Dreamhack Cluj Napoca - Analysis of Groups and Teams
In this first section of the article I will review each team individually, comparing recent results and tournament runs, to give an overview of how each team is performing right now. I will also talk about the consisting players of each team and how each one has done in previous majors or in cs history. In the second I will talk briefly about each group and who I think is likely to advance to the playoffs.
Teams : Challengers
The challengers are the 8 teams which had to qualify for the major by taking part in the offline Dreamhack Stockholm which 16 teams attended.
- Bartosz "Hyper" Wolny
- Dominik "GruBy" Swiderski
- Karol "rallen" Rodowicz
- Piotr "peet" ?wiklinkski
- Damian "Furlan" Kislowski
Vexed are a polish lineup who have qualified for this major and the previous at Cologne. In which unfortunately they faced fnatic in their opening match on Mirage. This was a (16-2) stomp in favor of the Swedish favorites who would go on to win the major themselves. Due to the format of Cologne, in which the lower bracket of the groups were shuffled to avoid repeat matches, they played CLG in their second decider match. This was another match on Mirage which ended up being close, ending (16-14) in favor of the Americans. CLG themselves were not able to win their match up against Natus Vincere. This looks bleak for the polish lineup who despite showing they can qualify for majors have yet to prove themselves any more than a bottom seed. The BO1 format meant that Vexed only played 2 games, both of which on Mirage.
For Vexed leaving the groups and making the playoffs seems like a huge challenge, maybe the best they can hope to do is upset a team in one of their games. However once again they face fnatic in their opening match, and will face either Cloud9 or Luminosity should they lose to fnatic. It is indeed one of the tougher groups in this tournament and although I don't want to rule out an upset, Vexed really haven't had good results online against lower tier teams.
All of the members of this Vexed lineup have not placed higher than the groups at any major. With a note that Karol "rallen" Rodowicz did play for the ESC lineup during Dreamhack Winter 2014 who almost managed to leave the groups, ultimately losing (16-13) to NIP who would go on to contest LDLC in the finals. They do have potential but I'm sad to say that these polish players may just be stuck in the position of one of the teams cropping up at the bottom of every major. To them, even qualifying for the major is an achievement and they should be happy with any success or experience they can gain.
- Sean "seang@res" Gares
- Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham
- Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir
- Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert
- Mike "shroud" Grzesiek
Following a successful run in the summer, in which they seemed almost ready to pose a threat to the top teams, they dropped out in the groups of Cologne. This lineup has a lot to prove at this major, being one of the 3 american teams in this tournament and trying to show that they are the best team from NA. They faced mousesports at the start of the tournament on Overpass and won (16-10) with confidence. They moved onto the upper-bracket to face Virtus.Pro on Cobblestone in which the poles, often noted for knowing how to handle the American play-style, shut them down (16-8). Following the shuffle they were set to player Kinguin who had just struggled against the Australian Immunity lineup. In what was a huge performance from Kinguin they took the last 5 rounds in a row to beat Cloud9 (16-13) on Dust2. This was a huge upset and Cloud9 have not seemed to recover and have had poor performances at all international events since.
Cloud9 should be aiming to at least exit the groups and cement their spot as the top American team. Out of all the groups Cloud9 have a really strong chance to finally find another spot in the playoffs. Despite fnatic being a favourite to claim the first seed in the group, the other two teams, Vexed seem to be unable to challenge anyone at the majors, and Luminosity are theoretically one of the weaker Legends in this tournament. Cloud9 are looking to prove to everyone that they can in fact play at the level they showed in summer this year.
Cloud9 have had 3 players, Mike "shroud" Grzesiek, Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Sean "seang@res" Gares make the playoffs in previous majors. With Jordan and Sean making the semifinals of Dreamhack Winter 2013. However the last time they managed this feat was in Cologne 2014 over a year ago, with Mike on the lineup. Tyle "Skadoodle" Latham, often quoted as one of the best awpers in cs history, has himself been unable to leave the groups of a major under Cloud9 or iBuypower lineups despite 5 attempts and group stage finishes. Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir has only been to one major which was Cologne 2015, in which Cloud9 as stated above dropped out in the groups.
- Denis "denis" Howell
- Fatih "gob b" Dayik
- Johannes "nex" Maget
- Chris "chrisj" de Jong
- Nikola "NiKo" Kova?
