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All Eyes on Anaheim for DreamHack Open

Cody Luongo

Eight of Counter-Strike’s finest will converge onto the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020. In addition to the tournament’s $100,000 cash pot, an attractive DreamHack Masters Jönköping invitation will be made the bounty for the events gold medalist.

DreamHack Anaheim

Eight teams will meet at Anaheim this weekend for a piece of $100,000 and an invite to DreamHack Masters. (Photo courtesy DreamHack)

DreamHack Open Anaheim will feature a two group, double-elimination format. The opening matches will function as a best-of-one series while all proceeding matches will be best-of-three series leading into, and during the single-elimination playoff stage.

With the teams set and the tournament right around the corner, we’ve broken down which squads will play with a chip on their shoulders, and which will be fighting tooth-and-nail at the event.

Proving Grounds

Multinational organization Gen.G will have everything to prove in Anaheim as they take the stage in the team’s first LAN showing. In December 2019, Gen.G formed its voyage CS:GO roster by signing the Cloud9 trio of Timothy “autimatic” Ta, Damian “daps” Steele, and Kenneth “koosta” Suen. To as much surprise as there was excitement, Gen.G rounded out its lineup later that month with one of Asia’s most promising talents, former TYLOO rifler Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand.

DreamHack Anaheim

Timothy “autimatic” Ta and company will debut on LAN as Gen.G at DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020.

Despite falling at the hands of eUnited in the DreamHack Leipzig qualifiers, Gen.G would find redemption a week later in the Anaheim qualifiers. While the group has successfully qualified for the tournament, they’ll have arguably their most difficult challenge yet as a new team here on the LAN stage. Being that Gen.G has such a diverse band of players with minimal experience together, it would be difficult to accurately predict their result in Anaheim. They’ll play in arguably the tougher group of the two with MiBR, ENCE, and Complexity. Here they’ll need to surface among the top two to advance into the playoffs. For Gen.G however, they’ll likely be looking to take the group stage one series at a time.

Blue Stars

The Complexity we’ll see in Anaheim is a far different team than we started with last year. Most recently, we saw the North American organization bring in both Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and Valentin “poizon” Vasilev. For the first time, Complexity would be fielding a primarily European roster with the September 2019 addition of former Heroic in-game leader Benjamin “blameF” Bremer.

Similarly to Gen.G, Complexity fell short in the DreamHack Leipzig qualifier, but managed to qualify for Anaheim in a dominant display. The tournament at hand will be Complexity’s second test on LAN after swapping in k0nfig and poizon into the team’s active core.

Prior to jet setting to southern California, Complexity had to survive the first major LAN event of year in London. BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 brought together a star studded collective of 12 CS:GO teams. The North American organization was on the bill in Group B, but low on the card when put up against Astralis, Na’Vi, and Team Vitality. To much surprise. Complexity would shine bright at this event; trouncing both Astralis and Vitality in unmistakable fashion. While Na’Vi was on a tear of its own, the North American five produced a good fight, and while we’re not going to get too romanticized with these results, the team did look good.

DreamHack Anaheim

Benjamin “blameF” Bremer will be leading Complexity to glory this season as the team’s captain. (Photo courtesy HLTV)

While far from a global juggernaut just yet, you have a young, confident, and level-headed group. The mixture of rising talents and international experience under the command of one of the hardest working upcoming in-game leaders, blameF, is a recipe for success.

Brazilian Spirit

Over in Group A, the pool of teams is a bit less threatening than that of the group of death on the other side of the bracket. With that being said, there’s no clear favorite in the first group, which could make for some spicy matches between teams looking to secure a spot in the next stage.

Brazilian side FURIA was all the rage in the first half of last year, climbing up the South American ranks to eventually surpass MiBR as Brazil’s best squad. The group was most known for its explosive and exciting gameplay, often catching their opposition off guard in a way that afforded FURIA the upper-hand. Despite being one of the hottest teams on the CS market, FURIA hit a decline halfway through last year, and is still struggling to recover.

The group notably released Rinaldo “ableJ” Moda in place of Henrique “HEN1” Teles in September. The move has yet to reap the immediate results the organization likely hoped for; outside of an impressive third place finish at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8. There’s quite a bit of ironing out left to do before we’re sold on FURIA. Matters are not as bleak as they seem, though, a group against Endpoint, forZe, and North may allow FURIA the opportunity to shine at this event.

Fighting for Life

If North wants to establish themselves as a real contender this year, now’s the time to start producing results. Lackluster results over the last year and a rather questionable rebrand has made the Danish organization into more of a meme than a respected CS:GO team. But that’s not to say there’s no hope for them in Anaheim.

Last month saw North reacquire its former AWPer and in-game leader, Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen from OpTic Gaming. Under MSL’s leadership, North was able to accrue a handful of key wins in 2018 such as an imposing victory over Astralis at DreamHack Masters Stockholm. Although North will head to Anaheim with MSL, it will be missing both Valdemar “valde” Bjørn and Casper “cadiaN” Møller who were big playing factors for the Danish side in its last campaign for greatness.

DreamHack Anaheim

Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen will look to rally his team into top condition once again at DreamHack Open Anaheim. (Photo courtesy DreamHack)

After finishing bottom of the table two weeks prior at DreamHack Open Leipzig, North will desperately be looking for a good result here to pick up some steam through the 2020 season. As we see it, it’ll boil down to how much the team has practiced on improving since their last outing.

Onward, forZe

Russian organization forZe is a team less likely to have been linked to the conversation of Majors, international LAN victories, and all-star players. But if there’s any team not to be slept on at this tournament, it’s them.

forZe dealt countless upsets at the tail-end of last year. Most memorably, the Russian contenders trounced ENCE, Na’Vi, and AVANGAR at BLAST Pro Series: Moscow. They then sealed a title finish at DreamHack Open Winter 2019 a few months later.

When it comes to the here and now, forZe trounced GODSENT and a strong Heroic side to qualify for Anaheim through the European qualifiers. Aside from that, there’s not much to go off the team’s form coming off the player break, but given forZe’s history, they very well could have a shot at a deep run in Anaheim.

The group stage for DreamHack Anaheim begins Friday, February 21st at 11:00 a.m. PST.