PC Gamer
Photo credit: DreamHack/Sebastian Ekman.

This weekend is all about DreamHack Winter, which is happening right now in J nk ping, Sweden. There's top-quality Dota 2, CS:GO, Hearthstone, and more to be watched: so much that you'll have a hard time keeping track of them. Don't worry, though! Thanks to the magic of 'doing lots of esports in the same building', you can listen to a bit of CS:GO casting while watching Dota.

Here's what's happening.

Dota 2: ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 4 Playoffs

A spread of international Dota 2 talent compete for a share of $150,000 at DreamHack. Frankfurt Major champions OG are taking part, as are ESL One New York winners Vega Squadron. The majority of this bracket is taking place today, Friday the 27th—but the lower bracket finals and grand finals are both taking place tomorrow. Play starts at 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT/05:00 PST) and you can watch it all on Twitch.

It is guaranteed to be very Dota: but will it be as Dota as 2013, when the finals took place during a Darude concert?

No. That is impossible.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 Finals

$250,000 on the line in a single day. After Thursday's group stages, four surviving top-flight CS:GO teams will play the semi-finals and finals on Saturday. Between Team SoloMid, Virtus.pro, Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas there's a huge amount of talent on display here. Play starts 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT/05:00 PST) and you'll find the livestream here (and also in the background of the Dota stream.)

Hearthstone: DreamHack NVidia Grand Prix

Running throughout the weekend, this is an open tournament with a $40,000 prize pool. It'll start with a Swiss format (no eliminations, players earn points to determine standing) followed by an elimination bracket. Anybody can enter, but they'll be up against some of the best players in the world—including Worlds champion Ostkaka. Watch on the official streaming site.

StarCraft II: DreamHack ROCCAT LotV Championship

The competitive scene is still developing around the changes brought in by Legacy of the Void, so this tournament is one of your best opportunities to see new strats in action. Rob Zacny wrote  this article earlier in the week about changes you're likely to see, but find out for sure this weekend as a roster of European players (plus invited Korean greats) click on stuff really quickly for $50,000. Play is ongoing, with the remaining matches taking place tomorrow from, you guessed it, 14.00 CET (13.00 GMT/05:00 PST). Once again, the place to be is the official streaming site.

Ultra Street Fighter IV: Capcom Pro Tour

Dreamhack is a premier stop for the Capcom Pro Tour as it continues its journey around the world. A share of $250,000 is on the line, with 32 players in contention from all around the world. A great opportunity to see some top-quality Street Fighter—and get excited for next year's SF V. Group stage play begins on Saturday at 11:00 CET (10:00 GMT/02:00 PST) and continues until the end of the day. Watch it here.

League of Legends: 2015 International Wildcard All-Stars

Believe it or not, there's something happening this weekend that isn't happening in Sweden. Melborne, Austria will host LoL's first-ever Wildcard tournament in order to determine which teams represent the Wildcard regions at the All-Star Event in a couple of weeks. The format is pretty unusual: each region's All-Star team is assembled by player vote and play will take place across multiple mode, including standard 5 vs. 5 Summoner's Rift, 1 vs 1, and a player-voted mode. Play started on Thursday and runs through to the end of Saturday. Here's the stream.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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Inferno can be a tricky map to defend unless you understand it. To that end, start by learning the call-outs —the names used to describe each part of the map. This guide by Froosh and collaborators is a very useful resource to bookmark. Keep the Inferno image open in a tab as you work through the rest of this article.

There are two major chokepoints that you want to control: middle and top of banana. If you manage to keep the terrorists from pushing past these points until the end of the round you are likely to have gathered enough information to be ready for the final aggression.

At first glance this may seem simple, but if you have played a couple of games on Inferno you know that this isn't the case. One reason for this is the long rotations between the two bomb sites. As a consequence, you will have to slow down the terrorists.

Utility Grenades

Always prioritize smoke grenade, then two flashbangs. If you have money left you should go for an incendiary unless you plan to go for double grenades in either banana or middle to do some initial damage.

Having identified the problem, it's time to defuse it. In order to have a successful CT half you have to make the most of your utility grenades: don't throw away a flashbang for no reason.

Bombsite A

You want two guys to cover mid. Preferably one on arch side and one truck side. These guys will be your impenetrable wall. They will use their smoke grenades to ensure the terrorists won't be able to take over mid (at least not without begging for mercy when the rotation from B joins the party.)

