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DreamHack Stockholm – Preview, predictions and best bets

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.

GROUP A

Astralis

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.

Tyloo

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

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.

Grayhound Gaming

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.

GROUP B

Natus Vincere

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 eSports

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

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.

GROUP C

FaZe Clan

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.

Heroic

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.

Optic Gaming

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.

Fnatic

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.

GROUP D

MiBR

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.

Mousesports

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

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.

Gambit

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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Counter Strike Global Offensive: ESL One Cologne 2018 Day 2

Today is day two of the ESL One Cologne 2018 Counter Strike Major. Last years winners, SK Gaming will be represented under a new name, MiBR (Made In Brazil). The red hot favourites to win the event are without a doubt – Astralis, and, the odds reflect this. With some questionable sides at this event, lets break down the day of games.

Team Liquid v North

If Liquid play anywhere near the level that they did yesterday, this will be a quick 2-0 for North, who almost pulled off the improbable comeback on Inferno against Fnatic after being on the losing side of a 12-3 half, to finish 16-14 losers. Liquid on the other hand, were thoroughly handled by local team BIG, 16-7 on Dust 2 with only Elige looking like he came to the event to play – at one stage, having more total frags than the rest of the Liquid line-up. However, it looked like a strategic move by Liquid in order to drop down to the lower bracket and aim for a potentially easier run to the finals. North are no easy beats, and, the loser is going home. Team Liquid will more than likely want to avoid Dust 2 here as it is one of North’s stronger maps.

Expected map selections:
Team Liquid select – Mirage
North select – Nuke
Left Over – Overpass

With this trio of maps – it looks like it could very much be a three map contest. It really depends on whether or not an interested Team Liquid come to play.

Best Bet – Match Total OVER 2.5 Maps @ $1.85/-118 on Unibet

Renegades v B.O.O.T[d]s

Yesterday, Renegades shot out to a big, unexpected lead of 9-1 against MiBR, and, then as expected, fell to pieces and ended up losing outright. Now, they find themselves in a must win clash with B.O.O.T[d]s in order to stay in this tournament. Ustillo, Jkaem, Jks, Nifty and Azr will all need to be at their best here, if B.O.O.T[d]s best player Benkai is switched on today, it could make this match-up a lot more interesting. The Boys’ have a big advantage on player for player skill, and, this will be the difference maker between the two teams. Expecting that Renegades will win 2-0 isn’t the biggest longshot. However, the Boy’s have been so inconsistent it is hard to suggest betting on them. However, it is going to be the most best option here.

Expected map selections:
Renegades select – Mirage
B.O.O.T[d]s select – Cache
Left Over – Dust 2

This potential map cycle plays into Renegades hands if B.O.O.T[d]s were to go down this road with their selection, Cache is a 50/50 map, where Renegades would have the edge on player skill and playing it more recently.

Best Bet – Renegades to win 2-0 @ $1.85/-118 on Unibet

FaZe Clan v MiBR

This is the battle to determine our futures bet on the winner of Group B. If FaZe win here, as expected, then, it will send them through to the next part of the tournament as the group B winner. MiBR just scraped through after almost getting blown away by Renegades, when they originally had a 9-1 lead that MiBR clawed back. However, again, on a one-for-one skill grading, FaZe have the better side, and, regardless of map selection, FaZe will hold the edge on each map in the pool bar Train, which is a 50/50 type of map for these two sides.

Expected map selections:
FaZe Clan select – Mirage
MiBR select – Inferno
Left Over – Train

With this map rotation, it will be very difficult for MiBR to win Mirage, as that is one of FaZe Clans top maps, and, they are also very strong on Inferno, but, MiBR can’t afford to throw a different map in just because it is one of their opponents weaker maps. They need to play to their strengths and throw caution to the win if they want a chance.

Best Bet – FaZe Clan to win 2-0 @ $2.25?=125 on Unibet

Mousesports v ENCE

Unexpectedly, ENCE knocked out Swedish giants, Ninja’s In Pyjamas in their first knockout match, now, they face a tougher assignment in Mousesports. Mousesports also suffered a shock of their own, losing to an out of sorts G2 in their last match to qualify for the playoff bracket. Today, they are in a must win scenario against a side that is at a lower level of individual skill and are in a game that they are expected to win. However, the communication issues with new player Snax was on show against G2 and that isn’t something that Mousesports can fix overnight. Expectation here is that those issues hang around today and, make Mousesports bring the best out of their individual skill players. ENCE are significantly outmatched on a one for one player grading as well as an experience and strategy level. Mousesports will win this battle.

