Dreamhack Masters Marseille is a test for the teams attending. Teams have made several changes after the major, and will use this as a test for the changes.
Dreamhack Masters Marseille is set to commence on April 18. Sixteen teams, representing regions from around the world, will travel to Le Dome De Marseille to take part in Dreamhack’s first “Masters” tournament of 2018.
These teams will also compete for their share of the $250,000 USD prize pool.
The group stage will run from April 18 through to April 20 and will use the double elimination group stage format. The opening matches, as well as the elimination matches, will be played out in a best of one, and the winner’s and decider’s matches will be played out in a best of three map contest. Two teams from each group will advance to the playoffs. In the playoffs, teams will face each other in a single elimination, best of three contest.
The teams attending Dreamhack Masters Marseille are as follows:
- Team EnVyUs
- FaZe Clan
- Gambit Esports
- G2 Esports
- Team Liquid
- Natus Vincere
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- SK Gaming
- Space Soldiers
The groups for Dreamhack Masters Marseille and the opening matches have been drawn and are as follows:
- FaZe Clan
- G2 Esports
- Team EnVyUs
- SK Gaming
- Ninjas In Pyjamas
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
- Space Soldiers
- Gambit Esports
Group A Opening Matches:
The first match of Group A sees the European mix of FaZe Clan go up against the predominantly French side Team EnVyUs.
FaZe Clan are the definition of a super team. They have some of the most lethal firepower in the game at their disposal, in the form of GuardiaN with the AWP, and olofmeister, NiKo and rain with the rifles. Running the operation is karrigan, who is a tactical mastermind.
However, at the moment, olofmeister has stepped down from the starting line up, and Xizt has been brought in to fill in for the duration of olofmeister’s absence.
FaZe have only played online matches with Xizt so far, and it is difficult to use online matches as a solid gauge of success or potential due to factors such as latency.
With the addition of Xizt, FaZe Clan has lost some of their firepower, mostly due to the fact that Xizt was the in game leader for Ninjas In Pyjamas. Now, on FaZe, he is filling olofmeister’s role of a support rifler, which may take some time to adjust to under karrigan’s system. However, FaZe still has GuardiaN, NiKo and rain.
Both GuardiaN and NiKo have not had a single negative HLTV rating since joining FaZe Clan, which gives a general indication of the high level of skill these players possess, as well as their high level of consistency. FaZe Clan’s firepower may seem compromised, however, they are still a threat to the teams in their group, and the teams in the tournament.
Their opponents, Team EnVyUs, have struggled to find a consistent winning recipe. The French side has recorded wins in smaller tournaments with generally weaker opponents. However, in tournaments with some of the best teams in the world, EnVyUs have failed to impress. Their results, considering the calibre of the players on their team such as RpK, ScreaM, kioshima and Happy, have been disappointing, with many problems coming to light as opposed to one, fixable issue.
EnVyUs will come into Marseille looking to cause a few upsets, and it is possible against other teams, however, they might struggle against FaZe Clan in their opening match.
The second match has the recent ELEAGUE Major winners Cloud9 go head to head against G2 Esports. Both of these teams have made changes recently. Cloud9 saw the departure of Stewie2k to SK Gaming, and brought in FNS as a replacement. In March, shox departed from the G2 Esports active line up. Spanish Counter-Strike player mixwell, joined the French side on a trial.
Cloud9’s addition of FNS is an element the team has been missing for a while, which is a dedicated in-game leader. Previously, tarik was the in-game leader, and prior to that, Stewie2k was calling the shots. With the addition of FNS, tarik has been freed up from calling and can focus solely on rifles, and Cloud9 have the potential to have a decent system built for them.
G2’s change sees NBK take on the in-game leading role, which belonged to shox, and the addition of mixwell, who is a solid hybrid player, bolsters their firepower significantly. Whether or not mixwell makes up for the precision of shox is a different question entirely, however, mixwell is proficient with both rifle and AWP, which is an asset for any team.
Historically, Cloud9 and G2 have had close matches. According to HLTV, in 2017, Cloud9 and G2 came face to face twelve times. Cloud9 prevailed seven times, and G2 won five times.
Both sides head into this best of one with a completely different line=up, and potentially different tactical setups on the CT and T side.
Group B Opening Matches:
Mousesports versus Valiance is the first match of Group B, and should be an easy affair for mousesports, who have been on a decent run of form lately. The mixed European side won back to back tournaments recently, as they surprised many to clinch the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season Four Finals and the V4 Future Sports Festival Budapest.
Valiance are a strong team in their own regard, with potential for the future, however, their lack of exposure to the top level of Counter Strike has them pinned as one of the biggest underdogs headed into Dreamhack Masters Marseille.
The second match of Group B has SK Gaming competing against Ninjas in Pyjamas. SK Gaming have recently seen the departure of TACO, and the subsequent arrival of one of North America’s heavy hitters, Stewie2k, from Cloud9.