You can use a flashbang to let your teammate peek and maybe even get a kill. If that player finds terrorists about to push mid he mustn't panic. Instead, you should just put down a smoke screen. Generally the player on the arch side should use his smoke first. That way you will still have smokes left on A if the arch player has to rotate to B.

ThoughtfulSpanishAfricanfisheagle (gfyCat video)

The third player on A will make sure your opponents don't take control over apartments. This guy will be the James Bond of your team: the secret agent whose aim is to go for sneaky plays and catch the terrorists off-guard. If you have a smoke up in mid, the truck side player can support him from boiler stairs and let him hide in bedroom.

ForthrightPiercingGreatdane (gfyCat video)

On the next page: control bombsite B, plus when to buy an AWP.

Bombsite B

On this site I like to have one highly confident player go a little more aggressive and peek angles. The other person gets to be the annoying devil who will make sure the attackers are so flashbanged they couldn't find a crater on the moon.

The first player can take a peek from the corner at the top of banana and try to spot terrorists. If they go for a fast push he can call for a smoke from the support player. If, on the other hand, he can hear them further down in banana or just wants to take a more aggressive peek, his ally can either flash over the roof or in front of the car as shown below.

WhichWelcomeCusimanse (gfyCat video)

GlossySpiritedCrownofthornsstarfish (gfyCat video)

If the guys on A need help it's best if the support player rotates if he has used his smoke already. Remember, clever use of utility grenades is what wins you rounds.

When the terrorists decide to commit to B they will almost always smoke off CT spawn. By this time it's likely that one of you will find yourself behind the grey cloud of death, but have no fear! Now you have two options. Either that player rotates around the construction site to spools or you can go for the ballsy play and flash pool so that the player from CT side can push the smoke and catch the enemies with their pants down.

FairSandyArabianhorse (gfyCat video)

AWP on Inferno

You have won a couple of rounds in a row and you find yourself with an abundance of cash. It's tempting to go back to the hotel and have a drink or two. Maybe buy something nice for you and your friends after a long day of combat. But no, now is not the time. There's still a war to be won. Instead you pick up the AWP.

Let's say your AWP player decides to peek banana and he ends up getting a kill. Then he can fall back towards CT spawn, lay down a smoke screen and switch positions with the guy on arch side on A. Often the terrorists will opt out and rotate back to mid, just to find themselves getting killed once again by the same AWPer. Note that this is a risky play and you should only use it once or twice.

Mix it up

Even though nothing can replace good communication and smart positioning you will have to mix it up a bit every now and then. After all, you don't want your opponents to read you like an open book. This is the time to use the card up your sleeve.

This flash from inside the corner on arch side is one of my favorite flashes in the entire game. Simply line up your crosshair with the line on the wall, flash, wait, and pick up some free kills.

SlushyHardtofindBaboon (gfyCat video)

Another high risk, high reward play is to let your support player hide behind sandbags. Peek banana from your usual corner and when you see a terrorist, just back off, call for a flash and then the two of you can spray them down.

UntidyInexperiencedKitty (gfyCat video)

Watch your Replays

Go to the 'Watch' tab. Then 'Your Matches'. Select the game you want to watch and click 'Download'. That replay will now appear in your 'Downloaded' tab. Click 'Watch on GOTV'.

Final words

Some of these things are easy to do and will help you win more games, whereas some things will take more time to master. Watch your replays (take a look to the right for instructions) and pay attention to what the enemy team did. Should you have rotated earlier? Later? Just remember, practice makes perfect: if at first you don't succeed, buy a defuse kit and try again.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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It s another stacked weekend in the world of being incredibly good at computer games for money. Coming up tomorrow we ve got high-level Dota 2, Smite, CS:GO, and League of Legends. With the majority of the year s World Championships now done, this is the beginning of the next year of regular season play. If you needed proof that competitive gaming is only getting bigger and bigger, consider that the amount of money on the line this weekend would have set a world record just two years ago.

Dota 2: The Frankfurt Major

Saturday will see the final stages of this official $3m Dota tournament play out in Germany. The lower bracket final will begin at 10:30 local time (09:30 GMT/01:30 PST) to be followed by the grand final at 14:30 CET (13:30 GMT/05:30 PST). At the time of writing, either Team Secret or Evil Geniuses will snag the upper bracket grand final slot. The loser of their match will face either EHOME or OG for the final place. This has been an amazing tournament so far, with lots of different regions and playstyles represented at the very top. You can watch the games on Twitch or on the official Dota 2 streaming site. Don t miss it.

