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Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

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Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

If there were any worry that DreamHack would lose some of its unique allure in its move from the Swedish provinces to the capital, that doubt dissolved like the snow in Jönköping about a minute and a half after I lost my hotel keycard at the Stockholm Globe Arena.

I spent the 10 floor lift journey down to the lobby working up the grovel in my voice, but needn’t have bothered. 

“Are you at DreamHack?" asked the young blonde Swede at the desk, eyes brightening as his hands registered my new card. “I’m kind of a nerdy guy myself. What do you play?"

This is what DreamHack do: inclusive, wide-eyed events. Their feet are in PC gaming, and their heads filled with ideas for bettering eSports, the Scandinavian games industry, and themselves.

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Wild Cards: what does the future hold for Hearthstone's fresh pros?

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Wild Cards: what does the future hold for Hearthstone's fresh pros?

Hearthstone’s early Twitch explosion has left its creators scrambling to build the scaffolding to support it, while eSports names old and new rush to fill the vacuum around its top players.

Some of those players have the backing of established organisations; others are entirely alone. But none of them know whether they have a full-time job in Hearthstone ahead of them - and they’re all faced with the difficulty of deciding who to trust in a still-growing ecosystem.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros will grapple for $250,000 at DreamHack Winter

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros will grapple for $250,000 at DreamHack Winter

Valve announced plans this weekend for a $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive prize pool at DreamHack Winter 2014. The Swedish eSports and LAN organisation’s Jönköping flagship event will welcome eight quarter-finalists from ESL One Cologne, plus eight teams yet to be decided by regional qualifiers.

This will be the fourth $250,000 CS:GO Major prize pool offered in the space of a year - rounding off a total $1 million awarded to CS pros since last November’s DreamHack SteelSeries Championship.

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Watch the European Heathstone Finals live from DreamHack Stockholm on Twitch

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Watch the European Heathstone Finals live from DreamHack Stockholm on Twitch

You’ll be at least passingly familiar with DreamHack - the grand LAN event that twice annually fills the convention building, racket sports centre and ice hockey arena of its Swedish home city of Jönköping.

This Friday will be the first day of a third event - a takeover of Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe designed to position Sweden as the leading eSports nation in Europe. I’ll be there, absorbing the sights and whiplash-fast wi-fi speeds. And the best of it will be streamed on Twitch.

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Most lucrative Hearthstone win marred by controversy; "Rdu is not cheating," says Amaz

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Most lucrative Hearthstone win marred by controversy; "Rdu is not cheating," says Amaz

Radu ‘Rdu’ Dima last night became DreamHack’s Summer Hearthstone Champion. The Romanian had cracked portrait after portrait of top players - Darkwonyx, Ek0p, Reynad and finally Amaz - to win the biggest cheque in professional Hearthstone yet.

But his win was overshadowed by controversy, after Twitch viewers noticed a Battle.net message during his last few games that gave away the contents of Amaz’s hand. As community opinion divided over whether or not the hint was solicited, both tournament organisers and Rdu’s opponent emerged in support of the 17-year-old.

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Counter-Strike DreamHack Championship bolstered by $250k crowdfunding-enabled prize pool

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Counter-Strike DreamHack Championship bolstered by $250k crowdfunding-enabled prize pool

A little more money in progaming can only do good. For our athletes between tournaments, it can mean more time playing, less time fulfilling advertising contracts. And for us, the viewers, higher monetary investment means greater personal investment. It was money, lots of it, that turned this year’s Dota 2 International into the “eSports Super Bowl" - and now a similar crowdfunding initiative is working its magic for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

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Blizzard reshape competitive StarCraft 2 worldwide with 2013 World Championship Series

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Blizzard reshape competitive StarCraft 2 worldwide with 2013 World Championship Series

This evening at a press conference in Korea, Blizzard announced the new format of the 2013 World Championship Series, substantially revising how competitive StarCraft 2 works around the world. The restructuring places the US’s Major League Gaming, Europe’s Electronic Sports League, and Korea’s GSL and Starleague inside Blizzard’s overarching WCS. It is a major step toward Blizzard’s longstanding eSports goal of creating a sensible international tournament series that can credibly identify the world’s greatest player.

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DreamHack Open Stockholm sign-ups and tickets now available

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DreamHack Open Stockholm sign-ups and tickets now available

On the weekend of April 26, Stockholm will play host to the first of five European Heart of the Swarm events spread across 2013. Over the course of two days, a gaggle of nascent victors will come to the fore and claim four places in the Grand Finals. And perhaps one of those signing up today will be declared this year’s DreamHack champion once Winter comes.

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Building Better eSports, Part 1: the simple things

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Building Better eSports, Part 1: the simple thingsAs the new year gets started and we all return to work, I’ve been working on setting coverage priorities for eSports and trying to set a calendar of events that I want to follow. It’s harder than you might think: eSports features a ton of different tournaments, leagues, and formats that can make it hard to identify and stay on top of the major events.

