Can we finally declare this as being known as the “era of Astralis” is there any team that can truly compete with them at this event? Will the resurgent MiBR under new coach and former desk analyst Yanko, be able to turn heads at Stokcholm? Can Natus Vincere continue to make strides and not waste the prime of S1mple? All that and more with our projections for Dreamhack Stockholm 2018.
Clearly the team to beat here at the event, and, getting over even money for them to win this event should be considered overs. With their continuation of Device absolutely dominating on map control, frees players like Magisk and Xpyx9 to roam and pick up loose kills. The structure and execution that Astralis plays at really puts them on another level when compared to the rest of the entrants at this event. Their opening match will be against the Australian side Grayhound Gaming, who won’t have Erkast due to visa issues. This should be considered a win by 7+ rounds to start the event. Astralis will win group A as they don’t have a great deal to contend with, with North, Tyloo and Grayhound as their listed competitors.
Just one of the asian sides here to make up numbers. Tyloo are one of the top asiatic sides in the CS scene, however it just doesn’t match up well when against European talent. BnTet can only do so much for this side, but, against players like Kjaerbye, Valde, Xpyx9, Dupreeh and Device, Tyloo will struggle to get out of group a, as North are starting to hit their stride at the right time.
North are coming into this one after qualifying for IEM Chicago after giving up an early lead to ENCE, who are a better side than both Tyloo and Grayhound Gaming. North are expected to be the second qualifier from this group with great play from Valde, Kjaerbye and MSL right now being a big game changer for this Danish side. They won’t do better than Astralis, but, they will be competitive at this event.
A side that is happy to just be at the event. Expected to be the side that finishes the event in last position, and, having a stand-in does not help with Erkast having visa issues. With that said, if they can get big games from Dexter and Gratisfaction, they could surprise, it won’t be in game one against Astralis, but, in their losers match, likely against Tyloo, there is a chance they could get a win. But, there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel for Grayhound at this event.
Natus Vincere are one of the dark horses here as you never know what you are going to get tournament to tournament. They have the worlds best inidividual player in Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who is a one man wrecking crew when at his best. When he gets good support play from Flamie and Electronic, Na’Vi are able to beat the best in the world, but, all three playing well at the same time has been the issue that has plagued this side. Inconsistency across the roster is what makes it difficult to say that they will step up here in Sweden. They will win their group – but after that, they are a big unknown.
NRG, NRG, NRG. This is the most volatile side form a betting perspective as the entire team hinges on the play of Cerq. If Cerq is having an off day, then this team can lose to teams that don’t even rank in the worlds top 100. When they get elite level play from Cerq, they can mix it with the best, unfortunately there is no middle for this team, its either the ceiling or the floor. Cerq needs to go off in every game at this event for NRG to be able to make the final, or even survive the group stages, and with their inconsistency right now – getting out of the group stages may prove difficult.
Ninja’s In Pyjamas
This is an incredibly volatile group – they have pooled all the teams together and put them in here that can either play high or low with no middle. NiP are another of those sides. get_right is one of the best pure aimers in the game, unfortunately, the rest of the side seems to miss the target more often then not. Pistol rounds are usually something they win due to the level of Denis in these rounds, but, after that, the lack of executions, poor communication and just absurd play calling at times is what really limits this roster. The individual talent is there on this roster, they just don’t have the team mechanics to win an event like this, even in front of a home crowd – but, that home crowd may be enough to get them out of the group stages.
Ghost may have used all their luck during the Zotac Cup, where they eliminated the more heavily fancied Optic Gaming – beating them on what many thought was an instant 1-0 for Optic when claiming Nuke. This group they find themselves in, their best chance of survival is if they are able to draw NiP and NRG as their first two matches, unfortunately, they have drawn Na’Vi, who should beat them by 7 or more rounds. Ghost just like NRG, don’t have the talent level across the roster to beat a team like NiP or Na’Vi and will struggle to not come last.
If Faze don’t top the group they have been drawn in, then, they shouldn’t waste any more time and pack their bags and go home. Being pooled in one of the weaker groups where the main opponent is going to be Optic. They start proceedings off against Heroic, who have been absolutely abysmal over the last few months with constant roster changes, they haven’t really recovered since losing Snappi and Yugi to Optic. Faze is in a position where they should qualify in first and do so with a round differential in the +10’s. Faze were underwhelming in their last major appearance, crashing out in the group stages. Better is expected here as they are the best side in Group C.