Smite Super Regional

This weekend, the world s best Smite teams will battle for a chance to compete in January s World Championship. The North American and European Championships are running alongside one another, with the third place and wildcard matches taking place on Saturday and the two grand finals on Sunday. This is a young and dynamic competitive scene and a really exciting game to watch: thoroughly recommend checking it out, even if you only tune in for the finals. The show begins at 10.30 EST (15.30 GMT/07:30 PST) on both days, and you ll find the Twitch stream right here.

Counter-Strike: GO at Intel Extreme Masters San Jose

Seven international invited teams plus one qualifier (from last week s iBUYPOWER Cup) take part in a brutal two-day single-elimination bracket. This promises to be top-flight CS:GO with a healthy prize pool, and a good opportunity for US fans to watch games on their own time for the first time since, er, last week. But it s normally less common, honest. Play begins at 19.40 PST on both days, which is 22.40 EST. This creates a bit of an issue for European viewers: Saturday s games will begin at 03.40 GMT/04.40 CET on Sunday and Sunday s at the same time on Monday. That s only fair, mind. Watch the action here.

League of Legends at Intel Extreme Masters San Jose.

As Worlds 2015 fades into memory, rekindle your enthusiasm for competitive League this weekend. As with CS:GO, this is a single-elimination bracket: but unlike CS:GO, the teams ere assembled through a vote in China, Europe and North America plus a single invited KeSPA team, Jin Air Green Wings. The tournament runs concurrently with the CS:GO, so see above for times. Click here for the Twitch stream.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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Pistol rounds are among the most important rounds in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Winning your pistol rounds gives you an economic advantage that makes it much easier to take the following two rounds as well. In a game where the first team to get to 16 rounds wins, winning four rounds cheaply gives you a huge advantage. It s also important to learn to use pistols so that you can take advantage of an eco round . Your opponent have just won a round and now you re out of money. You can t afford a complete loadout but you don t want to throw a round away. This is the time to buy a pistol, some armor and be the John Wayne you know you can be!

Counter Terrorist pistol choices

What's 'Aimpunch'?

When you get shot without armor, your screen will flick up slightly, making it hard for you to hit your target.

Choosing the correct pistol is just as important as knowing how to use it, so let s get started with the buy phase. In the first round of either half you start off with $800. Currently, most professional players choose to use that money to buy kevlar with their default pistol. While I don t think all professional strategies work in matchmaking, this way of starting the CT side is hard to argue with. The accuracy of the USPS-S makes up for the shortage of bullets and having kevlar removes the aimpunch,making it a great pistol setup. If you re using the p2000 instead of the USP-s you ll have enough bullets to keep your enemies at a distance, allowing your team to rotate to your bombsite. Make sure someone in the team buys a defuse kit!

Terrorist pistol choices

The terrorist side isn t much different than the counter terrorist side when it comes to pistols. Most players will want to simply buy armor and stick with their Glock-18. The Glock is a great weapon to run and gun with which is what you ll be doing a lot of the time as a terrorist. A popular strategy among both professional players and matchmakers is the raid boss setup. One person buys armor while another player provides him or her with a Tec-9. They themselves buy a flash and a smoke, giving the team some utility. This way you end up with 4 armored players, one of which has a very strong pistol.

Eco rounds

Eco round buys are often decided on the fly but there are some guidelines for you to follow as you decide what to go for. Because communication in matchmaking is often not much better than Twitch chat, your buys can be decided entirely by what the rest of your team is doing. If nobody buys, you re best off following the group and saving for the next round. However, if all the planets do align and you get to buy a pistol, it s up to you not to buy the wrong one. Buying a p250 is a cheap way to get a gun out of your opponent s hands: it s a great pistol for getting quick, close range kills. You can spam it quite rapidly or take your time and go for the single headshot.

The Five-Seven is a second option on the CT side that offers you nearly the same pistol with a few more bullets per clip and higher armor penetration. The CZ75-Auto is a good gun for standing around a corner, waiting for someone to walk by and emptying a clip into the back of their head. The pistol is expensive, however, and it lacks bullets.Unless you have the perfect position for it, I would always buy the Five-Seven over the CZ.

On the terrorist side, buying the Tec-9 feels like the obvious choice. Being able to empty a 24-bullet clip into your opponent as quickly as the Tec-9 allows can turn a round in your favour. Buying Dual Elites is almost always a mistake, which leaves us with the fan-favorite Desert Eagle. There is no better feeling in CS:GO than shooting someone in the head with a Desert Eagle using only your first shot. Taking out a player who has just invested $6000 in their loadout with a $700 pistol feels like killing an mammoth with a Super Soaker. Using the Desert Eagle is hard so for most players, however, that it s not a worthy investment—but if you re feeling lucky it won t hurt to try it once in a while.