The Stewie2k addition from Cloud9 is an interesting move by the Brazilian side. The arrival of Stewie2k sees a versatile player come into the SK line up. From how TACO was used on SK on the T side, he was only used as an entry fragger, whereas Stewie on Cloud9 had played entry, mid, AWP and late round on the T side. Stewie2k is also under a dedicated in-game leader’s system, which is a first for his top flight career, aside from Cloud9’s brief stint with Slemmy.
Ninjas in Pyjamas come into Marseille looking to improve on their form with their newest addition, dennis, who was signed in February. NIP are in an interesting position at the moment due to the fact that they have the talent available to them, but have been under-performing. The players look promising individually, but as a collective, the matches are either close or NIP fall short.
The most interesting aspect of this match is how well Stewie2k has adjusted to FalleN’s system in the limited amount of practice time.
Group C Opening Matches:
The first match of Group C has the Swedish side Fnatic go up against TyLoo, who represent China at Dreamhack Masters Marseille. Fnatic head into Marseille with back to back trophy wins, placing first at IEM Katowice and winning WESG 2017.
TyLoo, on the other hand, are a dominant force within the Asian Counter Strike scene, constantly winning tournaments and placing high enough to qualify for major international events. Their impact on the international stage, aside from a few upsets, has been limited. Xccurate has been a great addition to the TyLoo side, and has been able to bail TyLoo out of some sticky situations his proficiency with the AWP. BnTeT has been a monster for TyLoo in domestic and international competition. The Indonesian rifler has only had one negative tournament with TyLoo, which was the StarSeries Finals.
However, the quality of the two Indonesian players, unfortunately, is not enough to overpower Fnatic, who will be looking to claim their third consecutive major international trophy.
Natus Vincere and Renegades have been drawn to tee off in the second opening match of Group C. Both of these teams have not competed in an offline tournament environment in the last two months, and neither of these teams have had made recent changes.
Na’Vi’s last tournament placing was at the StarLadder StarSeries Finals, where they were able to secure a finals match versus mousesports. The CIS side lost to mousesports, in what was considered an extremely disappointing showing from Na’Vi in the finals. In the finals, their star player, s1mple, was a pivotal factor in Na’Vi avoiding embarrassment, finishing the match with an individual score of 90/53, 98.0 ADR and a HLTV rating of 1.56. S1mple’s performance was 30 frags above his next teammate, flamie.
Renegades last played at the StarSeries Finals, where they placed in the top eight, and at IEM Katowice, where they suffered an early exit. The predominantly Australian side have been performing well online, however, online matches are not a clear indicator of current team form.
Group D Opening Matches:
The final group of Dreamhack Masters Marseille, Group D, pits Team Liquid against Gambit Esports.
Team Liquid have recently acquired TACO from SK Gaming, as a replacement for steel, who requested to be benched.
Team Liquid had found success with steel. The North American side placed highly at a number of events, such as the StarLadder Finals, IEM Katowice, and claimed first place at cs_summit 2. Meddling with a winning formula can be detrimental to a side, however, it can also improve a team and push them past their previous benchmark. Adding TACO as a dedicated entry fragger and support player allows for sites to be opened up, alongside ELiGE, and thus has the potential to make Team Liquid a deadlier team on the T side. With NAF lurking and Twistzz playing the mid to late round, the talent that Liquid possesses at the moment is something to be cautious in handling.
Gambit, since the departure of Zeus, have struggled to find a winning formula of their own, and their results are a reflection of that, as the CIS mixed side have failed to make the marks they were able to make prior to Zeus’ departure. It is an interesting time for Gambit, with seized trying out the in game leading role.
At the moment, Gambit have been underwhelming, and there has been little evidence to suggest that they have improved further, and may struggle against a new look Team Liquid.
Space Soldiers take on Astralis in the second opening match of Group D.
Astralis and Space Soldiers have little to talk about in terms of tournament results due to the break after WESG. Astralis placed in the top four of IEM Katowice, and Space Soldiers finished second at the WESG.
Both teams are coming off of hot runs in the context of online Counter Strike, with both teams performing well in the ESL Pro League. Furthermore, Space Soldiers have achieved qualification for IEM Sydney.
Both of these teams would have used the off time adequately, in order to prepare for the upcoming run of international tournaments.
Dreamhack Masters Marseille is a test for the vast majority of these new rosters that are entering an offline tournament for the first time. This tournament will be a stern test for these rosters, and more than likely will be used as a place to identify mistakes and make adjustments for the tournaments in the second half of 2018.
The majority of these teams will use the results from Dreamhack Masters Marseille will be used as a building point for these teams to correct mistakes and tweak their systems further to get the best out of their new additions as the competitive year progresses. The most exciting part is seeing what the teams have come up with so far with their new signings, and how it is executed in the server.
Regardless, Dreamhack Masters Marseille is set to be a fantastic display of the highest level of Counter-Strike.