May the River Rats run forever.
Eight teams remain after Day 2 of DreamHack: Valencia and there are plenty of intriguing match ups on deck for Sunday’s playoff.
Renault Vitality, Randy Gibbon’s River Rats, The Bricks and PSG Esports advanced from Group A. Cloud9, FC Barcelona, Complexity Gaming and NRG Esports qualified for Day 3 from Group C.
It was, as DreamHacks always are, a jam-packed day full of goals and surprises. Before the table is set for Sunday’s final, here’s a recap of Saturday’s action.
No One Can Stop Renault Vitality in Group A
The World Champions Renault Vitality claimed the first spot in Day 3 with easy sweeps of Veloce Esports and PSG Esports. Veloce were able to find the back of Vitality’s net, but they couldn’t keep Vitality out of their own. Vitality averaged nearly four goals per game across their two series, and they’re the only team who hasn’t dropped a single game at this tournament. They’re the heavy favorites heading into Day 3.
Speaking of heavy favorites at DreamHack: Valencia, Randy Gibbons’ River Rats waltzed their way to Day 3 with 3-1 wins over Ghost Gaming and The Bricks. There’s something special about this team. The energy and attitude they play with is spectacular. They’re so unsuspecting, but lethal all at the same time.
All three of the River Rats’ wins came in overtime against Ghost, and they’ve already played seven overtime matches in this tournament. They’re 6-1 in added time, and will have a good chance at advancing if they can keep winning overtime games. The crowd loves them, and they battle hard. They make Top 8 for a second consecutive DreamHack.
The Bricks muscled their way to the playoff with a reverse sweep of Veloce. After they fell to the lower bracket against Vitality, Veloce swept GroundZero Gaming. They held The Bricks to just one goal in the first two games, but The Bricks’ offense awoke in Game 3. They knocked in five goals in Game 3, sweated out a 1-0 win in Game 4 and then narrowly escaped with a 3-2 victory in Game 5 to make the playoffs.
Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke and Linus “al0t” Mollergren made the playoff at DreamHack: Dallas with mousesports. Now they’re in the same position in Valencia but with Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani at their side.
PSG claimed the last spot of the group after a hard fought series against Dignitas. Dignitas fell to the lower bracket after a 3-2 loss at the hands of The Bricks, and narrowly avoided a loss to Ghost in their second match.
They met PSG in the last match of Group A. PSG took Game 1, but Dignitas’ defense stonewalled the French side in Games 2 and 3. Then PSG responded with a 6-0 win on the brink of elimination and it all came down to Game 5.
PSG outgunned Dignitas 3-2 and wrestled the last spot of the group away from their EU rivals.
Cloud9 Headline and Up and Down Group B
Cloud9 clobbered MOUT GANG by a combined score of 12-3 in a 3-0 sweep. They continued their form with a 3-0 sweep of Triple Trouble. Cloud9 won the Grand Final at DreamHack: Dallas, and they’re looking very strong once again at DreamHack: Valencia. If Vitality has a true equal at this tournament, it’s the Season 6 World Champions.
FC Barcelona also reached the playoff through the upper bracket after hard fought wins against Rogue and G2. The Rogue series was incredibly back and forth. Barcelona crushed Rogue 4-0 in the first game, but the NA squad responded with consecutive wins.
The Spanish squad were unfazed. They won Game 4 4-2 and then put the book ends on the series with a 4-0 domination in Game 5. FC Barcelona finally got their revenge for their group stage loss to Rogue at the World Championship.
Barca’s offense was nearly unstoppable against G2. G2 won the first game in overtime, but couldn’t close the floodgates for the rest of the series. Barcelona scored 12 goals in three games and secured their playoff position.
G2 dropped to the lower bracket to face Complexity. For the first time in this competitive season G2 took down NRG in the first round, but they fell to the lowers against Barcelona. Complexity took the long way to loser’s final. They were smacked 3-0 by Triple Trouble in round one, and then beat an overwhelmed MOUT GANG side in the lowers.
They went toe to toe with the Season 7 runner up and emerged victorious 3-1. G2 just never quite found a rhythm on offense in the series. They struggled to lock down the midfield and couldn’t convert the chances they created. Complexity shut them out in Games 1 and 3 and earned a spot in the playoff.
That left the final spot to a series between NRG and Triple Trouble. NRG beat Rogue in the first losers’ round and matched up well against Triple Trouble. They won the series with a clean 3-0 sweep, and held their EU opponents scoreless in the first two games. NRG simply had Triple Trouble’s number in the series and they earned the last spot from Group B in the playoff.
In Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez’s last professional tournament he made Day 3 without even practicing.
Who Will Rise to the Top of a Resilient Playoff Group?
The first match of Sunday’s action features Renault Vitality and NRG, who just can’t seem to escape each other. NRG beat Vitality at the last DreamHack, but Vitality beat them at the World Championship. Will Vitality capitalize on a more lax NRG side or will Fireburner carry his team to victory?
The second series pits Randy Gibbons’ River Rats against Complexity. The River Rats have been excellent at this tournament, but Complexity are rock solid as well. Complexity have yet to reach the semi-final at DreamHack despite previous top eight appearances.
It’s also worth mentioning that Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver has been fantastic subbing for the River Rats, and won the World Championship as a sub in Season 3. He could recreate some of his substitute magic and lead the River Rats to victory.
On the other side of the bracket, Cloud9 face PSG. Cloud9 have traditionally had PSG’s attack under control, but the two teams haven’t played one another often. Both teams have struggled with inconsistency and switching off in the past, but both teams are in good form.
The Bricks face FC Barcelona in the last quarterfinal. Barca fell to Team SoloMid in the same round at DreamHack: Dallas, but the hometown Valencia crowd will be on their side. If home court advantage ever played a role, it would be in this series for Barcelona.
Barcelona’s offense has been very potent at this tournament, and The Bricks defense has been solid as well. Can Barcelona unlock The Bricks’ defense, or will they be exposed on the counterattack by al0t and Speed?
DreamHack: Valencia concludes Sunday at 6 a.m. PST on twitch.tv/dreamhackrocketleague.
Featured image courtesy of DreamHack.
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