lurppis: What did we learn from the DreamHack Open Leipzig 2016?
The former Counter-Strike professional discusses changes to traditional hierarchy, the emergence of new stars and the start of a tactical revolution
The DreamHack Open Leipzig, featuring five or six of the best ten teams in the world, took place this weekend with Na`Vi defeating Luminosity in two overtime games in the grand final to win the $50,000 first place prize.
But what are the key takeaways from the event? Let's find out.
dignitas and Kjaerbye break through
Both dignitas and its star player Kjaerbye had their breakthrough tournaments.
No one could realistically expect dignitas to beat both Virtus.pro and mousesports in best-of-three series, or Kjaerbye to be in contention for the title of the best player at the event.
Especially convincing was the way the young Danes defeated the elite side of Virtus.pro, falling behind in numerous clutch situations before ultimately somehow coming out with the win in an overtime game.
That shows mental strength, a rare feat in such a young team.
And if you needed any further proof of Kjaerbye’s capabilities, just watch this highlight clip of the 17-year-old.
Are astralis’s struggles permanent?
Not only did astralis fall short against Luminosity - a team they have historically beaten until their struggles began to worsen in the fall - but they also barely scraped past a much weaker mousesports team in the group stage in overtime.
None of the team’s three players, who all made HLTV.org’s list of the top 20 players in 2015, played up to their usual level, with drop-offs statistically similar to the difference between a star and an average player.
For months we have assumed that the Danes’ issues are temporary and will be addressed sooner or later, but could these problems actually be permanent?
Might they, in fact, be the ones who cannot figure out other teams so easily? If any team were to fall out from the elite group, I would place my money on it being astralis.
Virtus.pro bomb out again to start the year
The incredibly inconsistent – in both the good and the bad sense – Virtus.pro started off 2016 in exactly the same fashion as 2015, by bombing out in the group stage against a team who should be inferior opponents.
In addition, their star player Snax played his worst-ever match and finished with the entire event’s worst rating, and the worst rating of his career.
Not a good sign for the Poles, but they are known for being very up and down, and had not attended an offline tournament in nearly two months.
They will now have their work cut out, as the competitive landscape has become tougher than ever with Luminosity’s sudden rise to the elite level.
Tactical Counter-Strike is making a return
While the past few years of Counter-Strike have seen a less tactical style that relied heavily on players’ individual skill, it seems that tactical Counter-Strike is, finally, making a return.
Na`Vi broke through as an elite team in the summer, and now Luminosity have done the same – all while relying even more heavily on a broad set of tactics, good preparation, and a sound playing style.
The Brazilians have come up with so many new tricks in the game that even fnatic’s in-game leader flusha has taken note.
Expect many to start copying Luminosity, and to add more to their tactical arsenal.
The meta changes slowly, but there is no doubt that FalleN’s team have now started that slow and incremental change.
Luminosity are an elite team
Luminosity recruited TACO and fnx in mid-November after already having some promising results, and instantly struck gold with best-of-three series wins over EnVyUs, NiP and astralis – three teams they had not beaten before, let alone in multi-map series.
Since then they took Na`Vi to their limit at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals, fell short against fnatic in the semi-final of SL i-League StarSeries XIV Finals, and have now defeatted astralis before taking Na`Vi to two overtimes.
They have now proven themselves over a couple of months to be able to compete with anyone, and should be considered one of the favorites to contend for any title in the near future.
What’s more, they have done so using an approach that should make them far more consistent than some of their opponents, and that will not be easy to counter.
Luminosity earned their status as an elite team in Leipzig.
flamie was the MVP of DreamHack Open Leipzig 2016
Na`Vi’s 18-year-old star has elevated his level of play throughout his tenure in the team, but now in two of their three most recent tournaments he has performed as the team’s best player, even ahead of superstar sniper GuardiaN.
flamie finished the event with an other-worldly 1.28 rating and +43 K-D difference in six maps, including a ridiculous carry performance in the grand final.
The youngster was the MVP of DreamHack Open Leipzig, and it will be interesting to see whether he can become a consistent performer at this high level, or if he will be the swing vote whose occasional stronger-than-usual showings can become the difference between winning and losing against elite competition.