Malmo is shaping up to be one of the most exciting events of the year. The field is stacked, the format is one of the most extensive we see in the CS:GO scene, and the storylines coming in are excellent.

“Trophy" Format

DreamHack Malmo is using two groups, both with a double elimination bracket. Out of the eight teams in each group, three will move on. The top team from each group earns a Semifinal spot, while the other four teams start in the quarterfinals. Odds from Betway as of 9/25/19.

“Trophy" Astralis (+150)

Astralis are back, maybe. We’ll have a better sense of their real level after ESL One New York is over, but they certainly impressed at the StarLadder Major. They were the third highest ranked team over 13 maps, and they went undefeated through the playoffs, beating Liquid, NRG, and AVANGAR all 2-0.

The Danes had device squarely in the top 5 highest rated at the event, and second in K/D Difference. Behind him, in the top 15, were Magisk and Xyp9x. In the top 20 we find dupreeh, and clocking in at a terrible 0.95 is gla1ve. Nothing to really report on here, and how crazy is that? Seasoned CS:GO betting experts expect device to be top five at every tournament he attends, and they’re usually right. Even through Astralis’ down period, device was routinely putting up 1.15 and up performances, which is astonishing.

One of the things to be looking out for is how the matchup with Liquid goes. Assuming Astralis and Liquid meet in a Bo3 in New York or Malmo, we are due for a historic series. Now that Astralis have routed Liquid on Vertigo, a map that we all thought would favor Liquid heavily before the Major, there’s no telling what the pick ban phase might look like. Do Liquid ban out Vertigo now? Do they revamp their game plan to counter Astralis’ revolutionary CT side? I don’t have the answers to those questions, unfortunately, but I do know that their next Bo3 will be can’t miss Counter Strike.

“Trophy" Liquid (+300)

Liquid are going to be mad coming into Malmo. Their pride should be bruised, after losing what many considered to be “their Major” in the Quarterfinals, falling 0-2 to the ascendant (again) Danes. The StarLadder was supposed to be the cherry on top of a dominant era, where they won four major international LANs, back to back. Instead it feels like a bittersweet reminder of what could have been.

Liquid failed in Berlin because they were out of form. They weren’t able to use the player break to improve, like Astralis did, and instead fell behind. EliGE was the only Liquid player to make the top 20, albeit with an impressive 1.23 Rating. The rest of the team fell far short of what CS:GO bettors might have expected, with Twistzz coming up with a disappointing 1.09 Rating.

By the time Malmo rolls around, Liquid will have had the chance to play themselves back into form. Combine that with a revamped map pool, and Liquid have the chance to start clawing back the era that was promised.

“Trophy" NRG (+700)

NRG are maybe the hottest team in CS:GO right now. They’re incredibly fun, they’ve seen a resurgence in CeRq, who is very exciting when he’s playing well, and they have Stanislaw, who is a darling in the scene to fans and CS:GO bettors alike.

They had an excellent showing in Berlin, taking care of Na’Vi in two maps and putting up a solid fight against the Danish juggernaut. Unfortunately, there weren’t a ton of standout individual performances. Besides Brehze, NRG didn’t have a player in the top 20, which is not encouraging.

I would hope that in the break between the Major and Malmo, that Stanislaw has been able to work out some of the kinks in NRG’s system. If he has, then this team could make a deep run in Sweden.

“Trophy" Na’Vi (+800)

This event will be Na’Vi’s first outing with their new roster, which sees them welcoming back GuardiaN. I have a few thoughts on this, but overall I’d say that I like the move. As far as how they’ll fare in New York, who knows? I wouldn’t bank on the honeymoon period you see with other teams dumping their IGLs, as Boombl4 was on Na’Vi for a while, and they’ll likely switch over to his strat book immediately. The GuardiaN addition could really go either way, and the rest of the team clearly isn’t good enough to beat teams like Liquid and Astralis as is.

“Trophy" Mousesports (+1000)

The other most exciting team in CS:GO, Mousesports will be looking to avenge a close loss in Berlin, which kept them out of the playoffs. This team is still loaded with untapped potential, despite the time they’ve spent together. If they continue to steadily improve, which I assume they well, by the time Malmo rolls around they could be real championship

“Trophy" ENCE (+1400)

This suNny roster move is looking worse by the day. ENCE laid an egg in Moscow at the BLAST Pro Series event, losing to Forze and AVANGAR. The only win they managed was a 16-8 over NiP, which is obviously nothing to write home about.

In fairness, they’re playing a much different style of Counter Strike now, one that sergej isn’t used to. Maybe a few more events will help them acclimate, and allow for some better performances, but for now I wouldn’t bet on it.

“Trophy" Furia (+1600)

Furia are in such an unfortunate, and also predictable spot right now. Earlier this year I said they’d need to either adapt or the meta would catch up to them, and that’s exactly what happened. Now that things have gotten stale, they’ve brought in HEN1, presumably to give them even more punch. I don’t know if that’s necessarily what they need, but it’s what they’ve got.

“Trophy" Vitality (+1600)

It’s strange to me that Vitality is this far down. ZywOo continues to be a historically good player, and they’ve now added shox to the team. While I’ve never been high on him, he’s at least a solid fragger, one who could provide much needed help to the young prodigy. +1600 just feels way too high to me, although they’re definitely a long shot.

“Trophy" Pick

I like NRG at +700 and Vitality at +1600. While I do think that this event will likely end in a Liquid or an Astralis win, there isn’t much value there. NRG have a real shot at taking this tournament, especially if they make use of the tape they get from ESL One New York, and use their break time carefully. Vitality, on the other hand, have the potential to go absolutely nuclear, if only for a little while. If shox and ZywOo are firing on all cylinders, they could put just about anyone belly up. 

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