DreamHack Masters Spring is just around the corner, kicking off on Thursday, April 29, with the group stage. Sixteen teams are ready to start their campaign in the stacked tournament, which features 11 out of the world’s top 12 sides and promises to bring two extended weekends full of action and plenty of storylines following a string of massive moves at the top of the ladder.
Astralis are set to make their debut without Nicolai “device” Reedtz at the event after they dominated the headlines in recent days in the wake of the superstar’s shocking departure to NIP. The other two teams of 2020’s “Big Three”, Natus Vincere and Vitality, have made changes of their own after core members Egor “flamie” Vasilyev and Cédric “RpK” Guipouy were put on the sidelines.
Those are only the three biggest stories heading into DreamHack Masters Spring, where almost every team in attendance seems to have something to prove. The spotlight will also be on the likes of FaZe and mousesports as the two international rosters look to make a deep run after having some time to adjust to new members, as well as on Virtus.pro and FURIA following recent dips in form.
Will Astralis survive the loss of ‘Mr. Consistent’?
Astralis without device is a reality that everyone will undoubtedly need some time getting used to, but perhaps no one more so than the players on the Danish team, who for so long could count on ‘Mr. Consistent’ to show up almost without fail, whether it was when they were at the height of their power or when they were going through slumps. Not anymore. They can no longer lean on the superstar AWPer, who was named the MVP of 18 out of the 26 tournaments the core of the team won together.
Only time will tell how big of an impact device‘s departure will have, but it is difficult to imagine that Astralis will survive the loss of such an irreplaceable player unscathed, and it is even more unthinkable that they can solve that problem in a short amount of time. For now, the team looks set to have Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen fill the gap, but his addition to the active roster raises more questions than answers, as he couldn’t be further away from a one-to-one substitution for device.
The only feasible option the Danes have with this particular lineup is to have Bubzkji fill the entry role and Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen take over AWPing duties, but as much as the former looks like a sensible approach on paper (certainly more so than putting the 22-year-old in Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth‘s shoes like before), having your secondary sniper pick up the ‘Big Green’ gun on a consistent basis has rarely worked for anyone. There is no doubt that dupreeh can be flashy with the AWP, but he is no device when it comes to reliability or the efficiency with which he is able to use the weapon to its full potential. Then again, almost no one is.
And while it is the biggest issue, it is far from the only one Astralis are facing at the moment. The worst slump seems to be behind Emil “Magisk” Reif, but he still has ways to go before he puts up the same numbers he used to, and with Xyp9x and Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander also struggling for form, there is no one else to pick up the slack, let alone make up for the missing superstar. Bubzkji‘s shift into a more aggressive role should at least see his skillset utilized in a better way, and with some luck, the former MAD Lions star will regain some confidence after the difficult period following his arrival to the team. But is that going to be enough? And if not, how long will it take before he is put on the sidelines again?
We might not get answers to all the questions we have in DreamHack Masters Spring, but all eyes will be on Astralis: haters will be looking for any signs of problems, while fans will be hoping that this situation is not as awful as some make it out to be.
Extra Salt look to build on FunSpark ULTI success
Johnny “JT” Theodosiou‘s squad enter their fourth tournament since they made the trip over to Europe with wind in their sails. Their campaign in the Old Continent started off slowly after they were handed a beating by Spirit in their first match only two weeks ago, but they were recently able to impress with their run to second place in the FunSpark ULTI Europe Final.
Despite just missing out on the title in the end, Extra Salt have given the struggling North American scene a much-needed burst of hope after they took down BIG, forZe, and Dignitas on the way to the tournament’s final, outplacing a few big names like Virtus.pro, Complexity, and Evil Geniuses. Now they look to take it to the next level as they are heading into the biggest tournament since they crossed the Atlantic, and their chances of making another deep run don’t look too bad.
FaNg has quickly warmed up to European competition
Extra Salt are one team who might be particularly happy about Astralis losing device as they are slated to go up against the Danes in the first round of Group B on Thursday in likely the best possible opening matchup they could have hoped for in the group with the exception of paiN. On top of that, the rest of the teams in their group also look entirely beatable if you consider Complexity‘s inconsistency, FURIA‘s horrendous form in the latest matches, Vitality‘s recent roster change, or BIG‘s tough encounters with Extra Salt in FunSpark ULTI.
With the only group opponent that might just be too big a challenge for Josh “oSee” Ohm & co. being the dominant Heroic, who are placed on the opposite side of the double-elimination bracket, there couldn’t be a better time for Extra Salt to make some waves amid opponents far above their stature on paper. Two weeks into their European sojourn, the North Americans have managed to stand their ground, with even the inexperienced Justin “FaNg” Coakley looking right at home as he claimed the FunSpark MVP award in the team’s runner-up finish.
