HellRaisers came to Jonkoping one day before the start of the tournament. Less than a week before, our guys were at bootcamp in the capital of Sweden – Stockholm. For every player this tournament was very important, therefore at all the trainings in anticipation of the event, if our five played not at their full, they played strongly enough to feel themselves prepared.
The group stage started on Thursday. Traditionally, games of HellRaisers played in the beginning of the day. Why is it difficult to start playing at 14:00? You should subtract two hours on the warming-up and computer adjustment at the venue, one hour for transportation, and one hour in order to gather up and eat at the hotel. It means that at 10:00 we need not only to wake up, but we had to be fresh after well sleep. But before such a tournament it is so difficult to get to sleep…
HellRaisers [16:05] Cloud 9 @inferno
Anyway, in the match against Cloud 9 our guys looked more vigorous than their American vis-a-vis. N0thing&Co spent a month at bootcamp in Sweden, so they did not need an acclimatization. It is very possible that Cloud 9 thought to warm up during the game, catching own wave and to win the match this way, but their plans were demolished by HellRaisers.
This match on de_inferno HR began for terrorists. This side, as it appeared, can be strong. Cloud 9 proved it themselves by their own play (at the times of compLexity). That day everything went by the scenario, which B1ad3 prepared for the team, and defense of the opponent during that half could only twice resist the rival’s impact. I remember a phenomenal first pistol round in attack played by Emil «kUcheR» Ahundov. Having been left 1vs1 against Hiko, he excellently overplayed the opponent at point «A». Having only 12 HP, he managed to stay alive at the target of American player for 14 seconds! It predetermined an outcome of the round and gave some confidence and moral to our team.
During the first part of the game, everything went well for HellRaisers: all tactical decisions were all in time and clutch rounds our guys played at their maximum. The knowledge of the opponent helped HellRaisers a lot and it is an unconditional merit of the coach – B1ad3.
The main idea of our guys’ play in attack was a rapid occupation of starting positions with a gradual approaching progress and occupation of more convenient positions. The USA's team was provoked of rapid using grenades during entire first half of the match. Cloud 9 expected to see typical HR-aggressors, but in reality everything turned out differently. A changed playing style of our guys caught Americans unaware, they looked helpless and could not get used to the opponent, as a result – defeat 2:13, playing for the stronger side.
In the second half of the game, the pistol round win celebrated at the side of Cloud 9. It allowed the Americans to soften a pill, but to make a comeback was not real for them. Hiko&Co could not show anything new, though they approached the bomb planting point in two rounds of three. HR were ready for such way of play, therefore they finished the match without any special efforts – 5:16.
HellRaisers [16:14] fnatic @mirage
In order to come out of the group on the first place, as many think, it has to be done something incredible. The victory over fnatic is only a dream of most of top teams of today's CS:GO-scene. Inside HellRaisers was not felt any confidence in advantage over Swedes, all the strength during trainings were directed for preparation to one or may be two games against Cloud 9. But, surely, the game of jw&Co was learned in details and our guys showed themselves excellently in defense.
Everything began from the qualitative pistol round for terrorists. The win in this two-minute round allowed our guys to get ahead in score. A classic buy-round after the lost pistol one did not bring any success to fnatic, but full-eco in the third, brought fantastic fruits. There was a turning point in the game that did not let our guys from the beginning to fully take control over events on the server. Round after round fnatic started to prove their domination, increasing advantage.
Due to individual performance of s1mple, HellRaisers won the third round and one more round the Ukrainian-Russian team won after a successful run-up to the point «B». For 15 rounds, played for a weaker side, our guys managed to win 4 times. Many clutch situations were given to the opponent and were lost many almost won rounds.
In the second half of the fight, everything went like clockwork. The pistol round, won without losses, added some confidence to our guys and after that, rounds began to come to HR asset at enviable pace. Several times fnatic managed to break the victorious march of HellRaisers, but by such deeds they could only break down their economy. Their 14th round pronax&Co won, when our team won only 13, therefore an intrigue of the match kept until the end of it.
Fortunately, in decisive rounds our guys had their hands strong and they managed to bring the started work to the end, finishing the gaming day as winners. Victory of HelRaisers over fnatic became a first serious sensation of the tournament, because a team seeded in the third basket overcame the strongest five on the planet. It was noticeable, that fnatic underestimated our team, showed their regular tactics and demonstrated nothing fresh, unlike HR. It also predetermined a duel outcome in favor of our guys and fnatic lost and that led them to play against their main opponent LDLC in the quarterfinals already.
The draw failed our team this time: from three theoretically possible opponents, we got the most unpleasant one – Ninjas in Pyjamas.
HellRaisers [0:2] Ninjas in Pyjamas @bo3
map1: 05:16 @dust2
map2: 06:16 @inferno
After replacement in the roster of Ninjas (Maikelele is onboard now instead of Fifflaren) there are not many of professional teams, who knows anything about the current gaming shape, style and level of the NiP play. With a new roster Vikings were seen at not huge online-leagues, refusing to visit any major LANs.
Swedes have been transformed. Their match strategy has changed cardinally. If earlier, when there was no hard-style AWP and the main accent was made on individual qualities of main aimers, but sniper played a supporter role, Maikelele tried a role of open-fragger, which is a characteristic to many modern players with this device. He has got enough strength, unlike his predecessor, to make aggressive run-ups and to play on «charisma». This distinguishes him from Fifflaren’а, who always played most carefully, thinking not of himself, but about his team.
With appearing of the new star, NiP cardinally changed their philosophy of teamwork on the map. They have determined their strongest sides and paid a lot of attention to individual qualities of the players. Analyzing a play of Swedes, it is easy to note that most of the rounds won egoistically. f0rest can give three-four kills, GeT_RighT can make something unbelievable, friberg, Xizt or Maikelele can be easily a man of any round. That is a power of NiP: every player can come forward; sometimes it is hard to predict who in particular will.
In the quarterfinal match against HellRaisers everything went the way described above. In despite that playoff started 10 hours after their games in the group stage, NiP managed to sleep well and come fresh to this principal confrontation. Our team could not quickly get used to the game and was punished for that at the beginning of the first map. Started for defense on de_dust2, our guys lost main line of the game and that led them to defeating 2:13 score at the end of the first half. One of the won rounds our guys won without devices at eco-round. Their pick NiP done excellently and even the won pistol round could not help HellRaisers to struggle on the first map.
Our guys began for terrorists on de_inferno, which was chosen themselves for this fight. The beginning of the map once again was left for the Swedes, who serially shone with individual skill that allowed them to win rounds. However, the score of 5:10 at the end of the first half satisfied both teams. Pistol round of the second half was not in plans of HR. The audience that filled the CS: GO-scene for more than 100% (many even had to stand for watching the game), was inspiring NiP, who adhered to simple strategy, the sense of which is to find an «open-frag» followed by a run-up at the less defended point. Defensive redoubts were unprepared to such a style, therefore they conceded.
0:2 in terms of maps and Dreamhack Winter ended for our guys at this point. B1ad3 after game noted that the team had a lack of knowing the enemy and NiP has shown their new face at the tournament. We could not form image of NiP even by results of many pre-tournament training matches.
Leaving DH Winter at quarterfinal stage with 5-8th place is not a worst result. Our minimal goal was reached – to come out of the group. Though not many of players are satisfied with such result of Swedish travel, the performance of HellRaisers there can not be called as a fail.
Now our team has a long-time vacation, which will be diluted with pre-New Year online tournaments, such as FACEIT December Cup, for instance.
How is DH Winter for you? What do you expect from our team in the future?