Scoring kills

The counter terrorist s USP-s is freakishly accurate and will get you one-shot kills if you hit your helmet-less target in the head. The small clip size forces you to use your bullets carefullyso aim for the head and don t spam too much unless you re in a close range battle. The Glock-18 requires the opposite playstyle. This gun is perfect for running at your target, shouting obscenities and spamming your left mouse button. Only put the gun on burst mode (right click) if you re going to attempt jump shooting and keep your crosshair on your opponent s head at all times, only correcting for recoil.

What's a 'CHOKE'?

A choke is a hallway, tunnel, set of doors or otherwise narrow location that makes it hard for multiple people to walk through at the same time.

The p250 and the Five-Seven are played nearly identically. Because both these pistols can get one-shot headshot kills on close range—even against opponents with kevlar and a helmet -it s a good idea to try to put yourself in 1v1 positions. You do this by standing around the corner from a choke location and aiming at head height.

What's a 'Recoil Pattern'?

Every gun has its own recoil pattern. After firing your first bullet, your next bullet won t land on the exact same spot. The pattern of where your bullets land on a full spray is what we call a recoil pattern.

The terrorists s Tec-9 is a strong pistol for running and gunning . This gun s recoil pattern is about as random as a best of one group stage so the best way to use the Tec-9 is by spamming it whenever you get close enough for your bullets to actually hit your target. When you do get close enough you have a very good chance of killing your opponent, regardless of which weapon they re using.

The Desert Eagle is less like a pistol and more like a tiny AWP. Wildly inaccurate when you re moving, the Deagle requires you to come to a complete stop before firing off bullets that will instantly kill a helmeted player with a headshot, even from a long distance. For short range kills you can spam your deagle but the more time you give the pistol to reset to its default position, the more accurate your shots will be.

Improving quickly

You don t get to play too many pistol rounds during a competitive CS:GO game so jumping into a pistol-only deathmatch server is a great way to improve your pistol play. Try only using the USP-s and aiming for the head and you ll feel yourself get better every time you play.

A good pistol player can hand their team two of the most important rounds of the game. A great pistol player can turn an entire game around and create some of the most beautiful moments we ve seen in Counter-Strike history:

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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BlizzCon is behind us, and the League of Legends World Championship has become a memory. Things are relatively quiet in the land of CS:GO and StarCraft II as Dreamhack Winter approaches, and the Smite scene is deep in preparation for the Super Regionals in Atlanta next week. Dota 2 takes centre stage this weekend, then, as the first-ever Major gets underway in Frankfurt. If you are not a fan of world-class wizard-clicking, we ve got North American CS:GO, a little Hearthstone, and some Ultra Street Fighter IV.

Dota 2: The Frankfurt Major

The group stages for the Frankfurt Major are running now and continue tomorrow. Nobody is getting eliminated this weekend, but these games will determine who begins next week s main event in the lower bracket, a single game from elimination. It s been an exciting tournament so far, with upsets within the first couple of hours. Play begins at 10:00 am GMT/02:00 am PST and continues throughout the day. You can follow the games on Twitch or via the official Dota 2 streaming site. Need more information? Check out our guide.

Counter-Strike Global Offensive: iBUYPOWER Cup

The best North American CS:GO teams go to war for a slice of $100,000 at the Santa Ana eSports Arena. This is a chance to see a different scene duke it out, and an opportunity for US fans to finally get to watch some pro Counter-Strike on their own timezone. Games will be broadcast on Twitch throughout the weekend. A schedule isn t available yet, but you ll hopefully be able to find more information on the official site when the event is underway.

Hearthstone: SeatStory Cup IV

Only a week after the World Championship at BlizzCon, the Hearthstone scene is still going. Freshly-crowned champion Ostkaka will join plenty of other pros in Germany for a shot at $10,000. Play has been running for a couple of days already and will conclude on Sunday. The games begin at 13:00 pm GMT/05:00 am PST and will be livestreamed right here.

