Some of the world’s best teams will be in attendance as DreamHack is set to host their first Masters event of the year in Dallas, Texas
Some of the world’s best teams will be in attendance as DreamHack is set to host their first Masters event of the year in Dallas, Texas. Will the pre-tournament favorites Team Liquid and ENCE make yet another final or will we see a new winner this time around? Read on as we break down all you need to know about the tournament.
DreamHack Masters is the most premier event on the DreamHack circuit as it features a larger prize pool and higher tier teams than the more regular DreamHack Open events. The first stop of the year will be in Dallas, Texas and it will feature sixteen teams, twelve of whom are currently residing in HLTV’s Top 20 teams in the world. Unfortunately, Astralis will not be in attendance as they have chosen to skip this tournament, just as they did with IEM Sydney last month. As a result, The Danes have taken a lot of heat from fans and journalists alike, coining the term “Blastralis” as they have chosen to prioritize the Blast Pro Series events that are organized by their owner; RFRSH Entertainment.
The sixteen teams will be split into two groups of eight. The format will be double-elimination (GSL System). The opening matches will be best-of-one and the rest will be best-of-three, playoffs included. Three teams will advance from each group. The group winner will advance directly to the semi-finals, whereas the second and third place teams will be advance to the quarter-finals. The second place team will advance with the higher seed and could potentially face off against an easier opponent in the playoffs.
This will be the first time that the tournament is held in Dallas, Texas. Previous winners at other DreamHack Masters events include the likes of North, Astralis, G2, Virtus.Pro and NiP. However, most of these teams have made major roster changes since then.
The most recent DreamHack masters event was DreamHack Stockholm in 2018, where North took down Astralis in what was a big upset at the time. It was the last tournament on North for Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, who claimed the MVP of the tournament after surprisingly picking up the AWP role for the team. The Danish in-game leader played a big part in taking out Astralis in the final, leading his team in Kills, ADR and overall rating.
Interestingly, this has been a good tournament for North historically — a team that has otherwise struggled to put up high placings in premier tournaments. They have played the tournament a total of three times under the North banner, with one win, one runner-up and one 3rd-4th place finish. However, the team has gone through many iterations and the only player who participated in all three of those events is Philip “aizy” Aistrup.
The tournament kicks off May 27 and the winner will be crowned June 1.
Note: All stats are ‘Big Events’ only with the current rosters and includes cs_summit 4. FaZe are the exception as they have only played online with their current roster.
ENCE will be making the trip from Los Angeles after attending cs_summit 4. The Finns have proven that they’re not to be messed with after several high place finishes, including a win at Blast Pro Series Madrid where they took down Astralis — ending their streak of 41 straight wins on Nuke as a result.
fnatic are coming off two second-place finishes at IEM Sydney and StarSeries i-League Season 7. Two impressive results considering the level of competition and the difficulty of the format in these two tournaments. At IEM Sydney they had a fierce battle against domestic rivals NiP in the semi-finals, a match which will likely go down as one of the best matches of the year in terms of entertainment value. They followed that up by taking Team Liquid to five maps in the best-of-five grand final, proving that they have what it takes to compete against top tier competition.
Team Liquid will be one of many teams making the trip from Los Angeles after participating at cs_summit 4. Without Astralis in attendance, the North-American super team will likely be the favorite going into DreamHack Masters Dallas, as they consistently make deep tournament runs. At IEM Sydney they defeated the likes of MIBR, NiP and BIG on their way to the final where they took down fnatic in a five map series to hoist the trophy.
NRG are sneakily putting up high place finishes since acquiring tarik earlier in the year. They finished in 3rd-4th place both at IEM Sydney and at StarSeries i-League Season 7, two tournaments with difficult formats and high tier competition. Interestingly, they have dropped the ball against fnatic in the semi-finals of both of these tournaments. The North American side might get their revenge on the Swedes this time, as they have been drawn in the same group.
FaZe will be making their first big LAN appearance under the leadership of NEO who was picked up from free agency earlier in the month. FaZe have been scraping the barrel trying to find a replacement for karrigan whom they booted off the team in 2018, resulting in NiKo having to pick up the in-game leader role for the team. With the acquisition of NEO, NiKo will no longer have that burden. The Pole was the in-game leader at times during some of Virtus.Pro’s best days, but it remains to be seen how well he will do with FaZe. It is still unknown whether FaZe will choose to make the move permanent, as NEO is currently on trial with the team. As such, FaZe will definitely be a team that will be worth watching in Dallas.
Vitality are coming off a win at cs_summit 4. Their run to the final was no fluke, as they took down Liquid, NRG and Ghost 2–0 during the first two days of the competition to secure their spot in the semi-finals where they took care of ENCE — a team that was coming in hot after their win at Blast Pro Series Madrid earlier in the month. The final against the pre-tournament favorites, Team Liquid, was a repeat from the group stage, as they swept the North American side 2–0 to hoist the trophy in Los Angeles.
At the top of the board, I favor Team Liquid. They have enough firepower to go up against anyone and they look even stronger with Stewie2k on the roster. They also consistently set themselves up to win tournaments by making final after final and without Astralis in attendance, they are deserved favorites. For upsets, I would turn my attention towards Group B that includes Cloud 9 and Renegades, two teams that are struggling for form at the moment due to sudden roster changes. Teams like fnatic and NRG are somewhat disrespected in the betting market and with Cloud 9 and Renegades in rough shape, these teams have an excellent chance of making the playoffs, setting themselves up for a potential final. Furia is my sneakiest pick to make it through groups. The Brazilians have not been afraid to play the new map, Vertigo, giving them a bit of an edge in the map veto. They are currently undefeated on the map with four victories, one of which came against AVANGAR at DreamHack Open Rio, which ended 16–2 in favor of Furia.