posted by Sun_Tzu,
Group A of the DreamHack Inviational have just concluded, with the new team eu QPAD Red Pandas taking full advantage of their "home field advantage" to show all the doubters that they should not be underestimated and that we can expect results from them far earlier than many thought.

Group A Results

Coming out on top of the group is us Team Liquid with a clean 3-0 record, which was largely expected of them. While Liquid has had the occasional recent issue with highly unstable performances, this did not reflect on their performances in the Invitational to a greater extent, although the second game against eu QPAD Red Pandas which they dropped was a very one-sided game. Liquid also were the beneficieries of a forfeit by ru Virtus.Pro.

In second place for the group, to the surprise of many, QPAD Red Pandas have shown very solid play, collecting not just plenty of telephones but also the scalps of both Russian teams in the group. While they've had to fight hard to get here, with each of their series going to a third game, the most important factor has been the rapid improvement of the two latecomers to the team, fi Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka and kr Kyeonghyun 'SeleCT' Ryoo.

The big surprise of the group is that both of the Russian teams, Virtus.Pro and ru Team Empire, underperformed in a major fashion. While Empire was expected to have a bit of an rough time after losing ua Gleb 'Funn1k' Lipatnikov, they managed to claim a somewhat surprising opening victory over VP, which ended up being enough for them to take third place in the group, as the otherwise strong performing VP completely flatlined with a 0-3 record.

This means that Liquid will proceed straight into the semi-finals, while QPandas and Empire will have to face off against the 3rd and 2nd placing teams from Group B respectively in the quarter-finals.

Group B Outlook

Many would expect eu Fnatic.EU to take the top spot in Group B, and while this is certainly not out of the question, I'm going to let you all in on a little secret: Fnatic.EU have always had issues summoning their full potential when their backs are not against a wall. They are a team of big games and big moments, a LAN and playoff team. While there is little doubt that they will advance, ultimately this may cost them the top position of the group.

In their place we are likely to see se No Tidehunter continue their strong recent showings. Since the change to an all Swedish roster, NTH has been on a 30-3 run, claiming multiple RaidCall EMS One Cup wins and securing good placings in several leagues. Especially se Gustav 's4' Magnusson has been impressing a lot of people lately with good, aggressive plays, especially earning his name as the son of Magnus, playing it 10 out of his last 20 games.

The likely third place finisher of the group as it stands should be de Mousesports, not because they are particularly weak, but because this group is incredibly stacked. While Mouz has certainly bounced back well since de Kuro 'KuroKy' Takhasomi left the team, they are still slightly less hot right now than either Fnatic.EU or NTH, and for them to finish higher than third, they'll need de Domink 'Black^' Reitmeier to pull off some big carry plays to push them over the top.

And that means that sadly us Team Dignitas right now looks likely to be the team eliminated in Group B. Their recent collapse against Fnatic.EU in The Defense 3 is just another sign of the innate instability of their performances, which may be threatening to become a systemic issue. In the midst of three stable opponents, there just is no room for this kind of instability.


Group B24/3 - 18:00 - eu Fnatic.EU vs se No Tidehunter24/3 - 21:00 - de Mousesports vs us Team Dignitas27/3 - 18:00 - us Team Dignitas vs se No Tidehunter28/3 - 21:00 - eu Fnatic.EU vs de Mousesports31/3 - 18:00 - se No Tidehunter vs de Mousesports31/3 - 21:00 - eu Fnatic.EU vs us Team Dignitas
There may be changes to the schedule, be sure to check back for any possible changes. All games will be casted by The GD Studio.

Follow @TheGDStudio and @DreamHack for any updates on the invitational.

Prize Allocation:

1st - $2,500 + DreamHack slot
2nd - $1,500
3rd/4th - $1,000