But that international schedule has meant not all the top teams can be in the same place at once. Only ESL One Cologne and the PGL Major Krakow can be said to have featured most, if not all, of the best CS:GO teams.
At the end of this month though, the DreamHack Masters in Malmo, Sweden promises to be the biggest and best DreamHack event of the year.
Standard DreamHack tournaments vs. Malmo
Usually, a DreamHack tournament comprises eight talented teams who battle through an initial group phase. Then, the top two teams compete in the semis, and the winners contest the final.
Prize money is usually set at around $100,000, and the winning team takes home $50,000 of that.
However, the DreamHack Masters Malmo is a very different event and on a larger scale. Sixteen teams will play in four groups of four. Once again, the top two teams in each group will qualify for the playoff round. The playoff round comprises quarterfinals, semis, and finals. The winner will take home the lion’s share of a $250,000 prize pool — the biggest DreamHack pool of 2017.
Furthermore, the 12 invited teams for Malmo are the ones that have shone brightest in DreamHack events over the course of the year. This means the standard of play will be as high as possible. These 12 teams will be joined by four qualifiers: two from Europe and one apiece from North America and Asia-Oceania.
Who will be contesting the DreamHack Masters?
Although the groups have not yet been drawn for this event, which runs Aug. 30 through Sept. 3, the 16 teams that will compete are as follows:
- Astralis (Invited)
- FaZe Clan (Invited)
- Fnatic (Invited)
- G2 Esports (Invited)
- Gambit Esports (Invited)
- Immortals (Invited)
- Natus Vincere (Invited)
- Ninjas in Pyjamas (Invited)
- North (Invited)
- OpTic Gaming (Invited)
- SK Gaming (Invited)
- pro (Invited)
- O.O.T-dream[S]caps (Asia-Oceania qualifier)
- Team EnVyUs (Europe qualifier)
- Mousesports (Europe qualifier)
- Renegades (North America qualifier)
Given the importance of this event, bookmakers are already accepting bets on the Outright Winner market. So far, there’s a clear favorite.
What the bookies say about Malmo
With just a few weeks to go, Bet365 has the seemingly unconquerable SK Gaming as 2/1 favorites to win this event. SK has already won multiple DreamHack events and is on an astonishing run of form. However, this event is a real test for SK given the quality of the field.
Further down the list, the Danish super-team Astralis are the bookies’ 7-2 second favorites. They have enjoyed an outstanding year themselves, winning the ELEAGUE Major 2017 and the Intel Extreme Masters XI World Championship.
FaZe Clan are one of two teams ranked at 15/2 for the win here. But for defeats to SK Gaming in four of the biggest events of the year in 2017, plus one to Astralis in another big tournament, FaZe Clan have probably the most improved team of 2017. They took the $125,000 top prize in the StarLadder i-League Star Series Season 3 back in April.
Another team rated at 15/2 is G2 Esports. This Spanish-French side have already won one DreamHack event this year, the DreamHack Tours in May. They followed that up with a brilliant first place at the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals in June. They are also one of the few teams to defeat SK Gaming in recent times.
Outside of these teams, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Virtus Pro are all 12/1 shots. North, Fnatic, and mousesports come in at 16/1.
Gambit Gaming, another DreamHack event winner this year, are 20/1. Immortals are then 25/1. The outsiders include Team EnVyUs at 50/1, OpTic Gaming at 66/1, Renegades at 200/1, and BOOTDs are the 300/1 outsiders with also the strangest name of any team at the tournament.
It promises to be a hugely exciting event later this summer, and punters can get the best ante post prices at Bet365.