DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 Event Preview: Will SK Gaming Justify Early Favouritism?

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The Malmö Arena in Sweden’s third largest city will be the focus of the CS:GO world when 16 teams compete for a $250,000 prize pool at DreamHack Malmö from August 30.

Dreamhack Malmö shapes up as one of the most anticipated events of the year, based on the recent roster moves of many top teams.



SK Gaming Should Start as Favourites

Group A is all about SK Gaming, considered the best team in the world by most experts in the scene. SK also have the advantage of no roster moves adjusting their chemistry, leading them to not only be the favourite for the group, but the event as a whole. Look for the Brazilians to dominate the competition on the way to a deep playoff run.

The second seed is between North America’s Cloud9 and Denmark’s North, both of whom come in with a new roster. Cloud9 removed both shroud and n0thing in favour of RUSH and tarik, a move universally viewed as a positive for the squad. North, by comparison, replaced Magisk with valde, a more questionable move given the struggles of aizy. While valde is a quality player, Magisk was a star player for North along with k0nfig, while n0thing and shroud w players in Cloud9. Given recent performances, Cloud9 come in as the slightest of favourites over North.



Astralis a Strong Contender

Group B shapes up as another three-way race for the two playoff spots, with Astralis, Virtus.pro, and Natus Vincere battling it out. Astralis come in as one of the favourites for the entire event for similar reasons to SK Gaming. Already a top-three team in the world, coupled with no roster changes, Astralis should be able to secure the first seed.



Even while in a prolonged slump, Virtus.pro are a team with the ability to run the table and win a tournament. Natus Vincere come in with cautious optimism after recent roster additions saw the return of previous in-game leader Zeus to the lineup. Na`Vi are expected to do well in the coming months, the question is whether or not they can put it together quickly enough to defeat the likes of VP. Renegades are a team with limited expectations, particularly against the other top tier opponents in this group.



Zeus’ Departure May Hit Gambit

Group C is completely up in the air due to the three pre-roster shuffle favourites all making moves this past month. FaZe Clan have been the most consistent team in this group, but replacing both kioShiMa and allu with GuardiaN and olofmeister has many wondering how they will perform. Gambit Esports are the reigning Major champions, but the departure of Zeus signals a probable downturn.

Mousesports have continued to improve their roster, adding both suNny and STYKO to an already quality lineup. Considered a tier two team for the longest of times, mousesports now look to have what it takes now to break into tier one and get into the playoffs. Ninjas in Pyjamas are a dangerous team in this group given the roster moves of the other three. While still unlikely to make it to playoffs, NiP could pull off an upset that swings the group.



Fnatic the Wild Card

Arguably the most interesting group of them all is Group D, where each team comes in with question marks. Runner-up at the Major, Immortals acquired a sixth player, which irritated three members of the squad, causing them to look for another team. The team has apparently settled and maintained the roster, yet no one truly knows if the players will be 100% focused on this event so soon after.

G2 Esports look to be the favourite of the group, yet they have continually disappointed in big moments. Dubbed the “French super team”, G2 have the skill with the likes of kennyS to achieve the top seed despite their struggles at times. Fnatic is the team that has undergone roster changes, with olofmeister and dennis leaving while Lekr0 and Golden have joined.

Fnatic are a complete wildcard event as they were unpredictable to begin with, let alone with two new members added to the lineup. Team EnVyUs are a squad that tend to struggle against top tier competition such as G2. If EnVyUs are to squeak into the playoffs, it will more than likely be more about the struggles of Immortals and Fnatic more so than their own performances.



The roster moves by numerous teams make this one of the more watchable, and potentially unpredictable, tournaments of recent memory, with bragging rights – along with the prize pool – very much on the line.