After a break over Christmas and New Year, the big CS: GO tournaments are finally back, albeit still without an audience.
After Astralis finished 2020 with a win in Intel Extreme Masters XV – Global Challenge on December 20, no tournaments were played with the top teams combined BLAST Premier: Global Final 2020, between 19-24 January. Despite the name, the final was decided in 2021, and was the first of the year. The CS year has thus started and the calendar is filled with matches and tournaments to enjoy in the future.
First out after BLAST is the ongoing cs_summit 7 with three Swedish teams in Dignitas, Fnatic and NIP. That tournament runs until January 31. But the first really big tournament will be IEM Katowice, which starts with Play-In on February 16-17, and continues with group games and finals between February 18-28.
Intel Extreme Masters (abbreviated IEM) is the longest-running global professional tournament in the world. In 2006, when the Intel-sponsored European tournament saw room for expansion outside of Europe, especially to North America, Intel funded a worldwide tournament and called it the Intel Extreme Masters. In 2007, IEM established a format with many smaller qualifying events, which led to a major final event held at CeBIT in Germany. From 2008, the tournament became global, with participants from Europe, North America and Asia.
During its 15 seasons, IEM has hosted events on several continents for various games including Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Quake Live, DotA, StarCraft II, League of Legends and more.
The Counter-Strike 1.6 tournament was considered one of the Counter-Strike Majors from 2008 to 2012.
The first IEM of the year would be held in Spodek Arena, Katowice, Poland. But the circumstances mean that it will instead be an online game. 24 teams participate, where eight teams are already ready for group games. The other 16 teams play Play-In where another eight teams advance to the group stage. The group game thus consists of 16 teams.
- Double-elimination bracket
- Opening matches are played a map
- Remaining matches best of three maps
- GSL format
- Eight teams in each group
- All matches best of three maps
- The top three teams in each group advance to the playoffs
- The group winners go straight to the semifinals
- Second place in the group stage goes on to the quarterfinals as “high seeds”
- Third place in the group stage goes on to the quarterfinals as “low seeds”
- Single-elimination bracket
- Quarters and semifinals are best played by three maps
- The final is best played by five maps
All teams receive at least a small amount regardless of placement, but the price for first place is $ 400,000, second place $ 180,000 while third and fourth place receive $ 80,000. (No bronze match played)
Two Swedish teams participate in the tournament, Ninjas In Pajamas (NIP) and Fnatic.
Swedish betting sites has set its odds on IEM, and from there you can read which are the favorites to take home the first prize. Favorites to win are Danish Astralis (3.20), currently ranked number one in the world. However, they lost the final in BLAST against NaVi (6.00) which is number four according to several betting sites.
Fnatic is not seen as a favorite, but is at 26.00 times the money to win. Odds on NIP as winners are not yet visible, as they would not initially participate. However, due to travel restrictions, Tyloo was unable to attend, and NIP was given their place.