I’ve only covered eSports for about one year, and at some point this will all probably become second nature to me. But I’m also no fool, and yet it still took me about three hours this weekend to find all the info I wanted on tournaments taking place through March. Tellingly, a writer at another site got in touch to ask for help with the same thing. Even for people who watch a fair bit of them, eSports can be frustratingly obscure and hard to love.

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack - the final: how No Tidehunter became the most exciting Dota 2 team on the planet

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack - the final: how No Tidehunter became the most exciting Dota 2 team on the planet

What a final. The Dreamhack Winter Dota 2 final was easily comparable to The International and Dreamhacks Summer counterpart. Three days of five on five glorious action came down to those last three matches. Both EG and No Tidehunter gave it their all, but only one managed to make the crowd roar with ecstasy. It was a stunning match.

No Tidehunter is my new favorite Dota 2 team. Here’s how they won Dreamhack Winter 2012.

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DreamHack Winter concludes with a Team Liquid StarCraft 2 final as HerO sweeps TaeJa, CS:GO ends with a rout, and other eSports news

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DreamHack Winter concludes with a Team Liquid StarCraft 2 final as HerO sweeps TaeJa, CS:GO ends with a rout, and other eSports newsHow bad was HerO’s beat-down of his teammate TaeJa in the DreamHack Winter StarCraft 2 final? Afterwards, as my friends and I sat staring at the screen where the returning champion HerO was being soundly defeated by a champagne cork, one of my friends turned to me and asked, “Was that a thrown match we just saw?"

For the record, nobody at my DreamHack viewing party seriously thought that Yoon “TaeJa" Young Suh or Song “HerO" Hyeon Deok, or anyone from Team Liquid for that matter, would intentionally fix or throw a championship match. But it was also hard to believe, after the normally-superb TaeJa was beaten soundly in four straight games, that he’d contested the DreamHack Winter title nearly as intensely as he had the DreamHack Valencia title or any of his GSL attempts. For one of the world’s top Terrans to lose to his teammate’s Stalker compositions in every game beggared belief.

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack - day two highlights

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack - day two highlightsWhat a day for Dota 2 at Dreamhack. Every single best of three hasn’t gone beyond the second game. The teams at Dreamhack know how to capitalize perfectly on their first victory, sealing the deal in the second game. And while big names have been knocked out, the upstarts from No Tidehunter continue to blow our minds.

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack Day One: Fresh blood take on the champions

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Dota 2 at Dreamhack Day One: Fresh blood take on the champions

Dreamhack Winter 2012 feels different to its summer counterpart. Major teams have vanished from the scene. Some weren’t able to stand being defeated at Valves International, while others just needed a break. Well known teams such as Na’Vi, Evil Geniuses, Absolute Legends and Team Dignitas are facing fresh blood from the likes of No Tidehunter, 4 Friends + Chrille, Out Of Tangos and We haz Asian.

It was a great start for the tournament, quelling most peoples fears of a one sided competition. Even if Na’Vi won all of their games, unsurprisingly, we have seen some great potential coming from the newer teams.

And everyone loves the underdogs, right?

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eSports peace in our time: MLG, DreamHack, and ESL form partnership for 2012 / 2013 seasons

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eSports peace in our time: MLG, DreamHack, and ESL form partnership for 2012 / 2013 seasonsMajor League Gaming, DreamHack, and the Electronic Sports League have announced a partnership for next year that “aims to unify and align DreamHack, ESL and MLG’s eSports activity on a global basis to further competitive activity, benefit players and spectators, alleviate the taxing event schedule, eliminate confusion about global standings and help nurture the development of North American and European players," according a joint press release.

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Team Acer dominates DreamHack Bucharest StarCraft 2 tournament as Nerchio defeats teammate Bly to win final

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Team Acer dominates DreamHack Bucharest StarCraft 2 tournament as Nerchio defeats teammate Bly to win finalDreamHack Bucharest proved a triumph for Team Acer, as Acer teammates Arturo “Nerchio" Bloch (Polish Zerg) and Aleksandr “Bly" Svusuyk (Ukrainian Zerg) took first and second, respectively, and guaranteed themselves placement in the DreamHack Winter tournament next month. They also earned the €7,850 and €4,500 first and second place prizes.

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DreamHack Valencia recap and the best games of the weekend

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DreamHack Valencia recap and the best games of the weekendOver this last weekend, DreamHack Valencia played host to some outstanding professional StarCraft 2 as Yoon “TaeJa" Young Suh took first place, and $10,000 prize, and an automatic slot in the DreamHack Winter Grand Finals.

If you missed the Valencia tournament, however, you can get caught up thanks to the replay videos available for free via Dreamhack.tv. There were some great matches you won’t want to miss, particularly an instant classic Game 1 between TaeJa and Ilyes “Stephano" Satouri on the first day of competition.

After the jump, we’ve got links to our coverage and the videos. We also highlight some matches worth checking out, with time stamps to help you find them.

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