It's a Danish playoff.
With the group stage completed, the playoffs look much different than many would expect. The No. 2 and 3 teams in the world, Virtus.pro and SK Gaming have both bowed out after disappointing group stage results. With the groups playing out the way they did, three teams from Denmark have secured their spot in the Spodek Arena.
Astralis came out second in Group A after the tiebreakers were played, finishing 4-1 with its only loss coming against the first place seed, No. 8 FaZe Clan. No. 13 Immortals will be the only Americas representative moving into the playoffs as the number three seed from Group A.
Heroic and North topped Group B, Heroic leading the way as the number one seed. Both teams coming out of the group of death with a 3-2 record, being joined by No. 4 Natus Vincere.
The Danish scene not long ago was looking rough with its greatest hope being the ever struggling squad of Astralis following the rosters move away from Team SoloMid. Still considered the top team in Denmark, Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann and co. were seeing the gap closed as North, formerly of dignitas had been seeing better results.
Shortly after the roster behind North took home EPICENTER: Moscow, Astralis began its rise back to the top, and closed out 2016 with a 10-0 run in online matches, a finals appearance at ELEAGUE season two and then a championship at ECS season two finals before opening up 2017 with a win at the ELEAGUE Major.
North has continued to have strong performances outside of a blip at the DreamHack Open Leipzig event but have failed to take home any events against top level competition.
Heroic has seen highs and lows but over the last few months after seeing Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander leave the squad for Astralis, the team has put up better results. Wins over No. 7, 14, 18, Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports, and mousesports respectively, in the last month showed the team could compete. Victories against North and Virtus.pro in this event has only added stock to the roster who recently rounded out its squad with the addition of Jakob "JUGi" Hansen.
Denmark is on the rise and having 50% of the players in post-group play calling it their home is a certain sign of it.