DH Winter was slated to be a much better event, but with the withdrawal of both Fnatic and Team Liquid it is now essentially a tier two event. However, it will be a good test for certain teams to gauge their level and figure where they stand on the international stage.
Navi has been a massive disappointment for a long time. s1mple has been playing at an outstanding level for most of the year but his teammates have consistently let him down. The long awaited move of electronic to Navi from F.3 has finally happened, hopefully giving s1mple the help he needs. If Navi expect to be perceived as a top level organization and team they had better make it to the final, if not outright win this tournament.
After their fluke major win, Gambit did surprise people by maintaining their form. Even after the addition of fitch to the lineup Gambit continued to play well. They have made it out of a few group stages but have failed to make deep runs at events. Whilst HObbit has blossomed into a star, in the past couple of tournaments AdreN has cooled off from his previous stellar form. With the level of competition at this event, nothing less than a finals berth would be satisfactory for this lineup as a top ten team.
In the Mix
The budget Faze lineup has a lot of potential, with oskar and ropz leading the way in terms of fragging. However, this is chrisJ’s first stint as an in-game leader, and it shows as the team lacks strategical depth. They have been successful off the back of their individual talent and big performances from their top fraggers, even winning an event. Nevertheless, Mouz has to develop more cohesion and tactical diversity to reach the next level. With their level of talent and potential, Mouz do pose a threat but cannot be favored to win it all.
Denmark really has an embarrassment of riches when the country’s third best team is still relevant on the international level. While Heroic benefits from a lot of experience from their wily veterans, they are carried by their young stars in niko and JUGi. The young Danish upstarts do have potential but have not yet proven to be consistent enough to make Heroic a favorite. The team has recently added peacemaker as a coach so perhaps with more time to develop the young duo may be able to carry Heroic further. But for now Heroic should be seen as a dark horse at best.
BIG have been great against tier two competition but have not done anything of note against tier one teams. They may be able to get to the bracket stage, especially in the easier group, but they have to prove they can win a best-of series against top tier teams. Until then, BIG can make some noise but we can’t expect them to win an event like this.
Outside Looking In
The French onliners do well enough to qualify for events but have done absolutely nothing of note at LAN. ScreaM was meant to be the star of this team but RpK has proven to be the only real redeemable part of this lineup. RpK is easily their best player and is ripe for the picking whenever G2 decide to poach him. EnVyUs is a bit of a mess right now and have been terrible offline. There is no reason to believe they will be better this time around.
RiseNation & North Academy
Both of these lineups did well enough to qualify for the event. Unfortunately neither of these lineups have done anything of note offline. This event is a great opportunity for their players to get some experience at LAN and hopefully showcase their skill. A standout performance may help put some of these players on the other team’s radars but either of these teams would be happy to just make it out of groups.