Tier 1 CS:GO is finally back! The Dreamhack Open starts with a nice 4 game slate featuring 2 NA games and 2 EU games. The tournaments are still pretty small, but hopefully we can get them filled and show Draftkings that CS:GO should be here to stay.
All the teams on the slate except 1 (Ze Pug Godz) are familiar, but there have been a couple of notable changes.
In EU, Bubzkji has left Mad Lions, and was replaced by Innocent. Bubzkji was Mad Lion best player in the spring, while Innocent has been playing for Illuminar, a team that’s been decent in the European T2/3 scene. He’s not on the same level that Bubzkji was, so Mad Lions as a team may struggle a bit against top competition. Look for Acor and Sjuush to take on bigger roles within the team, they could potentially put up some big scores before pricing adjusts.
Now, I may have buried the lede a bit here, as of course the big news out of NA is that Nitro is out of Team Liquid and Grim is in. While I like this move for Liquid’s actual CS:GO play, it may be detrimental for their fantasy outputs. It should no longer be the Elige and NAF show, now it’ll be more a 3-headed monster. Likewise for Grim, he may not be set up for as many frags as he was on Triumph. In the opposite situation of the Mad Lions players, all 3 of the Team Liquid studs appear overpriced with the new team setup, so we may be able to take advantage of fading them before pricing catches up.
Replacing Grim on Triumph is Penny. Penny is only 17 and has potential to be the next big thing in NA. He appears to have slotted right in to Grim’s role and went +15 kills minus deaths in his very first map on Triumph. Granted it was against a team called “Swedish Canadians” but still, nice way to enter your new team. He’s not quite on Grim’s level yet, but the potential is there and Draftkings has priced him (and all of Triumph, more on that in a minute) incredibly low. Curry has also left the team, I believe to focus on school, and Moose is now playing. Moose also has strong career stats and should be a bit of an upgrade over Curry, who was more of a raw talent, although Moose has notably struggled of late stats-wise.
Lastly in terms of team/player news, Ze Pug Godz, are the team no one will recognize. They are made up of a bunch of players that have been around for a bit in NA, some that were even on other teams in the early days of DK CS:GO, all the way back in March. All 5 team members actually have pretty good career stats, with positive K/D’s and kills over .7 per round across the board. People are going to write them off, especially against Team Liquid in this opening game, but they’ve shown they are no slouches with wins over Chaos and Triumph (with Grim) in the past couple months.
Draftkings finally made pricing tight…sort of. BIG and Liquid are priced absolutely through the roof, every single player on BIG is over 8k and Team Liquid has Grim at 10k Elige at 9.2k and NAF at 8.8k. Heroic is somewhat priced up as a large favorite, with everyone priced between 9k and and 7k. The pricing issue comes in the Chaos/Triumph game. Chaos is even bigger favorites than Heroic, and nearly as big of favorites as Liquid and BIG, yet Xeppaa is priced at 8k. We have him projected for the 2nd most points on the entire slate and he’s cheaper than BIG’s cheapest player. Leaf is only 7k but is projected for basically the same as Stavn from Heroic who costs 9k. I expect Chaos to be super popular as people will want to use them to fit the big guns (no pun intended) from BIG and Team Liquid. Perhaps even more popular than either BIG or Liquid as I expect most people to choose either or, as the pricing makes it hard to fit multiple players from both teams.
While Draftkings has significantly priced up some of the favorites, they’ve also really priced down the underdogs. The only player on an underdog priced over 7k is MarkE on Ze Pug Godz. Playing a couple of players from an underdog makes it possible to fit the super high salary guys. I expect the most popular lineup construction to be either Liquid or Big, Chaos, and an underdog. I think MAD Lions should be the most popular of the underdogs, as they have the best odds to win (at 8:00 pm EST on Friday as I write this). Plus, people probably won’t want to play Triumph players against Chaos for the most part, which should keep their ownership down a bit.
I personally plan on being overweight on Ze Pub Godz. Not only do they project really well, I also think people are going to write them off because they’re playing against the “new and improved” Team Liquid. Team Liquid should end up being improved, but they might take a bit to gel though as they adapt to Grim and Grim adapts to them. I don’t think Ze Pub Godz are going to win necessarily, but I think they can keep it close enough to pay off their salaries, especially if they can force 3 maps.
I also plan on playing some lineups that have both Chaos and Triumph players in them. That whole game is so underpriced relative to the others that it’s okay to use 3 players, maybe even 4 from that game (still a max of 2 per team). With Grim Triumph barely lost each of the last 4 maps they played against Chaos, winning at least 12 rounds each map, and I don’t think the drop-off from Grim to Penny will be as severe as Vegas seems to anticipate. If this goes 3 maps, or even if it’s 2 close maps, plenty of players should pay off their relatively meager salaries.
The underdog I plan on staying away from is Endpoint. Even though they are so cheap, BIG are arguably the best team in the world right now, and I expect them to come out and stomp Endpoint. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 16-5, 16-5 type of scoreline here.
While I’ll probably have a handful of lineups with captains from BIG and Team Liquid, I expect most of my lineups will feature cheaper captains. My favorite captain on the slate is Xeppaa, although I do expect he’ll be popular. Leaf is another solid choice as we already discussed how cheap he is relative to players projected for similar points. I’ll also have some Cooper- and MarkE captain lineups from Ze Pub Godz, as that really opens up the salary to fit studs elsewhere.
That does it for Saturday’s slate, now let’s go fill those contests and push Draftkings to make them bigger!