With DreamHack Las Vegas 2017 behind us, the event provided a lot of insight into the current and future state of Counter-Strike going into 2017. DreamHack Las Vegas followed closely to the Atlanta Eleague major, where more questions were left in the mind of community than it managed to answer.
The qualifier of the major saw N.I.P. (Ninjas in Pyjamas) and Cloud9 being knocked out, before even making it to the group stages. The Eleague Major proved that without arguably the two biggest fan favorite teams not attending, viewers still came to watch. The major managed to break records on Twitch by being the first single stream to garner over 1 million concurrent viewers and setting the new record for concurrent viewers at over 1.2 million. The Eleague major was also broadcast on television adding another 1 million+ viewers. In total CS:GO was the first e-sport to get over 2.6 Million viewers all at once, and all this in the closing half of January.
This proved to many that after Valve’s crackdown on skin-gambling, that CS:GO still drew in big numbers. DreamHack Las Vegas 2017 was different in that it had much more of a lan atmosphere. We didn’t have the closed off booths that ESL used and until the quarter finals teams played on simple set-ups. The tournament was a great show of skill, with the roster changes announced after the major, this was the first tournament with the new-old Fnatic line-up and they seemed to finally find their drive for the game. This was the first tournament where the SK line-up showed their new player “felps”. Having removed “fnx”, many people were doubtful that they could achieve the major winning success they had with him, this tournament prove that “felps” was more than capable to fit his role and he turned out to be a star player in their run to the finals of the event. North also had a new player as “Robino” left and was replaced by player “aizy” who had recently been dropped from Faze. They had an impressive run into the semifinals but seemed to lack the luster they showed at the major. Faze picked up “NiKo” who was considered by all in early 2016 to be the best player in the world. Mousesports fared horribly at the major but at DreamHack Las Vegas, they had albeit small, a resurgence, making it into the group stages, this will be last time “NiKo” plays for mousesports as he moves over to FaZe in what a lot of people consider an overdue team change for one of the best players in the world. Na’Vi played great Counter-Strike but had a lackluster impact, on the other hand their dropped player “Zeus” seemed to be in great form in his new position on Gambit. They got great results even upsetting Virtus Pro on Cobblestone, which many consider to be one of VP’s stronger maps.
The semifinals of this tournament seemed to be a match of the best teams currently in the Counter-Strike world. We had the two teams that did battle for the finale of the major playing off in the semi’s. VP faced off Astralis in the semi-finals of DreamHack Las Vegas. Astralis won the major, only weeks before and VP were looking strong, and better than ever. They suffered a major slump for over half of 2016, and even being relegated out of ProLeague. At the end of 2016 they looked like they found their stride and so far show no signs of stopping their plow of destruction. They took it the full 3 maps against Astralis. Astralis showed why they had won the major playing great counter-strike and under the leadership of gla1ve” they were a formidable contender. “Dev1ce” was Astralis’ mvp having an incredible performance and keeping them in rounds that almost seemed locked to VP. VP knocked out Astralis in a convincing manner, showing to everyone that their resurgence was more than mere phase and that their players have reached a whole new level of skill. SK in their semi-final match against North won at a comfortable pace. North tried, yet SK managed to triumph against them, with their new player “felps” showing up and having a decent impact in the game. Even though SK won 2-0, North still brought the fire power, yet unfortunately the counter-tactics they played didn’t seem all that effective against SK’s strat based plays.
In the finals of DreamHack Las Vegas, VP played off against SK in what became a beautiful and hard-fought series. It went the full three maps, with players from both teams showing up. Notably “Snax” and “Coldzera”, yet honorable mentions are due for “felps”, “byali”, “NEO” and “pasha”. The match went to all three maps. On Cobblestone SK left VP a train wreck, having an almost uncounterable CT side. Yet on train VP played a whole new level of Counter-Strike, out playing SK and beating them on their strongest map. The third and final map is where both teams went all out. The finals and championship was at stake and players from both teams knew this, and proceeded to go above and beyond. “Coldzera” dropped 30 kills on mirage and three of VP’s player had over 20 kills. Unfortunately throughout this series “FalleN” went silent, getting only 32 kills out of 3 maps the finals. As the IGL, he has shown time and time again to be an incredible player yet he could never seem to get the ball rolling in this series. This lead to VP taking and winning DreamHack Las Vegas 2017. They have once again solidified their position as a strong and consistent team, appearing in the final of two major events in the opening of 2017.
The impact of DreamHack Las Vegas has answered many questions that the major left unanswered, it showed the current form of N.I.P. and Cloud9 while also introducing Inferno into the map pool. Nuke was played 7 times and more and more teams seem confident in playing it. Inferno was picked 4 times, while well established maps like Cache and Overpass were only picked thrice and twice respectively. Inferno has a promising place in the current competitive map pool but many await the return and rework of Dust 2. It also reaffirmed the re-emergence of teams that had been out of shape for a good portion of 2016. With North (ex Dignitas), Astralis (ex T.S.M.) and Virtus.Pro all landing top 4 positions. It showed us that SK have found a reliable and excellent fifth who plays as if he’s been part of the established roster for years. As far as events go, the production was handled effectively. The casters, talent, crew and stage were all brilliant (including the somewhat cringy and amusing slot machine that Mantrousse had reign over) and the only real pity was the size of the audience. The event didn’t attract a huge amount of stadium viewers yet it did moderately successful on Twitch. I feel that this event has been a great show of what’s to come in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the year of 2017. We will see many matches fought for the ever elusive number 1 spot yet I believe eventually one or two teams will emerge dominate for a large portion of 2017. Only the future can tell and if DreamHack Master’s Las Vegas was anything to go by Counter-Strike has a bright competitive future to come as the year unfolds.