It’s been a solid 10 months for CS:GO team North, in particular when you consider their performance in a trio of big DreamHack Open events. Starting with a win in Montreal last September, the team also won big at Tours 2018 and now Valencia 2018.
Now an affiliate of Danish soccer team FC Copenhagen and Nordisk Film, North boast some of the top CS:GO players in the world, perhaps most notably Markus Kjaerbye.
North’s roster is a relatively new one. In fact, the longest serving player — “MSL” — joined the club on Jan. 3, 2017. He, along with “aizy” and “valde,” comprise the cornerstone of North and the engine behind these DreamHack victories.
North’s victory in Valencia
North were one of the favourites for the title in Valencia and one of five invitees. They began the tournament in Group A and duly netted a straightforward victory 16-8 over Giants Gaming in the opening game.
However, in the winner’s match, they took on Heroic and went down to a 16-10 defeat. This sent North into the decider match with AGO. It was a tough game, but North came through, winning 2-1 (16-14, 6-16, 16-12) to earn a spot in the semis.
There, they would play the two qualifiers from Group B. Fragsters took that group’s top spot with two wins. And Luminosity Gaming provided the surprise of the tournament when they defeated G2 Esports 2-1 in the decider.
Luminosity Gaming continued their rich vein of form in the semis where they provided another upset, defeating Group A winners Heroic 2-1 to reach the final. There, they would play North, who came through their semifinal with Fragsters in comfortable 2-0 fashion.
The final promised to be a close contest. But in the end, North were clearly the better team, handily winning both opening maps, Inferno and Mirage, to claim their third DreamHack Open success.
What is the next step for North?
For all North’s success, their three big victories have all come at events where the cream of the CS:GO crop has been absent. When North have taken on the very best teams, such as FaZe Clan and Astralis, they have fallen a little short. They finished 9th-12th at the ESL One Cologne 2018 earlier in the month.
Their next step will be to challenge the top teams on a more regular basis in the bigger and more lucrative events. Only then will they be able to lay claim to being one of the top CS:GO teams in the world.
Their next chance to do precisely that will likely come at the DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 event. It will be North’s performance in this tournament that will perhaps give everyone a better idea of where they stand currently in the CS:GO pecking order.
Overwatch League Playoffs latest
After a massively successful first season, the Overwatch League now has its playoffs underway. The top six teams from both the Atlantic and Pacific divisions are battling to become the first ever champions of the Overwatch League.
Last week, the quarterfinals took place: No. 6 seeds Philadelphia Fusion took on No. 3 seeds Boston Uprising; No. 4 seeds London Spitfire took on the only Pacific Division representative at this stage of the tournament, the Los Angeles Gladiators.
In both games, the lower seeded teams came through with the victory. Philadelphia earned a 2-1 win over Boston. And London Spitfire, the Stage 1 winners, also claimed a 2-1 victory over their Pacific Division opponents.
In truth, it would be unfair to label these victories as a ‘shock’ result. Boston achieved 26 victories over the season, with the L.A Gladiators landing 25 and London and Philadelphia both banked 24, so in reality, the four teams were very evenly matched heading into these quarterfinals and that is exactly how the games turned out.
That now leaves the two qualifiers facing a semifinal against the two top ranked teams. New York Excelsior will, as the top seed, face the lowest ranked opponent, Philadelphia. Then, London will take on No. 2 seed Los Angeles Valiant.
The teams will play their first match of the semifinal on July 18. On July 20, London Spitfires and Los Angeles Valiants complete their game. Then, Philadelphia and New York wrap things up a day later on July 21.
The winners of those fixtures will then compete in the Grand Final, which will be played out over two days on July 27 and 28.