There’s a $50,000 first prize on the line and bragging rights as well when eight CS:GO teams meet at the Austin Convention Center for DreamHack Austin this weekend.
Group A the easier of the two
Gambit Esports enter DreamHack Austin as the favourites to come out of Group A in 1st place. Gambit are coming into the tournament with wind in their sails after a 2nd place finish at cs_summit this past weekend.
One point of concern for Gambit is their inability to double AWP, a strategy that can work wonders, especially on the CT (counter-terrorist) side. Gambit just don’t have two players who play the AWP well. Even with that weakness, however, Gambit’s experience and consistency should allow them to exit the clearly weaker Group A inside the top two.
The second seed in Group A is incredibly difficult to peg, with the three other contenders all considered solid tier two teams.
HellRaisers have shown the best form of late, finishing in 3rd/4th place at StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 after being beaten by the eventual champions FaZe Clan. HellRaisers’ star STYKO will have all the pressure on his shoulders as he looks to carry his team into the playoffs.
Heroic search for an upset
Heroic on the other hand are a team known for their consistent ability to pull off an upset or two at most tournaments. AWPer JUGi is the key man for Heroic, but in a much different way than HR’s STYKO. JUGi does not need to carry the team, but instead must provide consistency for the rest of the team to base their play around. If JUGi can find this form then the Scandinavians may have what it takes to steal the second seed.
The final team rounding out Group A are the Brazilians of Luminosity Gaming. While little is expected of LG, Brazilian sides always have a knack for surprising when the pressure is off. While not likely to claim the second seed, LG have a golden opportunity to play spoiler here.
Group B something of a gauntlet
The incredibly stacked Group B is headlined by the French super team G2 Esports. While initially struggling to find their chemistry, G2 are starting to show their true potential. The heart and soul of G2 are kennyS and shox, arguably the best tandem in the game right now. Having the two best players at the event certainly bodes well for G2, but the other three members of the team will need to be consistently strong if they are to hoist the trophy. ApEX and NBK in particular have had difficulty adapting to their new environment within the team, and this is one of G2’s main concerns heading into DreamHack Austin.
The only other concern for G2 is their consistent need for a double AWP set-up. Maintaining a double AWP can be incredibly taxing on the economy and thus difficult to use consistently. If G2 can win a majority of their pistol rounds to set up their economy they will be a difficult team to beat though.
Twistzz key for Team Liquid
Similar to Group A, the key battle in Group B is likely to be the race for second, with three quality teams vying for that seed. However, both Cloud9 and Team Liquid enter DreamHack Austin with major question marks.
For Team Liquid the recent addition of Twistzz has been met with praise, but it could take some time for the all-important chemistry to develop. Team Liquid perhaps have the highest ceiling but everything clicking this quickly would be unlikely.
Meanwhile Cloud9 will see the return of AWPer Skadoodle after his absence from cs_summit, with many wondering how he will perform. Coupled with both n0thing and shroud being in prolonged slumps, all of Cloud9’s hopes are on the shoulders of Stewie2k and autimatic. This duo have been the best players for Cloud9 for quite some time, even carrying them to a championship at ESL Pro League Season 4. If at least two of Skadoodle, n0thing or shroud have solid performances then Cloud9 should find themselves moving on to the playoffs.
Immortals may end up fourth
Lastly in Group B are Immortals, a team that never quite seem to live up to the hype. Immortals have seen an improvement in their play since fnx joined in place of Felps, yet they have consistently struggled to make deep runs in tournaments.
Immortals’ inconsistency mirrors AWPer HEN1’s play. HEN1 has the ability to dominate against the best players in the world, yet he can also have zero impact against lower tier teams. If he can put together a string of quality performances then Immortals have a real shot to steal the second seed.
DreamHack Austin sets up, at least on paper, as a battle between Gambit Esports and G2 Esports. The latter come into the event as the favourites, but Gambit’s potentially easier path to the Finals may work in their favour. It should make for compelling watching, but the two teams have a lot of work to do before they get to that point as there are very real dangers in both groups.