Ultra Street Fighter IV: Capcom Pro Tour Asia Finals 2015

This is a chance to see some very high level Street Fighter with lots of interesting matchups. The Pro Tour Asia Finals will be played in a round-robin format, meaning that everybody will play everybody else: no early eliminations here. The tournament runs all weekend in Singapore, with play beginning at 04:00 am GMT/20:00 pm PST—subtract a day for the US times, because timezones. You can watch all of the games here.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

Don t be scared, it s just esports! Ok, no, wait, there is quite a lot of it, maybe you should be mildly concerned. This Halloween weekend is stuffed fuller than a trick or treater s cheap plastic candy basket with professional gaming action. Unlike a Jack O Lantern full of off-brand Mars bars, this week s matches are guaranteed to get you hyped without the associated sugar crash afterwards. It is unknown which of these two options is better for your teeth, though. It s the season finale of League of Legends and Counter-Strike s yearly dramas, as well as some prep work for Blizzard s festival of electronic sport next week. There is literally something for everyone, so get a pail of candied corn in and celebrate death (or whatever Halloween is about) with some fine esportsmanship.

League of Legends Worlds 2015 Finals

Worlds comes to a creepy close this All Hallows Eve, as finalists SK Telecom T1 take on their surprise contenders KOO Tigers in Berlin. Though not the all-Europe final many were hoping for after the elimination of both Fnatic and Origen in last week s semifinal bouts, this still promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the LoL year. KOO, the Korean rejects , will be looking to prove their fellow countrymen wrong to pass over them when putting together this year s rosters. SKT, however, fill the role of the infallible professionals with Faker the final raid boss before KOO can lift the Summoner s Cup. It all ends Saturday at 04:00 PDT / 11:00 GMT and you can catch it on the official Riot Games Twitch or Azubu.

Counter-Strike: DreamHack Cluj-Napoca

Throughout this weekend, the world s best CS:GO teams will be fighting their way through the final Major of the year, and the last chance to bag glory in 2015. Things are already looking a bit shaken up for this one as Luminosity Gaming have gotten out of their group and into the playoffs ahead of the year s reigning champs, Fnatic. The ESL Cologne winners now have one more match on Friday 02:00 PDT/09:00 GMT against the massively improved US Cloud9 side to determine if they continue on with a chance to defend their title. After that, the quarters play out on Saturday, starting 02:00 PDT/09:00 GMT and the last at 11:00 PDT/18:00 GMT. Then Sunday concludes with the semis from 02:00 PST/10:00 GMT and the final at 09:00 PST/17:00 GMT, all streamed via DreamHack s Twitch channel.

Dota 2: Nanyang Championship 2015

The conclusion of this month s Nanyang Championship plays out over Friday and Sunday this weekend, with Team Secret already overcoming a shaky start to the new season and finding themselves in the final. Friday s losers bracket playoffs will decide who faces them in that final (Sunday 01:00 PST/09:00 GMT—watch that daylight savings change, America) and Vici Gaming, Team Liquid and EHOME are all still in the running to do so. You can catch all of those on the BTS twitch.

Hearthstone World Championships group stages

BlizzCon proper isn t until next weekend, but there are quite a few matches to get out of the way before those grand finals. For Hearthstone, the groups have already begun and will continue until Saturday as players bid to secure their spot on stage for the quarterfinals on November 6. Some standout matches include ThijsNL vs Kno (Friday 09:00 PDT/16:00 GMT), the Japanese contender who finds himself second in Group A after edging out JAB 3-2 in his first match. The top two battles continue with Kranich vs Zoro at 10:00 PDT/17:00GMT and Ostkaka and Hotform face off just after at 11:00 PDT/18:00 GMT. Chinese and Taiwanese competitors Zihao and Pinpingho round out the battle for the top of their groups at 12:00 PDT/19:00 GMT. You can catch all matches on Friday and Saturday on Blizzard s official stream.

StarCraft: WCS Global Finals 2015

Also on the BlizzCon prep list is the StarCraft Round of 16. These start on Sunday, with the top-vs-bottom matchup of herO vs FanTaSy (10:00 PST/18:00 GMT) and continue down the WCS rankings, pitting the top players against their inverse rank qualifiers every 90 minutes or so. This leaves Europe s wonderchild, and the last remaining non-Korean competitor in the competition, Lilbow playing against last year s champion Life at 14:30 PST/22:30 GMT. Tune in then to lend him your energy by pasting those same four BibleThump emoticons over and over in Twitch chat on the official stream.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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Following three earlier parts in this series, we have finally gotten to the four best teams in the world who are most likely going to be competing for the title of world champions at DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, which had its first group matches today (here's the schedule). Three of these teams are old champions—though EnVyUs s win featured two different players—while TSM are still hoping to score their first elusive major championship. Let s take a look at the four biggest favorites, in no particular order.


