- The former kings of Counter-Strike are back. Fnatic triumphed against Vitality in spectacular fashion in front of their home crowd at Malmo. Here are the top stories from DreakHack.
Top Stories From DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019
The Dreamhack Masters tournament in Malmo, Sweden had just wrapped up. In a clash of the old guard versus the new, the OG Counter-Strike juggernauts took home the grand prize. Without further ado, here are the top stories of DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019:
1. North American teams flopping out
There was a lot of excitement and celebration over Evil Geniuses winning ESL One: New York 2019. Unfortunately, the North American team failed to make it past the Group Stage of DreamHack Masters Malmo. They lost to Grayhound Gaming in a Bo1, sending them to the lower bracket. Then, mousesports knocked them out entirely after a swift 2-0 series.
Similarly, Team Liquid, the number 1 ranked team in the world, fell to Optic Gaming in the Bo1 round. They managed to scrape by in the first round of the lower bracket after a 2-1 series victory over North. However, Grayhound Gaming shocked the North American community after an unexpected 2-0 sweep of the reigning Grand Slam Champions. After their elimination, there were rumors of roster changes for Liquid, particularly NAF, amidst alleged internal issues within the team. An instagram post by fan-favorite Jacky “Stewie2k” Yip implied they will be retaining the roster for at least the time being.
2. ZyWoo’s MVP Performance
French superstar Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut continued to prove that he is one of the top players in the world. Zywoo was awarded the MVP plum for DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019. With an HLTV rating of 1.38 (good for career second-best), he topped Fnatic’s Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson for the best individual award of the tournament. His numbers were eye-popping, leading all tournament players in KDD, opening kills/round and % of rounds with at least one kill. On top of that, he was also in the top 5 of a number of other categories, particularly the damage/round and winrate in opening duels. His play heavily contributed to the success of their roster, even after the addition of fellow French superstar Richard “shox” Papillon to the Vitality lineup.
— ZywOo (@zywoo) October 6, 2019
3. Almost but not quite for Natus Vincere
Counter Strike mega-star Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev made another huge but ultimately unsuccessful run in DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019. Legendary AWPer Ladislav “Guardian” Kovács to NaVi after Faze Clan’s failed experiment. His return brought the team renewed drive to go for another run for a big event trophy. Alas, it was not enough to push them over the edge. The return of the Slovak sniper to the lineup allowed s1mple to do what s1mple does best: winning insane and almost inhuman duels and openings.
Natus Vincere did not drop a single map in the entire tournament until the second map of their semifinal against Team Vitality. After winning convincingly on Nuke, NaVi’s kryptonite, they dropped the next two maps as s1mple failed to make an impact on the maps they lost. The anticipated s1mple vs ZyWoo matchup never really took off, as s1mple slumped in the final 2 maps and ZyWoo continued to be in form. Their loss allowed Vitality to advance to the Grand Final.
4. The kings reclaim their throne: Fnatic vs Astralis
The other semifinal was also a hyped matchup featuring two Intel Grand Slam winners: Fnatic and Astralis. Astralis was coming off a dominant run in ESL One: New York 2019, flying to Sweden shortly after lifting the trophy in the Big Apple. Jetlag was of no concern to the Danish team as they blitzed through the competition en-route to an undefeated Group Stage run that allowed them an automatic berth to the semifinal. There, they met the old juggernaut Fnatic, who had to claw their way through the entire lower bracket after losing to ENCE in the initial B01 round. There, they had to beat Tyloo, G2 Esports and Furia to qualify for the quarterfinals. They then matched up with Ninjas in Pyjamas, which they beat 2-1.
In front of their home fans, the Swedish team started off hot, winning on Overpass with a 16-9 scoreline. In the second map, however, the Danes refused to go down without a fight. After a see-saw game that required multiple overtimes, Fnatic finally found the victory and a spot in the Grand Final against Vitality.
5. The Grand Final: Vitality vs Fnatic
For quite some time, it was always either Team Liquid or Astralis competing in the Grand Final of a major. This time, it was French team Vitality against the hometown heroes Fnatic. Vitality is ranked #5 by HLTV, good for second-best EU team behind Astralis. Meanwhile, Fnatic is ranked a measly #23, making this a huge but welcome surprise for most fans.
We love Counter-Strike 🧡
The Grand Final Intro Ceremony – CORSAIR DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019 pic.twitter.com/S78iVVeFYW
— DreamHack Counter-Strike (@DreamHackCSGO) October 6, 2019
After failing to qualify for the StarLadder Major: Berlin, Fnatic benched Xizt and twist. To replace them, the Swedish team brought in former Fnatic players flusha and Golden. Both of the additions came from a stint with North American team Cloud9. Golden, in particular, is only on a temporary loan. Nevertheless, the familiarity of the players with the system spared them from the adjustment phase most teams go through.
Vitality, on the other hand, came off a quarterfinal finish in StarLadder Major: Berlin. They were ousted by eventual runners-up Avangar. After the loss, they decided to bench NBK- and added former G2 star shox in their lineup. Similar to Fnatic, shox previously played with Vitality players apEX and RpK, requiring little adjustment for him and his new team.
Vitality started the Grand Final by winning the first three rounds on the back of shox’s brilliance on pistols. On Fnatic’s first-round win, the Malmo Arena erupted in cheers, doing their best to help the home team. However, the French did not make it easy for the Swedes, winning the first map (Dust 2) with a 16-14 scoreline. On the second map, Fnatic needed a brilliant fake in overtime to clinch the map and tie the score at 1-1. Finally, on Mirage, the home team managed to climb back after an early deficit. In the 29th round, Vitality set themselves up for a comeback by forcing Fnatic to an eco round. Despite this, Fnatic’s Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin scored a triple with a c-zed, locking down the round and the tournament win as the Malmo crowd erupted in celebration.
This victory puts Fnatic in the Intel Grand Slam race, joining ESL One New York champions Evil Geniuses and IEM Chicago winners Team Liquid. The next Intel Grand Slam event will be IEM Beijing, which Fnatic won’t be a part of. They’ll have their next shot at the finals of ESL Pro League Season 10.
ESL Pro League Season 10 starts on October 8th until November 18th. IEM Beijing will be on November 7th to November 10th. Stay tuned for more CS:GO news.