The $50,000 DreamHack Winter Championship is mere days away, and the teams are already travelling or bootcamping for the Swedish LAN. The European online qualifier saw Ninjas in Pyjamas and Misfits earn their place, while in North America Fnatic and compLexity qualified. They will be joined by the four top teams from the on-site BYOC qualifier.
Once the eight teams have been decided, on the 25th November the main tournament will begin. Two groups of 4 teams will play in GSL-style groups, with the top two from each group going through to the playoffs.
The prize pool for the DreamHack Winter Championship is split:
- 1st: $30,000
- 2nd: $10,000
- 3rd/4th: $5,000
- 3rd/4th: $5,000
The battle between NiP and Misfits has been recorded across many European tournaments in recent months. They’ve only met once at LAN in that time - the only LAN that NiP has attended - where Misfit were able to prevail in a tight 3-1 series at the Overwatch Open. Since then though NiP have been unbeatable online, using their trademark triple tank composition to shred opponents. In their most recent tournament on the new patch, NiP took first place without losing a single map in utterly dominant style.
NiP have to be able to convert that into a LAN win here to stake any claim towards being the best team in the world currently. They’ve only been able to prove themselves recently against Misfits, as the other top teams have been in Korea or North America; if they fall at the first hurdle here after losing at the Overwatch Open questions must be asked about their big game and LAN ability.
Misfits on the other hand desperately need a good performance here, on a new patch that doesn’t seem to favour them, in order to hold onto their #2 spot in the world rankings. They are attending the LAN with a new roster, having recently removed Kryw, moved Zebbosai to flex, and picked up COOLLER on Lucio. They could easily head on a downward spiral if their online performances are an indication of true form, and must avoid the Overwatch Open being contextualised as a flash in the pan.
Fnatic are also coming into this tournament with a new roster. They parted with iddqd in a move that shocked fans and yet had familiar ripples of his previous exit from Rogue, and now are facing top teams with new dps Hafficool on the roster. Since making that move they have not surfaced in a tournament, grinding out practice in quiet. They have the advantage of knowing exactly how the other top teams play, but it will still take something excellent from this top North American side to win. A bonus for them may manifest in seeding, as they should avoid NiP early on due to both of those teams qualifying in 1st seed. They match up far better against Misfits or compLexity and are a serious contender for finalists.
compLexity are a dark horse here. They likewise haven’t shown their face in the last few weeks but the new patch could be a serious boon for them. harbleu is well known as an elite Roadhog, and if the dps duo are on point this team could do serious damage. They tend to be a team of ups and downs, but in the past two months they’ve been performing at a consistently good level. If they feel in bootcamp scrims that this new patch is their territory, I can certainly see a world where they cause major upsets despite not being classed as a tier-1 team in the same sense as these other three.
Notable BYOC Qualifier Teams
Currently there are six teams signed up for the BYOC qualifier, competing for four additional slots in the main Championship event. More are expected to sign up at DreamHack itself, but for now it seems there are three notable teams that could potentially challenge the big four - along with another three wildcards!
We assume you’re familiar with the four teams who have qualified, but let’s explore the underdogs of the tournament in a little more detail.
- Jānis "Clown" Zagrebins (support)
- Guillaume "KabaL" Ettori (support)
- Mihail Cristian "Mezamorphis" Paunescu (tank)
- Metehan "Mete" Aksüt (flex)
- Toni "Ube" Häkli (dps)
- Rikard "klanton" Lundberg (dps)
LDLC is a team that has been around for a while, trying to break into the top European teams. The roster originally formed when mousesports were building a team and picked up pieces from Team Hybrid, adding KabaL to the mix. When the players decided not to pursue the mousesports opportunity, they left frag^m and joined LDLC. They then decided to remove kr4tos from the roster and instead picked up ex-OWKings Lucio Clown.
In the last two months, the team has some reasonable results in smaller European cups. They took first place at Fight Arena after beating melty twice 3-1 and then 3-0; they then went on to miss out on qualifying for MSI MGA after beating PENTA esports (then Gatekeepers) 2-0 but losing to melty 1-2. Shortly afterwards, they made the semis of ESL Go4 October Cup, losing to the new mousesports team, and then were inches away from making the semis of The Gauntlet #2 after they beat The Chavs and Fragsters 2-1 each but then couldn’t repeat the performance and lost 2-3 to The Chavs.