Can Virtus.pro and FURIA bounce back from sudden drops?
Virtus.pro looked like a contender for the title of the best team in the world early this year when they went on a massive winning streak, interrupted only by Gambit in the IEM Katowice grand final, but the CIS team has shown some warning signs as of late. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis‘ inconsistency hit Virtus.pro during the past couple of events, and the issues culminated with a last-place finish in the FunSpark ULTI Europe Final following defeats to forZe and HAVU.
Meanwhile, FURIA find themselves in a similar spot ahead of DreamHack Masters Spring. The Brazilians have looked out of sorts lately, especially in the IEM Summer closed qualifier, with tough defeats in one-sided affairs against Movistar Riders and FaZe sounding alarm bells just two days before the start of their campaign in Group B of the $250,000 event.
It is a bit early to be concerned about the two teams, but it is worth keeping an eye on them to find out whether they can quickly bounce back from the uncharacteristic losses or if they are showing signs of slowing down after a good start to 2021. Virtus.pro could have a difficult road ahead of them, with a best-of-one affair against FaZe up first in Group A and a possible NAVI matchup immediately afterwards, and the same can be said for FURIA, who have an unfamiliar BIG matchup and a potential clash with Heroic in the following round.
NAVI, Vitality put youngsters to the test
DreamHack Masters Spring will see Natus Vincere use Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy on all maps after the team decided to bench flamie following a run of poor results. The Russian player had been under pressure for his performances, leading coach Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy to believe that a break from competition could help the 24-year-old regain his confidence.
A product of NAVI’s academy, B1T broke through to the first team in December, in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, and spent the next couple of months getting acclimated to the squad, though he only saw action when they had to play on Inferno. That situation changed in ESL Pro League 13, when he was utilized on Mirage and Overpass (the team didn’t play a single Inferno game in that tournament), which gave the impression that a transition to a more influential role was being prepared.
Kyojin will make his debut for Vitality on Thursday
According to B1ad3, B1T is still “green” but is making “good progress” with the team, who have spent the last three weeks preparing for this event. The 18-year-old has not exactly been a model of consistency – though he has shown that he can pull off some quality plays -, but it will be interesting to see how he will acquit himself as a full team member after several months as a situational player.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. With a combination of poor results and personal issues affecting the team, Vitality benched veteran RpK in an effort to kick-start their season. Replacing ‘Le Tank’ is 22-year-old Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van, who will get his first taste of tier-one Counter-Strike after struggling to make it out of the French sub-top.
Kyojin will have a baptism of fire for Vitality against Complexity, who have just booked a spot in Flashpoint 3. Stepping into RpK’s shoes is no small matter, but the French team have proved in the past that they are able to quickly integrate newcomers and get them to hit the ground running.
The clock is ticking on FaZe
FaZe’s high-profile signings of Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken and Finn “karrigan” Andersen left fans salivating, but the jury is still out on the direction in which the international team is heading. Two months on from the Danish tactician’s return, FaZe are still nowhere near the top 10, and they head into DreamHack Masters Spring as only the 13th seed and with their confidence shattered by Wednesday’s failed qualification campaign for IEM Summer.
The 9th-12th place finish in IEM Katowice was shrugged off because the tournament came just days after karrigan’s arrival, but the team has since continued to stumble, raising serious doubts about their ability to challenge the top sides as the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event of the year looms.
FaZe’s low seed will see them begin their campaign with a tough best-of-one clash with Virtus.pro. It’s a less-than-ideal scenario that could put the team with their backs against the wall right on the first day of play. There is nothing that indicates that FaZe can beat the CIS teams in their group or even G2, whom they have not yet defeated since Nikola “NiKo” Kovač’s transfer to the French-Balkan side. If the struggles continue, fans will begin to wonder if the current roster really has what it takes to bring FaZe’s name back to the top of the pile.
Sprout eliminate FaZe from Flashpoint 3
Sprout beat FaZe 2-1 in the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket after losing in the opening round to Heroic, and have now survived the first round of elimination matches. Josef “faveN” Baumann and company fell behind after the initial map in the series, Mirage (10-16), but were able to win their own pick of Dust2 in-extremis (16-14) before closing the series out on Train (16-10).
FaZe’s ills continue with this loss as they are eliminated from the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament of the year in last place. The international squad have been struggling to perform since bringing on in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen and star player Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken to revamp the roster and have since gone out in 9-12th place at IEM Katowice, 17-20th at ESL Pro League Season 13 and 13-16th at DreamHack Masters Spring.
