DreamHack Winter 2017
Dota 2 - DreamLeague Major
The second Major of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit was held at DH Winter, and it was a great success for Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses as they placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. The event lasted three days and while the two teams finished close together, the paths that each of them took were drastically different. For EG, the road was rocky; they fell into the lower bracket immediately after losing to Team Secret in the upper bracket. They endured and slowly made their way through Infamous, Virtus Pro, and Na`Vi before meeting their match in the lower bracket finals against Team Liquid.
This run is significant for EG for multiple reasons. Most importantly, it proved that EG is still one of the top teams in the world after a few setbacks in qualifiers and narrowly missing out on DPC points from the last Major. EG is now 5th overall and over 500 points ahead of the 8th place team, giving them a healthy buffer in the invite system. Their victory over the Hamburg Major winners Virtus Pro and a surging Na`Vi from the CIS region also paints a brighter future for EG as they adjust to having Fear return to their lineup. In the months to come, seeing EG win one of the coveted Major titles would not be surprising given what we saw in DreamLeague.
Team Liquid on the other hand made their trek through the upper bracket, first defeating Fnatic who had the unfortunate bracket luck of being matched against the TI champs in the first round. Liquid then faced Virtus Pro, and with the return of GH’s wisp in a deciding game 3, TL moved on to face Team Secret in the upper bracket finals. While Liquid managed to take the first game off Team Secret with another appearance of GH’s Wisp with the old Wisp-Tiny combination, Team Secret were prepared for it in game 2 and then sent Liquid to the lower bracket by defeating them in game 3. While Team Liquid made their way back to the grand finals from the lower bracket by defeating EG 2-0, they fell just short of claiming the title for themselves, losing to Secret once more in a surprising sweep.
However, Liquid have a lot to be happy about with their 2nd place finish. Not only are they maintaining a level of play across multiple patches that has been unseen in Dota 2 for years, they have also managed to move up to 2nd place in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit point ranking, moving themselves to an incredible 2475 points ahead of 8th place. It’s still early in the Dota 2 calendar, but oddsmakers should already have Liquid penciled in to defend their title next year. With Liquid showing no signs of slowing down we can expect to see more grand finals appearances, and some tournament victories to come.
DreamHack Winter was the site of another DreamHack Open, which can be differentiated from the much bigger DreamHack Masters events with their smaller prize pools and number of teams participating. With everyone looking ahead to Odense for the finals of ESL ProLeague, DreamHack Winter served as a palatable appetizer of flashbangs and smokes.
The tournament still offered its fare share of spectacles, and Natus Vincere put on quite a show. Playing their first LAN with their recent acquisition, the young Russian star player Denis "electronic" Sharipov, Na’Vi came in as one of the favorites to take the whole event. They were expected to perform with such a powerful and balanced lineup combining the fire and skill of the youth — s1mple, electronic, and flamie — with the experience of the veterans, Edward and Zeus. After a comfortable win against Heroic, the Russian-Ukrainian side ended up in the winners’ match against Zeus’ former team, Gambit. It was a high stakes game for both teams, as this was an opportunity for the Kazakhs to make a statement against their former leader. A long, gruesome brawl ensued, chaining overtime after overtime, until the fatidic moment where Gambit managed to seize the victory in the fifth overtime, 31 to 28, earning themselves a spot in the semis.
There, they would meet a resurgent EnVyUs side that looked strong in the group stage of the tournament. However, the French team suffered a scare against BIG in their first map of the event. BIG managed to force overtime on Cache after claiming the final three rounds of regulation, and proceed to take a 2-1 OT lead on the CT side. EnVyUs would not be denied, and the scored all 3 rounds on CT to close it out in the first OT. SIXER was once again the standout performer for nV, notching 33 kills and 1.38 rating. His quad kill in round 13 and 4K and clutch in round 21 were particular highlights, though his heroics would almost be undone by tabseN.
Their wild tournament continued on Train against mouz in the deciding match of the group. After claiming a seemingly insurmountable 13-2 lead on their T side, EnVyUs would again face a surprise. Mousesports battled back after the break, coming within 2 rounds at 12-14. Only a defuse on the back of SIXER’s clutch in round 21 managed to break mouz’ momentum, though they were still able to chain 5 straight rounds between that lone success for EnVyUs. With the possibility of another OT on the horizon, EnVyUs would hold firm. Though it was SIXER and RpK that topped the leaderboard for nV, it would be xms that would step up to close out the match. Despite struggling throughout, xms shut the door on the comeback with a team-oriented 3K to earn them a spot in the semi finals.
