The Elmia Exhibition Hall in Jönköping, Sweden is gearing up to host the prestigious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive DreamHack Summer 2017 event, which gets underway in just over a week’s time, on June 17th. Eight teams will arrive in town on a quest for the $50,000 first-place prize – with the initial two four-team groupings being confirmed earlier this week.
SK Gaming rise and fall on FalleN
Group A immediately shapes up to be an incredibly close fight to reach the playoffs, with SK Gaming, mousesports, Immortals, and Team Singularity matched up against one another. SK Gaming are the favourites in this group, given their team cohesion and long-standing success within the scene. The x-factor for the German outfit is in-game leader and dedicated AWPer, FalleN.
Even while surrounded by four star players, FalleN’s success, or failures, generally directly mirror the team’s results. If FalleN is struggling, the team has a very limited chance to succeed, as shown by their poor performances at the start of the year while FalleN adjusted to the addition of felps into the lineup. However, over the last month or so, FalleN has improved his play, and thus SK Gaming have been on the rise.
NiKo’s absence not felt by mousesports
Another team on the rise is mousesports – it’s been quite a shocking turn of events given the fact that they lost their best player NiKo, one of the top two players in the world, to FaZe Clan. However, the addition of ropz has been quite a successful transition for mousesports, as they’ve become an incredibly well rounded and consistent group.
Perhaps not possessing the same skill ceiling as the previous lineup, this group of five has only shown progress over the last few months. Look for mousesports to be in the thick of the playoff race.
While Singularity are not expected to make much noise, Immortals are seen as a team that could knock down mousesports and take the second seed. Immortals are coming into DreamHack Summer with a new player, kNg, who replaces fnx (who fairly recently replaced felps himself). The decision to remove fnx based on his personality issues will have an incredible impact on this group stage. With fnx in the fray, Immortals were perhaps the favourite for the second seed due to his experience and consistency at the highest level. In kNg, however, they have a player who has had limited time in the limelight. If Immortals are to steal the second seed and enter the playoffs, streaky AWPer HEN1 will have to find consistency early and often.
Fnatic and Gambit square off
In Group B, the two European squads of Fnatic and Gambit appear to have the edge over their American counterparts of Cloud9 and CLG. Fnatic are the favourite for Group B, but they are by no means a lock for the first seed. Ever since remaking the original lineup (they split with half the players going to Godsent last year, with virtually no success for either team), Fnatic have been on the upswing.
Fnatic use incredible aim and aggression to dominate their opponents. This has been particularly so on the latest map added to the pool, Inferno. The key to Fnatic’s success is very similar to that of Immortals. Up and down player JW must be at the top of his game (which he has been as of late) for Fnatic to leave Group B as the second seed.
Gambit could be challenged
The last playoff should be narrowly favoured towards Gambit, but CLG and Cloud9 do have the resources to pull off the upset. Cloud9 has two players in Stewie2k and autimatic that can completely take over a map against even the most dominant of teams (as shown by their first-place victory at ESL Pro League Season 4). On the flipside, players such as n0thing and shroud have been in prolonged slumps, causing the team to struggle mightily as of late.
A good sign for Cloud9 is that Stewie2k is back to the role of in-game leader, allowing them to play more loose and aggressive given his play style. Recently, CLG too have shown the ability to pull off an upset, defeating Gambit on their best map, Cobblestone. Gambit, however, are seen as the favourite, given they have the best in-game leader of the three in Zeus, coupled with the depth of skill within their line-up.
All in all, it should be a fascinating series of games with the definite possibility of some upsets along the way.