FaZe got off to a good start in the series taking a 3-0 lead on the attacking side of Mirage, but Sprout were quick to retaliate and claimed the lead early on after putting up several strong defenses. karrigan and company made inroads to try and regain the lead, making it 7-7, but the Germans were able to win the final round of the half to remain ahead. Despite winning the pistol round, Sprout struggled with the task of attacking, and finally faltered as FaZe took their map pick 16-10.
Sprout took the lead on the offense in Dust2, but weren’t able to dominate early on as FaZe won a couple of close rounds to start to gain momentum and build an economy on the CT side. Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Marcelo “coldzera” David did much of the heavy lifting with dual AWPs on the way to a 10-5 lead. The German squad put forth a strong start on the defense and made a strong push to take the map. faveN made two big plays in crucial rounds which tipped the balance in Sprout’s favor as they managed to take it in the last round, 16-14.
FaZe won the first pistol round on the attacking side of Train, but three Desert Eagle kills on the forcebuy by Denis “denis” Howell gave his team the second round, after which faveN and company went on to dominate on the defense, giving up just four rounds to set up a possible upset. FaZe started to scale the comeback mountain on the CT side, but were cut short as Sprout cruised to a 16-10 victory to eliminate the international squad and stay alive in the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket.
Up next for the German squad will be the second round of lower bracket play, where they will play the loser of BIG vs. mousesports in another all-or-nothing match for survival in the tournament. “I don’t care who we play, but I think we’d have better chances against BIG,” faveN said in the post-match interview, “because it’s a domestic match-up and it’ll be about mental games, so I think BIG would be better for us.”
Results for 2021 Call of Duty League Stage 3 Major
The third Major of the 2021 Call of Duty League season has started—and it could be the last online tournament of the year with a return to LAN scheduled for the Stage Four Major.
The Stage Three Major will feature all 12 Call of Duty League franchises fighting for money, bragging rights, and those all-important CDL Points. This double-elimination tournament has a $500,000 prize pool and the winner will earn $200,000 as well as 75 CDL Points to help them move up in the standings.
Over the past three weeks, the CDL teams were competing in Stage Three group play matches to determine their seeding for this Major. The Toronto Ultra, the Stage Two Major champions, came out on top of Group A with a 5-0 record. The Florida Mutineers and Dallas Empire finished in second and third place, respectively, to take the group’s two other winners bracket spots.
In Group B, New York’s revamped lineup with the French phenom HyDra came in first place at 4-1, while the Atlanta FaZe and Los Angeles Thieves ended up behind them. The other six CDL teams, including OpTic Chicago and the Minnesota RØKKR, will immediately start the Stage Three Major in the losers bracket, meaning they’re only one series loss away from being eliminated.
Here are the results from the 2021 Call of Duty League Stage Three Major, updated with the most recent games on top.
Sunday, May 16
Toronto Ultra vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket semifinals)
OpTic lead 1-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-180 OpTic
Saturday, May 15
Atlanta FaZe vs. New York Subliners (Winners bracket finals)
New York win 3-2
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-181 New York
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-4 New York
- Raid Control: 3-0 Atlanta
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-165 Atlanta
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 New York
Florida Mutineers vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket round four)
OpTic win 3-0
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-139 OpTic
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Checkmate Control: 3-1 OpTic
Toronto Ultra vs. Los Angeles Thieves (Losers bracket round four)
Toronto win 3-1
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-14 Toronto
- Miami Search and Destroy: 6-1 Los Angeles
- Garrison Control: 3-0 Toronto
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-81 Toronto
Dallas Empire vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket round three)
OpTic win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-151 OpTic
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Raid Control: 3-1 OpTic
Los Angeles Thieves vs. London Royal Ravens (Losers bracket round three)
Los Angeles win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-123 Los Angeles
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Los Angeles
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 Los Angeles
Friday, May 14
New York Subliners vs. Florida Mutineers (Winners bracket semifinals)
New York win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-149 New York
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-0 New York
- Garrison Control: 3-0 New York
Toronto Ultra vs. Atlanta Faze (Winners bracket semifinals)
Atlanta win 3-2
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-210 Atlanta
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-2 Atlanta
- Garrison Control: 3-2 Toronto
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-174 Toronto
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-3 Atlanta
OpTic Chicago vs. Los Angeles Guerrillas (Losers bracket round two)
OpTic win 3-1
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-148 Los Angeles
- Moscow Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Raid Control: 3-2 OpTic
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-210 OpTic
Minnesota RØKKR vs. London Royal Ravens (Losers bracket round two)
London win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-232 London
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-3 London
- Garrison Control: 3-0 London
Thursday, May 13
Florida Mutineers vs. Los Angeles Thieves (Winners bracket round one)
Florida win 3-1
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-233 Florida
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Florida
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 Los Angeles
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-216 Florida
Atlanta FaZe vs. Dallas Empire (Winners bracket round one)
Atlanta win 3-0
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-209 Atlanta
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-1 Atlanta
- Garrison Control: 3-2 Atlanta
Los Angeles Guerrillas vs. Seattle Surge (Losers bracket round one)
Los Angeles win 3-1
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-183 Los Angeles
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Seattle
- Garrison Control: 3-1 Los Angeles
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-155 Los Angeles
London Royal Ravens vs. Paris Legion (Losers bracket round one)
London win 3-1
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-106 London
- Moscow Search and Destroy: 6-4 Paris
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 London
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-150 London
This article will be updated until the Stage Three Major ends on Sunday, May 16.
