DreamHack Valencia Preview

Eight teams will battle it out this Thursday for the right to call themselves the 2016 DreamHack Valencia Heroes of the Storm champions. In addition to the prestigious title, the winner will also claim the lion's share of a $100,000 prize pool and secure its place in the Fall Championship later this year. As the Fall Championship boasts an enormous $1,000,000 prize pool, it goes without saying that each team competing at DreamHack will be going for broke to assure its chances at such a large purse.

DreamHack Valencia will be divided into two stages. The first stage consists of group play, which splits the eight teams evenly into Group A and Group B. Within those groups, each team will face each other once, and the two teams with the best records will advance to the playoffs. Tiebreakers will be held if necessary. In the playoff portion, the final four teams will face each other head-to-head in a single elimination bracket. Let's take a look at the groups.

Group A consists of mYinsanity, ePunks, Team Liquid, and Virtus.pro. While mYinsanity are the clear favorites to make it out of this group, upsets are a dime a dozen in the professional HotS scene and any of these teams could not only topple it from the top seed, but also knock it out of the tournament early.

Group B is comprised of Team Dignitas, Team Crowing Cocks, Fnatic, and teh89. Of this group, Dignitas is certainly the favorite, with Crowing Cocks coming in a distant second. That being said, Fnatic gave Crowing Cocks a run for its money, barely losing 2-1 during the DreamHack Qualifier #1, so this group is far from decided.

Here's a closer look at the eight teams competing at DreamHack Valencia.

Crowing Cocks

Roster: Maksym "Mopsio" Szczypa (Tank); Kenn "Zaelia" �ster Rasmussen (Carry); Evgeniy "Lunarn" Evdokimov (Support); Lachezar "cilium" Nikolaev Kochev (Flex); Vladislavs "Sphyxi" Trofimovs (Flex).

Path to DH: Defeated Fnatic 2-1 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #1.

Previous finishes: 1st, ZOTAC Heroes of the Storm Monthly Final #14; 2nd, Go4Heroes Europe Cup #77; 3rd, ZOTAC Heroes of the Storm Cup #47.

Key points: While this team is just one month old, it has already proven itself in tournament settings against some of the better, more established teams, such as Team Liquid and Fnatic. Expect some surprising draft choices out of these guys.

ePunks

Roster: Tobias "RaiDbawZ" Podeszwa (Flex); Rainer "nande" W�� (Flex); Nic "Nic" Al (Assassin); Jan "WolfJoe" Kramer (Support); Christopher "chriZplosion" Zerbe (Warrior).

Path to DH: Defeated Evil Murkies 2-0 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #1.

Previous finishes: N/A.

Key points: Keep an eye out for Nic's explosive assassin play. He will dive deep the instant he thinks he can secure an advantage for his team without fear.

Fnatic

Roster: Simon "scHwimpi" Svensson (Flex); Jonathan "Wubby" Gunnarsson (Flex); Dob "Quackniix" Engstr�m (Assassin); Filip "Smexystyle" Liljestr�m (Support); Pontus "Breez" Sjogren (Warrior).

Path to DH: Defeated Virtus.pro 2-0 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #2.

Previous finishes: 2nd, DreamHack All-Stars - Tours 2016; 3rd, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Leicester; 4th, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Katowice.

Key points: Pay close attention to scHwimpi's hero picks. He has amazing hero diversity and enables his team to counter any draft tendencies it suspects from the other team.

Team Liquid

Roster: Christoph "Cris" Gowitzke (Flex); Ivan "Sportbilly" Koturic (Flex); Daniel "Shad" Gonz�lez (Bruiser); Raoul "GerdamHerd" Saurbier (Support); Lawrence "Atheroangel" Harper (Warrior).

Path to DH: Defeated teh89 2-1 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #2.

Previous finishes: 4th, DreamHack All-Stars - Tours 2016; 4th, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Leicester; 6th, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Katowice.

Key points: Team Liquid's newest acquisition, Atheroangel, will likely make or break this team in terms of success during this tournament. While he is widely regarded as one of the best players on the European ladder, can he transfer these skills to a professional setting? We'll find out if he can live up to the hype.

Teh89

Roster: Alexander "Remmerballer" Remmerswaal (Flex); Marti "Crozzby" Rugh (Flex); Alexander "ethernalbg" Milanov (Bruiser); Francisco Antonio "GranPkt" N��ez Sorribas (Support); Matic "Zarmony" Mikec (Warrior).

How they got here: Defeated Casual Logic Gaming 2-0 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #3.

Previous finishes: N/A.

Key points: While this team is a relative unknown, one thing is for certain: it is not afraid to draft any team composition it feels has a chance of throwing off its opponent's groove.

Virtus.pro

Roster: Vsevolod "CEBKAJE" Demianenko (Flex); Alexey "Shtyr" Shtylenkov (Flex); Andrey "AndyLendi" Pishikov (Assassin); Iliya "Unnstable" Grigoriev (Support); Oleg "PowerOfDreams" Bondarenko (Warrior).

Path to DH: Defeated GoogleIsShetZont 2-0 in the DreamHack Valencia Qualifier #3.

Previous finishes: 3rd, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Katowice; 5th, 2015 Heroes of the Storm World Championship (HWC) - Europe Championship.

Key points: PowerOfDreams, while one of the least-tested members of Virtus.pro, has received recent accolades from his team on his improvement and sharp mechanical skill.

Team Dignitas

Roster: Jerome "JayPL" Trinh (Flex); Joshua "Snitch" Bennett (Assassin); Thomas "M�n�" Cailleux (Assassin); James "Bakery" Baker (Support); Alexander "AlexTheProG" Grumstrup (Warrior).

Path to DH: Invited to tournament due to exceptional past results.

Previous finishes: 1st, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Leicester; 5th, 2016 Heroes of the Storm Spring Global Championship; 1st, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Katowice; 2nd, 2015 Heroes of the Storm World Championship; 2nd, 2015 HWC - Europe Championship.

Need to Know: The longtime top European team is known specifically for its excellent hero drafts and its team captain Bakery's phenomenal Kharazim play. That being said, all eyes will be on its newest addition, AlexTheProG, as he is supposed to be the last piece it needs to claim the top European slot from mYinsanity.

mYinsanity

Roster: Dennis "HasuObs" Schneider (Flex); Nils "Nurok" Gebhardt (Flex); Simon "Darkmok" Tabin (Assassin); Lyubomir "Splendour" Kozlovski (Support); Markus "Blumbi" Hanke (Warrior).

Path to DH: Invited to tournament due to exceptional past results.

Previous finishes: 1st, DreamHack All-Stars - Tours 2016; 2nd, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Leicester; 7th, 2016 Heroes of the Storm Spring Global Championship; 2nd, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm Championship - Katowice.

Key points: HasuObs actually started his professional gaming career in StarCraft 2, where he played Protoss in an often innovative fashion. He'll likely take that same type of innovative -- and risky -- behavior onto the Nexus when making hero picks.

More Articles