underperforming

Why are some teams under-performing?

The Counter-Strike scene is in a state of flux like we’ve never seen before. Truly, there are about eight teams who can at any time win a tournament. The tier below the ‘top tier’ (teams that could win a big tournament) is as strong as it has ever been. Team Liquid, per HLTV, was rated as the ninth best team in the world. A fringe playoff team, who could maybe make the semis of an international tournament, with a lucky bracket draw. That was their situation before they made the finals at ESL One New York, beating the best team in the world in a best of three to get there.

However, there are some teams under-performing given their stature and talent level. I’m going to try to analyze why these teams are under-performing, one by one. My definition of ‘under-performing’ is a team that isn’t playing up to their standards or expectations. Keep in mind, some of my analytics will be related to the eye test; therefore, there will be opinions. I know, opinions in 2017, an absolute deathtrap.

Astralis

Astralis is a team everyone has noticed under-performing. From IEM Oakland in 2016 until DreamHack Masters Malmo 2017, Astralis did not fail to make the semifinals once. During this span, they made six finals and won three tournaments. Falling out in the group stage is unacceptable for a team of their stature, I don’t care the format. It is not okay to lose to Team Liquid in a best of three match when best of three’s are supposed to be your bread and butter.

To theorize why Astralis are playing poorly, by their standards anyway, let’s look into the individual performances of players, as I think they still play one of the best brands of Counter-Strike in the scene today. When looking, Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander is really the only under-performer (0.99 HLTV rating in the last three months on LAN).

All that said, I’m not worried about the Danes. Their style of Counter-Strike is highly proficient, and they have some of the best players in the game. I believe they will return to their winning ways very soon.

Virtus.Pro

I will admit, you can never really say what form VP are in. They can bomb out in groups of one tournament, and win the next one; however, the reason I say they are under-performing is that those peaks haven’t been there. The last time they made a finals appearance at a notable tournament was DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, six months ago. For reference, this is their second-longest finals drought, since their drought at the end of 2015 into 2016. This drought is still in full effect, and I’m not sure I see it ending soon.

Noticeably, VP doesn’t seem to have that same sort of chemistry we are used to seeing. Usually, VP looks like a ‘hive mind’ sort of team, as if they know exactly what one another will do next; I haven’t seen that VP as of late. The under-performance of Wiktor ‘TaZ’ Wojtas, Filip ‘NEO’ Kubski and Janusz ‘Snax’ Pogorzelski doesn’t help (0.91, 0.93, and 0.97 HLTV ratings over the past three months on LAN, respectively).

At the end of the day, the poles are in serious trouble right now. If they don’t put it all together and do something, the unthinkable might happen.

SK Gaming

Let me be clear, I do rank SK as the best team in the world; they just haven’t been dominating the way we grew accustomed to since cs_summit. Following a group stage exit in SL i-League Starseries Season 3, they failed to win only one tournament until the PGL Major. From the PGL Major onward, they have yet to make a final, much less win a tournament.

Watching them play, they don’t seem to have that same discipline as the SK of 2016. They seem much looser, which I suppose has been to their benefit up to this point. In terms of individuals under-performing, there’s not much to speak of besides Epitacio ‘TACO’ de Melo not playing well (0.96 on LAN over the past three months). Although João ‘felps’ Vasconcellos is coming off his worst performance since joining SK at ESL One New York (0.89, negative 22 K/D), I personally am not concerned.

It’s likely SK will turn it around; on the off chance they don’t, my money is on G2 to take over their world number one spot.

I suppose we are in ‘the parity era’ so these under-performances are sort of warranted in a way. The nature of the game and the scene does tend to lean itself towards less dominance from teams, so you might think I am overreacting; the way I see it though, these teams have too much pedigree to not be performing.


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liquid

Team Liquid makes two grand finals in a row

Team Liquid has been one of the most confusing teams in the CSGO scene. Having some of the best players in NA, they’ve never lived up to the potential. And outside of issues we may not know, there’s really no apparent reason why. Fortunately, in recent events, they have shown some amazing things. Let’s look through their last two events and see what exactly went right for the team.

ESG Tour Mykonos 2017

Group Stage

Starting in the group stage, TL faced BIG on Overpass. There wasn’t too much on the positive side of things to take out of the match. Both teams made many mistakes and Liquid just so happened to make less of them. They then went on to face Virtus.Pro in the winners match, where VP took down Liquid somewhat convincingly on Mirage. The groups ended pretty uneventfully, as TL took down BIG quite easily in a Bo3.

