Dota 2 ESL One Hamburg 2018 Preview

ESL One Hamburg 2018

Once again, Hamburg will become the focal point for eSports enthusiasts and fans with ESL One Dota 2 returning to the well-known metropolis and offering the largest Dota 2 event in Europe. 16 teams will compete against each other for six days. Compared to the previous year, this time the number of participants has doubled.

In 2017, the event was held in the Hamburg Barclaycard Arena and this year, the ESL One returns to the renowned site. In contrast to the previous year, the entire event was extended to six days owing to the high popularity of competition in the EU region.

Last year over 10,000 fans watched the event live over a four-day period. In the end, Virtus.Pro beat Team Secret 2-0 and topped Europe’s Dota 2 Champion.

Let’s take a look at this year’s potential contenders who might lift up the trophy.

Team Secret

This year, Secret might not be the reigning champions, but by many bookmakers, they have been rated as the favorites to lift the title. Team Secret has been one of the few teams that have improved just after The International break. All eyes will be on Nisha who will be playing his first competitive competition under a big organization.

Just a couple of weeks ago, they won the Singtel PVP Esports Championship. So it is fair to say that they are the strongest side in EU since other big teams have not participated in any competition or have been eliminated early just like the TI7 champions Team Liquid who are nowhere to be seen at the moment.

Team Secret Dota 2
Credits: GameAxis

Evil Geniuses

Apart from Team Secret, Evil Geniuses and Virtus.Pro are also tipped to be the future champions. For Evil Geniuses, this will a difficult feat since yesterday the organization has announced that they will be playing with a stand-in. So this a huge blow to their title ambition since their first choice, Sumail will not be playing. Sumail was arguably the best player at the TI8. Playing without him won’t help EG’s title ambitions.


For Virtus.Pro, we know that they are the reigning champions. So, the Russian organization should be placed first but that is not the case. The lineup failed to perform at the biggest Dota 2 competition in the World, The International. Before the start of the competition, Virtus.Pro was tippled by many to lift the trophy but they were knocked out in the quarterfinals. Despite the Post-TI results, they have not made any roster changes and surely are a big contender for the title. But their lack of consistency might not get them the title victory.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

The team led by the former TI champion, Peter “ppd” Dager is another team to watch out at the main stage. Ninjas in Pyjamas received the direct invitation to the event due to their excellent performance after the Post-TI. The lineup is a mixture of former Team Secret and OpTic Gaming players. The chemistry between the players is top-notch and ppd will be aiming to secure the title under his belt.

Ninjas in Pyjamas Dota 2
Credits: ggScore

Odds on

  • Evil Geniuses – 3.50
  • Virtus.Pro – 4.00
  • Team Secret – 4.50
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – 8.00
  • Alliance – 13.00
  • Forward Gaming – 13.00
  • Vici Gaming – 15.00
  • Team Aster – 15.00
  • TnC Predator – 17.00
  • paiN Gaming – 31.00
  • CompLexity Gaming – 34.00
  • Mineski – 34.00


The legendary team, Virtus.Pro will play in the opener versus 5POWER, a Chinese based organization. 5POWER is kind of an unknown fact, as they have never participated in a similar tournament. Both of the teams are out of form lately, and there have been roster changes happening lately, mainly in Polish roster.



There is not much to say about this team, at least of what is left of it. 3 of their 5 players either retired or switched organizations, but PashaBiceps, and Neo stayed. Their latest additions snatchie and morelz have been brought in to restore their legacy, but they have not shown much. Virtus.Pro enjoys playing slow and patient rounds, however, they also combine it with aggression. For most of tier 1 teams, they are a read book, but for a lower tiered team like 5POWER, they are probably too big of a cliff to climb.



As I mentioned above, there is not much to say about this Chinese roster. However, they have been very active lately. Let’s take 20.10.2018 as an example. They played a total of 11 maps that day, which is crazy. Furthermore, if they are competing so much, they barely have any time to practice their strategies and prepare for upcoming matches, and I can see them struggle in this match-up.



These two teams faced each other twice so far, both times, Virtus.Pro was able to edge out a win. However, the Chinese squad did bring it close, both of the times. The first time, they lost in a 16-14 thriller, while the second match had to go to overtime.