Their most recent performance saw them finish 3rd in their group for the Alienware Monthly Melee Europe November, losing 0-2 to Misfits and FaZe but beating TORNADO ROX 2-1. Overall, their record against the other teams in the BYOC qualifiers is the best and they appear to have the most chance of upsetting a top team on the new patch with Ube’s good Roadhog play and Mete on D.Va. If they nail the triple tank setup with D.Va and are able to execute at a high level, they have a decent chance at an upset against a shaky dive-focused top team.
- Tim "Divinius" Hoffmann (support)
- Martin "BUR1X" Buric (support)
- Axel "Aseal" Ómarsson (tank)
- Finnbjörn "Finnsi" Jónasson (flex)
- Johan "CWoosH" Klingestedt (dps)
- Andreas "Logix" Berghmans (dps)
mousesports also participated in the recent Alienware Monthly Melee Europe November (what a horrible mouthful), and did reasonably well. They lost 0-2 to NiP who didn’t lose a map all tournament, but then beat Slav Squad (the old ANOX squad) 2-0 and lost a close series 1-2 to Bonjour.
mousesports weren’t afraid to experiment with a range of compositions in that tournament. They used Mercy/Zen, Zen/Lucio, and Ana/Lucio at different times to varying success, and also had CWoosH and Logix rotating to ensure they had triple tank or Soldier:76 as part of a double hitscan dps up at most times. They looked like a highly flexible team but with less star power on their roster - whether they’re able to force an upset will depend heavily on whether they find the right approach to counter their opponent stylistically, rather than brute forcing it against the top teams. And even then they’ll need to be playing at an incredible personal level.
Before that, they had finished 3rd in the Realm Hallow’s End Invite Cup, beating PENTA but losing to TORNADO ROX; made the semis in The Gauntlet #2 after they traded series with PENTA and then lost to The Chavs; and were again stumped by The Chavs in the ESL Go4 October Cup.
- Dennis "Dennia" Forsblom (support)
- Andreas "Epzz" Wallvingskog (support)
- Akke "Akke" Kivimaki (tank)
- Sebastian "BALLOC" Berendt (offtank)
- Lalli "Lalli" Kivimaki (dps)
- Hugo "Flippy" Perhirin (dps)
PENTA have just signed this team, who were previously known as The Gatekeepers. It was an apt name, as they were hanging around in the middle of the upcoming teams, able to beat the ‘unknown’ sides but often failing to get upset wins over those above them. In the last two months they only have one notable best-of-three win, over mousesports who in the same time period have beaten them twice. They’ve also lost to LDLC, Fragsters, and NWA to give them a consistent history of making quarter finals before being knocked out of these smaller European tournaments.
There are no VODs available of this team in the last three months, and they have changed the roster and swapped roles in that time. They’ve got a solid roster in terms of talent but haven’t been able to convert that into consistent wins over the upcoming teams or upsets over the top tier. They should certainly make the main tournament but unless they pull a new level of play out of the bag, an upset against the top teams seems unlikely.
- Oliwer "lateks" Fahlander (Tank)
- Emil "eMIL" Sandgren (Flex Tank)
- Nikola "N1kola" Svensson (Flex)
- Samuel "Smarky" Marklund (DPS)
- Edwin "limmet" Gustafsson (Flex Support)
- Sebastian "Zekor" Malmström (Support)
Other BYOC Teams
These three notable teams are currently up against three unknown quantities: UnWanted, Delirium, and TOA esports. Whether these teams can cause a ruckus along with the other droves who attend DHW remains to be seen.
The current challonge link for the BYOC Qualifier is here, but it is open to change before the event begins on the 24th November.
The main tournament will be streamed live in English on DreamHack TV. The BYOC qualifier will not be broadcast, with the coverage beginning on 25th November.
Thursday, November 24th
- 14:00 – Round 1 BYOC Starts
- 15:00 – Round 2 BYOC Starts
- 16:00 – Round 3 BYOC Starts
- 17:00 – Round 4 BYOC Starts
- 18:00 – Round 5 BYOC Starts
- 19:00 – Round 6 BYOC Starts
Friday, November 25th
- 12:00 – Group A, Opening Match 1
- 13:30 – Group A, Opening Match 2
- 15:00 – Group A, Loser’s Match
- 16:30 – Group A, Winner’s Match
- 18:00 – Group B, Opening Match 1
- 19:30 – Group B, Opening Match 2
- 21:00 – Group B, Loser’s Match
- 22:30 – Group B, Winner’s Match
Saturday, November 26th
- 13:30 – Group A Decider
- 15:00 – Group B Decider
- 16:30 – Semi Final 1
- 18:45 – Semi Final 2
- 21:00 – Grand Final