Playoffs

liquid

Photo by: hltv.org

The semifinal against SK Gaming is where things get interesting for Liquid. Coming into the event, many expected that SK would take it with little to no competition. But, Liquid had something to say for themselves. In a surprising manner, Liquid took down SK Gaming without much competition from the Brazilian side, who, off the back of a few clutches and surprise rounds, only put up 12 and 10 rounds respectively in two maps.

Moving on to the grand finals, Liquid faced mousesports. Unfortunately for Liquid, Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný decided that he wanted to win the game himself and had a pretty easy time doing so. All maps aside from Liquid’s second map win were pretty one sided, with mousesports taking the last map in an even more dominant fashion.

After the event

After the event, a couple things that Liquid could take away were their result and beating SK in a best of three. It was a huge improvement over what Liquid had shown earlier in the year. Everyone, including themselves, knew it as well. Liquid was on the rise.

ESL One New York 2017

Group Stage

The group stage for New York started off with Liquid losing a Bo1 to Astralis and moving into the lower bracket to face Virtus.Pro in a Bo3. In impressive form against the NA killers, Liquid took the best of three, losing one map and moving on to face Astralis once again.

In the second match against Astralis, no one could’ve predicted Liquid beating them in a best of three, but they did just that to move on to the playoffs.

Playoffs

liquid

Photo by: hltv.org

TL ended up in the semifinals against SK Gaming once again. This time though, the Brazilians would put up a much better fight than before in Greece. Liquid took the lead in the series, taking the first map, but SK immediately took the second with dominance. The last map in the series was the most exciting, being close from start to finish. But, in the end, Liquid took the series and moved on to their second grand final in a row.

The final was played against FaZe Clan, who showed absolute dominance in their previous matches, and continued in the final where they took all three maps sending Liquid home before claiming the trophy.

After the event

After ESL One New York, Liquid should be proud of their performance. Winning three Bo3s against some of the hardest teams to play in that format of a match, Liquid is showing to become one of the best teams in the world after a year of almost no success and surprisingly very few roster changes. Liquid has only positives to take from the event and hopefully will come back even stronger at ELEAGUE in two weeks.


Featured image via Dreamhack.

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Fnatic

The split of Fnatic

Fnatic, the name alone strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. One of the most storied franchises in all of esports has just lost two of its core members. The legendary five man lineup of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjaer, Dennis ‘dennis’ Edelman, Freddy ‘KRiMZ’ Johansson, Jesper ‘JW’ Wespell and Robin ‘flusha’ Roquist, that once upon a time won six LAN tournaments in a row, has finally gone their separate ways.

Will they return?

Those of you who have been following the Counter-Strike scene since August of 2016, know that this core already split once. Flusha, JW and KRiMZ left the team to join their old in-game leader (IGL) Markus ‘pronax’ Wallsten. All three members eventually rejoined Fnatic, so could we have a similar situation here? I would say it’s doubtful, olofmeister is on a much better team now. FaZe will likely be one of the juggernaut teams for years to come. Dennis’ new team, GODSENT, has much more potential than the current Fnatic, as a lot of the players have yet to get their ‘shot’ at the big time. Specifically Fredrik ‘freddieb’ Buö and Joakim ‘disco doplan’ Gidetun. Disco did have a chance on the Fnatic roster when flusha and JW left for GODSENT (and following KRiMZ’ return to the team). Across two tournaments with Fnatic, ELEAGUE and the ELEAGUE Major, he posted a 0.76 and 0.86 HLTV rating, underwhelming to say the least.

Freddieb, on the other hand, hasn’t had a true test against top level competition. The only thing that could even remotely measure his performance was at WESG 2016. He faced the only two ‘good’ teams there, EnVyUs and Virtus Pro. Against Virtus Pro, he was somewhere in between okay and poor (-13 K/D over two maps); however, I wouldn’t judge him too harshly on this. He still has massive potential, the skill is clearly there when looking with the eye test. Dropping him into the in-game leader role is not ideal, as he is the least experienced player on the team. We don’t know if he will be in-game leading for sure, but he is replacing their former IGL, pronax, and was an IGL toward the end of his time on Epsilon.

The end of an era

Saying goodbye is always bitter, but this change was undoubtedly warranted. Swedish players are notorious for being some of the most competitive in the world, and quite frankly Fnatic has been underwhelming since flusha and JW joined GODSENT for a couple months. The chemistry we used to know them for just wasn’t there, and it didn’t seem to be clicking. They had a semi-decent performance at the major but overall have not impressed. I will still refuse to believe that olof joining FaZe is a good idea but in all honesty, it was the clear best move for him. As I’ve already stated, the new GODSENT have some serious potential, but the real question is will dennis have the patience to build from the ground up? I have no hope for this Fnatic core unless flusha and JW magically revert to their prime selves.