If we are to compare their map pools, we could see a lot of differences and similarities. Lately, Virtus.Pro has been decent on Inferno, Dust 2, and Train, but they are really bad Cache, and their Mirage is not on the adequate level as well. On the other hand, 5POWER is able to perform really good on Mirage, Dust 2, and Inferno. Cache, Overpass, and Train are not their best picks, as they are avoiding those maps for most of the time. In the end, 5POWER has a decent Nuke, but this is mainly Polish permaban.



Even though both of these teams have similar map pools, I would give a slight edge to the Polish roster. They have been on stage for a long time now, PashaBiceps and NEO probably have more LAN experience then entire 5POWER roster combined. Furthermore, Virtus.Pro has always been playing versus some of the best teams in the world, which I can not say about 5POWER. Asian CS:GO scene is not on a European level, and I could see them struggle versus Virtus.Pro. To conclude, Virtus.Pro has a similar map pool when compared to 5POWER, so they can not be surprised with the map pick, and they are also more skilled than their Chinese opponents. I got Virtus.Pro in my books.




These two legendary teams will battle it out in the part of ECS Season 6 Europe. Both of the teams have been in a slump lately, some more than others. Both Mousesports and Fnatic have brought in fresh faces to their roster. STYKO replaced Snax in German squad, while twist and brollan replaced flusha and dennis in Fnatic.



Ever since Mousesports added Snax to their roster, they had a very hard time, even versus average teams. STYKO was a support player for the team, he did not mind dying in order for his team to win the round. However, Snax was not that type of a player, and he was not able to adapt to it, so they reversed the decision and brought back STYKO.


German roster prefers playing more strategic, but they tend to drain the clock a lot lately and sometimes it can cost them the round. Their main player is definitely Oskar, who is pretty bad lately. He is definitely out of form, but there are some signs of improvement. Mousesports is a very structured team, they have a plan for every situation, and this is where they have the edge over Fnatic.



There is not much to say about Fnatic. They are a legendary team with some of the best Swedish players. However, they as well have been in a slump lately. Out of their last 5 matches, they have won only once, versus team BiG, in overtime. They shuffled a lot lately, brollan and twist have been brought in to the squad not even two weeks ago, and that may pose a problem for the Swedish roster. To be honest, they have big shoes to fill. Flusha and dennis have been outstanding for Fnatic, but they wanted something new in their career.



These two teams faced each other 6 times. One of the matches went to overtime, where Mousesports edged out the victory on Train. In total, Mousesports won a total of 4 times, while Fnatic has 2 victories against Mousesports to their name. As we can see from their past results, there are maps that Mousesports can easily beat Fnatic on and vice versa.


For instance, they played Mirage 2 times so far, Fnatic got beaten on the map twice, they were even demolished once, 16-3. On the other hand, Fnatic has a very strong Inferno, as they were able to beat German roster 2 times there. However, both of the games were thrillers, 16-13, and 16-12. They also played Train twice, and both of these matches were nail-biters, 16-14, and 19-16.



Both of the teams are not in such a good form lately, but, I would give a slight edge to Mousesports. Roster changes happened for both of the teams, but I do not think that Mousesports will be affected by their switch, because STYKO was their former player. On the other hand, Fnatic never really played in this line-up, and they are still trying to find their footing. I believe that Mousesports is a better team, especially on Dust 2, and I believe they will prevail.




Two iconic teams will face each other in the ESC Season 6 Europe league. Astralis is on a terror as of late. They are dominating everyone, and there is no one able to stop them. On the other hand, FaZe Clan is on a verge of breaking. There are a lot of rumors about Karrigan leaving the roster, which is probably true, but the organization is not able to find an adequate replacement.



So far this year, Astralis played 6 matches in this league, and they won all 6 of them. They have beaten G2, North, and NiP, each of those teams twice. They are playing on an incredible level at the moment and there is simply no stopping them once they get going. Their utility usage was always a problem for aggressive teams, and FaZe Clan is definitely one of these teams.



