Alex “Waldo” Waldherr is a CSGO connoisseur and valued member of the Luckbox community. Waldo takes a close look at the first-round match-ups at DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 and offers his predictions...
Updated 1:23PM EST on 5/28/2019.
It only took until the end of May but, come Tuesday, the first big North American LAN of 2019 (with more than eight teams) will be getting started in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area in the form of DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019.
Everything is bigger in Texas, but by that do you believe in big wins by heavy favorites? Or big upsets by lovable underdogs? We have you covered with a breakdown of each of the best-of-one first-round matchups!
Team Liquid (HLTV ranking: 2) vs. Lucid Dream (77)
This matchup should be one of the most cut and dry of the first round. Liquid are looking to build on their recent curse-breaking successes at IEM Sydney, while Lucid Dream are still working to establish themselves as a contender in the Asian region. They could have hardly asked for a tougher opponent for their first ever matchup outside of the Asian region, and I believe that Team Liquid should comfortably take care of business.
Waldo's prediction: Team Liquid: 16 - Lucid Dream: 6
Vitality (11) vs North (16)
This matchup is one of the most intriguing of the first round. Although Vitality are playing their way through MDL at the moment, they are outclassing teams on a regular basis and showing that they do belong in the upper echelons of EU CSGO. However, North have been picking up convincing results in ESL Pro play, firmly beating a much improved Heroic squad 2-0 and beating NaVi 2-1. This one should be close, but I'm siding with the young French phenom as an X Factor, Vitality takes a close one.
Waldo's prediction: Vitality: 16 - North: 13
FaZe Clan (8) vs Windigo (19)
This is our first look at NEO-FaZe playing through a whole event together. Normally, I would take this as an upset pick, as people heavily underestimate how much of an impact playing with a stand in or having recent roster changes has on team chemistry. However, FaZe is a team that has a history of playing extremely well with new faces (looking at you Cromen) so I don't think that the recent changes will effect them as much as other teams. The Bulgarian bunch from Windigo are not to be taken lightly however, I picked them early this year as one of my breakthrough teams for 2019, their lineup is extremely talented with great potential. All that being said, I think Niko will still be in the honeymoon "FaZe" of this new IGL relationship and I expect that NEO will do well in freeing him up to show his skill. I pick FaZe in a close one, but this matchup definitely has the most upset potential in the first round of Group A.
Waldo's prediction: FaZe Clan: 16 - Windigo: 14
Note: After publication it became known that Calyx of ex-Space Soldiers would be filling in for blocker of Windigo due to visa issues. Waldo believes that this works in FaZe Clan's favor.
Ninjas In Pyjamas (7) vs Tyloo (32)
Ordinarily, I would put NIP on upset alert, as Tyloo have a habit of beating teams that the rest of the world thinks that they shouldn't. However, with the roster rumor mill swirling and the recent departure of Johnta for Winstrike Team, I don't think that Tyloo have the firepower to take down timeless legends like GeT_RiGhT and f0rest, especially now that dennis, REZ, and Lekr0 are also now taking turns popping off. I think experience wins out here, but expect Tyloo to make it close until NiP can firmly take control of the economy.
Waldo's prediction: NIP: 16 - Tyloo: 11
Note: After publication it became known that pita, the coach of NiP, would be filling in for dennis due to travel delays. Waldo believes that this shouldn't change the outcome too drastically, as pita works within the same system already and NiP are capable of winning even when dennis isn't playing well.
ENCE (3) vs Isurus (40)
This matchup is deceptively #EZ4ENCE. Though Isurus may be flying a bit under the radar, the Argentinian side has some very good wins in the last few months. Meyern is playing extremely well and this team just needs one solid LAN to remind the world that there are other countries in SA that play CSGO other than Brazil. This is a game that I could see getting away from ENCE early on and requiring them to claw their way back in. ENCE in a close one, but the Argentines prove that they're here to play.
Waldo's prediction: ENCE: 16 - Isurus: 13
Renegades (10) vs G2 (15)
This matchup will likely be determined by the AWPers. Renegades is playing with Smooya as a stand in for Gratisfaction, and Kenny remains an X Factor for G2. Will Kenny be carrying, or will his teammates have to carry him as deadweight? Are Renegades comfortable enough with Smooya as a consistent stand in lately that they'll be able to play at close to peak performance? Kenny is too inconsistent for my liking in 2019, I think G2 hits double digits, but Renegades take the win.
Waldo's prediction: Renegades: 16 - G2: 11
Note: After publication it became known that Gratisfaction of Renegades would be returning to the lineup following the approval of his visa. Given G2's inconsistency, Waldo believes that this is even better news for the Oceanic squad, and is hoping to see the form that the boys showed in Katowice.
NRG (9) vs Furia (18)
This matchup is where I see the most upset potential, so much so that I'm willing to go out on a limb and pick Furia. NRG have been wildly inconsistent in 2019, whereas Furia are taking the scene by storm, currently sitting atop the NA MDL standings at 7-2. NRG have struggled to regularly beat teams like Complexity on a regular basis, while Furia have decisively won games against the same opponents. Look to Brehze, Ethan, and tarik to try to play difference maker against the trio of arT, KSCERATO, and yuurih. I think the young guns get it done against the favored NA squad, Furia in a close one.
Waldo's prediction: Furia: 16 - NRG: 13
Fnatic (5) vs Cloud 9 (33)
Cloud 9 are starting to settle into this new lineup, but I think that they are one of those teams that really needs time to adjust when a new player comes into the mix. Fnatic on the other hand have looked really strong, with Brollan appearing to justify all of the hype claiming that he's the next great Swedish talent. autimatic is arguably the most exciting player to watch in NA right now, but I think that his team will struggle against the good mix of experience and young talent that Fnatic brings to the table. Fnatic outclass Cloud 9 and move along in the winners bracket.
Waldo's prediction: Fnatic: 16 - Cloud 9: 6
That's my breakdown. Disagree? Come find me in the Luckbox Discord. I'd be happy to tell you why I'm right and you're wrong! But no matter what happens, Dallas is set to be the site for some top-tier CS in the days to come. Though it is somewhat surprising that Astralis didn't want to go enjoy some barbecue, I hear they're a fan of things being smoked...
Related: Updated DreamHack Dallas bracket and schedules
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