Expected map selections:
Mousesports select – Mirage
ENCE select – Train
Left Over – Inferno

With this map pool, Mousesports would hold a big edge on Mirage and a slight edge on Train, which would add value to a 2-0 win. However, the communication between the team isn’t on point at the moment, which could easily effect their executes on a map like Train. Skill level here will be crucial and a big game from Oskar is required for Mousesports to win here.

Best Bet – Mousesports to win 2-0 @ $2.25/+125 on Unibet

Fnatic v BIG

Unlike yesterday, BIG will not be afforded the opportunity of their opponent throwing for a lower bracket run. Fnatic are hungry after a string of disappointing efforts. BIG are an easy target, and, at this stage of the tournament, they are one you would like to have on your road to the semi’s or the quarters, that is exactly what lies ahead here for Fnatic. BIG got a win yesterday solely on the fact that Liquid had one player putting in effort and four that were only focused on what teams were headed to the lower bracket with them. Smooya is a rising start in the awp scene, however, he is against a season veteran in JW here, he will struggle if they go toe-to-toe.

Expected map selections:
Fnatic – Mirage
BIG – Dust 2
Left Over – Inferno

With this map rotation, BIG will be able to get Dust 2, or possibly Nuke, depending which way they select, after that, it should be routine for Fnatic, who are the better side on a one for one skill level.

Best Bet – Match Total OVER 2.5 maps @ $1.90/-112 on Unibet

Cloud 9 v Natus Vincere

Yesterday, Na’Vi looked horrible in their shock loss to G2, especially after winning the first half of the map. This is a must win situation for both teams, and, Cloud 9 have less firepower to match up with Na’Vi here. Na’Vi will look to their big hitters S1mple and Electronic in order to get the job done here, especially with S1mple going somewhat missing of late for the Ukrainian outfit.

Expected map selections:
Cloud 9 – Cache
Natus Vincere – Overpass
Left Over – Mirage

Na’Vi are favourites coming into this one, even after a rather poor effort against G2, losing a lot of key rounds you would normally see them walk in. With that said, Cloud 9 are really hurting having Styko in their team lineup, and, for this reason, Na’Vi hold a significant edge in this one. Na’Vi are not that great on Cache which could see Cloud 9 steal a map if that falls in rotation. However, both Overpass and Mirage would be heavily skewed in Natus Vincere’s favour.

Best Bet – Natus Vincere -3.5 handicap map @ $1.90/-112 on Unibet

Futures Bets
To Win Outright – Astralis @ $2.30/+130 on Unibet
Group B Winner – FaZe Clan @ $2.50/+150 on Unibet
Map with highest % of T wins – Dust 2 @ $3.50/+250 on Unibet

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IEM Sydney Intel Extreme Masters Grand Final Coverage

It is the Grand Final of IEM Sydney today and we are waiting on Astralis to complete our futures bet against Faze Clan today. WHile Faze Clan may have overcome an extremely poor start to make the Grand Final of this major – Astralis are still in a much better position to take out this event.

IEM Sydney Grand Final
Astralis v Faze Clan

This is going to be an absolute blockbuster – the Australian crowd has been the best crowd at a major so far this season and it hasn’t even been close! This final is what the crowd deserves, although, it may have been even bigger if Renegades didn’t blow it leading into the final.

However, this isn’t about how good the event has been, this is about how good this final is going to be, and it is going to be that good if you are putting your money on all things Astralis. Yesterday on Inferno, Astralis laid the bait for Faze Clan to select the map as they “struggled” and eventually lost to it against Mousesports in the semi-final. However, this is a classive bait. They want Faze to pick this map so that it frees them up to pick two maps that suit them, while Faze pick a map that suits them.

Expected map picks and single veot’s
Astralis pick Mirage
Astralis pick Overpass
Faze Clan pick Inferno
Faze Clan pick Cache
Astralis veto Train
Faze Clan veto Nuke
Left over Dust 2

Faze won’t want to be facing Astralis on Nuke as they are lights out on it, which frees Astralis to take one of their best maps in Overpass, which should be a comfortable win for them as Faze have looked a little lost on Overpass throughout the tournament. Essentially, this is Astralis game to lose. These map selections are extremely likely. Dust 2 will be left, Astralis won’t ban it considering how badly they emulsified Mousesports on it in the semi-finals.