As I mentioned above, FaZe Clan is in a slump at the moment. They switched Karrigan from in-game leader to rifler, and for now, Niko is FaZe’s in-game leader. Niko is capable of calling, as he had to do it while he was a part of Mousesports. Furthermore, some of their players are not on a level they were a couple of months ago, mostly Rain. He was always known as the anchor of the team, a guy who is able to lock down one bomb site and get multi-kills. However, he is nowhere near his form from last year. Rest of the team is pretty much intact, Niko, Olofmeister, and Guaridan will always produce frags.



These two faced each other for a stunning number of 52 times. Danish roster has a better win ratio versus FaZe Clan, as they have won a total of 27 games versus super team. There were also 6 draws in their matchups and only 19 wins for FaZe Clan. There are some maps which suit Astralis more than FaZe Clan, mostly Nuke and Inferno. Astralis have not lost Nuke for over 20 games so far, they are stomping everyone on CT side of the map. Furthermore, they are able to use grenades to their full potential, especially on Inferno, where their opponents will feel like they have no control of the map, as they would be slowly torn apart by Danes. Furthermore, FaZe Clan lost 8 maps in a row versus Astralis, but that is to be expected, as one team is on the rise, while the FaZe is sinking deeper.



Astralis has a much better map pool than FaZe Clan. I simply can not see FaZe win any of the maps versus Astralis in this form. Furthermore, Astralis will be fired up for this game, as there is always that rivalry between those two teams because they were always the main favorites to lift trophies. In my books, I do not think FaZe Clan is able to compete versus Danish roster, and I think that both of the maps will go to the side of Astralis.


Map 1 winner – Astralis – 1.37 @ betit

Map 2 winner – Astralis – 1.37 @ betit

EPICENTER 2018, betting preview and odds


Slikovni rezultat za epicenter 2018

Epicenter 2018 is taking part in Moscow, Russia. The tournament will be played throughout 6 days, starting with 23rd of October. 8 teams will fight for their share of $300,000. However, some team pulled out in the last few days, those teams being Astralis and Mousesports.



Liquid – 1.6 @


Natus Vincere – 1.8 @


FaZe Clan – 2 @


Ence eSports – 5.5 @


NiP – 6.5 @


HellRaisers – 6.5 @


AVANGAR – 7.5 @


Virtus.Pro – 17 @


Swole patrol – 17 @


5POWER – 51 @


As you can see, there are some clear favorites to lift the trophy, those being, team Liquid, and Ukranian Natus Vincere. There are also some of the teams who are on fire as of late, and they could provide a good competition for those two teams.



Some teams have been on fire lately, especially Ence eSports. Coming off from winning StarSeries i-League Season 6, Ence roster, led by their AWPer Allu is looking really good. They are focused, they have put in hours, and they are definitely here to play. The amount of potential this team has is huge, as sergej is always one step above his opponents, and once he gets going, there is no stopping him. Finnish roster definitely has a chance in this tournament, and I truly believe they can beat either Liquid or Natus Vincere.



As in every tournament, there is always one team being overshadowed by star players and bookmakers favorites. For me, that is Ukranian organization Hellraisers. They have been playing hot and cold lately, but they showed they can dominate everyone, top 5 teams included. They had a great showing on the FACEIT London Major 2018. CS:GO is mostly based on momentum, and I think if Hellraisers become hot, there is no one capable of stopping them, as all the teams in this tournament are mostly based on the individual play, and ISSA and woxic can thrive in those situations.


Odds are really good on Hellraisers to win the entire thing. The best odds I was able to find was at On the day I was writing this piece, odds were at sky-high of 6.5 for Ukrainians to lift the trophy.

Slikovni rezultat za woxic

(Hellraisers star play, woxic)



Just like every EPICENTER so far, we will see a lot of thrillers. Counter-Strike:Global Offensive is a game very everything can be changed if you win one important round. Momentum will shift, you will destabilize your opponents economy and there is always a chance for some minor teams to upset favorites, who are mostly set by bookmakers. Be prepared to enjoy all the excitement EPICENTER 2018 has to offer.


What do you think, who would be able to win against Team Liquid, and Natus Vincere? Also, who would be your darkhorse in this tournament and why? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.