Sweden — flusha, JW, KRiMZ, olofm, pronax

fnatic are the defending champions, having won the last two majors at ESL One Cologne and ESL One Katowice. However, in the past couple of months their level of play has seemingly decreased, with losses piling up against all of the teams they will be competing with for the title. The competition is only going to get tougher, and sometimes what you need to get a boost of motivation is to lose a couple of times, in order to want to put in work again. It is surprisingly easy to get complacent when you are at the top, and if fnatic end up winning their third straight major title, they will be the first ones to tell you it was key to lose some tournaments leading up to it.

In Cologne, fnatic was the clear favorite going in. This time it should be a much closer affair. Any of the three other teams here—TSM, Virtus.pro, or EnVyUs—could realistically take down pronax s squad in a best-of-three series. In a vacuum I would still pick fnatic as the likeliest champions, but the world is not a vacuum—and things like motivation matter. I do not think fnatic will lose to Virtus.pro or EnVyUs, but if they face TSM earlier than the grand final, it is possible that the Black and Orange may miss on a three-peat. On the other hand, if they get to grand final and someone else has already knocked TSM out, they could complete a three-peat, which no one will, most likely, ever repeat in CS:GO. Talk about a legendary team.

Team SoloMid

Denmark — cajunb, device, dupreeh, karrigan, Xyp9x)

TSM is obviously going to be competing for the title at Cluj-Napoca. The team has an incredible record in Romania—not that it really matters—and has been trending up in recent months. They still seem to have fnatic in their back pocket, but their kryptonite is EnVyUs, and their record versus Virtus.pro is not much better either. As a result, device s and Team SoloMid s final placing at the next major, if they do not significantly improve on their game, will likely depend heavily on the bracket draw.

In simplest terms, you would pick TSM as a slight favorite versus fnatic, an underdog versus EnVyUs, and a 50-50 shot against Virtus.pro. That is a great situation to be in, considering those are your main competition for the title, but at the same time it still shows how much this major s title is up for grabs. If the trio of device, dupreeh and cajunb play like stars, karrigan has the occasional impact round he s had recently and calls well, and Xyp9x continues clutching big rounds, I could easily see this being TSM s event. And when you think about what each team has going for them motivation-wise, I think that only makes sense. My money is on TSM at this coming major.


France — apEX, Happy, kennyS, kioShiMa, NBK

EnVyUs won their first tournament with the new roster—IEM Gamescom—with four map wins over TSM. They placed second, only to fnatic, at ESL One Cologne, and aside from the sloppy play at ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational, have mostly looked like the kind of team who might make another grand final run at Cluj-Napoca. I still believe this may be the most skilled roster ever assembled, and while Happy s playing style comes under scrutiny at times, there s no denying his system works, and that he is the most skilled in-game leader in the game. The ceiling of EnVyUs, when firing on all cylinders, is incredibly high. That is the number one thing they have going for them with the amount of skill this roster packs.

On the other hand, kennyS has not been the force we became used to since the AWP update, apEX remains very up and down, and while both kioShiMa and NBK are star lever players at times, both also have the occasional bad series. This team s problem is that they do not have a single go-to guy who is able to win them terrorist rounds when needed—which has a lot to do with the fact their lurker is their in-game leader. It has not been much of a problem in the past, but I would bet that a team doing their homework would have it the easiest versus EnVyUs out of these four teams. If they are on fire, they can win it all, and the trio of Happy, kioShiMa, and NBK can secure their second major, a year removed from the first one. But if multiple players have a bad series at the wrong time, these guys could exit in the semis, or even in the quarter-finals.


Poland — byali, NEO, pasha, Snax, TaZ

Virtus.pro is the ultimate underdog team. Their form comes and goes, and while Snax is the team s best player over the long haul, any one of their five players is capable of being the best player in any series. Out of these four squads, it s possible that Virtus.pro match-up the best against the others overall. After the win over fnatic at the PGL Season 1 Finals they overcame the mental block of dropping the ESL One Cologne semi-final, and should feel very confident going into this event. It is a clich at this point to say the Poles play better at the majors, but it still holds true—and there is little reason to expect that to change.

If pasha is able to step up his game and become the kind of force he was in early 2014—when he was briefly considered a top five player in the world—this team could become world number one. Without him putting up huge numbers, there is not enough consistent firepower. TaZ and NEO still come and go, though the latter has improved a ton in recent months, and byali s ups and downs are legendary at this point. Snax contributes constantly, but one player is not enough to overcome the likes of fnatic, TSM, or EnVyUs. I expect Virtus.pro to make the semi-finals, and it would not be at all surprising to see them in the grand final. But that will depend on what kind of performance kuben is able to draw from his players over a five day period.

