DreamHack Denver Preview
DreamHack Denver Preview

The North American DreamHack tour will finally come to an end after stopping in Austin and Atlanta earlier this year. The National Western Complex in Denver will house eight teams from around the globe to compete for the $100,000 prize pool.

Here we are at the last event of the year hosted by DreamHack as several hungry teams will be entering the building looking to take home the crown. Cloud9 will certainly be looking to blow off some steam after losing a brutal three-game series against Astralis in the ELEAGUE Premier playoffs last weekend. Although mousesports seem to have plateaued after their win at ESG Mykonos win last month, the German-based team could find their groove once again but BIG Gaming could take away that jazz.

Group A: Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Renegades, Tempo Storm

Advancing: Cloud9 and CLG

The two major teams to look out for in Group A are Cloud9 and CLG. Now, despite their unfortunate finishes of late, both teams have gradually been on the rise since their last visit at a DreamHack tour.

Cloud9 being one of the most notable names within the eight teams competing has had a rather rollercoaster year, but have certainly been on the rise of late. Since bringing in Tarik “tarik” Celik and William “RUSH” Wierzba the team has exercised changes within the structure of the roster, causing some hiccups along the way. The most recent showing was in Atlanta at the ELEAGUE Premier playoffs where Cloud9 exited in the semifinals against Astralis. Despite the loss, Cloud9 has shown some strength in their recent ESL Pro League performance to sit just shy of the top-6. With the recent growth in the team, this may be the time Cloud9 to get back on track with a DreamHack Open Denver jewel.

A team that has been quietly on the rise in recent months has been CLG with Pujan “FNS” Mehta at the helm. CLG has had a better second half to the campaign year as the team finished 3rd-4th at the recent DreamHack Open Montreal stop. Although the team has had some mixed results during the North American qualifiers in the year, examples by four straight qualifying losses. Their consistent and compelling play throughout the ESL Pro League should carry over nicely in Denver.

Renegades and Tempo Storm likely won't have enough structure to break through the group stage. With the recent signing of newcomer Ricardo “s1” Shinji for Tempo Storm, the team leaves a weak spot with team-chemistry still being a factor. As for Renegades, a series of inconsistency has given little hope to making it out of the groups come Friday.

Group B: mousesports, BIG, NRG Esports, Team LDLC

Advancing: mousesports and BIG

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “mouz advancing?”. Well yeah, with the group lineup, mouz’ only real competition comes in the form of BIG. mousesports have had an eventful year picking up momentum at times, but have looked deflated at times, as well. The team missed out on making it to the ELEAGUE Premier Playoffs after just picking up their first win of the season at ESG Mykonos. Despite the negative side of things, mouz has a better opportunity to advance than the others due to structure and stability when it comes to earning the clutches with the help of young-gun Robin “ropz” Kool. Mouz also has the experience upfront to take down LDLC and NRG, two teams who have been struggling of late. Although with recent performances from mouz, the smaller map pool would benefit them getting the wins needed to advance.

BIG’s only notable win of the year was the dominating performance at ESL’s Spring Meisterschaft, but from there, a variety of mixed results in most EU qualifiers made up their campaign year. Now, don’t count them out just yet, BIG has been known to be monsters offline, where they have taken out big names such as Virtus.pro. Recently, the team qualified for the World Electronic Sports Games to represent Germany, but a string of recent missed qualifiers put the team in a rut. Despite the controversy, this group composition should give BIG a great shot at advancing from the group stage as mouz poses the biggest threat.

Both NRG and LDLC had seen better times around this time of the year as these two teams have shown some pretty inconsistent results. The pair have combined for more missed qualifiers than any other team in the circuit, making it hard to believe that they have a chance to make it out of the groups. Despite NRG finding some wiggle room during ESL Pro League, it won't be enough to help the team wiggle their way out of this group.

Regardless of the outcome this weekend, great Counter-Strike will be played in the tight atmosphere DreamHack brings to the table. The action will kick off Friday at 2 p.m. ET with Cloud9 taking on Tempo Storm.

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