No form to speak of leading into this tournament. The addition of Acillion after Rubino had to leave due to an eye injury hasn’t proved overly impressive. Veteran banana legend Friberg is extremely hit and miss and it is hard to see where the map control and the fragging is going to come from for this team. There isn’t many positives here for Heroic and they have drawn a group where they will most likely be going home as the bottom of it.
Shock losers at the Zotac Cup, when they were expected to do no worse then make the final. Expectation and reality are often two different things in this world and Optic went in with the attitude that they were already there. Then got their pants pulled down by Ghost. After what should have been a humbling experience for the Danish quintet, they have found a group that, with a bit of luck they could win. But, they would need to go past Swedish giants Fnatic in front of their home crowd in order to achieve this – a highly unlikely feat based on recent performances. However, if Optic are able to jag Inferno in this best of one, they could very well beat Fnatic who have underhwelming at best of late. Optic have every chance if Yugi is on fire, as the lack of fragging from him at Zotac was one of the key contributors to their demise.
The recent roster shuffles for Fnatic has had its ups and downs. Giving Lekr0 the flick was a strange choice, and adding Draken, who is a high ceiling, low floor type of player didn’t make much sense. Releasing Golden for Xizt however did, as Fnatic really needed an IGL and Xizt is that. However, they don’t have a great deal of firepower outside of Krimz, but, this team should be good enough to finish second in this group. Heroic and Optic are two beatable sides for the Swedish giants, and they won’t want to waste this chance in front of a home crowd.
Have we seen enough from MiBR at Zotac to suggest that the new coaching change is enough to put them back on the map? The answer is no. Zotac was compiled of a handful of low level teams that MiBR were expected to trounce, and they did just that. Now, we see that side has drawn a favourable group where they will start the event against HellRaisers, who will provide a real challenge if Woxic plays well. Fallen seems to be thriving in his new surroundings, with Tarik and Stewie bouncing off one another well. Coldzera will need to step up again here to open the match up for MiBR if they are to progress from this competitive group.
Was Styko the problem? This is yet to be seen, as with Styko, Sunny and Ropz played much better as they had a meat shield that would draw out opponents. After taking that away and adding Snax, they don’t have this bullet bait on the roster any more and they have hsown that they just aren’t as good as hunting for the kills as they were when the kills were taken when opponents were chasing Styko. Chrisj and Oskar are not exempt here either as their play has been lacking. Hopefully the summer break gave this team the time needed to gel and they can put on a better showing here in Stockholm.
HellRaisers are another of those “high ceiling, low floor” types of rosters. When they get the best from Woxic, they can mix it with the best in the world, when this side needs to rely on the likes of Fox and ISSA to make plays – they don’t win, its pretty simple really. Woxic is the spine of this team and when he underperforms, they don’t have the supporting players to pick up the slack. This is the floor of this team, is whether Woxic is playing well or not. Starting fresh, he needs to out duel Fallen, which could be what he needs to get sharp quickly. Can be a dark horse in this group if Woxic plays well.
Not much to like about this side. Rewind the clock back to CS 1.6 and oyu had a much more competitive Gambit, fast forward to Global Offensive, and they just haven’t adapted well to the new surroundings. Drawing Mousesports isn’t a great start here, especially if the map lands on Train. Dosia needs to step aside, as his lack of fragging is holding back this roster. Adren, Hobbit and Mou all need to perform much better than they have of late if Gambit are to do better then last in in this group. Not much to like here.
BEST BETS AND SELECTIONS
TO WIN OUTRIGHT
Even at slightly above evens, you just can’t look beyond Astralis. They are the best side at the tournament, in the best form and just show that they have the best team mechanics time and time again. Maybe it is time to finally declare this the “Astralis era”?
Group D Winner
This is a very congested group – with some real standouts, and one clear punching bag (Gambit). However, the complete rebuilding of MiBR has proven successful and, on their utter destruction of Kinguin and coming into this one with game fitness, it is hard to look past them here in this group – especially if MiBR can give HellRaisers a beatdown in game one. While this is a tightly congested group – Mousesports should not be considered the favourites to win as they just don’t have the team chemsitry so far in a post-Styko environment funnily enough, despite the calls for Styko to be given the boot – he was the lynchpin for Mousesports winning rounds. MiBR have the better overall talent on their roster and at their best, will top this group.
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