It had been more than a month since the last significant Counter-Strike LAN, and many of the world’s top teams took part in DreamHack Malmö over the weekend. The tournament had a Major feel to it — not because of the teams, though. A wave of upsets seemed strikingly similar to what happened at the PGL Krakow Major, and G2 Esports eventually defeated North in a rematch of the finals from ESL Pro League Season 5. Here are my final five takeaways:
The Most Boring Team in the World: Virtus.pro
Another event, another poor showing from Virtus.pro. I vote to remove this team entirely from world rankings because this group is impossible to predict and will always be inconsistent. I can’t decipher if it’s motivation, age or lack of talent in Poland causing the huge variance in form. VP peaks at Majors and then shows up to other LANs out of sorts and unprepared. With the players’ long contracts, there is no reason to believe the trend won’t continue.
Gambit stays strong
I expected a sharp decrease in performance for Gambit in Malmö and even felt sorry for Abay “HObbit” Khasenov and Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev after losing Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko to Natus Vincere, but that didn’t happen. For the second event in a row, Gambit eliminated Astralis, except this time in 2-0 fashion. Many have already tabbed Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov as a prime addition, but I’m not convinced this form will last. I actually expect Gambit’s form fall off slowly as the base of Zeus’ philosophy fades, making it much more difficult to win events or reach the semifinals like at Malmö.
NiP magic or NiP’s true form?
Everyone remembers the miracle run by NiP at DreamHack Malmö last year to win the event despite poor form for a majority year. Capturing the trophy in similar fashion this year would have been even more extraordinary considering how fresh this five man lineup is. William “Draken” Sundin seemed to hit ridiculous shots on every map and was by far NiP’s best player for the event. Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund showed vintage savvy on Nuke, which is perhaps NiP’s strongest map right now. Proceed with caution, though: a team that fell as far as NiP did in the first half of the year can’t be trusted just yet.
It’s still early for FaZe
Finn “karrigan” Andersen has a lot on his plate at the moment after adding Ladivlas “GuardiaN” Kovacs and Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer to the team. As an individual, karrigan is struggling in the server. All the of the micromanagement can be distracting, especially when both new players are communicating in a non-native language. These first few events are almost a tune up period for the team, meaning I’ll wait to draw conclusions for a bit. Guardian looked good and the other players held their own, which is a fantastic sign for the future. It won’t be easy to improve on what the last lineup did, reaching the finals of four events in a row.
G2: SK killers
Only one team has been able to consistently beat SK Gaming in best-of three matches this year: G2 Esports. Even though G2 isn’t the best team in the world, it has some of the best pieces. Kenny “KennyS” Schrub and Dan “apEX” Madesclaire had arguably their best event all year in Malmö, proving G2 can’t be beaten when playing to maximum potential. This team is scary and could be a force if it can find some consistency down the stretch. Multiple players on the team complemented the in-game leading of Richard “Shox” Papillon at this event specifically, leading me to believe G2 might have unlocked that next level.
Cover photo by Jennika Ojala/DreamHack