If you are looking to bet on DreamHack Masters StockHolm and want the best chance at winning, then it's in your best interest to do a bit of reading about the teams heading into the event. We hope this article provides a bit of insight to help you make informed choices. GL!

The summer is winding down, and so is the player break. The best and brightest of Counter-Strike will return very soon, and their first real test will take them to the ancestral home of many great CS:GO players – Sweden’s Stockholm will host the latest DreamHack Masters event, one that has much more to offer than usual in terms of narrative: not only is it the first tournament after the month-long hiatus, but it doubles as the prelude for the next major and potentially the explosive conclusion for the Intel Grand Slam’s inaugural season.

The Red Star Rises

No one can deny Astralis’ domination after the Danes didn’t even drop a single map against top-level competition at ELEAGUE Premier – so much so that the real question is whether they are capable of keeping up with their own pace as the summer turn into autumn. Historically, player breaks tend to favor the chasing pack rather than the top dog, but who’s to say that such a strat-heavy and tactical roster as Astralis can’t take even more of an advantage of such a period than the rest of the field? Group A should pose no challenge to gla1ve’s merry men – even if the domestic matchups like their potential meeting against North and Kjaerbye always have a bit of extra spice –, and it would be hard to find anyone other than Na’Vi who could perhaps be a real challenge to them even in the playoff stage.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture: four Danish teams have made it one way or another to this event in Sweden, and it will certainly be interesting to see whether any of them can follow Astralis’ likely leap to the playoffs. The depth of their domestic scene is certainly to be admired, and their group stage opponents are no slouches, but it’s been taking way too long for North, OpTic and Heroic to turn their obvious potential into anything concrete in the field of battle.

Team Astralis Dreamhack

Major Generals in Action

Group B is perhaps the most stacked in the entire event, featuring two top ten teams according to HLTV’s ranking alongside NiP just as the Swedish veterans have managed to claw their way back to the major. Speaking of which, a notable absentee from CS:GO’s flagship event will be this group’s very own NRG, the dominant winner at Shanghai and a team that no one in their right mind would consider to be outside the top 24 in the world, and a victim of the problematic invite and minor system in the Valve-sponsored tournaments. (As simplistic as this argument is, do you really think Winstrike – formerly known as Quantum Bellator Fire – deserved a direct invite while they haven’t even got a chance to compete on the biggest stage?)

In a sense, this group should be an interesting acid test that could highlight the very real contrast between the better-curated ratings lists and the odd hodgepodge of the majors. The only real shame is that the mouth-watering NRG-NiP opener will only be a best-of-one game, but if nothing extraordinary happens otherwise, these two teams should also be facing each other in the playoff decider as well.

NRG Stockholm 2018

The Battle of the Fallen Titans

At this point, it’s getting hard to tell which team is less happy to face the other one: Fnatic and FaZe Clan have somehow managed to be each other’s kryptonite over the last few months, and the Swedes successfully spoiled olofmeister’s return by taking down the international squad at ELEAGUE Premier. It would be a real upset if either of the teams failed to make it out of the group containing two of the lesser Danish sides, even in their current state – let’s not forget that both of them have some internal restructuring to do as Fnatic are trying to accommodate a new in-game leader and draken as well while FaZe are presumably hard at work with olofmeister whose individual performance was impeccable in Atlanta but the team’s setup clearly wasn’t anywhere near where it should have been.

Of course, it would be a mistake to treat the other two teams as mere also-rans: Heroic made it to the semis at Valencia and the new-look OpTic had a very impressive run through the European minor – though one can’t help but feel that these accomplishments pale in comparison to the firepower they’ll be facing as they go for the playoff spots.

Tales of Transition

In a sense, none of the teams in Group D can be considered the finished article: mousesports are clearly still looking for the ideal balance with Snax replacing a dedicated support player in the form of STYKO, MiBR have made waves by finally picking up a coach in the form of decorated analyst YNk, Gambit are rapidly burning through any remaining credit they may have from their unlikely win at Krakow and HellRaisers seriously need to bounce back after their disappointing showing at Shanghai, albeit with the added bonus of woxic’s return to the lineup. (Ceterum censeo DeadFox should be kicked because his stats are terrible and it would be an easy upgrade now that the team has opted to go through the CIS minor.)

No one’s safe here: we’ve seen mouz stumble with this roster at Cologne and there’s no way to tell what the other three sides are capable of bringing to the table, but getting out of Group D would be a very important benchmark for MiBR’s predicted recovery. No doubt most of the analyst chatter will focus on their Serbian ex-comrade’s coaching presence, but don’t be fooled: one swallow doesn’t make a summer and just like how a potential failure would be easily scrubbed off YNk’s punditry record (think Gary Neville and Valencia), make sure you keep the same external circumstances in mind in case the team does get off to a decent start under this new setup.

mousesports CS:GO Dreamhack

The Grand Slam Conundrum

It’s now or never for a grand finale: this is FaZe Clan’s last chance to make it four out of ten before their New York win from last year gets wiped off the books, and while it may look like Astralis have a lot of time to work with, they won’t be attending the 2018 edition of ESL One New York, meaning they’ll only have three tournaments to pick up the two remaining wins if they don’t manage to win in Stockholm.

If this inaugural season of the Intel Grand Slam is to deliver, it’s going to have to happen now – but with the way things have been going lately, it’s not that big of a stretch to say that the Danes may even be in pole position despite being down an event. Of course, this could be just the motivation karrigan and his team needs to rise back to the top.

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