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DreamHack Open January 2021 - Preview

We will finally get a glimpse of the new FPX and Spirit rosters as DreamHack Open January kicks off

Valle
Freelance Esports Writer
27th Jan, 21·☕️ 7 min read
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We take a look at how the teams stack up heading into DreamHack Open January.

Competition Information

DreamHack Open January will feature eight teams battling it out for a combined prize pool of $70,000. We will get a glimpse of teams like FunPlus Phoenix and Spirit, who are set to make their debut with their new rosters.

The format is what you would expect from a DreamHack Open event. There will be two GSL-style groups of four, where the opening and winners matches are played in BO1 format, while the elimination and decider matches are BO3.

Once the group stage has concluded, the top two teams from each group will advance to a single-elimination bracket with BO3s for the semi-finals and a BO5 for the grand final.

The groups are as follows:

Group A

  • 🇩🇪 BIG
  • 🇪🇺 HellRaisers
  • 🇪🇺 FunPlus Phoenix
  • 🇺🇸 Evil Geniuses

Group B

  • 🇷🇺 Gambit
  • 🇷🇺 forZe
  • 🇷🇺 Spirit
  • 🇩🇪 Sprout

DreamHack Open kicks off January 27th and runs through January 31st.

The Current Season

BIG

BIG
Record: 166 / 0 / 98
Most Played Map: Dust2 (65.6%)
Best Map: Mirage (70.9%)
Worst Map: Inferno (54.2%)

BIG are coming in as the favourite to win this event as the No.4 ranked team in the world. The Germans haven’t had the best start to the year, losing to bitter rivals Sprout in the finals of ESL Meisterschaft, and they will hope to bounce back with a better performance at this event. As a team that regularly competes against the best teams in the world, some may think that BIG are expected to win this event, but they will face fierce competition from teams like EG, FPX, Spirit and Gambit.

HellRaisers

HellRaisers
Record: 171 / 0 / 162
Most Played Map: Dust2 (54.8%)
Best Map: Nuke (72.0%)
Worst Map: Mirage (34.0%)

HellRaisers have recently acquired the services of the Israeli AWPer anarkez, and they will hope to surprise in a tournament full of more skilled rosters. One thing that speaks in their favour is that they are well warmed up into the season, having played several smaller events since the start of the year. With that said, it would be surprising to see them make it out of a group that includes EG, FPX and BIG.

FunPlus Phoenix

FunPlus Phoenix
Record: 59 / 0 / 56
Most Played Map: Nuke (63.3%)
Best Map: Overpass (73.3%)
Worst Map: Mirage (14.3%)

FunPlus Phoenix recently picked up the former GODSENT roster featuring STYKO, zehN, Farlig and Maden. They finalized the roster just yesterday with the loan of chrisJ from mousesports, who will be a nice addition to the squad. He will likely be utilized as an entry-fragger on the team, helping to support Maden who is one of few aggressive players on this roster. The team still lacks a proper in-game leader, but at least they can fall back on solid fundamentals and a respectable map pool that they built last year.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses
Record: 80 / 1 / 47
Most Played Map: Inferno (80.6%)
Best Map: Inferno (80.6%)
Worst Map: Overpass (37.5%)

Evil Geniuses recently made the move over to Europe, and they started the year with a 1-2 record at the BLAST Premier Global Final. They were able to beat FURIA and take a map off Astralis, but they were ultimately knocked out of the competition by domestic rivals Team Liquid. It is hard to know what to expect from this EG side at the moment, but they should be able to compete against FPX and BIG for a spot in the playoffs. The interesting part would be if they were to get matched up against a team like Spirit or Gambit in a playoff match. As a North American team, they rarely get to see teams like Spirit and Gambit in action, and if they underestimate them, they could be in for a ride.

Gambit

Gambit
Record: 100 / 0 / 34
Most Played Map: Vertigo (65.4%)
Best Map: Inferno (88.9%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (65.4%)

Gambit definitely established themselves as one of the most exciting upcoming teams in the latter stages of 2020. The likes of Ax1Le and sh1ro are putting up some crazy numbers on this team, and the addition of Hobbit only seems to have made them stronger. Alongside regional rivals Spirit, they pose the biggest threat to more established teams like BIG and EG in this competition.

Sprout

Sprout
Record: 11 / 0 / 3
Most Played Map: Dust2 (100.0%)
Best Map: Dust2 (100.0%)
Worst Map: Inferno (66.7%)

Sprout kicked off the year in style, beating out regional rivals ALTERNATE aTTaX to win United Pro Series before dispatching of BIG in the final of ESL Meisterschaft. However, there is a caveat to the latter and it is that they utilized the Russian super talent degster in the final against BIG. At this tournament, they will have to settle for the services of slaxz- and kressy, two players who have been brought in to replace dycha and snatchie. Sprout aren’t expected to win this tournament, but they have always been a solid team with strong strategical know-how, something which has become a bit of a hallmark for German sides.

Spirit

Spirit
Record: 162 / 0 / 90
Most Played Map: Dust2 (67.9%)
Best Map: Train (75.9%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (40.0%)

Spirit are probably the team to watch at this tournament, in my opinion. The CIS side has brought in two of the region’s biggest talents in the form of degster and Patsi. The latter will be utilized as a rotational sixth player, while degster gets a permanent spot on the roster as the main AWPer. degster is easily one of the best upcoming talents right now, and he has the potential to take this Spirit team to another level. They were already a very scary team in terms of firepower, but he will definitely add another layer of that to this team.

forZe

forZe
Record: 203 / 0 / 151
Most Played Map: Inferno (67.0%)
Best Map: Inferno (67.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (0.0%)

It is often overlooked, but forZe is one of the longest standing rosters in the world, having played together since 2018. This is an eternity in esports. Throughout that time, they have definitely had their ups and downs, but they have stuck together and this is definitely their strength. While some of the other teams may have talent in spades, this forZe team know each other incredibly well which is a valuable asset. I would not expect forZe to win this event, but it is foolish to rule them out completely.

Betting Tips

This is a super-interesting tournament. A lot of these teams are quite evenly matched and there could be potential for some upsets in the early stages due to the BO1 format in opening and winners matches. I would look to take advantage of those. Personally, the team I am most excited for is Spirit. It is rare for teams to have an immediate impact after roster changes, but I would expect them to be a dangerous team going forward with the addition of degster and Patsi.

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