Although not the biggest tournament of the year, DreamHack Open Fall will be a huge proving ground for teams that have struggled in the disarray caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More importantly the tournament will be a springboard for one team, with the eventual winners automatically qualifying for the IEM XV – Global Challenge.
Sixteen teams will be participating in this year’s event. With some of them surging lately, and others on a downward spiral, it’s time to see who the absolute favorites, the dark horses, and the ultimate underdogs are.
Heading into this year’s tournament, Astralis and Vitality Gaming are definitely the teams to beat. After numerous roster changes over the last couple of months, Astralis has seemingly found what works best for them. Even if things go south, Astralis has two world-class players on its bench that can be called upon when needed.
Vitality Gaming has slowly but surely established itself as one of Europe’s premier teams. Although the team had a bad showing at ESL Pro League Season 12, it still isn’t enough to overlook Vitality’s three consecutive second-place finishes beforehand.
Faze Clan will be looking to prove that its victory Intel Extreme Masters XV was not just a fluke. NiKo is looking more like his old self, with the Bosnian superstar sporting a 1.28 rating during the event. Can Faze finally break the curse that has haunted them for so long?
Lastly, we have Heroic who has emerged as a legitimate powerhouse in the European competitive scene. Although they had a poor showing at Intel Extreme Masters XV, the team’s victory at ESL One Cologne 2020 still stands as a tribute to their strength.
Teams that can compete on equal footing with the absolute favorites are G2 Esports and BIG.
G2 Esports is definitely the X factor heading into the tournament. On a good day, G2 is hands down one of the best teams in the world. But it has been a largely inconsistent year for G2, as the team spent the most of it yo-yoing between the middle of the pack and the very top.
BIG roster revamp at the beginning of the year seems to have worked out marvelously. The Germans have achieved new heights, and have been seen as the perennial contenders for every tournament they’ve attended this year. Only BIG’s slightly lackluster showing in the team’s last three tournaments has moved them down from favorite status.
Another team that you can never count out is Fnatic. Although big results have evaded them lately, the Swedes have proven time and time again that they can hold their own against the best of the best.
Finishing off we have another Swedish team, Ninjas in Pyjamas. If there is one thing that can be said about NIP’s year, it’s that the team has been consistently inconsistent. Numerous roster changes have impacted the team’s results, but NIP is finally looking primed and ready to take on the world’s best.
The Dark Horses
There are quite a few teams that, although not viewed as shoe-ins for the title, have managed to surprise us with unexpected victories and deep tournament runs. Others have completely fallen from the top of their game, but should not be underestimated.
Mousesports is the first team that comes to mind. Apart from its victory at the ICE Challenge and a second-place finish at ESL Pro League 11, the team has had a year they’d like to forget. But a deep run at ESL Pro League 12 and a gut-wrenching defeat to Astralis show that mouz still have a lot of fight left in them.
A team that turned heads just a couple of days ago was OG. After struggling to break into the limelight for some time, they finished as the runners-up at Intel Extreme Masters XV New York, letting us all know that OG has finally arrived.
Rounding out this category will be GODSENT and ENCE. GODSENT has been on the rise lately, but the team hasn’t had many opportunities to test their metal against the cream of the crop. ENCE on the other hand has shown us that they can compete with just about anybody, with the team’s joint victory with Vitality at BLAST Premier Spring standing as a testament to the Finns strength.
Although the odds on CSGO are stacked against these teams, their battle through the gauntlet was a tough one, and it would be unfair to completely count them out.
Sprout is an often overlooked team that has delivered in the past. The Germans have proved that they are no pushovers with two victories over their compatriots BIG in the last couple of months.
North is a team that has definitely fallen from grace this year. The addition of Lekr0 from NIP seems to be a step in the right direction, but only time will tell if it can help them achieve past glory.
Endpoint and sAw are the biggest outsiders here, with both teams lacking experience on CS:GO’s biggest stage. This tournament will be a true proving ground for them, and it remains to be seen how well they can measure up against the big dogs.