Farewell Fnatic, the show you put on in early 2016 will not be forgotten; you’ve produced some of the greatest moments in Counter-Strike history, and have certainly earned your place as one of the greatest rosters of all time.


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OpTic

Can the new OpTic make a splash in North America?

OpTic gaming, after being stripped of arguably their best player, Will ‘RUSH’ Wierzba, and in-game leader Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik, has decided to follow in the footsteps of their rival ‘clan’ FaZe, and pick up a European roster. Their new look roster includes the likes of legendary Swede, Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg, Finnish star AWPer Aleksi ‘allu’ Jalli and a kid from Denmark you’ve probably heard of, Emil ‘Magisk’ Reif. This roster, on paper, looks pretty convincing, especially playing in the North American region. So, let’s take a look at the potential strengths/weaknesses of this roster, and see if they are going to turn some heads.

Absolutely loaded

No, this team isn’t as loaded as teams like SK, FaZe or even Astralis, but in comparison to the teams in North America, they have an abundance in firepower. Magisk will easily be the best player in the region. When he was ‘the guy’ in North (formerly Dignitas), Magisk had some of the best tournament performances we have ever seen. One such performance being a monstrous 1.26 HLTV rating at EPICENTER Moscow across 15 maps; Moscow is the only $250k+ tournament he has won. When his former teammate Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke began to take the spotlight from him, he began to fall off. On this new OpTic team, I expect him to be the focal point, so, in theory, he could return to peak form.

Oh, did I mention the Spanish star Óscar ‘mixwell’ Cañellas? On top of this massive big three, they also have the up-and-comer from Estonia, Kevin ‘HS’ Tarn. HS is coming off of a decent performance at the PGL major, which saw him at a 1.02 HLTV rating, and an incredible major qualifier performance, where he was tied for seventh highest rated player at the tournament. This team will have no trouble putting frags on the board. All that said, this team won’t be the best in North America. Quite frankly, I think Cloud9 have more proven firepower. Though I do see them in the second to third best spot, depending on if Liquid ever decides they want to do anything. If you’re including the Brazilian teams, OpTic move down two spots but could prove to be better than Immortals. Of course, that is if Immortals even stay together.

Is there a catch?

For almost every wonderful thing in life, there comes a catch. With tasty food, comes a not so great receipt. With dank memes, comes crippling depression. You get the idea, so what’s the catch with all this firepower OpTic obtained? Well actually, multiple things.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room, friberg is not an in-game leader. For all I know, he could become a great leader, he has the experience; however, he could also fail in his endeavor, and end up being back in free agency. One thing friberg has going for him, is one of the best coaches in the world, Chet ‘ImAPet’ Singh. ImAPet will help friberg massively, just as he did CLG; for example, one notable win I happen to remember was when CLG ended Gambit’s 10 map win streak on Cobblestone when the CIS squad looked untouchable on the map. Even when taking that into account, I’d say the odds are about 60-40 against him, so it is a gamble, but will be massively beneficial if it works out.

You also have to look at the way they’ll gel on the CT side, which could also be a problem. I don’t see a clear bomb site anchor here, who can consistently delay enemy pushes on the smaller bomb sites on maps. I suppose you’d have to give the nod to friberg; although HS could fit into this role, once he gets some experience under his belt. To make matters even worse, there will be growing pains in communication. In high-pressure situations, speaking your first language can be difficult, much less your second language.

Will they succeed?

In the short term, they will probably dominate smaller, North American LANs, but in long term, I don’t foresee this team breaking the top 10 in the world, but could potentially make top 15. While I’d love to believe in this team, there are just too many question marks right now to tell; if one of you OpTic members are out there reading this, I challenge you to prove me wrong and do something incredible.


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Best plays of Dreamhack Malmö so far

This year’s edition of Dreamhack Malmö has lived up to the hype so far.

The Ninjas in Pyjamas have shown up in championship-winning form. Meanwhile, the major champions on the rocks Gambit fended off FaZe Clan’s advances. Astralis moved on to the quarterfinals unscathed. However, their Brazilian counterparts SK Gaming dropped a map to Valde’s North. With the tournament moving into the arena today, this article will highlight some of the insane plays that occurred in the group stages.

William “draken” Sundin’s ridiculous 1v2 clutch

The Ninjas in Pyjamas have been in dire need of a flashy dedicated AWPer for well over a year now. The Swede is NiP’s highest rated player at the tournament so far and is the biggest factor as to why they look so strong. It’s clear to see why fans are in awe over this clip – to get the second kill with his crosshair that distance away with that little time is something we likely won’t see again for some time. The play was even huge in the context of the game. Sundin kept Gambit off of match point, allowing the Ninjas to push the game into overtime. I can’t imagine the scene if this happened in the Malmö Arena.

Richard “shox” Papillon’s pistol 1v2

This clip is a glimpse of Shox’s true form for those who haven’t been around too long. Not only is the killing blow a nice flick onto the jumping counter-terrorist, but the decision to even go for the kill makes it so much greater. The Frenchman decides to get off the bomb with three seconds left. 99 times out of 100 in that situation, the terrorist would be left standing around after giving up the round, but not Shox. Lucas’s decision to jump peek for information is one that he will certainly be regretting now.

Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s 1v5 clutch

By now it’s no secret that I’m a bit of a s1mple fan boy and this clip tells you why. Not only does he demonstrate his raw skill by instantly trading three of his teammate’s deaths, he shows off his game sense. He makes a quiet but swift rotation to the A bomb site and then gives Nifty no chance by getting aggressive after planting. The clutch put Natus Vincere on map point and put any chance of a Renegades come back to bed.

Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund’s double wall bang on Cache

A vintage Ninjas in Pyjamas showing wouldn’t be complete without GeT_RiGhT. The clip had me reminiscing about the 1.6 days and in particular, 1.6 GeT_RiGhT. While it’s not uncommon for players to get kills through the garage door on Cache, it was made better that he kept teammate Rez alive, meaning they didn’t lose the B bomb site. A rare time where VAC was appropriate in Twitch chat.

Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson’s ninja defuse

Despite the new FaZe Clan not making the playoffs, they did leave us with a little parting gift. It came in the second half pistol which is incredibly important for obvious reasons. While it may not be one of the best ninja defuses we’ve seen in Counter-Strike history it is nice to see one every now and again. As caster Moses said on stream, usually when a sneaky defuse happens the pros get anxious about leaving the bomb too early for a while after.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. If I missed any clips let me know on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of HLTV. Props to MrSpotter and DiFendo for uploading the clips to YouTube.

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Dreamhack Malmö will mark the start of a new era

Dreamhack Masters Malmö is the first tournament after the player break. Many roster changes have happened since the major taken by Gambit over a month ago. Since the start of the tournament on Wednesday, eight teams have debuted with their new rosters. Cloud9, FaZe, fnatic, Gambit, Na’Vi, mousesports, North and Renegades have all made roster changes. Unfortunately since the start of the tournament, mousesports has been eliminated, but the rest stand. North and Na’Vi stepping foot into the playoffs as well. But, with all these new rosters comes mass potential. I’ll go through some teams attending the tournament looking to prove their new rosters.

For more information about shufflemania, check out my articles on FaZe Clan, fnatic, mousesports and Cloud9.

FaZe Clan

Malmö

Photo by: hltv.org

FaZe over the break picked up Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer and Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács. This team definitely has the most potential to win tournaments, and even dominate the scene. Going out in last place at the major seems to be the reason for picking up the duo. While many don’t think they should have changed their roster, on paper both players upgrade the team.

All the doubt surrounding the team has definitely made this team more hungry to win, to prove everyone wrong. They have the skill to do so, having some of the best players in the world. And, to top it all off they have one of the best in-game leaders around. This team has the potential to, and probably will, be one of the best if not the best in the world.

GuardiaN and olofmeister also have a lot to prove as players, as both went into a slump once coming out of an injury. Of course, the former had it a lot worse, but both led to losing confidence and motivation. To be both successful as players and as a team would boost the confidence of these players kilometers above what it is now. They have a platform in Malmö to perform as stars and they’re going to make the most of the opportunity.

Cloud9

Cloud9 made a surprising almost last second move picking up Will “RUSH” Wierzba and Tarik “tarik” Celik from OpTic. Both players are huge improvements in terms of skill from the players they replaced. Not only that, in terms of their roles, they plugged right into the system that Cloud9 had. Although tarik is their IGL as of right now. It worked well for OpTic at their last event, maybe it’ll work for Cloud9 in the long run.

Malmö

Photo by: hltv.org

There is some doubt surrounding this team about how they have too many star players and no real leader. While this is a fair reason to be worried, as history shows all stars and no IGL doesn’t work, there is huge potential for this team to work. They have all the roles they’d ever need, all the firepower they could get from NA aside from Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, and overall consistent players. While I’m not saying this team will dominate, it is fair to say that this team should be top five in the coming months.

