New lineups will be treading untested waters in the first premier tournament since the PGL Major
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive off-season finally comes to a close with DreamHack Masters Malmö. Beginning August 30, 2017 and culminating on September 3, 2017, the $250,000 tournament will feature sixteen of CS:GO’s top teams, and a GSL group stage format (four groups of four teams each, with the top two teams going to playoffs) and a single-elimination best-of-three playoffs.
Here’s some information on the sixteen teams participating in the event:
Astralis (device, dupreeh, Xyp9x, Kjaerbye, gla1ve)
The five-man roster of Astralis is the same one that has earned them their victory at the ELEAGUE Major earlier in the year – it’s been more than six months since and they have won a number of notable premier tournaments and continued to place well – most recently placing 3rd/4th at the PGL Major in Krakow. “Why fix what isn’t broken?” they say, and Astralis are certainly still looking like strong contenders coming into the new season and could start it off well with a win at Malmö.
Cloud9 (Skadoodle, Stewie2k, autimatic, RUSH, tarik)
Cloud9 is coming into the tournament to replace OpTic Gaming (due to them changing more than two people from their previously invited roster). C9 have shuffled in Will “RUSH” Wierzba and Tarik “Tarik” Celik, to replace both Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek, and are looking to see their team find synergy at DreamHack.
FaZe Clan (rain, karrigan, NiKo, GuardiaN, olofmeister)
FaZe continues its reputation of being an all-star team despite it’s disappointing showing at the PGL Major – they’ve brought in Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs as their new primary AWPer to replace Aleksi “allu” Jalli, and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer to replace Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey. While we’ve seen the all-star formula fail to work out before, seeing long-time greats GuardiaN and olofmeister on the same team with an explosive young player like Nikola “NiKo” Kovac should be very interesting.
Fnatic (KRiMZ, JW, flusha, Golden, Lekr0)
When Fnatic brought back their old multiple-Major winning roster for the PGL Major, it was supposed to bring the team back to the upper echelons of competitive CS:GO – an early exit at the playoffs perhaps showed that that roster was past its prime and it was time to bring fresh talent into the team. With longtime star olofmeister moving over to FaZe Clan, Maikil “Golden” Selim has been promoted from Fnatic’s academy team to the primary roster, and Dennis “dennis” Edman is traded for Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson of GODSENT.
G2 Esports (shox, boddy, NBK-, kennyS, apEX)
The “French Super Team” of G2 esports features some of the best talents in the prolific French CS:GO scene. Despite early exits in recent events such as ESL One: Cologne 2017 (where they finished 5th-8th and fell to Na’Vi) and at the PGL Major (placing 9th-11th after falling to Fnatic) the roster is relatively new compared to the others that have decided to shuffle during the off season. It’s definitely a team with lots of potential, and it speaks a lot about its players that they’re willing to give it another try.
Gambit Esports (Dosia, mou, AdreN, HObbit, fitch)
The underdog squad that brought home the most recent PGL Major Krakow was expected to stick together and try to continue their run of success – but unexpected roster moves came in with the departure of their captain Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko and their coach Mykhailo “kane” Blagin – who made a monumental move back to Zeus’ former team of Natus Vincere. All that’s been said is that the other Gambit players did not want kane to continue being their coach, and that Zeus’ long-time friendship with kane led him to the decision of also leaving the team. Veteran player and PGL Major MVP Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev will now be leading Gambit as its in-game leader, and Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov, who has played for the Khazakh team, Tengri, in the past is joining Gambit on a trial basis.
Immortals (HEN1, LUCAS1, boltz, steel, kNgV-)
The Brazilian squad that are the PGL Major runners-up are looking to continue their run of success, now that they’ve proven they’ve got what it takes to make it to a Major Grand Final (especially impressive since it’s also the first Major the team has qualified for). At DreamHack Masters Malmö they’ll be looking to prove they’re a team that can perform well consistently, and perhaps drive the point home that SK Gaming isn’t the only Brazilian squad to be feared on the servers.
