tours but had to back out without being able to secure a visa for Abay “HObbit” Khasenov. It’s a shame Gambit can’t attend because the team is on a great run now. Prior to the CS Summit, there were lingering questions about the breadth of Gambit’s map pool. At that tournament, the team avoided playing Cobble and Overpass as much as possible. It could have been a loss of confidence in those maps (Gambit lost to CLG on Cobble at StarLadder), or it could have been an experiment to test an expanded map pool at a live tournament. Either way, Gambit looked good and reached the finals before losing to SK.
DreamHack Austin was another tournament with a clear favorite in G2. This time, Gambit overcame the favorite and won the series with superior tactics and patience. The map pool for Gambit has gotten a bit better as they are clearly serviceable on Nuke as well. Cobblestone is still its home map, and Overpass remains really good — though we haven’t seen it in a while. It appears Gambit is building up Nuke, Train and Inferno to round out its map pool.
Perhaps the strangest thing about Gambit’s victory was that it wasn’t off the back of a superstar performance from Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev. He had an oddly mediocre performance in the playoffs. HObbit continued to deliver, but the real surprises were Rustem “mou” Telepov and Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov. Both players seem to found much better form than in previous tournaments and clutched out several tough situations.
These teams (sans Gambit) will once again face off, but the rest of the field will have changed. Natus Vincere will attend Tours, and the matchup between G2 and Na’Vi has yet to happen on LAN. EnVyUs will look to get revenge on G2 and put in a better performance than the clown show it displayed at CS Summit. Finally, Misfits and mousesports will make their LAN debuts at the event. There will plenty to dissect.