Coming from OpTic, RUSH and tarik haven’t had the greatest year. OpTic hasn’t come close to the success they had in late 2016, where they won two tournaments and made the finals of another. They have made playoff appearances, but haven’t won a match past that. They obviously have lost a lot of motivation. And, while tarik was able to keep up his form all year, RUSH has been struggling for quite a bit. Maybe having a proper fifth this time around will hopefully help RUSH get back into form.

Malmö will be a testing ground for this new Cloud9, as they haven’t been able to get proper practice in since picking up the duo. Luckily for them, they’re going to play in a best of three against SK, which is probably the best practice you can get on LAN. Even if they lose, they have plenty to look back on to improve for Dreamhack Montreal, ESL One New York and the ELEAGUE Premier.

Natus Vincere

Malmö

Photo by: hltv.org

After leading Gambit to a major win over a month ago, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko moved over to Na’Vi along with Mykhailo “kane” Blagin. Denis “seized” Kostin was also put back onto the starting lineup for Na’Vi after being removed six days beforehand. This is probably the best move that all parties could have made. Gambit couldn’t be relied on to repeat a performance like what they did at the major, and Na’Vi was going nowhere beforehand. Not only that, Na’Vi was unable to make their first move, so to get this instead is pretty nice.

All the players on Na’Vi have something to prove with this roster. Whether it be in individual skill or in an overall team aspect. They’ve been consistently underwhelming since moving seized to IGL after Zeus was kicked last year. It came to an end after they went out in groups at the Major, being the first time for the organization since Cologne 2014.

Much like the others, Malmö is going to be a test for the new team. Already in the playoffs after wins against Virtus.Pro and Astralis, they’re doing better than recent past performances. Winning one of four Bo3 wins on LAN against a top 10 team for the organization this year is big. If they go out in this stage, there should be nothing but positives moving forward.

North

Malmö

Photo by: hltv.org

North made a surprising move after the major, removing Emil “Magisk” Reif. Fortunately for them, Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså was a free agent after being benched by Heroic. In terms of roles all across the team, this move made a lot of sense. The move seems to have worked out for the organization as they beat both Cloud9 and SK in the groups of Malmö.

Valde has a lot to prove for himself and his old team, as it was a very questionable move removing him from the Heroic lineup. Since joining the team he’s been performing quite well individually. Whether it be in the Pro League or this tournament himself, he’s led the team to some comfortable wins. Philip “aizy” Aistrup has a lot to prove for himself as well.

North have stated they’ll have three tournaments before they consider changing anything. So far going 2-0 in the groups of Malmö, they’ve proven themselves to be top eight. They will need to keep up this caliber of play in order to compete with top tier teams consistently moving forward.

Featured image via Dreamhack

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Storylines to watch at DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017

At last year’s DreamHack Masters Malmö, Swedish fans were gifted the title they had longed for. A special performance from the Ninjas in Pyjamas caused a stir in the vibrant Malmö Arena. This time around it looks to be another spectacle, thanks to the roster-mania that took place in the player break. With the tournament kicking off tomorrow, this article will discuss some of the storylines on everyone’s minds heading into DreamHack Masters Malmö.

The high profile transfers

During the off season, FaZe Clan made two huge signings in Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson. Meanwhile, overseas Cloud9 were making waves of their own pinching Will “RUSH” Wierzba and Tarik “Tarik” Celik from OpTic Gaming. The two widely supported organizations have a lot of fans brimming with excitement heading into their first big test.

Olofmeister will don a FaZe jersey for the first time this week. [Source: HLTV]

There has been much deliberation on how FaZe Clan is going to bring this superstar team together. I believe that initially, they’ll struggle more than Cloud9. It is presumed that Håvard “rain” Nygaard will be taking on the support role. That leaves Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Olofmeister and GuardiaN. This is where the Red Militia will struggle most. Allocating resources to all three of these players will be hard, I anticipate that NiKo will play similarly to Rain in order to give Olofmeister the space he needs to settle into the new style of calling.

Another question mark is how Finn “karrigan” Andersen will make use of GuardiaN. The Dane hasn’t played with an out and out AWPer for some time, since Aleksi “allu” Jalli was a more passive AWP, while he could leave Nicolai “device” Reedtz to his own devices before that.

Cloud9 should have an easier time making adjustments. They’ve essentially swapped firepower for more firepower. Rush is going to be the biggest difference maker. With him entry-fragging it allows Jake “Stewie2K” Yip and Timothy “autimatic” Ta to go in second and third, rather than first. This is better for C9 since the aforementioned duo can easily win lost rounds if they are left last alive.

Rush and Tarik won ELEAGUE Season 2 together. [Source: OpTic Gaming]

In spite of that, FaZe has a stronger case for getting out of groups. They are in group C with Gambit and mousesports who’ve also made changes and the ever inconsistent Ninjas in Pyjamas. Meanwhile, NA’s hope is in group A with the unchanged SK Gaming, Valde’s North and unknown entity B.O.O.T-d[S] of Singapore. The game paramount to Cloud9’s chance will be the one versus North. If they win that they should get out of groups.

How will the major finalists fare?

Even with the PGL Major still fresh in our minds the two rosters that made the final seem far removed from what they were then. Gambit lost their prestigious leader while Immortals is reportedly suffering from internal conflict. It seems both rosters are aware their major run was a fluke.

Zeus left his major winning team to return to Na’Vi. [Source: Gfinity]

Replacing Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko on Gambit is Kazakhstani Bektiyar “Fitch” Bahytov. The player’s only notable appearance was at the Major qualifier with Tengri where they lost with an abysmal 0-3 record. It will be hard to match the presence Zeus brought to the team and with the Gambit coach also leaving for Natus Vincere it’s unlikely he’ll be able to rally the troops this early on. It seems the head of the snake has been cut off with this one.

The Brazilians on Immortals have actually kept the same squad but their reported internal struggles alongside a difficult group might result in an early exit. They are placed in a group with G2 Esports, EnVyUs and Fnatic. G2 have the potential to come alive at any time while EnVy is enjoying a hot streak, winning qualifier after qualifier. Here in Malmö, I believe there’s a huge chance they qualify for their first major playoffs in some time. Unfortunately, this will leave Immortals watching from the stands.

The other big swaps

Following on from the previous storyline, Zeus left Gambit to reunite with Natus Vincere. In one of my previous articles, I discussed in depth how I believe his return will ignite Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. DreamHack Masters will be the first chance we get to see this in action on LAN and hopefully, it lives up to the hype.

Valde stood in with the North bunch at the ECS Season 2 finals. [Source: Cybersport]

Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså replacing Emil “Magisk” Reif on North was also a huge talking point. The former is regarded as one of the hottest topics in Counter-Strike. Fellow Dane Casper “cadiaN” Møller recently likened Valde to Stewie2k citing his perfect timing and using enemy grenades against them as hallmarks of his play. Maybe he can be the consistent star Magisk never could?

The final change to discuss is Fnatic bringing on Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson and Maikil “Golden” Selim. This move has already been reviewed by fellow Haus mate Joe Sitavanc. However, to sum up his thoughts it’s probably going to take some time before these Swedes make it back to the top.

Could the Ninjas hold the crown?

I’m sure most fans are expecting a win out of either SK Gaming or Astralis but is it possible NiP defends their title? The last time we saw this team out on LAN they won DreamHack Valencia. Admittedly, that tournament didn’t have anywhere near the caliber of teams Malmö has but it has to be a confidence boost if nothing else.

Their recent Pro League results have been lackluster but we all know how unreliable they are. I hope the Ninjas come into the tournament fully prepared and give the home crowd something to cheer about. The new coaching rule from DreamHack should benefit them massively. With Björn “THREAT” Pers being able to have more input again it should relieve some pressure off of Richard “Xizt” Landström who still has fragging potential in his own right.

NiP have become synonymous with being inconsistent from tournament to tournament. So who knows, maybe this could be one of their hot weeks. To get you in the mood for tomorrow’s action watch this video of the Malmö Arena.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of DreamHack. Huge credit to the Ninjas in Pyjamas YouTube for the footage.

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Mixing up the Counter-Strike calendar

We all look forward to the ESL Ones and the Dreamhack Masters of the year. They provide us with some of the most competitive and intense Counter-Strike. With the number of events from the likes of ESL, Dreamhack and ELEAGUE still on the rise, it’s important that the fans get something different from time to time.

Enter Blast Pro Series, ESG Tour and World Electronic Sports Games. Their various changes to the format and innovative ways of producing Counter-Strike inject some excitement into the scene for long-time fans. This article will take a look at these upcoming tournaments and suggest why you should tune in.

Blast Pro Series

Despite this tournament aiming to switch up the scene, it’s still one of Denmark’s first big LAN events in CS:GO. The venue for the Blast Pro Series will be the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, capable of housing 16,000 people at max capacity.

The Royal Arena will host the Blast Pro Series. [Source: magasinetkbh.dk]

The announcement on HLTV tells us that three matches will be played simultaneously and will all be shown on screens around the arena. Fans will be able to choose the sound of the match they want to follow using headsets.

