Two fascinating events happened over the weekend on the Counter-Strike calendar. SK Gaming reigned supreme at DreamHack Summer while three teams emerged from the European Minor to reach the main qualifier for the PGL Major. Here were the major takeaways from each event.
BIG goes big
With BIG beating Dignitas, Penta and EnVyUs in 2-0 fashion, keep an eye on them as we progress to the Major Qualifier. Although the team lacks firepower from a few areas, Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz has become an absolute monster for his team. Over the three aforementioned matches, tabseN had a blistering +67 K/D and ADR of 108 over six maps. BIG will need him to remain hot to progress further as his teammates have struggled in the past at stepping up when tabseN has a tough match. But if the team can continue to make incremental progress and improve while helping Kevin “keev” Bartholomäus feel even more comfortable, BIG could squeak into a top 10-15 in the world position.
EnVyUs falters at the EU Minor
Many, including myself, had EnVyUs as a favorite to get out of the Minor after a quarterfinal finish at the ESL Pro League Finals in Dallas, but the French team continued to be an enigma. A team with Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and an improved Cédric “RpK” Guipouy has no excuses to not even reach the Major Qualifier. Alexandre “xms” Forté had a number of eccentric plays at the Minor, but they just couldn’t get it done. I question the ability of in-game leader Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer — even more than before — to make an impact himself and also set the team up to win.
kNg has earned his spot
Vito “kNg” Giuseppe recently joined Immortals on a trial basis and has earned his spot on the scrappy Brazilian team. It’s hard to say if the team is setting him up for these frags, but I don’t see anyone struggling as a result of his play. When you have a player who can drop 30 kills on Cache against SK Gaming to propel you to a semifinals of DreamHack Summer, you keep that guy. He was mostly shut down against Fnatic but overall showed he can hang with the big boys. It now makes sense why Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo has touted this guy for months.
Fnatic is heating up
Old Fnatic never lost on Train to teams like Counter Logic Gaming like it did over the weekend at DreamHack. That said, I’m beyond delighted with the way the team played and its map picks. Fnatic is in a unique situation as it has shown the ability to play Overpass and Mirage. Add those to their favorites in Inferno and Train and you have a unique combination of maps that only Astralis could likely rival at this point. Sure, Fnatic lost to SK in the final, but it made quick work of Gambit and Immortals earlier in the playoffs. Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer was Fnatic’s best player in the final, which highlighted the number of telltale signs that this team is ready for blast off. This team is trending up and we all know how far they can reach.
Where was this CLG at the Minor?
Somehow in a span of 10 days, CLG went from not being able to take a map off of Cloud9 to winning a group with wins over Gambit and Fnatic to reach the semifinals of DreamHack Summer. The context of those wins being a best-of-one can be argued but it’s still quite an accomplishment considering this team will miss its second Major Qualifier in a row. Pujan “FNS” Mehta has shaped these players in a way that most thought wasn’t possible. I expect multiple teams to reach out to FNS after the Major. Who knows if he’d accept an offer from Cloud9 or OpTic Gaming, but it could be a difficult one to resist.
Marcelo “coldzera” David is a god. It only took one sub-par event (his standards) to have him show once again why he is the best player in the world. The worst part? There is nothing you can do as an opponent to stop him. He can AWP, he can clutch and damn can he lock down a bomb site. He deserved an extra shoutout this week.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack