After Dreamhack Marseille, some of the world’s best CS:GO teams will head down to Sydney, Australia, to fight for $250,000 and an IEM Sydney trophy.
The Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII is set to return to Sydney, Australia for a second time, after a successful tournament display in 2017. Sixteen teams, with representation from all over the world, are set to attend and compete for their share of a $250,000 prize pool, and, more importantly, the coveted title of IEM Sydney Champions.
The teams in attendance are as follows:
- FaZe Clan
- SK Gaming
- G2 Esports
North American Qualifier
- NRG Esports
- MVP PK
- Greyhound Gaming
- Chiefs Esports Club
- Legacy Esports
The group stage runs from May 1 to May 3. The format of the group stages itself consists of the following:
- Two double elimination format groups
- Group stage seeding was determined by the ESL CS:GO rankings
- The initial matches are a best of one, with the following matches being a best of three
- The top three teams from each group advance to the playoffs
- Winners of the group stage advance to the semifinals
- Group stage runner-ups proceed to the quarterfinals as the high seeds
- The third-placed group stage teams advance to the quarterfinals as the low seeds
The playoffs run from the 4th of May through to the 6th of May, and consist of:
- Single elimination brackets
- Best of three quarter and semifinal matches
- Best of five grand final contest
Eight teams have been split into two groups – Group A and Group B, with each opening match being determined beforehand.
Group A consists of:
- FaZe Clan
- Space Soldiers
- SK Gaming
The first round matchups of Group A are as follows:
- FaZe Clan vs. ORDER
- Legacy Esports vs. Renegades
- Cloud9 vs. Greyhound
- TyLoo vs. SK Gaming
Group B consists of:
- NRG Esports
- Natus Vincere
- MVP PK
- Chiefs ESC
First round matchups of Group B are as follows:
- mousesports vs. B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape
- NRG Esports vs. Astralis
- G2 Esports vs. MVP PK
- Chiefs ESC vs. Fnatic
Teams To Watch
With the first round matchups announced, at a glance, there is room for upset potential, due to the nature of best of one contests. Naturally, the teams to keep an eye on are the home teams, teams such as Chiefs, ORDER and Greyhound. Oceanic teams have had limited appearances in international tournaments, and any competition against top sides from North America and Europe is a good test and indicator for Australian teams to see what level they are at. For the players on the Oceanic teams, tournaments such as this provide them an adequate platform to display their talent against top teams.
Aside from the Oceanic teams, the teams to watch are:
- NRG Esports
Why Are These The Teams To Watch?
Astralis came off of the short player break to win Dreamhack Marseille in a rather convincing fashion. The Danish side qualified from their group with a 2-0 record, crushing Space Soldiers in a merciless manner and beat Liquid 2-1 in the winner’s best of three match up.
Their knockout round match against FaZe Clan was more of the same. Mirage and Nuke were played, and the team looked good on both maps. The team played phenomenal Counter-Strike, and their performance as a solidified unit showed through the scoreline, and through the numbers of the individual players on the team. Xyp9x finished with 45 frags, 25 deaths, and 95.2 ADR. Dev1ce was not far behind, finishing 43/24 with 91.8 ADR over the two maps. The rest of his teammates were not far behind on the scoreboard over the two maps.
The semifinals match against Fnatic and the grand finals match against Natus Vincere were, more or less, the same results for Astralis. They were convincing wins on multiple maps, which is an indicator of Astralis’ prowess with their newest addition, Magisk. Astralis now have that aggressive player that can successfully thrive in high-pressure situations in the game. An Astralis looking strong as a cohesive unit is something that all teams in this tournament should be wary of.
The Dreamhack Masters Marseille champions will look to add IEM Sydney 2018 to their impressive trophy cabinet, an accolade they missed out on last year at the hands of FaZe Clan, who eliminated them in the semifinals.
mousesports’ evolution began in 2017 after the departure of NiKo. The return of chrisJ and the additions of oskar, ropz, suNny and STYKO turned over a new leaf for a team that was incredibly frustrating to watch throughout 2016 and the earlier stages of 2017. Slow and steady improvement in their results since August 2017 started to come to life. Mousesports captured the ESG Mykonos title, placed in the top four of Dreamhack Denver, placed second at Dreamhack Winter and took the fight to FaZe in a thrilling grand final at ECS Season 4 in Cancun, which also saw them place second. Their 2018 started off steadily, securing a legends spot for the next CS:GO major, and winning back to back tournaments, capturing the StarSeries Finals and winning the V4 Future Sports Festival.
mousesports turned from a frustrating disappointment to an exciting prospect of a team that fulfilled, or even exceeded expectations. The team, lead by chrisJ, has talents in the form of ropz, sunNy and oskar that can explode at any given time, and can turn the tide of a match at any given time. Ropz’s lurk is excellent on the T side, sunNy’s entry can be incredibly lethal, and oskar with the AWP is a force to be reckoned with. STYKO does an ample job at providing support for his team’s heavy hitters.
NRG has shown much promise online, and their roster is filled with individually talented players led by an in-game leader that is intelligent and experienced.
mousesports have shown that they can go toe to toe with the best teams in the world, and have had close contests in the past. Their form throughout the first four months of 2018 has been quite solid, and they should be able to perform well at IEM Sydney.
NRG has been an excellent force in the online scene. The North American side, spearheaded by Canadian in-game leader daps, has developed quite well. The team has transitioned from player to player to find the adequate mix. With the addition of the talented Bulgarian AWPer, Cerq, and the addition of ex-Counter Logic Gaming rifler nahtE in 2017 and 2018 respectively, NRG has done well in their online competitions, securing a spot in the ESL Pro League Finals in Dallas after finishing second in the online portion of the tournament.
NRG has shown much promise online, and their roster is filled with individually talented players led by an in-game leader that is intelligent and experienced. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate their online form in Sydney, and cement themselves as a genuine top North American team.
What about other teams?
It definitely will be interesting to see how Cloud9, SK Gaming, and FaZe Clan fare. The changes that these teams have recently implemented may take time to set.
Cloud9 have looked rather promising, integrating the looser style that they were used to along with the structure and tactical aspect of the game that FNS brings to the table.
SK Gaming continues to try to mold Stewie2k into their system. Although there has been little to no time for the predominantly Brazilian side to adjust things accordingly without tournament interference, it is always interesting to see what teams with new additions can come up within a short amount of time.
Finally, FaZe Clan’s addition of Xizt has not seemed that bad. However, it is evident that the hole left by olofmeister is a hole that may be difficult to fill, due to the strength in firepower that olofmeister provides, along with the support he provides to his teammates. As it is, FaZe Clan do seem weaker against stronger competition, and the extent of that weakness will be measured in the next few tournaments.
IEM Sydney is set to be a spectacle. The Australian crowd is generally very loud and proud, especially when an esports tournament of this caliber enters the Qudos Bank Arena, which, unfortunately, is uncommon.
Nevertheless, the crowd is electric, the stage has been set, and the teams attending will be yearning to prove that they deserve to be among the best teams in the world, and will fight tooth and nail for a playoff spot.
The crowd attending live and the people at home will be treated to an electric display of Counter-Strike at its best.