This type of stage setup was used at the most recent Call of Duty World Championship where they had the Bravo stream setup below the main stage, and they dipped into the Bravo stream during breaks on the main stage to fill time. It was an interesting concept which fans liked, for the most part. However, it was said that there wasn’t really any way of fully engaging with the Bravo stream even if the game was better or closer than the one on the main stage. This looks to be something Blast has already covered with fans being able to choose the sound of the match they want.

The Call of Duty World Championship had four teams on stage at once. [Source: Reddit u/theesportstv]

My interest is how Blast will be able to translate the thrill of watching three matches at once in the stadium to those watching at home. Will it just be a simple three stream setup? I’m hoping there’s something a bit more exciting. There’s the potential to have something like the Final Score football show, where we have live feedback from all the games going on and show all the best plays from each game as they happen.

Unfortunately, the $250,000 tournament isn’t until November 24th so we’ll have to wait until then to find out.

ESG Tour Mykonos

A new series of tournaments called the Electronic Sports Global Tour starts on September 7th on the Greek island of Mykonos.

The beautiful island of Mykonos. [Source: The Telegraph]

One of Greece’s many party destinations may seem like an odd place for a Counter-Strike tournament. However, Stamos Venios stated in their press release that “ESG Tour | Mykonos 2017 will not just be another ordinary event. The stunning view, relaxing atmosphere and great service will make it special and memorable for the players, who are the ones making esports what it is today: fascinating, enjoyable and fun.”

From the information, I’ve seen the tournament seems akin to cs_summit of early last year. That tournament was very popular with fans, with their favorite professionals casting the games and comedic content to fill breaks. Summit replaced the intensity of competitive Counter-Strike and replaced it with entertainment all while still delivering what we crave most, top level CS. I believe fans have been waiting for another tournament like that for a while. If you missed cs_summit, below is one of the highlights.

It will be up to ESG Tour to try to match, or even better, out do the unforgettable cs_summit. With a Greek island and the stunning Destiny Villa at their disposal, it’s definitely possible. We’ll be able to find out soon as popular teams such as SK Gaming, Virtus.pro and Team Liquid will touchdown in Mykonos at the beginning of September.

World Electronic Sports Games

This tournament is essentially a normal tournament, much like an ESL or Dreamhack one, with a single exception: anyone can sign up for the $1.5 million dollar tournament.

Everyone loves a good upset from time to time and there’s no better time than at a tournament of such caliber. It’s always a pleasure to watch new talent rise up. Hopefully some players will set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. There are qualifiers all across the world, so grab a few friends and you never know what could happen. Even if you get deep in the qualifier and end up losing to one of the top teams such as Cloud9 or Virtus.pro, who’ve already signed up, that in itself is an experience.

Last year Team EnVyUs hoisted the WESG trophy. [Source: HLTV.org]

The main event isn’t until March 2018 but the qualifiers are already underway so get yourself a team as soon as you can and see what you can make happen.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of youtube.com/blastproseries

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Fnatic add Lekr0 and Golden: A few cons

The Fnatic roster of Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson, Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist announced their new pickups this week. Filling in the two spots are Maikil “Golden” Selim and Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson. Looking at the roster, you can tell exactly why they picked up who they did. They wanted a proper in-game-leader and young players. The duo of flusha and JW also played with Lekr0 when they were with GODSENT. Here we will discuss some cons of this roster move.

For more information about shufflemania, check out my articles on FaZe Clan, mousesports and Cloud9.

1. Inexperienced players

fnatic

Photo by: hltv.org

Golden has never played in an event with multiple tier one teams. He’s never had to call against players of the caliber that he will face while on Fnatic. While Fnatic may have found one of the few up and coming IGLs of the Swedish scene, it is very hard to predict that he will do well. Coming from Fnatic Academy, he led the team to a peak of #20 on HLTV.org. They didn’t get there due to the tactics, they got there because of the firepower coming from the young talent. While he is one of the best players to pick up to give them structure, much like Alec “Slemmy” White’s time on Cloud9, his inexperience on the top level will show.

As for Lekr0, aside from a few Dreamhacks and the Major in Atlanta earlier this year, he hasn’t had much experience at the top level. He’s definitely shown to be a huge player for GODSENT, winning rounds essentially on his own. Unfortunately, he’s just not used to playing at a high level consistently. Fnatic is attending Dreamhack Masters Malmö in just less than week, and then the ELEAGUE Premier 2017 just two weeks later. Time will tell how they do on the big stage against some of the top players in the world.