You can reach @lurppis_ on Twitter.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

In the third part of our DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca preview series (here are parts one and two), we finally take a look at teams who are expected to still be competing in the $250,000 tournament when it reaches the playoff stage. These four teams are, by odds, expected to go out in the quarter-finals—or, in other words, there are four teams at the event who are expected to do even better. We'll go over them tomorrow, but from here on out, anyone could win if things break out right.


Europe dennis, fox, jkaem, Maikelele, rain

Much like for NiP, for Gamers2, at least in its current formation, this major will effectively be its last hurrah. We do not know how these two rosters will look in January, but it is a given at this point that some of those rumors will come true. Kinguin defeated Cloud9 after a Tec-9 round win at 13-14 at ESL One Cologne, giving them a spot here. They added jkaem—who impressed at the DH Cluj-Napoca qualifier—to replace ScreaM, who was reportedly bought out for 150,000 to join Titan during the period in-between the majors. This team has a lot of skill, but that will only get you so far.

With four players speaking Swedish to some degree, fox is obviously the odd man out. In fact, getting your average, pretty good Swedish player likely would improve this team. However, since the team s days are numbered to begin with, there is probably no point in making changes anymore. I think the skill of this team will get them through the lower tier teams, but at the same time it would not be at all surprising if a team like Cloud9 or Titan knocked them out. They simply have the higher seed to guard them from having a tough group. I m willing to side with G2 and assume they have what it takes to make the playoffs, but there is no faith in them making the semi-finals.


Sweden — allu, f0rest, friberg, GeT_RiGhT, Xizt

The NiP farewell tour has been mostly a success—their run at ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational was their best result in who knows how long, and they have had some decent results online as well. This team will not yield this roster come January 1, but we still have some two months left where the legendary NiP core will, together with allu, try to add an international title to their resume. And, interestingly enough, in my opinion this team is now more dangerous than it has ever been, save for the first two months or so after allu joined the team in late February.

Everyone on this team is now, to some degree, playing for themselves. This team is not staying together, so while winning would be great, what these players care about, or should care about, is how they portray themselves going into 2016—as that will largely decide their future. GeT_RiGhT will have takers no matter what, but what are allu or friberg going to do if they have poor showings? Those players must play well in the last months they have with NiP, which is exactly why I believe this team will be dangerous. Xizt s calling and leadership will never win them games, let alone events, but the individual skill of these five players combined? It s possible. Expect NiP to cruise through to the playoffs, and honestly, I would not be at all surprised if they made the semis.


France  Ex6TenZ, RpK, ScreaM, SmithZz, shox

Titan are an odd bunch. The addition of ScreaM definitely added considerably skill they did not have with Maniac on the team, but at the same time they still have three players who are not ever going to blow up the bank with their individual efforts. RpK s comeback has been disappointing, SmithZz is not a top tier player, and while Ex6TenZ does his job when it comes to leadership, he has never been much of a contributor on an individual basis. That leaves an awful lot of pressure on shox and ScreaM to bring it day in and day out, but that duo just might be able to do it.

While Ex6TenZ s teams have not made it out of the group stage at a major in what feels like forever—nearly two years by the time this event kicks off—they are still a dangerous group to go up against simply because of the Belgian s leadership and tactics. They often cause issues for the very top teams in the world, and the addition of ScreaM should be enough to put them over the top against lower level of competition skill-wise. I think Titan will finally get out of the groups and, if shox is as motivated as I assume him to be, could even scare a team in the quarter-finals. This team makes sense on paper, and it seems they are much more motivated than one would have assumed after the former EnVyUs duo s ugly exit from the team that led to them joining Titan in July.


Ukraine  Edward, flamie, GuardiaN, seized, Zeus

Natus Vincere s future largely depends on how the ex-CIS powerhouse does at Cluj-Napoca. The leaked screenshot of GuardiaN s chat with STYKO revealed that the team was close to replacing both Edward and Zeus. That never wound up going through, and now STYKO is playing for HellRaisers as a stand-in, but that may be temporary. Rumors say Na`Vi s future will be decided after this event, so an exit in the group stage or even where I am assuming they will go out—in the quarter-finals—will likely mean this team will not look the same in 2016.

