IEM Sydney, also known as Intel Extreme Masters XIV Sydney, is a premier CS:GO event of great importance, scheduled to take place between April 30th – May 5th. Needless to say, this will be the biggest Counter-Strike event in Australia in 2019.
IEM Sydney will be attended by 16 teams, who will compete for $250.000 in prizes. In this article, we will offer you a preview of the event and an analysis of some of its most important participants.
IEM Sydney Format
The IEM Sydney CS:GO tournament is scheduled to take place in two stages: the Group Stage and the Playoffs Stage. So the format is very basic and should provide plenty of hyped matches.
For the Group Stage, the teams will be divided into 2 groups of 8. Group winners advance to the Semifinals, while the next two teams in line (2nd and 3rd from each group) advance to the Quarterfinals, where they are cross-seeded (2nd from Group A vs 3rd from Group B and vice versa).
The Playoffs will be played in a single elimination bracket format. The matches are Bo3s with the exception of the Grand Final (Bo5).
Prizes at IEM Sydney 2019
The prize money offered at IEM Sydney will be split among the 16 teams in the following way:
- 1st place: $100.000
- 2nd place: $42.000
- 3rd – 4th place: $20.000
- 5th – 6th place: $10.000
- 7th – 8th place: $6.000
- 9th – 12th place: $5.000
- 13th – 16th place: $4.000
Here’s a brief analysis of 4 of the top teams that have been invited so far.
MIBR has regrouped under the Brazilian banner and for the first time since the revival of this once famous brand (Made in Brazil), the entire roster is Brazilian. This is perhaps MIBR’s greatest chance to reclaim its former glory, and FalleN’s best shot at winning another Major or at least, some important premier events.
Most CS:GO fans have already forgotten about SK Gaming and their string of successes. That was just a little over a year ago, but nobody except the Brazilian public seems to regard the current MIBR as a championship team. Even though, coldzera was the best player in the world in 2017 and FalleN was one of the best AWP players around that time.
The game hasn’t changed that much and MIBR’s current roster is identical to that of 2017 except for the coach (zews), so the only real obstacles are the mood of these 5 players who are trying once again to be reborn as champions, and the fierce competitors who look more determined than ever to put an end to their dreams. In particular, Astralis, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid are complete monsters right now. And defeating any one of them in a Bo3 is a massive challenge.
So far, the only big event in which we’ve seen MIBR compete with this new roster was IEM Katowice. At the time of this writing, FalleN and his squad are waiting to play against Renegades in the Quarterfinals of the tournament and they have an excellent chance of moving through and meeting (most likely) Astralis in the Semifinals.
Going into IEM Sydney, we expect MIBR to exist the competition right before the Grand Final and finish 3rd – 4th. However, if the likes of Team Liquid, Natus Vincere and Astralis will not be invited to the event, the situation changes and they instantly become the top contender. However, with 5 more directly invited teams to be announced, it’s unlikely that these giants will miss the biggest Australian CS:GO event of 2019.
FaZe Clan had a great year under karrigan the team’s captain and RobbaN as their coach. In 2018, they played in 5 Grand Finals and won 3 of them. In addition to these results, they also played in many other tier 1 events where they finished 3rd – 4th.
When you consider the fact that this was a year in which Astralis, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid played in around 10 Grand Finals each, the “underperformance” of FaZe Clan’s roster cannot be blamed on the team’s captain. They simply had a slightly weaker playstyle than the 3 CS:GO machines that I already mentioned.
However, with 5 superstars on the team and probably some very high salaries being paid to them, the management lost patience after a while and sent karrigan to Team Envy, on a loan. At the same time, they released RobbaN, who had been the team’s coach for 3 years. His replacement was YNk, the famous CS:GO analyst and former MIBR coach. As for karrigan, his temporary replacement was AdreN from Gambit Esports. In both cases, the decisions were questionable and quite visibly, they led to a weaker version of FaZe.
Anyone who’s known and followed this team under karrigan and RobbaN knows what we’re talking about. At the recent IEM Katowice Major, FaZe Clan finished 5th – 8th after struggling to qualify for the Playoffs Stage. At this point, it’s obvious that they don’t have the tools to beat the likes of Na’Vi, Liquid or Astralis, and possibly other top competitors as well. We would include MIBR and Renegades on that list, given their recent performances.
At the upcoming IEM Sydney, FaZe Clan should definitely finish in the top third, but they’re not likely to climb higher than 5th – 6th.
For the first time in many years, Australia has a serious competitor on the big stage. The current Renegades roster is unbelievably good considering the fact that there are no superstars in it. It’s absolutely incredible what has been achieved with 5 casual players who somehow managed to find a very strong playstyle that simply works.
At the IEM Katowice Major, Renegades won 5 out of their first 6 matches in Stage 1 and 2 and at the time of this writing, they’re waiting to play against MIBR in the Quarterfinals. If they win that match, then Australia has a top 4 team in CS:GO and a serious competitor at any premier event. Just consider the fact that even Astralis struggled to beat them. That’s how good they’ve become.
In 2018, Renegades had a number of decent results, but nothing spectacular. They finished 5th – 6th at ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, 5th – 6th at IEM Sydney (previous edition), 3rd – 4th at TOYOTA Master CS:GO Bangkok 2018, and 1st at Asia Minor Championship London 2018. The big changes came after two Australians and a Serb joined the team, replacing some of the people who had tried their best but couldn’t do more. More specifically, liazz, Gratisfaction and kassad (coach) have come to the rescue around 4 months ago. And since then, Renegades has turned into a world-class team.
Based on what we’ve seen in recent months, Renegades should be expected to finish 3rd – 4th at IEM Sydney.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
NiP is playing great CS right now, but they’re still limited by a number of factors. The individual members of this team can only do so much. At IEM Katowice, NiP did manage to qualify for the Playoffs Stage and it’s the first time in 3 years when they compete on the main stage of a Major. But there’s very little that can turn this team into one that could win important tournaments.
Going into IEM Sydney, NiP is likely to finish 5th – 6th.