Mousesports who seemed likely to leave the groups of the last major fell short in what was an incredible victory (16-14) on Cobblestone by Flipsid3. Mousesports went home in the groups from that loss and the earlier loss (16-10) to Cloud9 on Overpass. Mousesports seemed likely to advance to the playoffs but were shut down by two teams who themselves would not make the playoffs. It should be noted that following their group stage exit at the major they brought in the all-star player Nikola "NiKo" Kova?, who is a huge addition to the team in terms of fragging power.
Mousesports should be looking to leave the groups this major, with the increased firepower Nikola brings to the squad. They do have one of the easier groups to contest, however it will really come down to the match-up between Mousesports and G2. The only games between these two teams that come to mind are online results back when G2 had Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, so can only really be taken with a pinch of salt.
Nikola, despite being one of the highest rated players on the team has never attended a major tournament to date. The others have had varying success with Denis "denis" Howell and Johannes "nex" Magnet making the playoffs with the German PENTA lineup, But Chris "chrisJ" de Jong exiting twice in the groups, and Fatih "gob b" Dayik only having taken part in their group stage exit at Cologne. These band of players really stand a chance to challenge for a Legends spot and make the playoffs.
- Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk
- Yegor "markeloff" Markelov
- Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy
- Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin
- Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev
Flipsid3, a CIS-region team, struggled at the last major, picking up only one (16-14) victory on Cobblestone against Mousesports. They lost to EnVyUs in a shattering (16-3) opening game on Inferno, and later lost to Luminosity in overtime (22-18) on Cobblestone. Despite the battering they took from EnVyUs they had a strong chance to reach the playoffs last major at Cologne. I feel like the group they have this time is a much harder one for them to advance from, but this CIS team has often shown they can perform solidly with both aim and tactics.
They have battled through two of the offline qualifiers recently, so it is true they are a team that can be considered able to play at the level required of the major, and yet their biggest chance to exit the groups ended at Cologne in a devastating overtime loss to the Brazilians. Perhaps like Vexed they are a team who will always crop up at the bottom of majors and not make it much further than that.
Leaving the groups is something they have been unable to do with this lineup despite 2 group stage placings. Yegor "markeloff" Markelov is the only member to have made the playoffs, and did so 4 times with the old Hellraisers lineups. For these players, they have the smallest chance so far to leave the groups, and while it would not surprise me if they elevate their play for a BO1. The BO3 format in my opinion puts them in a position unable to leave the groups, with not a wide enough map pool, and not consistent enough fragging power.
- Richard "shox" Papillon
- Adil "ScreaM" Benriltom
- Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux
- Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans
- Cedric "RpK" Guipouy
This Titan team is almost the Verygames lineup which contested the number 1 spot so many years ago. Titan, with the recent addition of Adil "ScreaM" Benriltom have looked stronger than ever. This lineup should on paper be one that goes down in history, having exceptional in-game leader, entryfragger and mid-round players. The return of Cedric "RpK" Guipouy is something which has lost a lot of hype, but since the addition of Adil, Cedric has been seemingly performing at a raised level. It is true he is not at the peak he could reach back in his prime, but is still a true threat. This team has undergone many changes with the loss of Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez, one notably being the increased fragging of the the in-game leader, Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans.
Titan stormed through the offline qualifiers, to then be put in the horrible group C. They have had strong performances online recently, one notably being an incredible comback from being (14-4) down, to an overtime victory (19-17) against NiP a team in their group this major. Last major saw Titan have a poor performance with a tense opening game on Overpass which was lost (19-17) to Na'Vi, and an upset loss (16-9) on Mirage to the Australian Renegades team. For Titan leaving in the groups would be a huge upset, this team strives to perform at the major and yet it is a harder group to leave than the match-ups at Cologne.
All 5 members of this Titan lineup have made the playoffs of a major at some point in their history, 4 of which did so in the same team Verygames in Dreamhack Winter 2013. Notably Richard "shox" Papillon and Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux won the finals of Dreamhack Winter 2014 with LDLC.com. At the last major Adil "ScreaM" Benriltom progressed to the playoffs with Team Kinguin the European mixed team. Wheras Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans only good run at the major was in Dreamhack Winter, and Cedric "RpK" Guipouy has never left the groups at a major.
