The preview of Intel Extreme Masters XII — Sydney

Intel Extreme Masters Sydney begins today and we will make an analysis of the upcoming tournament and, also, we will study out, which team is a favorite of the competition and which is an obvious outsider.

The global information about the tournament

After all, we would like to notice that the new-fashioned format of carrying of the group stage called «the Swiss system» has not passed over IEM XII — Sydney. The group stage of the Australian tournament will be carried out in the Swiss system. Usually this method is used with a great number of teams but this has not stopped the organizers and as a result, we will see the Swiss system in the tournament with 8 participants.

IEM Sydney will be hosted on May 3-7. The prize pool of the championship will be $200,000. There is no information about the division of the prize pool at this moment.

8 teams will take part in the tournament, 6 of them have received a direct invitation to the tournament and other two participants has come through qualifications, which have been carried out in China and among countries of Oceania. Such teams as Astralis, FaZe Clan, North, OpTic Gaming, Renegades and SK Gaming have received invites to the tournament, while Vici Gaming has passed through the Chinese qualification and Chiefs eSports Club — through the qualifying round among countries of Oceania.

The global information about teams

All participants can be divided into three categories: 1) Obvious favorites of the tournament 2) Teams, which can show something 3) Obvious outsiders of the tournament

Three strongest teams, which will participate at IEM Sydney — the champion of the first Major tournament in 2017, the Danish team Astralis, the champion of StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 — FaZe Clan and, also, the champion of cs_summit — SK Gaming can be referred to obvious favorites.

Teams, which are not favorites of the tournament but at the same time will be able to make some surprises and maybe will be able to get to the playoff, can be referred to the category «Teams, which can show something». Such teams as North, OpTic Gaming and Renegades can be referred to this category.

Rosters, which have got in the tournament with a help qualifications: ViCi Gaming and Chiefs eSports Club are referred to obvious outsiders. These teams are not likely to show a strong performance at the tournament as ViCi and Chiefs are not appropriate opponents for the rest of teams. Renegades also could be referred to this category but in a view of their experience at the professional CS:GO scene and the fact that the team has received a direct invite, has allowed the Australian team to get in the second category.

The analysis of each team

The list of participants has been created in ascending order by a power of one roster or another on my opinion.

The 8th place — Chiefs eSports Club

The team could win a lot enough of matches during the last month, however, opponents of this team couldn’t be called strong. Chiefs eSports Club, probably, will not be able to come out of the group stage and will become one of the teams to finish its participation in the tournament and not to get to the playoff stage.

The 7th place — Vici Gaming

The second team, which according to the opinion of most of viewers and analysts, is an outsider. The roster has been showing an unstable enough game in a recent time and gives a rise to thinking the Chinese team to be weak.

The 6th place — Renegades

The Australian team, which has received a direct invitation to IEM Sydney. Renegades is the strongest team in its region, which can compete with world level teams and with such teams as OpTic Gaming and North certainly. Renegades have shown not enough stability in online leagues recently. On my opinion, Renegades is the weakest roster of all three teams in the category «Teams, which can show something». Probably Australians as Chiefs and Vici Gaming will not pass through the group stage and will finish their participation having not to be able to fight their way to the playoff stage.

The 5th place — OpTic Gaming

The North American team can compete with world level teams for the exit to the playoff and, in the best-case scenario for the team, guys from OpTic Gaming will be able to struggle for the title of the champion of IEM Sydney. The team has shown a stable enough game in recent time and has overcome such teams as Team EnVyUs, Team Liquid, Cloud9 and Gambit eSports. OpTic Gaming has shown itself well in online leagues but their opponents can’t be called very strong. OpTic Gaming has a chance to exit to the playoff but they will have to make a great work to get to the Grand Final.

The 4th place — North

The strongest team of the middle-class category participants of the tournament. It has shown a high level of the game in the online league EPL #5. North won such teams as Team Kinguin, Team LDLC and Ninjas in Pyjamas in ESL Pro League Season 5 during last two weeks having not lost even a single match. To get to the Grand Final, North as OpTic Gaming will have to show great efforts if they want to reach their aim. Astralis, FaZe Clan and SK Gaming, which will probably be in the playoff stage are strong enough opponents for North.

The 3rd place — SK Gaming

The triplet of the tournament’s strongest teams is opened by the Brazilian team SK Gaming, which recently has become the champion of cs_summit. SK Gaming has remembered what is «the taste of victory» at the previous tournament and is on the morale rise, which definitely will help it to receive the title of the champion. SK Gaming is not only the strongest team of the tournament but the member of the top-5 best teams list according to having held the 4th place. The Brazilian roster is one of the obvious favorites to win the championship. It will be much easier for them to get in the playoff than such teams as Renegades or OpTic Gaming. SK Gaming has won 14 of 20 recently played maps.

The 2nd place — Astralis

The champion of the first Major tournament in 2017, the winner of IEM XI: World Championship and the vice-champion of StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, the Danish team Astralis has situated on the second place in my top of teams, which will be able to struggle for the title of the IEM Sydney champion. Astralis has a lot of chances to win the Australian championship but their chances to win are not as big as FaZe Clan has due to the condition of the Danish team, which can’t be called stable. Guys from Astralis lost to Fnatic and G2 Esports in recent matches, which were carried out in the online league ESL Pro League Season 5. The game level of Fnatic leaves more to desire and the fact that the Swedes have won Astralis allows to think that the victory of the Danes will not be very easy.

The 1st place — FaZe Clan

The main pretender for the title of Intel Extreme Masters XII: Sydney champion. On my opinion, this team will certainly come out not only to the playoff but to the Grand Final if they don’t face Astralis in a semi-final. FaZe Clan is in an excellent condition.

Some interesting facts about the team:

1) FaZe Clan has a series of 6 won matches
2) FaZe Clan played 25 matches during such tournaments as StarLadder i-League StarSeries #3, ESL Pro League #5 and ECS #5 and won 20 matches of them. In such a way the win rate of the European mix is 80%.
3) Before its last loss, FaZe had had a victory series of 5 matches having won such teams as Astralis, North and mousesports. FaZe Clan has faced its loss in the match against mousesports in interesting circumstances. If not this absurd loss, the victory series of the European team would consist of 11 matches.
4) FaZe Clan was the only team not to lose any match and not to make a draw.

Considering all above said, I think that FaZe Clan will guarantee itself an exit to the Grand Final without any doubts and will fight for the title of the champion and for the vast majority of the prize pool in the sum of $200,000.

There are a number of questions for this championship:

What will newcomers of the professional CS:GO scene, Chiefs eSports Club be able to show?
How far will North and OpTic Gaming go as they have not seen the title of the champion for more than 4 months?
Was the victory of SK Gaming at cs_summit a good set of circumstances, a luck or a deserved victory? Which surprise has SK Gaming prepared for its opponents?
Will Astralis be able to become the champion of the large tournament for the 4th time over the last half a year?
Will NiKo help the team FaZe Clan to earn the 2nd title in a row?

We will receive answers to all these questions during the tournament.

You will be able to find the report, the review after the tournament, where we will consider answers for the above asked questioned in more details and also forecasts for matches.

Let’s follow events at IEM Sydney together!