For Faze, this game really rests on the shoulders of Niko and Guardian, these two need to be an absolute force in order for Faze to stand a chance of winning even on map with these selections. Astralis, despite Device feeling a little under the weather, are the best team in the world at Counter Strike right now, and, they are going to be back-to-back major winners after today is over.

Maps that Astralis will win against Faze are Mirage, Overpass, Cache and possibly even Inferno. If Astralis do take an early 2-0 lead, then this will be over rather quickly today. This is a best of five, and three map wins are required for victory. But, today, you are throwing away money if you bet against Astralis.

BEST BETS
Astralis Match Line -1.5 on Bet365 @ $1.66/-152
Astralis correct score 3-1 on Unibet @ $3.75/+275

IEM Sydney Intel Extreme Masters Day 5 Coverage

Semi finals day today at the IEM Sydney Intel Extreme Masters, where winner goes to the big dance, while the loser boards the next plane out of dodge. Only the two games here today, and, it is extremely likely that we will have at least one red hot game today. With that said – lets get in to the second last day of coverage!

Day Five Round Analysis

Tyloo v Faze Clan

Will Bntet be able to continue playing at the extremely high level that he currently is at IEM Sydney? Will Faze be able to manage consistent enough team play to overpower the Chinese dragons? Can Rain, Xizt and Karrigan do enough to support Guardian and Niko consistently enough each round to make this a quick match for Faze? These questions will be answered today.

The gunpowder trail that Tyloo have left behind included a quick 2-0 win over local boys Renegades, a quick 2-0 over North American factory of sadness Cloud 9 and then you have them opening up their campaign in relatively easy fashion. The question now is, can they do it on the big stage with a days rest between games? This is still yet to be seen, when they were last on the big stage, they faltered against Grayhound Gaming. Simple mistakes can’t be afforded against a side like Faze Clan, they may not be at their best, but they still won’t be giving away free rounds.

For Faze Clan, consistency is key here. Expectation and reality have rarely aligned for this team over the last few months, choking at major finals, group stages and brackets. When you are a side that is constructed to win, and win today, with an expensive roster, you want results, and Faze haven’t delivered bar one major this season. Regardless of what they do in this round, they are going to struggle against expect grand finalist Astralis.

Expected map selections
Faze Clan select – Cache
Tyloo select – Inferno
Left over – Dust 2

BEST BET – Map 1 UNDER 26.5 rounds @ $1.72/-139 on UNIBET

Astralis v Mousesports

This Astralis roster, has been talked up here at Bet Chimps all year long, and, now they are starting to deliver with Magisk in the squad at IEM Sydney. The individual talent on this roster is at another level, and, put that with the perfectly executed team strategies time and time again and you have a recipe for continued success. If the core of this roster stays together, they will be major favourites for a long time. Astralis will be full of confidence headed into this semi final, considering they already beat Mousesports comfortably 2-0 in the group stages, and, watching Mousesports almost get eliminated by Renegades, there was a lot of team strategy errors and individuals not stepping up. If Astralis can overcome the bug that Device has, then, they can win this matchup 2-09 again with Xypx9 clutching round after round as per usual.

Mousesports, it has been said here once, and it will be said again – this will be a much more complete side when they cut ties with Styko and move forward with a player that can actually entry frag and IGL. Styko is dead weight on this roster. With that said, the decline in the play by Oskar and the gone again here again play for Chrisj and the at times invisible play by Sunny and Ropz means that this team needs a miracle in order for them all to be playing well at the same time – when they do, it is poetry in motion, unfortunately, these rounds are few and far between. Against Astralis, every player needs to be on point, and MOusesports are yet to have a game where every player is on the same page in Sydney.

Expected map selections
Astralis select Train
Mousesports select Cache
Left over Inferno

Astralis taking Train wouldn’t be a surprise after how poorly Mousesports played on it against Renegades yesterday. Throw Mousesports into the fire as with map picks like this – Astralis won’t let there be three maps, Mousesports will avoid Nuke after Astralis ravaged them on the map in their last meeting.

BEST BET – Astralis to win 2-0 @ $2.00/+100 on UNIBET