During March, pro teams had a little break from their busy schedule. Now, the break’s over and Marseille is soon approaching – the next premier LAN in the scene.
Teams maintained their form playing in less stacked events and participating in online matches. Coming into Marseille all squads are going to be in full force. We’ll see Cloud9, Liquid and SK Gaming trying out their new players on the big stage.
DreamHack Marseille Dates and Format
Dreamhack Marseille will be running from April 18th to April 22nd. All the action will take place at Le Dôme de Marseille with $250.000 up for grabs between 16 teams. Take a detailed look at how the group stage and playoffs will be running below:
- Runs from 18th to 20th;
- Four groups with four teams each, double elimination format;
- Opening and elimination matches will be played in best of one format. The winners (top-bracket) and decider matches are going to be best of three;
- Top two teams in each group advances to the playoffs
- Runs from 21st to 22nd;
- Single elimination bracket, which means that losers are instantly eliminated.
- All matches are going to be best of three.
The grand-final one team will be awarded $100.000.
And of course, if you’re unable to attend, you can follow the action on Twitch.
Fortunately, DreamHack has released the groups draw before the event and you can check out each group below:
Now that we know which teams are in each group, let’s do a quick review of what to expect from those teams. Not only this but who are our favorites to advance to the playoffs.
Group A is one of the most stacked groups in the tournament. Every team in the group will be starring at least one player for the first time in a premier LAN.
No doubts that EnVyUs is the least favorite. Starring ‘hadJi’ and ‘Kioshima’ for the first time on home soil, the Frenchmen are looking to pull out some upsets but that won’t be easy considering the competition.
They have been disappointing lately online and are one of the candidates facing relegation in ESL Pro League Season 7.
The real dispute is between FaZe, Cloud9 and G2.
FaZe Clan will be playing with ‘Xizt’, previous in-game leader for NiP who is replacing ‘olofmeister’ for the time being. It will all come down to his skill to fill his duty as he will be directly covering olofmeister.
Considering this, FaZe certainly can snap one of the spots as the team stars ‘NiKo’ and ‘GuardiaN’ will be still there.
Cloud9 and G2 are the big question here
Cloud9 have a question mark hanging over them. Will Skadoodle be playing? The famous NA AWPer announced his departure late March but is being used by the team as their fifth while a definitive replacement comes.
Skadoodle didn’t leave C9. The NA powerhouse will be under the leadership of ‘FNS’, who is replacing ‘Stewie2K’ that have been transferred to SK. Tarik, the previous C9 in-game leader will fully focus on his strength to compensate for FNS.
So far, the new in-game lead for C9 managed to score some matches online. Marseille however will be the time to show if his tactical strengths can compensate for his lack of raw skill and inability to pull kills in the scoreboard.
Now the French G2, the team added the Spanish ‘mixwell’, who is replacing ‘shox’ after some internal problems. While it’s a decent change, it doesn’t change much for the rest of the team. ‘Bodyy’ still needs to find a way to perform and ‘apEX’ needs to finds consistency.
While they can exploit Cloud9 in the first match, the question remains – will they be able to beat FaZe later in a Bo3? If not, then Cloud9 can recover for the Bo3 later and take them out of Marseille on home soil.
The starting matches for this group are going to be:
- Cloud9 x G2 – with Mirage being the map expected to be picked. This gives a slight advantage to G2
- FaZe x EnVyUS – with Inferno being the expected map picked. This gives a huge advantage to FaZe
Group B, while more balanced, still is pretty stacked. Mousesports, SK Gaming and NiP all looking good.
Mousesports is a team that is guaranteed to advance here. They can beat pretty much any team in the group. Although, if they get overconfident and don’t control their mistakes, SK and NiP can take a win from them. This is improbable as we talked about Mousesports ability to control themselves in bad situations.
The dispute is around the second spot. Valiance is pretty much dead under water from day one. While they impressed in the qualifier, they didn’t get placed in a very favorable group. Certainly, Marseille will be a great event to learn and get experience but hoping to beat the other teams here is unlikely.
SK Gaming and NiP fighting for the last spot
It’s all about SK Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas for the second spot. Since the first match of group B will be between them, the winner will gain an advantage for the Decider match coming later.
Our favorites for this dispute is NiP. The team impressed at Katowice where it was the first event with ‘dennis’, their new in-game leader and that still remains the case.
