Just a couple of days after Natus Vincere claimed a big win at the ESL One Cologne 2018, the next big tournament for CS:GO fans gets underway July 12 with the DreamHack Open Valencia.
The event will see eight teams, five direct invitees and three teams that earned a spot through qualifying, competing for the standard DreamHack Open prize of $100,000. As is customary on DreamHack events, there will be an opening group phase before the top two teams in each group will qualify for the playoffs.
Coming such a short time after the ESL One Cologne 2018 event, it is not surprising only two teams that competed in Germany will be making the trip to Spain — G2 Esports and North. Three other invited teams will join them, AGO Esports, Heroic, and Virtus.pro.
These teams will face European qualifier Fragsters, North American qualifiers Luminosity Gaming, and Iberian qualifiers Giants Gaming as they battle for the lion’s share of the prize pool.
Draws for the group stage
- Group A – North, Heroic, AGO Esports, Giants Gaming
- Group B – G2 Esports, Virtus.pro, Fragsters, Luminosity Gaming
Odds to win DreamHack Valencia 2018
Currently, you can get the following odds on each of the eight teams with Betway:
- G2 Esports – 11/5 favourites
- North – 47/20
- pro – 4/1
- AGO Esports – 6/1
- Heroic – 8/1
- Luminosity Gaming – 12/1
- Fragsters – 16/1
- Giants Gaming – 33/1
It is worth noting that of all the teams competing in Valencia only one has won a DreamHack event this year — North. Fragsters, Heroic, and North have all locked down third- and fourth-place finishes throughout the year.
That said, North are the form pick out of the eight teams competing in Valencia this week. They would be my pick here too. I think they are markedly stronger than the six teams with longer odds. While G2 Esports are a threat, I think their form is a little more erratic. Their last DreamHack win came in Malmo in 2017.
Although lacking some of the bigger names in the CS:GO universe at the moment, DreamHack events are usually exciting. They tend to produce some high quality events and the occasional surprise result.
The reason many teams have missed the event is likely that they are preparing for the big ELEAGUE Premier 2018 event. It gets underway in Atlanta on July 21 and features a $1,000,000 prize pool.
United Kingdom’s first esports scholarship
In other esports news, there’s some scholarship news. Over the last few years, universities and colleges in the United States have begun to offer esports scholarships.
Over time, the number of institutions offering these scholarships has risen markedly. Approximately 50 institutions now offer their own versions, with more adding their names to that list on a regular basis. Similarly, across Asia, particularly in China and South Korea, esports gamers can apply for scholarships and bursaries from a range of organisations.
However, in the UK, things have been a little slower to get off the ground. Now, that could be about to change. Yesterday, London’s University of Roehampton announced it is set to launch what it claims to be the first UK-based scholarship for students with an interest in esports.
The new scheme will feature an initial 10 students who will start in the 2019 academic year. Applications will be open in September.
The university already boasts its own gaming society and plans to create its first esports team within the next 12 months. That said, what particular esport or esports this team will focus its efforts on remains unclear at this time.
Successful students applying for the new scholarship will receive assistance of up to £1,500 a year in their studies. Students can apply regardless of the course that they are hoping to complete at the university. It is also available to postgraduate applicants as well as those starting an undergraduate qualification. For that money, the university expects scholars to show commitment to the university’s esports programme, as well as maintaining their grades in their other areas of study.
Esports in England
While those with a more favourable view of esports in the UK have reported the news positively, mainstream press, notably The Sun newspaper, that has used the word “scholarship” in inverted quotes, highlighting the problem many in the esports industry face about broader legitimacy.
With the National Students Esports competition getting underway in the UK later this year, there is a growing number of students across the country getting more involved in esports. To support that, there are now more tournaments to cater to them. Scholarship programs, such as those on offer at Roehampton, will only help swell the numbers of players and potentially improve the quality of gamers across the UK.