DreamHack Winter 2016 has begun and with the teams in attendance, Team Dignitas is a heavy favorite to win. DIG is clearly an elite team and, in my opinion, are sitting top two in the world behind only Virtus.pro. With this level of competition, Dignitas should run away with this event.
Dignitas’ New Great Danes
DIG is led by their two rising stars Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif and Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke. After joining DIG, Magiskb0y seemed to sky rocket. He consistently displayed his skill and has risen to be a top ten player in the world. Before the arrival of Magiskb0y, k0nfig was supposed to be one of the carry players for DIG. He was incredibly inconsistent, but after the departure of Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye to Astralis, k0nfig hit his stride. With the roles switching up and the addition of Magiskb0y, DIG found the fire power they had been lacking.
Before he had these star players, Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen had shown that he was a capable in-game leader. DIG’s T-sides were always formidable and once he had stars to slot into his system, MSL’s system became even more dangerous. Since joining DIG, René “cajunb” Borg has also regained his form and has slotted in behind Magiskb0y and k0nfig as a stable third option.
Lack of Top Euros
FaZe Clan have looked like they are on the come up since adding Finn “karrigan” Andersen as the in-game leader. He seems to be fitting in well and getting the most out of his stars. Unfortunately, they pulled out of this tournament and were replaced by Team Kinguin.
In terms of top tier European teams at this tournament, it is DIG and no one else. Flipsid3 Tactics have shown that they can compete at the top level tactically, but they lack the necessary fragging to match DIG. Gambit Gaming and Team Kinguin may be able to steal the odd game in a best-of-one, but are no real threat and have virtually no shot in a best-of-three.
GODSENT have the pedigree and history behind them that shows they have potential. They are also coming off a victory at the European Minor. Unfortunately, they have been a consistent disappointment since coming together and have not done anything against top tier teams.
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NA Stands a Chance
Renegades falls into the same category as some of the lesser European teams at the tournament. They have some talent but haven’t done anything to show they can hang with elite teams. However, Cloud9 and Optic Gaming are legitimate challengers for DIG.
C9 are a definitely a top ten team right now and have been formidable against the elite teams they have come across. They even won EPL season 4, beating DIG on mirage in the group stage. The issue for C9 is their overreliance on their stars carrying. If Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and Timothy “autimatic” Ta are not going off, C9 seem to fall short. But when those two are fragging, they have the potential to win tournaments.
Since adding Tarik “tarik” Celik, Optic have shown that their fragging is good enough to compete with top teams. They had a decent showing at ESL One: New York and have been on an upward trajectory ever since. Optic recently won Northern Arena Montreal beating G2 Esports in the finals. They haven’t faced many elite teams in best-of-threes and have a lot to prove, but they have an outside shot here.