DreamHack has always been a staple tournament in the StarCraft 2 calendar with a huge prize pool up for grabs, as well as direct seeds into DreamHack Winter. This weekend will have some of the highest level play we’ve ever seen with some of the best players in the world traveling from all over the world to compete.
DreamHack is known for always raising the bar for tournaments around the world. After much community debate and Pro player insight DreamHack has listened and has shortened the map pool for this weekend. Although it may not sound as significant as some may say it gives the players the ability to prepare specifically for each map and will lead to higher quality games throughout the tournament.
This event is stacked with top tier opponents. Below you’ll find a preview of some of the players attending DreamHack this weekend and who I feel will be the ones to watch for so let’s just get straight into it.
Image courtesy of DreamHack.
Returning champion and newest EG member Thorzain will be capping off his hectic schedule in his home country as he is set to defend his championship. However traveling this much is something Thorzain isn’t used to and it may have an impact on his play. Although dropping to code A after his 3rd place finish in his code S group he had a surprising show considering the circumstances. Hopefully this weekend he will be able to beat his jet lag this time and perform at his best.
EG will be out in force this weekend sending three more of their top players – JYP, PuMa, and Huk will also be in Sweden this week. All of which haven’t been performing at their normal standard in the past few tournaments so this weekend they will be looking to put a stop to that and get the top place finish they need.
Inz: Team EG has been up and down as of late, Huk, JYP, and Puma have been finding it difficult to perform. All three have fell from Code S with only JYP left in Code A. However Puma managed to finish top 6 at MLG Spring championship which gives us hope to see the runner up at DreamHack Winter perform at his best this weekend.
Both JYP and Huk however haven’t been playing that well but this tournament will be their first challenge to pick themselves back up. After a respectable 3rd place finish in his first Code S experience Thorzain is returning to Sweden to end a very taxing travel schedule.
He has said before he is comfy playing at home and it enables him to play his best so I have hope he will defend his title in amazing fashion and show why EG picked him up.
Image courtesy of D-Esports
Team Liquid will also have a strong presence sending former champion HerO as well as Taeja, Ret, and HayprO. After another stint in Korea, HayprO is in good shape, although HayprO has been quiet for a very long time, playing in his home country may give him the boost he needs to place high in a tournament of this calibre.
After failing to make the championship bracket at MLG Spring Championship Ret is not happy with himself. Hopefully this weekend he will prove to everyone why he’s considered one of the top foreign Zerg players.
Inz: Team Liquid have a star studded roster but I don’t know how Taeja will react from his heavy schedule as of late he might find it tough to keep up with the rest of the pack. HerO is a former champion, but he had some pretty crushing defeats due to his nerves. If he doesn’t let his nerves get the better of him it’s very possible he will dominate this tournament.
HayprO is a questionable player, he can compete with the best but it’s rare. I think with him being on his home soil he will give a respectable performance but he won’t be challenging for top 8.
Ret is another player that has so much hype from other pro gamers, he’s someone you can count on to go far but he has his weaknesses. If he’s been working on his early game he shouldn’t have a problem taking top 8 in this tournament.
Image courtesy of Quantic Gaming.
With all the top names attending this Dreamhack there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on the two Quantic Protoss players.
Since his original GSL run Naniwa has again placed into the round of 16 of GSL and is set to make his return to Sweden in stellar fashion. Anything but a high place finish will be a disappointment for Naniwa but if anyone is capable of performing under the lights it’s him.
The other Protoss player is SaSe, his breakout performance at MLG last weekend shocked a lot of people as his run was spectacular. Placing 4th and being the highest placing foreign player SaSe will no doubt be under tremendous pressure this weekend to perform but the stage is set in his home country and this will be his best opportunity to cap off his run and silence those who claim it was a fluke.
Inz: The controversial Swedish Pro gamer Naniwa is used to the pressure going into DreamHack, He’s on a high after advancing from his Code S group and making it to the round of 16.
This weekend he’s back in his home country and ready to play. Naniwa is a likely contender to take this tournament home. Since he’s been living in Korea I think the only problem he faces is foreign talent such as Stephano or Ret.
SaSe is full of confidence going into DreamHack he showed the world what time in Korea can do and destroyed some of the best players in the world. Up until now SaSe has played without pressure and I think going into this weekend he won’t have any weighing on his mind.
SaSe’s wins weren’t just luck and he will be set to place very high at DreamHack.
Ilyes ‘Stephano’ Santori.
Jet lag vs Ilyes – score?
The winner of ESWC, Lone Star Clash and former MLG, and IPL champion – Stephano has yet to perform up to his standards at DreamHack. After taking home two 3rd place finishes at Redbull Battlegrounds and MLG Spring Arena as well as placing top 6 at MLG Spring Championship he’s in a position he hasn’t really been in before and that’s proving himself with a lot of pressure on his mind.
Stephano’s performances lately have been good but leading up to this event he hasn’t had much time to practice. He’s known for not practicing, so it’s going to be interesting to see how far he can go.
Inz: Love him or hate him Stephano has proven time after time that he’s one of the most dominant pro gamers. He’s well respected in the Foreign and Korean StarCraft scenes and has got countless tournament wins.
His last few tournaments he hasn’t been able to secure that first place finish. I have a gut feeling he won’t do too well at this tournament. I feel his travel schedule will take it’s toll on him and he will finish maybe top 16.
Yoan ‘fnatic.ToD’ Merlo
Image courtesy of Team Fnatic.
ToD will be making his return to Europe with a lot of time in Korea under his belt. The French Protoss is feared among many players but has yet to get that big tournament placing that he wants.
Watching his stream it’s clear to see he’s in top form and has benefited greatly from Korea. All he has to do is perform at that standard this weekend and you can bet ToD will be finishing very high at this event.
Inz: ToD has been out in Korea for a while now practising in the Fnatic Gaming House. His playstyle has changed a lot and it’s clear to see he’s been working hard. I feel he will have a good performance this weekend and battle it out in the top 16.
The only challenge he will face is who he gets in his bracket in the knockout stages. Protoss Vs Protoss has shown to be his weakest match up and with so many top Protoss players attending he could hit a Naniwa or a SaSe and get knocked out. He will make top 16 but he may find it difficult to advance further.
For those who loved the NASL Season 1 caster Incontrol, he will be making his casting return at DreamHack. Protoss players are in for a treat as the pro level insight will be huge for those who want to learn Protoss from some of the biggest names in StarCraft.
The 32 groups have been released for the massive digital festival, there isn’t one group that won’t be a challenge and we’ve seen upsets happen before. This is the chance for people to make their name and a chance for those to once again rise to the top.
The action gets underway at 15:00 CET this afternoon, Tune in and enjoy the action packed weekend which is guaranteed to be a hit.
The players I spoke about are my opinion on who I think will have an impact this weekend, write below who you feel will have a dominant performance or who will flop!