- Spencer "Hiko" Martin
- Nick "nitr0" Cannella
- Eric "adreN" Hoag
- Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
- Jacob "FugLy" Medina
This American team, recently adding Spencer "Hiko" Martin to their lineup, had an impressive recent performance at the PGL Season 1 Finals, in which they managed to win a map over Fnatic (16-12) on Cobblestone and have other close games against Virtus.Pro. As a team, this is the first time they've been to a major. But Spencer was able to make the semi-finals in Dreamhack Winter 2013. Both Nick "nitr0" Cannella and Eric "adreN" Hoag have made group stages before but never got further.
After struggling through the offline qualifiers, their recent performances have seemed a whole magnitude better and were they in any other group I would give them huge chances to advance to the playoffs. As it is, Spencer wants to win, he's already been near the top, he wants to make sure he gets there again. The group is tough with all teams being able to advance, and it is definitely going to be the most interesting group to watch.
This seems like the best American team right now, they seem to have leapfrogged Cloud9 who have been in a slump following their impressive run at summer. Despite the lost to Mousesports at the qualifiers (16-9) on Cobblestone and (16-10) on Cache, they've looked really solid winning out matches both online and on LAN at the PGL Season 1 Finals. I feel like the group draw has really messed them up here, and surely they are determined to look better than their other American compatriots, but the likelihood of that is disappointingly low.
- Tarik "tarik" Celik
- Josh "jdm64" Marzano
- James "hazed" Cobb
- Pujan "FNS" Mehta
- Stephan "reltuC" Cutler
This third American team have had really mixed results online recently but did manage to win at the WinOut Championships, which the Brazilian team Luminosity did attend. They have performed well at the previous major but despite two group-stage exits, never advanced to the playoffs. In fact, last major after a close loss(16-13) on Dust2 against NiP they faced and beat eBettle(Vexed) (16-14) on Mirage and then almost, after an amazing performance from Josh "jdm64" Marzano, beat Na'Vi on Cobblestone. Unfortunately the game would end (16-14) in favour of Na'Vi. Once again, they will face Na'Vi in their opening game, even if they were to win the BO1, the new group stage format once again will stop an underdog being able to go through, I can't see them winning a BO3 against any of the other 3 teams in the groups.
The team likely wants to leave the groups of the major, but even getting here is enough for them. It is unlikely that Liquid will leave the groups and Cloud9 unless they can come out of their slump will not either. CLG should not be disappointed, they are on-par with the rest of the American teams right now and should be happy to maybe take a map or two over the tournament.
This lineup was at the last major together, in which they exited the groups, additionally the major before they had the same lineup except for Josh "jdm64" Marzano was not in the team. Both runs CLG had ended abruptly in the group stages. CLG unlike Liquid and Cloud9 have not had good performances against European teams simply due to the fact they haven't played them so it is quite an unknown factor how they will do. At the qualifier they beast CSGL a polish side, losing (19-17) on Dust2, but winning (16-11) on Overpass and (16-10) on Mirage. They also beat FlipSid3 2-0, with a (16-14) win on Cache and (16-12) on Train.
- Jesper "tenzki" Plougmann
- Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjaebye
- Jacob "Pimp" Winneche
- Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen
- Philip "aizy" Aistrup
Dignitas are a team who have recently had strong results online, and offline at Dreamhack London. It's almost irrelevant to talk about these results as all of them where with Andreas "schneider" Lindberg who was replaced by Jesper "tenzki" Plougmann a mere week before this tournament. The danish side is an unknown quantity right now, but even so they have one of the harder groups.
Dignitas are in group D, with CLG who they should be able to beat in a BO3 scenario but with the BO1 starting matches, it could easily end with them being thrashed in their opening match against EnVyUs and then facing CLG in a BO1 for their tournament life. They would, if they managed to hold on, face Na'Vi or EnVyUs in a BO3 which is more than they can hope to chew. Unfortunately for these danes, a group-stage exit is more than likely.
All 5 members of this team have made majors before with all but Philip "aizy" Aistrup dropping out in the groups each time. Philip did manage to make the semi-final in Cologne 2014 with Dignitas. Dignitas as an organisation have not been at the major since Cologne 2014, and a lot of these players will be happy to simply be at a major, despite having a small chance to qualify.
Teams : Legends
The legends are the 8 teams which were invited to the major due to their performance in the last major. They were able to exit the groups and reach the playoffs or further.
- Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson
- Jesper "JW" Wecksell
- Robin "flusha" Ronnquist
- Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer
- Markus "pronax" Wallsten
Fnatic are the champions of 3 major championships, and despite looking vulnerable in recent events online and offline, they are a team which rise up to the challenge and have mastered winning games. It is almost impossible to rule fnatic out of any major tournament, and they are one of the teams which there would be a huge outcry should they somehow not progress through the groups. Going forward these swedish players will want to win this tournament, but I feel like they could easily get knocked out in any stage of the playoffs. Virtus.Pro, TSM and EnVyUs all seem to have a better form at this point in time and have shown they can beat fnatic in BO3's before. I doubt fnatic will be able to claim their 4th major championship title this run, but you can't count any of these top teams out.
Fnatic have historically been powerhouses at every major, the only one in which they did not progress past the quarter-finals was Dreamhack Winter 2014 in which they decide to withdraw from the tournament following a controversial boost. Every other tournament they have won or made the finals of, showing the true power they hold. They have a relatively easy group with the other Legend being Luminosity a weaker opponent, and the two challengers being weak especially Vexed, Cloud9 showed in the summer they can upset fnatic, but don't seem to be operating at that level. The best matchup for fnatic in the group stage will be that against Cloud9 as both these teams seem to be slumping at the moment and it would be great to see who is more awake.
All the members of fnatic has excellent achievements in the majors, the only difference is that Markus "pronax" Wallsten, Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Robin "flusha" Ronnquist all have an addition title, winning the first major (Dreamhack Winter 2013) before Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson joined the team. However Olof and Freddy did make the playoffs of that major to be knocked out by NiP in the quarter finals. So all 5 players have been to the playoffs of every major, a feat only fnatic have the pleasure of holding.
- Gabriel "Fallen" Toledo
- Fernando "fer" Alvarenge
- Lucas "steel" Lopes
- Ricardo "boltz" Prass
- Marcelo "cold" David
Luminosity are arguably the weakest Legend team twice running, however they did manage to once again make the playoffs last major beating Kinguin (16-6) on Overpass and Flipsid3 (22-18) on Cobblestone. Notably last major they took the finalists, EnVyUs, to overtime but lost (19-16) on Cobblestone. They then faced fnatic in the first round of the playoffs and despite bringing Mirage close (16-14). They lost 2-0.
Luminosity continue to surprise at the majors, and play at a level much higher than normal at these big tournaments. This group may be hard for them, considering they will have to contest against the American Cloud9 team, but I can see them coming out on top in that if they rise up and Cloud9 fail to wake up from their poor performances recently. This will be a true test for the Brazilians and Gabriel "Fallen" Toledo and Fernando "fer" Alvarenge will both have to perform at the same levels they have at the last 2 majors in which they bagged their Legends status.
- Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth
- Nicolai "device" Reedtz
- Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen
- René "cajunb" Borg
- Finn "karrigan" Andersen
TSM have had incredible form this year, and have actually taken the number 1 spot in many peoples rankings. However they were dismantled by EnVyUs at both IEM and Cologne. They are an incredibly consistent team and have risen so much this past year since Finn "karrigan" Andersen has taken the helm. They are one of the top 4 teams which everyone expects to make the playoffs and bury themselves deep in the tournament if not challenge to win it.
Apart from Finn, this danish lineup has been the most successful danish lineup at the majors, varying organizations, these players have made semi-finals consistently, however they have never made a final, not even at Cologne in which they faced EnVyUs in the semi-finals losing 2-1. EnVy won (16-12) on Cache and (16-9) on Inferno, with TSM only able to claim Dust2 (16-8). How far this team gets will really depend on the playoff brackets, and whether or not they all show up in full form.
- Mikail "Maikelele" Bill
- Havard "rain" Nygaard
- Ricardo "fox" Pacheco
- Dennis "dennis" Edman
- Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad
This European lineup is one of the weaker legends, having just scraped through at Cologne with a (16-13) victory over Cloud9 on Dust2. However, this was when they had Adil "ScreaM" Benriltom in the lineup. It feels like they have been a lot less impressive since Adil departed and was replaced by Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad it will be interesting to see whether or not they can keep the legends status, which Mousesports in their group has a good shot at stealing from them.
These players have a huge amount of individual skill and it is a pleasure to watch them when they are hitting their shots. However, I feel the BO3 to advance system will cause them a hurdle. They've had some mixed results recently online, and should they fail at this major I feel they would more than likely make some roster changes. On the other hand, they do have a chance to once again escape the groups should they show up. A player to watch for on this team is Havard "rain" Nygaard who has an incredible amount of control and consistency over his game. Mikail "Maikelele" Bill is also a player who can have huge rounds which could hugely impact their BO1 games.