Now, SK continue trying set-up and put strategies in place with ‘Stewie2K’ since it’s only been less than three weeks since his arrival.
We know that ‘draken’ and ‘REZ’ would love to exploit the weaknesses left by TACO in the structure of the Brazilian roster. Shall ‘dennis’ take out any weaknesses and use his young guns to take over, SK won’t live down an easy match.
First group matches are going to be:
- Mousesports x Valiance – with Nuke being the expected map . While both teams are decent on it, Mousesports’ level is way above their opponents here.
- SK Gaming vs Ninjas in Pyjamas – with Inferno being the expected map. Certainly, one of the most disputed matches that we will be have in the group stage.
This group will be less stressed compared than the other three groups. Here, we have Natus Vincere and FNATIC as the odds-on picks to top out the division.
We can’t ignore the danger that both TyLoo and Renegades represent here though. Last time, it was the Chinese side who got the best of FNATIC, and Renegades certainly can try to overcome s1mple and flamie raw skills abusing of ‘Zeus’ lack of tactical prowess.
However, times are different now. FNATIC first match will be a rematch against TyLoo and if they don’t get overconfident, it will be a guaranteed win and they certainly can beat both Renegades and Na’Vi later on.
Na’Vi in a quicksand pool
All eyes on Natus Vincere. If ‘Nifty’ and ‘jkaem’ from Renegades are on point, Na’Vi’s CT side will be easily exploited and the Australians could upset them.
Now, we do believe that in the elimination match Natus Vincere could beat TyLoo. From there, they have to avoid another upset in the decider rematch against Renegades.
The problem with Na’Vi is that not even BO3s matches can save them from a bad performance. We saw this at IEM Katowice 2018 Qualifier where the team chemistry was not right and has only been going down hill, making things worst.
Frst matches of this group are going to be:
- FNATIC x TyLoo – we expect this match to be played on Mirage. This heavily favors FNATIC
- Natus Vincere x Renegades – Inferno is the most probable map for this match. While Natus Vincere will be able to fully use their skill here, it also opens up the match for Renegades.
Three teams will be fighting for two spots here.
It’s hard to expect anything from GAMBIT at this point. The team recently announced that ‘seized’ will be taking up the in-game leader role and we know that he is not someone who can lead teams to victory.
Liquid certainly will be the team that everyone will be waiting for. Starring ‘TACO’, ex-SK Gaming player, the team replaced ‘steel’ after the player asked to be benched.
There’s are lots of expectations around this change and how it will affect Team Liquid. One thing we know though is that TACO has experience with ‘zews’, Liquid coach. Not only this, but he can certainly bring experience and skill that ‘steel’ couldn’t.
Astralis certainly will be looking forward to try out their North American fellows. With ‘Magisk’ already set, the team surely wants to maintain the performance that they had in their last two LAN events.
Space Soldiers Dark Horse for the Decider Match
The concern for both Liquid and Astralis is Space Soldiers. The Turkish squad have been nothing short of impressive of late and they’re climbing the world rankings faster than anyone predicted.
While we believe that ‘gla1ve’ will manage to pull off a victory for Astralis after theirBo1 against SS, the danger remains in the decider match later on.
Beating GAMBIT surely won’t be a difficult task for ‘XANTARES’ squad and then they will look to punish Liquid’s mistakes, or to correct their game set with Astralis there. If the team facing SS don’t take their opponents seriously, they may get eliminated early than they expect.
Frst matches of this group are going to be:
- Liquid vs GAMBIT – Liquid can fully exploit the poorly map pool of their opponents. Train being the favored map to be played.
- Astralis vs Space Soldiers – Mirage is expected to be played here. Both teams are very good there but Astralis has the upper hand with ‘Magisk’ being one of the best players in world at Mirage.
DHM Marseille Playoffs
It’s hard to wait for Marseille. Everyone wants to know how ‘TACO’ will perform with Liquid in his first appearance under the North American brand. Plus, Mixwell and Stewie2K are also looking to get off to great start with their new teams in their first LAN tournament.
Once the group stage is over, we will be heading off to the playoffs. As we said last week, all eyes will be on Mousesports and FNATIC. We also can’t wait to see FaZe and Astralis there. Teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas and Liquid can also bring out a lot of expectations for the upcoming matches.
With everything set to kick off next week, who are your favorites to win DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018? Tell us! And don’t forget to check our daily predictions for CS:GO matches here. You can also expect our full preview for the playoffs next week!