Because this Masters will feature several winners of recent DreamHack events, the prize money has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000 for its 16 teams. Twelve have earned invitations through their stellar play. Four more earned a place through three very tough qualifying competitions: two from Europe, one from North America and one from Asia-Oceania.
The structure is similar to a standard DreamHack event, only this time there are double the competitors. This necessitates twice the groups and one additional round in the playoffs.
The 16 teams have been drawn into four groups of four. The group stage will be played in a double elimination format. The teams that win both their initial, best-of-one matches will be declared the top seeds in the groups.
The two teams that lose their opening games will play in a best-of-three matchup. The loser of this game is eliminated and placed bottom of the group. The two teams with 1-1 records then face each other in the fifth and final game in another best-of-three match. The winner of this game qualifies as the second seed in the group, and the loser is eliminated.
This format eliminates the chance of “dead rubbers” in the group stage; each match has something riding on it for the teams taking part.
The four winners and runners-up in each group then progress to the quarterfinals. The winner of one group will be drawn against a runner-up from another.
From here on in, it is a straight knockout competition with the winner of each best-of-three quarterfinal and semi moving into the final. The losing teams are eliminated.
The final will be played on Oct. 3 in a best-of-three format.
There will be a total of seven maps used throughout the tournament:
The 16 teams are listed below in their groups. Teams that have qualified for this event (listed last) are indicated by their qualification zone. (Note that OpTic Gaming could not make the event and were replaced by Cloud9.)
- Group A – SK Gaming, North, Cloud9, BOOT-dreamscape (Asia-Oceania)
- Group B – Astralis, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Renegades (Europe)
- Group C – Gambit Esports, FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, mousesports (Europe)
- Group D – Immortals, G2 Esports, Fnatic, Team EnVyUs (North America)
There have been several roster changes leading up to the event that could have an impact:
- Natus Vincere had benched two players, seized and GuardiaN, and have also managed to acquire two Ukrainian players, Zeus and kane, from rivals Gambit Esports. Andi has since left the team.
- Gambit Esports, meanwhile, acquired fitch on a trial basis.
- North replaced one Danish player with another: Magisk left and valde joined.
- mousesports replaced two players, IoWeL and denis, with sunny and STYKO.
- Having been benched by Natus Vincere, GuardiaN then signed up with FaZe Clan, replacing allu.
- FaZe also signed olofmeister, who replaced the French player kioShiMa.
- RUSH and tarik left OpTic Gaming, who withdrew from the event, to join Cloud9.
- Jayzwalkingz joined Renegades on a trial basis.
- Finally, Fnatic replaced dennis with Lekr0 and promoted Golden to their main roster.
What do the bookmakers think?
Bet365 named a favorite for the event after having joint favorites last week.
SK Gaming are the new 3/1 favourites ahead of FaZe Clan at 7/2, with the bookies feeling FaZe Clan’s roster moves makes them a stronger prospect than in previous events.
Astralis are 4/1, with G2 Esports a surprisingly long 8/1 given their strong form in DreamHack events of late. Virtus Pro are 10/1, Natus Vincere 12/1, Ninjas in Pyjamas 14/1, mousesports 16/1, with North and Fnatic both 20/1 chances.
Gambit Esports, Team EnVyUs, and Immortals are 25/1 shots, with Cloud9 a 33/1 chance. Renegades at 150/1 and BOOT-dreamscape at 300/1 are the rank outsiders.