G2 should be looking to leave the groups and retain their title, but given their recent lack in form it may be hard. They have consistently beaten Mousesports with and without Adil so maybe there is still hope for this mixed lineup.
- Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas
- Filip "Neo" Kubski
- Jaros?aw "pasha" Jarz?bkowski
- Janusz "snax" Pogorzelski
- Pawe? "byali" Bieli?ski
This polish lineup is incredibly inconsistent, but has held legend status throughout all but the first major. They have recently risen and consolidated their spot as a top 5 team, and would be expected to exit the groups and find their way deep into the tournament. At Cologne they made the Semi-finals facing off against fnatic, in what was a huge performance from Virtus.Pro they almost toppled fnatic who would go on to win the tournament. Virtus.Pro destroyed fnatic (16-6) on the first map Mirage. Then narrowly lost (16-14) on Inferno, unfortunately it went on to Cobblestone, which depsite a close first half finishing (8-7) in favour of fnatic, they went on to lose (16-7) to fnatic who had a flawless t-side.
Virtus.Pro had a great run at the PGL Season 1 Finals, although losing 3-0 to TSM in the finals they still placed second, and the games against TSM were close. They did also beat TSM 3-2 at ESL Dubai, which shows they can perform well when they need to. They are sitting in the hardest group of the tournament, but I still favor Virtus.Pro to make the playoffs over all the other teams.
- Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg
- Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund
- Adam "friberg" Friberg
- Richard "Xizt" Landström
- Aleksi "allu" Jalli
NiP have looked the most vulnerable they have looked in a long time, and being placed in the hardest group of the tournament will not help them, traditionally NiP are called slow starters. This will not serve them well should they want to leave the groups they can't afford to give anything away. Team Liquid and Titan are both teams which could easily steal NiP's legends status should NiP give them even the slimmest of chances. NiP were having very mixed results on and offline, and have seemingly moved to a very run and gun style. This is only really working because of the strong performances being put in by Xizt, allu and GeT_RiGhT.
NiP have historically made almost every finals of the majors, excluding only the recent Cologne major. This drop off makes me believe they won't be able to make it that far in the tournament once again, and they may not even leave the groups. This is truly a sad sight for those who rooted for NiP during their era of domination. In Cologne they fell out in the first round of the playoffs, losing 2-0 to Virtus.Pro (16-14) on Train and (16-5) on Inferno. They also did breeze through the groups at Cologne despite a thrashing (16-3) from TSM, their other two games were clean. Winning (16-5) against Renegades on Inferno and a close game (16-13) against CLG on Dust2.
For the first time in history I feel NiP will not make the playoffs of a major tournament, this is due to their cut-throat group, and even if they do somehow make it through, I don't think they will make it further than the first round of the playoffs like the last major.
- Vincent "Happy" Cervoni
- Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey
- Nathan "NBK" Schmitt
- Kenny "kennyS" Schrub
- Dan "apEX" Madesclaire
EnVyUs are another possible favorite for this tournament, and have one of the easier groups, almost guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Last major at Cologne saw them choke out in the final against fnatic. Losing (19-15) despite a (15-10) lead on Dust2, and then proceeding to be crushed (16-7) on Cobblestone with a memorably horrible performance from kennyS. They certainly gifted fnatic their 3rd major title, and will be out looking for revenge.
This french team have dominated since the roster change, and even the old lineup with Richard "shox" Pappilon was seemingly a top team at the time. This new lineup has been even more dominant and has seemed unstoppable online relying heavily on raw skill to overpower the opponents. Both Dan "apEX" Madesclaire and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub have settled into the team amazingly and it is a pleasure to see Kenny back on the awp and dominating with it. This lineup poses to be a new top team in the csgo scene, and this major will be a real testing ground to see if they have overcome some issues in their fundamentals which caused the choke in the finals of the last major.
Kenny and Dan both had their best major run at Cologne making the finals, and will be looking to go further this time. Kenny has only ever had group-stage exits apart from at Cologne, whereas Dan did make the semi-finals with the old LDLC lineup.
- Daniil "Zeus" Teslenko
- Denis "seized" Kostin
- Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács
- Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev
- Egor "flamie" Vasilyev
Na'Vi have seemingly dropped off a bit recently, but that could just be because the scene is now dominated by 4 top teams. They are definitely strong candidates to go into the playoffs, but unfortunately it would seem as though they may be destined to never reach further. Their most notable performance was at Dreamhack Winter 2014 where they reached the semi-finals apart from that it has only been quarter-final exits for this team. The addition of Egor "flamie" Vasilyev has done wonders but it seems as though they just can't seem to overcome the aggression and skill of the top 4 teams at the moment.