Natus Vincere (seized, Edward, flamie, s1mple, Zeus)
It’s been a troubled year for Natus Vincere since the departure of Zeus and the acquisition of superstar playmaker Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, with only one premier title (ESL One: New York) and a few semi-final finishes to their name. Not bad for a middling squad, but with the talent and potential of the players on the previous roster, it was a team expected to rise to greatness – but their disappointing run proved that perhaps a team can have too much firepower at the cost of solid leadership. In a monumental surprise move, Zeus is back at his old home of Na’Vi right after winning the PGL Major due to coaching disagreements with his former Gambit teammates, and brought in his old friend kane as the team’s new coach as well. Superstar AWPer Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs also ended his long tenure on Na’Vi and has moved on to FaZe Clan, leaving s1mple as the team’s new primary AWPer – a role he has played well on his previous teams (most notably with Team Liquid, bringing them to a Major Grand Finals). With Zeus’ return also means Denis “seized” Kostin will no longer be burdened with in-game leading, and will once again be playing secondary AWP alongside playing support. Zeus’ return brings much-needed leadership to the roster, but will the team find synergy fast enough to place well at Malmö? Only time will tell.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (f0rest, GeT_RiGhT, Xizt, draken, REZ)
NiP has had troubling results the past year – notably missing out on both the ELEAGUE and PGL Majors and failing to achieve high placings at other events. Recently they have released long-time player Adam “friberg” Friberg for Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, perhaps this change will be the impetus for NiP’s rise back to its former glory.
North (MSL, k0nfig, cajunb, aizy, valde)
The Danish squad of North recently benched Emil “Magisk” Reif from its line-up early this August, and he was eventually bought out by OpTic Gaming – they’ve brought in former Heroic player Valdemar “valde” Bjørn to take his place. In a season of middling results, a roster shake-up might just be what the team needs.
SK Gaming (FalleN, fer, coldzera, TACO, felps)
The Brazilian superstar team has had a phenomenal season so far, coming in first in a number of notable events, and came in as heavy favorites into the PGL Major, but fell in the first round of playoffs to their rivals in Astralis. Things are still looking bright for this roster, and they’re surely coming in as favorites here as well.
Virtus.Pro (TaZ, NEO, pashaBiceps, Snax, byali)
The five-man Polish roster of Virtus.Pro has been playing together since January 2014 – that’s more than two years ago now, making them one of the most solid rosters in not just Counter-Strike, but esports as a whole. While the team has had its slumps from time to time, they’ve proven to be able to show up when it counts the most – and are boasting a 2nd place finish at the ELEAGUE Major and a 3rd/4th place finish at the more recent PGL Major. Sure, VP can be inconsistent, but you can never really write them off.
B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape (ImpressioN, benkai, splashske, moxie, Tommy)
This Singaporean CS:GO squad is coming into DreamHack Masters Malmö from the Asia-Oceania qualifier, a region yet to prove itself in the highest levels of CS:GO, but the chance to experience playing against stronger teams is sure to be valuable to these players, who for now are coming in as underdogs, if they dream of making it to the top one day.
Team EnVyUs (Happy, SIXER, RpK, xms, ScreaM)
EnVyUs has struggled to place well versus the Tier 1 teams of CS:GO, but are coming into Malmö with some solid results against Tier 2 teams – despite not making it to the PGL Major, they did win the most recent DreamHack CS:GO event, DreamHack Atlanta, in July, and are looking to try and duplicate their success here as well.
mousesports (chrisJ, oskar, ropz, sunny, STYKO)
The current mousesports roster was formed after Christian “loWel” Antoran departed the roster and Miika “suNny” Kemppi from PENTA Sports was brought in to replace him. Denis “denis” Howell was also let go in favor STYKO formerly of HellRaisers. The roster changes were probably primarily caused by their disappointing 12th-14th finish at the PGL Major, and done in the hopes that the team can rise again since losing NiKo to FaZe earlier this year.
Renegades (AZR, jks, USTILO, Nifty, Jayzwalkingz)
The mostly Austrialian squad of Renegades has most recently acquired David “Jayzwalkingz” Kempner on a trial basis to replace Nemanja “nexa” Isacovic. Their new roster will be making their LAN debut here in Malmö alongside the other newly formed teams.
Things are finally starting up again for CS:GO’s competitive scene, and the post-PGL Major season looks to be an interesting one, with so many unexpected rosters forming. We can’t wait to see how this will pan out for the new squads, and how the old ones will face off with them.
KaLeRei usually can’t shut up about video games, so she writes about them instead. Single-player RPGs or empire-builders/strategy games are her usual cup of tea, but she’s also been an avid follower of the Dota 2 and CS:GO professional scenes for a while. She has a fascination for old pros trying to prove they’ve still got what it takes, and cats.
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