Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Summer is the next big S-Tier event in the competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive calendar, bringing together sixteen of the world’s best sides in an online tournament with a whopping prize pool of $250,000 on the line. The event will continue to form part of the third season of the Intel Grand Slam, with the main ESL tournament commencing on the 3rd of June and ending ten days later on the 13th.
The tournament will see the sixteen teams divided into two brackets (Group A and Group B), in a double elimination knockout format from the 3rd-6th, with the post-bracket Playoffs running from the 11th-13th.
12 Sides formed out of the ESL World Rankings and being Intel Partner status have already been confirmed as participants at IEM Summer, however there are still four places left in reserve for the 12 teams currently competing in the tournament’s Closed Qualifiers. Here are some teams that you should be looking to back for success at the qualifiers and a return to the top table at IEM Summer later this year.
Brazil is home to one of the most passionate fan bases in the world of Esports, but has arguably been starved of success to point to ever since the decline of the great SK Gaming side in 2018. Few regions can boast owning their own brand of playstyle but, through FURIA Esports, Brazilian CS has established a reputation for being amongst the most aggressive and duel-centric variants in the world.
The likes of Art, VINI and Yuurih have played together for years now, rising up through the CS:GO odds to become the region’s most hotly rated team. They are known for their aggressive positioning, willingness to take on duels and peeks around corners or angles that most pro players aren’t prepared for.
And this way of playing has increasingly found a home in the current online era, with FURIA romping to a highly impressive 3rd-4th place finish at the recent ESL Pro League Season XIII tournament.
After the surprise acquisition of in game leader Niko by G2, Faze Clan had spent a good few months reeling around in the wilderness. Dragging legendary figure Olofmeister out of retirement as a reluctant stand in, and one failed Kjaerybye transfer were the low points of this era of the org’s history, however things are well and truly beginning to look like they have found their place for Faze.
The return of Karrigan, one of the most well respected and legendary figures within the game’s history, will not only allow the likes of Coldzera and Rain to fully focus again on fragging, but will also open up an entirely new book of strategies for the team to call upon. The acquisition of Twistzz as well from Team Liquid also represents a significantly improved amount of firepower on show for the org which, coupled with the team fitting a badly needed bootcamp to actually meet face to face, gives this new roster a much more well rounded look to it.
G2 Made a serious statement of intent when they pried Niko away from Faze Clan in a bumped roster reshuffle, which ultimately fell flat for a good few months before another roster tweak was called.
This time it was legendary AWPer KennyS that was moved on from the active lineup, leaving the Spanish-owned organisation with an active AWP specialist hole. However, much to the surprise of the CS:GO community, not only have the results significantly improved for G2 in the aftermath of KennyS’ benching, but the meta has shifted slightly to follow in the side’s new strategy.
In Niko, G2 possesses one of the world’s most mechanically gifted players, and the hole left by KennyS’ departure has seen the Bosnian find alternatives in the form of other scoped weapons such as the SG or AUG. They arrive at the IEM Summer qualifiers on the back of a triumphant run through the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown, a similar qualifying bracket for a much bigger tournament later on this year, so you can count on experience, form and talent all being reliably on show for G2 here.