While it would be an upset for Na'Vi not to once again make legends status and make the playoffs, I feel they will be forever stuck in the lowest seed of the playoffs and just left as meat for the higher seed teams to feed on, on their way to the later stages of the tournament. They are in group D with EnVyUs, CLG and Dignitas, and while CLG and Dignitas should be easily dispatched by Na'Vi, they could easily be upset in BO1's and maybe leave the tournament early. I see them placing 2-4th in the group with them coming out 2nd being the most likely possibility.
The fact that this team has shown so much promise across the years but never amounted to more than a semi-final at a major is a huge disappointment, maybe Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács can lead his men to a good run this time around, but the team seems to live and die with his performances, which is a lot of pressure to put onto the man.
For each groups I have show the teams in order of their seed in italics and below my summary the teams I think have a chance to make the playoffs and in the order of most likely to least likely.
Fnatic - Luminosity - Cloud9 - Vexed
For this group, Fnatic is a clear favourite to take the first seed, and bar two huge upsets leave the groups. Cloud9 has had the number on Luminosity on their recent matches online, and leaves me to believe that Cloud9 should be able to take the second seed in the group and make the playoffs. However, it is true that Luminosity have a history of raising their level for the majors and could easily upset Cloud9 or even fnatic. Vexed is the only team I see as not having a chance to leave this group.
Fnatic - Cloud9 - Luminosity - Vexed
TSM - G2 - Mousesports - Flipsid3
TSM is another clear favorite in this group, I think the main struggle here which will be interesting will be between G2 and Mousesports who face off in the first match of this group. But as it's double elimination I feel the first match-up may not even decide who goes on as both teams should feel comfortable against flipsid3 and most likely lose to TSM meaning they would face once more to decide who goes on. This would be a BO3, following the BO1 first match it could really go either way. Flipsid3 in my books just doesn't have the caliber to qualify.
TSM - Mousesports - G2 - Flipsid3
Virtus.Pro - NIP - Titan - Team Liquid
This group is what many are calling the group of death, and rightly so. All 4 of these teams have reasons why they should be considered to go out. I see Virtus.Pro as slight favorites here, but Liquid have shown they can contend with Virtus.Pro. The Titan vs Nip match-up should be an excellent game, and it's one of the games I am looking forward to the most on the first day. I would rate Titan slightly above NiP at this point in time just due to recent performances and that they face straight away, I could see NiP beating Titan in the initial match but not leaving the groups in place of Titan or Liquid.
Virtus.Pro - Titan - Nip - Team Liquid
ENVYUS - Na'Vi - CLG - Dignitas
This group seems the least likely to end contested in terms of the seeding. Dignitas could surprise as they have had a recent lineup change, and even before the roster change they were putting up some consistent performances. However EnvyUs and Na'Vi seem clear favorites in this group. CLG is the only NA team I don't really see as having a chance to get out of the groups. I feel they could cause an upset by winning a BO1 and causing Envy or Navi to face each other in an elimination match, but I can't see them getting out of the groups in a BO3. Dignitas do have a small hope if they can perform well with the new lineup but this group seems like the most clear cut who will make the playoffs.
ENVYUS - Na'Vi - Dignitas - CLG
Most of the groups this major are cut-throat, a majority of the teams have really strong reasons why they should make the playoffs. The BO1 to BO3 groupstage system seems quite reasonable, and makes sure the teams that do qualify have to have performed in a BO3 before making the playoffs. This major should be interesting, with a few groups such as B and C having huge impacts on the later tournament. The two things I want to know coming out of the groups, is who will go through from group C, be it Titan, NiP or Team Liquid, and who out of Mousesports and G2 will continue. I really hope to see a BO3 between the two teams.
The only changes I can see happening with the seeding, excusing huge upsets, are that Mousesports, Cloud9 and Titan should take places as Legends, and Luminosity, NiP and G2 would drop down to challengers next major. I guess the Titan - Nip prediction is bold, but we'll see only 1 day to go, the major is on our doorstep.
This article is the first of a few I will put out regarding the Major Dreamhack Cluj Napoca. The following articles will review each day of group play, and each day of the playoffs with predictions on the following days games.