DreamHack Malmo concluded last Sunday, waving in the old guard of Fnatic back into the professional fold. The tournament featured many weird and wonderful storylines, showing that this era of Counterstrike truly is anyone’s game. With the remainder of 2019 calendar action-packed, let’s look at some of the stronger narratives moving on.
Fnatic is back
Heading into DreamHack Masters: Malmo, analyst and pundit Chad “Spunj” Burchill predicted that neither Swedish team would make it to the LAN. There was nothing wrong with what he said, as it made total sense at the time. However, both teams did make it to the stage, with Fnatic and NIP facing off in the quarter-final.
Fnatic went ahead and defeated NIP, then taking down Astralis 2-0, with an overtime victory on Nuke to send the Danes packing. Surprisingly, Fnatic continued their path to success with a final victory over the revived Team Vitality.
No one expected this to ever occur. Given the context surrounding Fnatic, the team has been slumping further down the world rankings the more time goes on. In recent history, the Berlin Major is the first time Fnatic failed to make a CSGO history. For an org as prestigious as this, this is a massive failure.
Although, this failure was the blessing they needed to return to a proven formula. Fnatic has partially returned to their Katowice 2018 winning roster. Maikil “Golden” Kunda Selim is back in-game leading, whilst Robin “flusha” Rönnquist has returned to duoing with Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson. Given that this is the first major showing for the newly reformed roster, this is an impressive feat.
With their victory, Fnatic is the first team to qualify to the IEM Katowice 2020 tournament. Fnatic has since been invited to the StarSeries i-League Season 8. The tournament is scheduled from 21st October – 27th October. This is a great turnaround for the roster and they are one to watch moving on in 2019.
The top three fall
DreamHack Malmo hasn’t been the best tournament for the top three teams in the world. Astralis, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses all failed to make a deep run in the tournament, with Astralis getting the furthest of the three.
As stated in our article, Evi Geniuses went out of the tournament without winning a single map. For a team coming off the back of the ESL One New York, this was a stark contrast to their success. Question marks sill maintain whether they are a true contender, and only time will tell on their next lan outing.
As for Team Liquid, the team we believe to be the world’s number one doesn’t even look like a worlds number five. The player break seems to have killed their momentum. Furthermore, recent tournaments seem to not be doing them any favours. Does Team Liquid still have what it takes to contend at the top, some of us are not so sure at the moment…
As for Astralis, they seem to be the most consistent of the three teas, Since the CSGO season recommenced, Astralis has won the Berlin Major, 2nd place at ESL One New York, and a semi-finalist at DreamHack Malmo. Astralis still has room to improve their form, and their consistency at the moment is worth the mention. Astralis can be the team to regain their form, but a welcome shakeup to the unpredictability of tournament champions is nice after living in the Astralis and Team Liquid era.
Roster shakeups look promising
Both Natus Vincere and Team Vitality have recently undergone roster changes. Team Vitality acquired Richard “shox” Papillon, whilst Natus Vincere picked up Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács. Both teams have acquired greater firepower, which seems to be working well in their first tournament back.
In fact, we got a real taste of what to expect from both rosters. OnFireMoses jokingly spoke of how Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut is to bring the team to 14 rounds, whilst shox is to bring them the map victory. Well, it turns out that is how Team Vitality was able to defeat mousesports on Mirage.
As for Natus Vincere, this is the strongest they have looked all year. Natus Vincere still has some teething issue to head through, but that is to be expected with Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov becoming the new IGL.
Both of these teams are a welcome breath of fresh air given the slumps in the CSGO competitive scene. ENCE’s revived roster is flopping, whilst NiP still looks out of their depth at times. The remainder of the calendar should give both Vitality and Na’Vi time to really get themselves going in their new environment.