The best Structure decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
Structure decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links allow players to use ready-to-play decks with various tribes to learn the game easier while still being competitive.
If you want a good start to the game without being overwhelmed by all the cards, Structure decks are your starting point. With these decks, you’ll have a good foundation and a general idea of your win condition, which you can later upgrade as you learn the ropes of the game.
Here are the best Structure decks in YGO! Duel Links.
White Dragon of Legend
One of the most popular archetypes in the game is Blue-Eyes with various Dragons, spells, and traps to complement it. One of the most important cards in the deck is Cosmo Brain, which allows you to special summon the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, who can unleash devastation upon your opponents. This Structure deck is good at learning the ropes of playing and summoning the Blue-Eyes White Dragon and can serve as a good base for upgraded versions of the deck.
Masters of Chaos
Masters of Chaos decks use various Magicians to create the strongest Magician your opponents have seen. The archetype was targeted by multiple bans due to how strong it is and is a great starting point for this archetype. While the Structure deck might not have the best cards for the Dark Magician archetype, it does have various powerful cards you can use to build the ultimate Magician deck. A couple of cards that can be used are Dark Cavalry, Chaos Ritual Monster, and the Advanced Ritual.
Fusion decks are the staple of any YGO! Duel Links player since most players grew up watching the animated show where the main protagonist would fuse monsters to create the ultimate beast. While initially you might want to build a Fusion deck, you’ll likely lack proper Fusion cards. The Hero Generation Structure deck gives you access to most Fusion cards, which you can easily use in your other decks as well. On top of that, the deck is quite simple to play and allows you to learn the ropes of Fusion.
Ancient Gear Awakening
The Ancient Gear Awakening Structure deck is strong by default and can help you play against other meta decks and even beat them. The deck made appearances in various tournaments and can serve as a good base for other Ancient Gear decks.
While you’ll be leveling in the YGO! Duel Links world, you may notice some decks will be running Synchro and Tuner monsters. The King’s Resonance Structure deck has a lot of core cards to build a powerful deck with these types of monsters. While the deck by itself might not be that strong since it requires a lot of cards to combo together, with a small investment, you can upgrade it to a more powerful version, where you can easily summon special creatures with powerful abilities without having to play multiple cards in a single turn.
Hall of Ablution Resident Evil Village: How to Solve the Puzzle
The Hall of Ablution puzzle in Resident Evil Village is proving to be a bit tricky for some players.
This is the one obstacle standing directly between Ethan Winters and Lady Dimitrescu’s Key. Players find the Hall of Ablution just before gaining access to Lady Dimitrescu’s chambers. They’ll be prompted to follow her up a flight of stairs from the courtyard. Unfortunately, the door to her room is locked, leaving only the Hall as a point of access for Ethan.
The Hall of Ablution is less of a traditional hall and more of a small circular room made specifically for Lady Dimitrescu, herself. In the center is a pool of blood which we can assume she bathes in as “ablution” quite literally means ritual bathing. After all, it’s no secret that her mutation causes her to consume human flesh and blood as a means of maintaining her form. Who’s to say she didn’t take a page out of Countess Elizabeth Báthory’s book while she was at it?
The key to the puzzle is the inscription in the back of the room. It reads: “Women are blind to male advances, but the poor shall take their chances to give their Lord their bounty sown, so that soon the wine may flow.”
The two women, “blind to male advances,” should be facing each other and away from the men. The cluster of poor men presenting a box should be turned to face the mounted Lord to “give their Lord their bounty sown.” Finally, the Lord mounted on horseback should be turned to face toward the woman holding the bottle of wine “so that soon the wine may flow.”
Following this, the pool will empty itself, and the puzzle will be complete.
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