Na`Vi have had a strong year overall, being ranked in the top two at their peak. However, they have had multiple instances where seemingly they allowed constant bickering and complaining get to them—an issue that existed in Zeus s Na`Vi teams going as far back as at least 2011—and it seems they are not going to be able to fix those issues. Instead of Zeus leading, the task will be on their coach and former member starix, which could help alleviate some issues in-game, but the issues of whining and not playing as a team are likely too prevalent to fix. Those rumors have existed about Edward for a year, and it s hard to see them being fixed for good. Expect Na`Vi to be good, but not great. Base case is quarter-finals exit, and if things go well, they could reach the semis.

You can reach @lurppis_ on Twitter.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

A brief lull descends over the esports scene this weekend in the calm before next week s storm. The LoL Worlds finals, Dota 2 Frankfurt Major, BlizzCon and CS:GO s last Major of the year at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca all loom close on the horizon, so it seems only right to get some respite before then. Despite there being no trophies to hand out this weekend, there are still plenty of top flight games to tune into as both the CS:GO ESL ESEA Pro League and Dota DreamLeague seasons continue their early group round robin stages. And let s not forget the penultimate stage of Worlds as the European road trip to the Summoner s Cup draws to a close.

Here are the biggest esports fixtures of the weekend.

League of Legends Worlds 2015 Semifinals

Having shed all but four teams from their tour around Europe, the Riot banterbus rolls into Brussels this weekend for the semifinals. It s a very EU affair, too, as Origen and Fnatic have made it through the gauntlet on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning a home continent derby finals is still on the cards. For that to happen, however, Origen would have to best SKT Telecom T1 who have been on striking form this season. And Fnatic will need to send home KOO Tigers, who staged a surprise coup against their Korean rivals KT Rolster who swiped the second seed spot from them in the playoffs. The quarters at Wembley were a bit of a whitewash, with three of four matches resulting in one-sided sweeps, but the talent seems closer in these matchups. Find out when Origen face SKT on Saturday at 07:30 PDT/15:30 BST, and KOO take on Fnatic Sunday at the earlier time of 05:30 PDT/12:30 GMT (watch out for that British daylight savings change, folks). You can catch it all on the official Riot Games Twitch or Azubu.

Counter-Strike: ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2

In the interim before Cluj-Napoca, you can catch HellRaisers, Titan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, TSM, Virtus.pro and EnVyUs in some regular season matches. This weekend s specific matchups in the round robin pit all of the North American teams against one another over the course of two days. Starting from 15:00 PDT/23:00 BST until 20:00 PDT/03:00 GMT on Saturday night Cloud9, CLG, Team Liquid, EnemyGG and Coastless will face off against one another before repeating the matchups again on the Sunday. The rest of the European action takes course earlier each day, from 08:00 PDT/16:00 BST on the Saturday and 08:00 PDT/15:00 GMT on the Sunday. You can catch those on ESL s Twitch channel

Dota 2: DreamLeague Season 4

Another run-of-the-mill round robin bracket continues this weekend to determine who will get a crack at the $150,000 prize pool at November s DreamHack Winter finals. Though the Frankfurt Major is around the same time, many of the invited and qualified teams are competing which has led to some clenchworthy finishes in recent games. Don t be surprised to see scenes reminiscent of Alliance battling back against megacreeps to defeat NiP during the Major qualifiers. Matches begin at 04:30 PDT/12:30 BST on Saturday with 4CL versus Monkey Freedom Fighters and finish at 12:00 PDT/20:00 BST with MFF facing off against NiP. Catch the action on the DreamLeague Twitch channel.

Dota 2: The Summit 4 American Qualifiers

Sunday s Dota fix comes in the form of The Summit 4 s American qualifiers, also Saturday s, if you want to catch the winner s bracket final of ROOT Gaming play Digital Chaos at 14:00 PDT/22:00 BST (which, of course, you do). Sunday s matches represent the final chances in the loser s bracket (14:00 PDT/21:00 BST) for Cloud9 and whoever survives today s game between paiN Gaming and Elite Wolves. And after that, at 17:00 PDT/midnight GMT, Wizards & Priests will take on the victor s of today s compLexity versus Team Archon showdown. You can catch all of those games on Beyond The Summit.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Not the original mod. Not Global Offensive or Condition Zero. I’m talking about Counter-Strike: Source, the remake that brought terrorists and counter-terrorists to the Half-Life 2 engine – and for some reason, was never fully embraced by the audience.

… [visit site to read more]


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