Team Dignitas on the comeback trail in CS:GO
Many teams toil in the shadow of the big leagues, but these challengers are ready for the promotion.
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the tide can turn in a single round, but not without the right confluence of conditions. Perhaps the underdog has slowly been chipping away at their opponents’ economy, or a player gets into the zone and finds a hot streak. For Team Dignitas, fresh from one of the highest profile sports team acquisitions in competitive gaming, this is their round.
After taking first place at EPICENTER in Moscow, claiming a $250,000 top prize in the process, it would be hard to deny them a spot near the top of the table. But at the outset of the tournament, the EU qualifiers had barely anyone in their corner. So what sets them ahead of the pack now, when the team has remained the same for almost half a year?
It has been a long time since such a sudden swing in momentum as Dignitas saw in the last month. The last high-profile case of an underdog qualifier winning a premier tournament was probably their EPICENTER adversaries Virtus.pro, in their 2014 Katowice campaign. Now, with roles reversed, the Polish polar bears earned their invite to Moscow with a summer of world-class results as the winner of ELeague’s first season and taking second at ESL New York.
However, the mostly Danish squad of Dignitas persevered after a bizarre all-draw group stage to eventually best VP, after facing a gauntlet of other goliaths in the form of Fnatic and Na`Vi on their way to the final. Swing rounds like these aren’t by chance, but there’s not a lot a team can do to design them either. And in this instance, Dignitas had help from a little of each.
Fnatic’s year has been the difficult second album to their long-standing dominance of CS:GO during its infancy. Olof’s injury, team differences, a split and now re-shuffle of players with Godsent have all implicitly impacted on the amount of work the players can do to coalesce as a team.
However the same internal problems aren’t present in teams like Na`Vi, with their recent wins at ESL New York evidence of successful decisions to replace old hands like Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko with the new blood of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
For true success, it's not enough for others to fail. Clearly Dignitas have hit upon a winning stride after a considerable time spent improving their game. Before this year, with the pick up of k0nfig and RUBINO from Copenhagen Wolves, the team was very young but teeming with skilled marksmen. However the mutual trade of Kjaerbye, arguably one of the most promising young talents on the team, for the experience of Cajunb in May seems to have provided a perfect training environment for the team.
One more young prodigy, Magiskb0y, joining after SK acquired the Brazilian world champions Luminosity, has rounded out a now-formidable side. With other qualifiers in their pocket for massive tournaments such as the $1.5m WESG and ELeague’s second season, Dignitas are well-placed to carry this momentum into a further set of major wins.
All images courtesy of Epicenter.