Unfortunately, EnVyUs would fall to Na’Vi in the first stage of the playoff bracket. An unstoppable s1mple carried Na’Vi in the series, and despite the 2-0, the games were much closer than the scores reveal. nV almost managed a most improbable comeback on Overpass after a problematic 2-13 first half where the team was able to climb back up to 11-15, but would eventually surrender the first map to Na’Vi. Nuke was much closer, with both sides trading round after round. In the end, it was s1mple and flamie that would make the difference. s1mple scored series point with a 3K on his AWP, and flamie would put 16 on the board with an impressive ace. Despite the defeat, EnVyUs had a good performance that should bode well for future events.
In the finals, Na’Vi smashed mousesports thanks, in part, to a questionable map pick from the European team and the young Na’Vi trio fired on all cylinders to take home the DreamHack Open trophy.
December’s rendition of the yearly DreamHack Winter invitational brought nothing but excitement to the Quake Champions scene, and with a $150,000 prizepool at stake, fans of the Bethesda classic got a great look into the scene’s current level of competitiveness.
The Duel tournament was separated into six groups of four players each, allowing the undefeated group stage players an automatic advancement into the quarterfinals of the playoffs and leaving the rest to battle it out in the round of twelve pre-playoff decider matches.
Groups A, B, D, and E showed the absolute most competition with cYpheR, k1llsen, toxjq, and rapha taking three and out victories in their respective group pools, giving them the chance to have an immediate seat in the second round of the playoffs.
DaHanG and rapha, both of whom are North Americans representing Team Liquid, proved to be extremely confident during the quarter finals. The two legends of Quake coincidentally won over their respective opponents with demoralizing victories on Blood Run. And, with that, the teammates were set to face off for a chance at the grand final, with only a best of three series in their way.
Sarnath, a key map of the lineup for rapha, gave him first blood and a 1-0 lead. Corrupted Keep was next in line, and would go for DaHanG just how it did it the quarters versus k1llsen — an easy victory. All that remained was Blood Run, a strong point for both legends. Yet with a championship on his mind, DaHanG held on, taking the match by the slightest of margins over his counterpart with a scoreline of 3-2.
On the opposite side of the board, toxjq had just placed a shattering victory over cYpheR on Sarnath, but in the end proved to be of little relevance for DaHanG’s impenetrable momentum. The Team Liquid player swept the grand finals 3-0 to take the the title back home to the US.
In Quake: Sacrifice, little stood in the way of Team Liquid as the boys in blue steamrolled over the competition. With an astounding 1 round lost throughout the tournament, Team Liquid earned a second successive DreamHack title to widen the gap between them and the rest of the field. 5 series wins, 11 map victories, and 16-1 in rounds played was the final tally for rapha, DaHanG, whaz and winz. Needless to say, it was another dominant display from Liquid’s Quake team.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Rounding out his tour of the world, Armada returned to DreamHack Winter in his home country of Sweden to confirm his dominion over the old continent. With most top North American talent not attending, the spotlight was on Europe’s best and brightest.
The tournament started out on Day 1 with a dominant performance by Team Alliance’s dynamic duo, brothers Adam “Armada” Lindgren and Andreas “Android” Lindgren, in Doubles. The two went on to drop a mere one game the entire tournament, and displayed the synergy and teamwork that earned them their title of “best team in the world” yet again.
In Singles, Armada was the clearly first seed to take the tournament, but the more surprising storyline came from Android, who, on the back of a victory over fellow Sheik main OverTriforce, upset his way into top 8. Unfortunately, Android would be unable to go much further as he would be eliminated in 7th place.
His illustrious older brother, on the other hand, would head straight into the grand finals after a sweep of North America’s Swedish Delight, and yet another 5-game set with Swedish compatriot Leffen.
American top seed Wizzrobe would upset Leffen in the losers’ final, and his reward was a second chance to topple Armada, who he had lost to only two weeks ago at Smash Summit 5 after being up 2-0. Despite a strong showing from Wizzrobe the entire tournament prior, an unwavering Armada proved to be too much, as he claimed the title over Wizzrobe with a 3-1 victory. Concluding an exciting weekend, Team Alliance defended the home turf with a clean sweep of DreamHack’s final event of 2017.