A $200,000 first place prize is on the line at the MGM Grand when 16 top CS:GO teams meet in the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 tournament.
Eight invited teams, plus four European qualifiers, three from North America and an Asian-Oceania qualifier round out the competition, which is initially split into four groups of four (best-of-one matches) with the usual subsequent best-of-three single elimination bracket playoff structure.
Arguably the best team in the world, the Danes of Astralis look the clear favourites to come out of Group A in first place. The real question in this group is who will finish second between fellow Danish team North (ex-Dignitas) and North America’s OpTic Gaming?
Both North and OpTic enter DreamHack Las Vegas with major question marks relating to their rosters. North, according to multiple reports, will be adding aizy to replace RUBINO some time after this tournament, while OpTic had in-game leader stanislaw leave last week and he has now been replaced by former Team Liquid member Hiko.
As little is expected of compLexity, the question is whether North can work together knowing the team is changing, or if OpTic can create synergy between their players in a short amount of time.
Similar to Group A, there is one clear favourite to get out of Group B; the Poles of Virtus.Pro. VP were the best team in the world for most of 2016 and are coming off a loss in the Finals of the ELEAGUE Major to Astralis.
Fnatic are another team coming into this event with a roster change, perhaps the largest of them all. After dominating the scene for an incredible period of time, the team made the decision during an extended slump to deal flusha, JW and KRiMZ to GODSENT part way through last year in a shocking trade. This failed horribly for both sides and Fnatic have reacquired the three players and recreated their old line-up, with flusha and JW only rejoining last week. Therefore this Fnatic team is a complete wildcard and many eyes will be on them to see if they can reclaim their former glory.
Gambit and Misfits enter DreamHack as some of the better teams for their relative seedings. Gambit could capitalize on Fnatic trying to adjust to their old play style and steal second place, but even as the best fourth seed in the tournament, Misfits faces a huge challenge to make it out of the group.
Probably the most interesting group in the tournament, Group C’s favourite is once again the number one seed, the Brazilians of SK Gaming. The only number one seed with a roster move (adding felps over fnx), SK still look to have enough quality to get out of the group.
The battle for second place is where this group really comes to life, with NiP and Cloud9 expected to be in a duel to progress. Both teams failed to qualify for the ELEAGUE Major, and with neither of them making roster changes, they enter the tournament with an incredible desire to prove that they still belong with the top teams in Counter-Strike.
Rounding out the group, TyLoo are the biggest unknown in the entire competition as multiple players on the team have been suspended due to player/organizational conflict. It is not currently known which five players, if any, will be attending this event for the team.
Group D should be a fairly straightforward group, with Na’Vi entering as favourites to come out in first place. While currently slumping, Na’Vi have arguably the most talented roster in the world, making them an incredibly dangerous team at every event they attend.
Close behind Na’Vi are FaZe Clan, a team with an impending roster move (aizy to North) that could cause chaos. However, even with the possible distraction, it’s difficult to envision mousesports or Renegades seizing the opportunity to exit the group stage in second place. While the addition of oskar could help mousesports, his impact is not expected to put them over the top against teams like FaZe or Na’Vi.
All in all, the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 tournament shapes up as a fairly conventional showdown between Astralis, Virtus.pro and SK Gaming, although that comfort level can often lead to upsets. Na’Vi’s talent is the wildcard while it will be instructive to see how the other teams respond to their roster changes.