2. Overall less firepower

 

fnatic

Photo by: hltv.org

Together, both Golden and Lekr0 are steps down in terms of skill compared to Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer and Dennis “Dennis” Edman. While Golden can potentially make it up with his calling, Lekr0 will need to become a god to live up to what either player has done for the team. Known for his deagle, maybe he can replace the pistol god Dennis. For now though, the two have huge shoes to fill. Not to mention flusha who may come into form as he no longer has the pressure of calling.

Another issue is that in the past, KRiMZ has proven to have issues without olofmeister to play around on sites. His short stint with GODSENT was by far the worst of his career, and that can be attributed mainly to not playing with olofmeister. Afterall, they are known as the most legendary duo of CS:GO. Hopefully he can prove us wrong, but history shows that it can become a problem.

3. Fleeting motivation

fnatic

Photo by: hltv.org

It’s easy to tell that the trio left over are tired of not winning. They were on the most legendary lineup in CS:GO, winning two majors in a row. Then, after one roster change, won tournaments left to right. Anyone would miss that. Not winning anything for well over a year can take a toll on their motivation, and can negatively affect the newcomers. Of course, it could definitely be said that their motivation is most likely going to get a boost having two new and young players alongside them.

The only reason that a lack of motivation would be an issue is that the players wouldn’t take the game 100% seriously. Especially with two new players coming in, one being an IGL. He’s not going to want three players he probably looks up to not listening to what he has to say. Of course, the players are probably a lot more mature than to do anything similar to this, but it could become an issue. Whether it be right away or weeks even months in the future. Hopefully it never becomes an issue and the team can find some sort of success with this new roster, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Featured image via hltv.org

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RUSH and tarik to Cloud9, a jaw dropping roster change

Cloud9 opened eyes and dropped jaws Tuesday morning after announcing the additions of Will “RUSH” Wierzba and Tarik “tarik” Celik. This move is one of the most surprising of all the shuffles, and also one of the best. This lineup cements itself as one of the most, if not the most, skilled lineups of NA CS history.

For more information about shufflemania, check out my articles on FaZe Clan and mousesports.

A much higher team-wide skill ceiling

Cloud9

Photo by: hltv.org

In the past Cloud9 has had players on the roster who were much less skilled than the rest. Not only that, Cloud9 has always had the problem of having a player or two not “show up”. While we haven’t yet seen how this roster can change the past issues, it’s almost obvious that it should be fixed. Not only that, but the constant confusion about who is playing what role is now gone. Everyone has their own place, and aside from everyone contributing to the IGL role, everyone knows what to do.

Having, in my opinion, the top three North American players on one team also contributes to the massive jump toward the skill ceiling. As well as having the best AWPer in NA, it helps a lot in the overall skill. Adding tarik into the mix adds a player who rarely has a bad event. Unfortunately in the case of tarik, he does sometimes have a moment where he does something that loses the round. If this can be fixed, there are almost no flaws in this lineup aside from no proper leadership.

Prebuilt chemistry

Cloud9

Photo by: hltv.org

Looking at the players of Cloud9, it’s obvious to see the chemistry already built up among players. The most obvious case is Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and tarik, as they PUG together and joke around a lot. Another example, though less known, is between RUSH and Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, who both played together at CEVO Season 6 Finals on eLevate, leading to some familiarity.

The mix of players also looks to be quite a good mix on paper. Whether it be in game or out of the game, the players all seem to fit together like a puzzle. Of course it is possible for the players to not get along, but we will just have to wait and see.

Good choice in replacements

 

Cloud9

Photo by: hltv.org

While it’s sad to see the original Cloud9 roster gone, you can’t deny that the replacements are well made and make sense. Mike “Shroud” Grzesiek is now able to do what he loves full time and Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert is able to pursue something else in esports, whether it be playing or being an analyst or caster at events. Unfortunately for the case of n0thing, his benching was a team decision opposed to Shroud’s benching where he stepped down himself.

Role wise, the replacements make sense. Having a 100% dedicated entry in RUSH fixes the problem with n0thing not wanting to entry every now and then. On the other hand with tarik, he is a consistent player. And, despite the peanut-brain meme, as a player he makes smart decisions with the rare occasion of messing up a round for the team. This was an issue with n0thing as well, but opposed to tarik he did it more on a consistent basis.

Overall this move seems to be a win for the organization and players. Having a more skilled roster, players who might fit better together, and having roles make sense for once, there’s few flaws in the move. We’ll just have to wait and see how the roster all together will perform on the 22nd with the kick off of ESL Pro League Season 6.


Featured image via hltv.org

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers. You can also follow me on my personal Twitter.

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