Two events under a single banner were worlds apart. One was pristine. The other – a trainwreck for both viewers and TOs, raising many questions about what it means to be a global phenomenon.
From the humble beginnings of schoolmates and friends gathering in basements and cafeterias on a yearly basis, to the largest LAN event and multiple esports circuits spanning several continents, DreamHack has had an impact on both the casual and the professional side of video games. Across all this long history the initial BYOC (Bring your own computer) LAN theme has taken a backseat to six digits prize pool winnings, hositng VALVe sponsored majors and a partnership for larger circuits with larger stakes (the Intel Grand Slam Season 1 inclusion of DH Masters Malmö 2017 amongst the events).
One for Masters…
Let’s take a look at the DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 first, from which G2 emerged victorious and as the second contender for the cool one million for IGS Season 1 after SK Gaming. Twelve invitees and four teams from qualifiers squared it off in Sweden for a $250,000 USD prize pool, with the winner walking away with $100,000. A simple single elimination tournament system with BO3 winner and decider matches, and elimination matches played in BO1.
This meant that 4 teams had to walk away on the first day, most notably yet somewhat unsurprisingly Virtus.Pro. Despite advancing deep into the PGL Major Krakow 2017, their showing was rather poor all things considered, and analysts consider the Polish ‘Golden Five’ to be in another slump as of late. So, what I mean by ‘notably yet unsurprisingly’ is that to a casual fan a 4th place in a major might seem good, but PGL will be infamously remembered for the whack results of the seeds.
On the other side of the coin, the Gambit Gaming crew showed surprising results and raised eyebrows with their strong showing, netting themselves the top 4. After the mini-CIS shuffle, the consensus was that they were in worse condition and would not be able to match their Major victory. It remains to be seen if they will be able to keep up the good work under Dauren ‘AdreN’ Kystaubayev’s IGLing and how will that position affect the Major MVP’s performance.
Even further up the winner’s podium, G2 emerged as the victors. While their games were relatively close all the way until the end, they kept their cool and outmaneuvered their opponents, most notably in the quarter-finals against SK gaming. Being a map down and with an opponent at match point, with 5 rounds until OT, is no easy task. Now add just a half buy and you’re in the shoes that G2 were in. However, where a lesser team would’ve crumbled, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon’s team prevailed and eventually won the map in overtime.
As if that wasn’t an impressive enough feat, the 3rd map was a brand spanking new addition to their map pool – Mirage – which, as we’ve already spoiled – they won. G2 might not have looked like the strongest team walking into the tournament, but as they racked wins, their morale and confidence ramped up as well.
North, who have only shown promise so far, finally managed to come into their own and placed second. They are a particularly interesting case due to the contentious sell of Magisk, while retaining the underperforming aizy. I, for one, remember watching aizy in the DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Major not so long ago and thinking ‘this lad is insane!’ He would bruteforce wins for Dignitas on his own. Nowadays, he’s nowhere to be seen on the server, prompting a lot of questions.
Another pleasant surprise for some was NiP’s top 4. A rough patch as of late, the final ‘thank mr friberg’ and new additions all put them down as a huge question mark. A far cry from the absolute juggernauts they were back in the game’s infancy, nobody expected a whole lot from them, yet, much like Gambit, they proved people wrong. The most notable takeaway here is how well the new additions to the team have integrated, looking squarely in place and bringing along their expertise in Mirage from their former team, Epsilon. The veterans, f0rest and GeT_RiGhT, also made a strong showing, which prompted many to believe in ‘NiP magic’ once more. Will the Ninjas keep climbing towards the top spots? Only time will tell.
Although not as bad as VP’s showing, three other superstar teams did poorly – SK Gaming, Astralis and FaZe Clan. All of this is relative, as these teams are very consistent in their top spots, however the past few events they have been punching quite a bit under their weight. On paper those three should be square within the top 5 in the world, yet somehow they miss those spots. Have people adapted to the ‘FalleN CS’? Is karrigan unable to make his gun fire on all superstar cylinders? What happened to Astralis’ guaranteed top 4 spots? Mediocre, as a certain post apocalyptic warlord would say.
…And One for Disaster
Unfortunately, anything that happened on the servers of the DreamHack Open cousin of Masters Malmö was overshadowed by what was basically a non-existent final and the drama which followed. While of a smaller calibre, the tournament in Montreal is still a relatively big event, and one with a history. Still, congratulations to North for winning the tournament, and also congratulations to our very own Team Kinguin for making a good run of it.
As for Immortals – what a disappointing display. One only made worse by the fact that their first claim to fame was made in the exact same circuit back in June 20th, on the stage that gave rise to the DreamHack dynasty. Three of the Immortals players – Henrique ‘HEN1’ Teles, Lucas ‘LUCAS1’ Teles and Vito ‘kNgV-’ Giuseppe – were late for the finals, letting down their two teammates, who were on time, the tournament organizers and most importantly, the fans. This resulted in a forfeited first map for IMT.
What’s worse, there seems to be a pattern with those IMT players, as allegedly they came to the PGL Major hungover, and their showing was in line with that statement. I will spare our readers any further sanctimonious statements, however I hope that this is the last we see of it. How can people take esports seriously if we don’t take it seriously?
Pride After the Fall
Worse still, this was overshadowed by the ensuing Twitter rampage the players went on, showing somewhat of a lack in structure in IMT. This is something I’m willing to put the blame squarely on the management’s shoulders, and it also tells the bystander a bit as to why coming in late and/or hungover is allowed within the team. In stark contrast with the previous paragraph, I’ll play a bit of the devil’s advocate for the players. I think it is the org’s main responsibility to provide a support network around the players, so they can focus on being the best they can be. Instead, the plot kept thickening as the main perpetrator of the twitter rampage, kNgV-, got benched for a supposedly unrelated reason. I’ll let you speculate if that is the case.