The second day of DreamHack Cluj-Napoca produced some good matches and a first glimpse of the atmosphere on the Main Stage at the Polyvalent Hall. Furthermore, we now know four of the eight quarter-finalists.
Cloud9 def. Vexed Gaming (16-13 on Cobblestone) - After a disappointing loss against Luminosity in the first day, Cloud9 were looking to brush aside one of the smaller teams at the tournament, but as fnatic the day before, they were in for a shock. The Polish team looked like a serious contender for victory and led 12-9 going into the final stages of the match. However, the American team clawed its way back to record a win that keeps their chances of going through alive.
Luminosity Gaming def. fnatic (16-13 on Inferno) - fnatic built its massive reputation on this map, but the Brazilian team Luminosity shocked the entire assistance in Cluj to record what is arguably their biggest win ever. With coldzera and Fallen in brilliant form, the team played a great map and won the last three rounds to enter the quarter-finals once again, like in Cologne. Luminosity can be the dark horse of the remainder of the tournament. Excellent performance so far.
To come: fnatic v Cloud9 will be the remaining match of the group, and the winner of this Best-of-3 will earn its place in the top 8. It must be said that Cloud9 has been struggling to find form this tournament and it would take a huge improvement to brush aside fnatic, even if the Swedish team showed its unexpected limits against Luminosity. Prediction: fnatic to win 2-0.
mousesports def. FlipSid3 Tactics (16-9 on Overpass) - Despite FlipSid3 clearly being one of the weaker teams of the tournament, mousesports' game was crisp and the score could have been even bigger in favour of the team. Niko and nex have been amazing in this match, helping their team with a lot of highlight-reel action. Taking the lead early on, they never looked back.
Team SoloMid def. G2 Esports (16-6 on Dust2) - TSM is a world-class team, and a bunch of world-class players from different nations put together to play couldn't stand in the Danish side's way for long. TSM's win was a clear-cut one, perhaps more so than expected. Their form going through to the quarter-finals is something to be afraid of. Alongside EnVyUs, they must be favourites to win the whole event.
To come: G2 Esports v mousesports will be the match that decides the second team qualified. Although G2 holds the upper hand after winning their first day face-off, I believe mouz have the ability to turn this around. G2's form has been pretty inconsistent, although one can say that for mouz as well. The map choices will highly influence this encounter. Prediction: mouz to win 2-1.
Ninjas in Pijamas def. Team Liquid (16-11 on Mirage) - After a very strong showcase against Virtus.pro, Liquid was expected to push the famous NiP and potentially spring an upset. The Swedes came back stronger after their first day defeat versus Titan and managed to cling on to their hopes of going into the quarter-finals. An inspired performance from f0rest secured the win on Mirage although Liquid looked dangerous on numerous occasions.
Virtus.pro def. Titan (16-7 on Train) - This was a great performance from the Polish team, which recovered well after nearly losing to Liquid during the first day. Titan didn't have a great day and it looked like their shooting was not on-point. Funnily enough, TaZ, Vp's leader, said that he is not happy of his team's performance and was surprised that it won this "Death Group".
To come: Titan v NiP will be the match everybody is looking for on day 3. Titan is heading into this match-up with mixed feelings. Their first day win over the Swedes will no doubt give them confidence, but their second day performance was rather weak. This has all the ingredients to be a classic, but NiP is used to going big in these kind of situations and I expect them to win. Predictions: NiP to win 2-1.
Counter Logic Gaming def. Team Dignitas (16-14 on Cobblestone) - This was the standout match of the day. A close battle that went right down to the wire and saw the North-American team staying in the tournament for at least another day. They built a heavy lead early-on, but a simply phenomenal performance from Dignitas' aizy brought the match to a draw with two rounds left. After winning a spectacular gun battle and the final round, CLG came out on top in a nail-biting finale.
EnVyUs v Natus Vincere (16-9 on Mirage) - EnVyUs didn't have an easy opponent, but showed its strength in full-force by brushing aside what could easily be considered a top team. The French players didn't mess around and closed the map off pretty quickly, joining Luminosity, TSM and Virtus.pro in the quarter-finals. Even the mighty GuardiaN couldn't stop them.
To come: Na'Vi v CLG will be the third day's final match, but one has to feel this is the most one-sided match of the day. Na'Vi must find their confidence after such a heavy defeat against EnVyUs, but the team has all the power that it needs to easily qualify into the quarter-finals. Prediction: Na'Vi to win 2-0.
1. EnVyUs (-) - The Frenchmen secure their status as top favourites after a great match against a tough opponent.
2. Team SoloMid (-) - The Danes are breathing down nV's necks, as these two teams are in a class of their own at the moment.
3. Virtus.pro (+2) - A commanding performance in front of one of the first day's top performers sees TaZ & co. jump up two places in the rankings.
4. Luminosity (new) - The Brazilian team has been outstanding on day one, and as they defeated three-time Major champions fnatic, it is fair to place them in front of the Swedes in the rankings.
5. fnatic (-2) - A surprising defeat drags fnatic out of the top 4 for the moment, but they are still a big force to be reckoned.