What We Learned from DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

Over the past week, we saw 16 teams converge in Stockholm, the home of competitive CS:GO, to participate in the CORSAIR DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018.

With nearly all of the Top 10 CS:GO teams in attendance, the tournament made for some of the best games we’ve seen in recent months. Astralis were once again their usual dominant selves, and for a moment there, it had looked like they would be just one Championship away from taking home the Intel Grand Slam. However, their rival countrymen, North, had something to say about it, digging their way back from a huge deficit in Map 3 in the Grand Finals to take home the trophy and win the All-Danish clash.

Now that the event has finally ended, let’s take a look at some of the things we learned from Dreamhack Masters Stockholm 2018.

The North Have Arrived

DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

North now have all the momentum in the world and are heading into the FACEIT London Major with a very real possibility for getting a second point for the Intel Grand Slam. (Team North)

Nobody thought much of North heading into the tournament. They may have been the 10th-ranked CS:GO team in the world, but that doesn’t amount much when the likes of Astralis and Natus Vincere are in the pool. Especially since they only recently added Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen, who is on loan to the team from Heroic.

It was only after North swept Natus Vincere convincingly in the opening rounds of the playoffs that people started paying attention, and when they beat Mousesports to secure their spot in the Grand Finals, the hype for a Danish tilt between the so-called Kings, Astralis, and the Prince, North, had reached fever pitch.

That probably should’ve been where North should’ve stopped winning, but they didn’t. They went 16-1 in Astralis’ map pick Dust II and were feeling pretty confident heading into the second map, Train, where they beat Natus Vincere earlier 16-3.

Unfortunately, Astralis, specifically Nicolai ‘dev1ce‘ Reedtz, was not having it. dev1ce did what he did best and carried his teamgoing 22-8 to bring the series to a third and final game on Overpass where Astralis have been known to dominate and just run away with games.

Although Astralis raced to a 9-3 lead, North clawed their way back to take home the trophy and punctuate their upset run.

While most would give the MVP trophy to MSL just for his performance in the Grand Finals alone, it no doubt belongs to Valdemar ‘valde‘ Bjørn. Though not spectacular, he was never the weak link as well and played consistently for his team all throughout DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018.

Astralis Come Up Short

DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

Considered as one of the best players in the world, dev1ce was nowhere near his usual standout self in the Grand Finals of DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018. (Astralis)

Astralis were pretty much considered a shoo-in to win the DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018. Esports betting site, GGbet, even had them at 2.25 odds to win the tournament. But, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in Stockholm, it’s that the top 10 CS:GO teams in the world are much closer than most people expected.

Fighting against rival countrymen and former teammates, Astralis struggled to dominate North in the Grand Finals.

Dev1ce, in particular, was not his consistently great self. He had an excellent performance on Train in the second map of the series, but other than that, he was relatively quiet. This comes off as a bit of a surprise, especially since dev1ce had topped the kill charts for Astralis in every series of the playoffs prior to the Grand Finals.

While this definitely doesn’t really seem like a huge blow for Astralis — they still have 5 remaining chances to take home the Intel Grand Slam — it does make them look vulnerable.

You’d best bet teams are already busy dissecting the tapes to see how North outplayed Astralis in the Grand Finals of the DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 in hopes of pulling off the same kind of upset in the weeks ahead.

What’s Up With Natus Vincere?

DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

The rest of Natus Vincere will have to step up if they are to have a chance to win the Intel Grand Slam award this season. (ESL Counter-Strike)

One moment they’re on top of the world, the next, well, they’re not.

Natus Vincere looked like they finally had found their stride after winning taking three straight LAN titles over the past three months, including ESL One Cologne 2018. But, somehow, they haven’t looked as good following their 3rd-4th place finish at the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premiere 2018.

Oleksandr ‘s1mple‘ Kostyliev’s play seems to have fallen off quite a bit, but more importantly, the rest of the team aren’t stepping up. In particular, Denis ‘electronic‘ Sharipov, has shown that he can’t take over games on his lonesome when s1mple just isn’t up for it.

Of course, it’s still too early to sound the alarms. Natus Vincere still have a long road ahead of them, and being on top means that teams will be more prepared for them, and that’s probably something they haven’t adjusted to just yet. However, if this keeps up, we might actually see Natus Vincere flame out and drop down the standings sooner rather than later.

Olofmeister Needs More Time

DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

FaZe Clan played extremely well without Olofmeister, now they’ll have to learn how to win with the fully recovered Rifler on their roster. (FaZe Clan)

The return of Olof ‘olofmeister‘ Kajbjer to FaZe Clan went pretty much as expected — with the team struggling to show the same form that they displayed with their wins at ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 and Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Sydney.

That’s meant as no slight to the legendary AWPer-turned-Lurker, but even someone as good as olofmeister can’t hope to come back that quickly with a wrist injury. As a result, FaZe Clan have struggled. But, that’s probably okay, especially if it means getting olofmeister back to his old self sooner and with the teams till in contention to win the Intel Grand Slam.

At DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018, we saw the potential of what FaZe Clan can do if they put everything together, going 16-1 against mousesports in Map 1 of the opening rounds of the playoffs before crumbling in Maps 2 and 3.

Still one of the best CS:GO teams in the world on paper, it’s probably only a matter of time before their potential translates to results.

What do you think were the biggest takeaways from DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018? Did the tournament turn out as well as you expected? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on your favourite Esports titles.