One of the biggest Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournaments of the year concluded over the weekend. And while headlines will record home-side Ninjas in Pyjamas as victors of DreamHack Summer, it was the extraordinary tournament of their rivals, Natus Vincere, that really stole the show.
Natus Vincere entered the event in Jonkoping, Sweden with high hopes after placing first at the Star Series finals in April. But in their first game, they suffered a loss to local team Flipside Tactics in a match that came down to the final round of regulation.
The loss was a shock. Flipside brought with them scarce experience at the highest levels of play and no prior results at that level that might have prepared fans for a close game, much less a Flipside victory. But rather than panic, Natus Vincere remained calm under the steady direction of leader Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko.
After beating Norwegian side Expert Gaming, Natus Vincere were offered a shot at redemption in a rematch with Flipside. This game would go differently. Natus Vincere blew out their underdog opponents and earned a place in the playoff bracket.
There, Natus Vincere returned to proper form, cruising past EMS One Katowice and Faceit Spring champions Virtus Pro before meeting Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final before a packed crowd of Swedish fans.
That fan support helped power Ninjas in Pyjamas to the finals without dropping a match, and, eventually, to victory in the finals. Christopher “Get Right” Alesund led the charge for the Swedes as they cruised to an easy victory in the first game before pulling out the second in overtime in the best-of-three series.
Woooohhhoooooo!! Winners of CSGO DreamHack tournament, thanks everyone for supporting us!— Christopher Alesund (@GeT_RiGhTcs) June 16, 2014
The weekend was not all smooth sailing for the premier Swedish side. The finals of the Swedish national Esports SM competition were also held at Dreamhack, and Fnatic managed to defeat Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final of that tournament. The result spoke to the parity that now exists at the highest levels of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. On the previous day, Fnatic had unexpectedly crashed out of the Dreamhack tournament’s group stage with consecutive losses to the new and unproven SK Gaming team.
Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere will both prepare now for the ESEA Global Finals to be held in Dallas, Texas on June 27. There they will join with Virtus Pro and Spanish side Over Gaming to meet four American teams in the first cross-Atlantic event since March.
Screengrabs via Twitch