CS:GO Intel Extreme Masters 2015: San Jose

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The IEM tournament everybody has been eagerly awaiting is finally starting tomorrow at 18:40 GMT. In the past week we have learned that Cloud 9 won the iBUYPOWERCup and, as they were already invited to the IEM tournament, Team Liquid – who came second – is joining the action.

G2 Esports were given an invitation after NiP declined their invite.  EnVyUs cannot make it to the tournament, which is a shame as they had one of the better chances of winning. Nonetheless this stirs matters up further than previously anticipated, levelling the playing fields to a slight degree. Due to this complication, Counter-Logic Gaming has also been given the chance to take part despite coming 4th in the iBP Cup.

The tournament info (IEM schedule) has been posted today and we can now see the quarter-finals pairings:

– G2 Esports vs Counter-Logic Gaming

– Cloud 9 vs Team Solomid

– Natus Vincere vs Luminosity

– Team Liquid vs Virtus.Pro

The prize pool of the tournament has been bumped up another $25,000 after IEM made a last minute partnership with Amazon, the sum now is $125,000. In spite of this, the player’s initial impression of the tournament aren’t positive as they are seemingly unhappy with the quality of the hotel they are staying in. Let’s hope this heart-breaking humanitarian crisis doesn’t result in them performing sub-standardly…

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Props to IEM who organised the pairing of the teams in such a way that the more skilled teams aren’t playing each other at the beginning to keep things interesting.

Between G2 Esports and Counter-Logic Gaming, it will almost definitely be G2 coming through. These two actually played in the DreamHack tournament earlier this month, although not playing directly against each other, with G2 coming 3rd while CLG came 12th. Those rankings speak for themselves. G2 has been consistently doing better than CLG in the last couple of months, getting through to the quarterfinals in DreamHack while CLG only managed one measly win in the qualifying rounds.

Team Solomid are most likely to prove victorious against Cloud 9, however it could prove to be a disconcertingly close match with Cloud9 winning the odd game. Cloud9 has been doing well in the past few months and are now on a winning streak but will this be enough to triumph against the world’s top team?

Possibly the best match to watch in these quarter-finals will be between NaVi and Luminosity. Will Luminosity repeat their failings of the past in DreamHack or will they get their revenge? With a point to prove, Luminosity will probably be playing on top form, with their armour shining bright, but only time will tell if it is enough to get into the semi-finals.

Virtus.Pro did swimmingly well in the qualifying rounds of DreamHack and bested Team Liquid 19-15. However they didn’t go any further. Team Liquid lost both qualifying rounds in DreamHack. Therefore, Virtus.Pro is pretty much guaranteed a win here.

Overall, the quarter-final qualifiers will be G2, Team Solomid, NaVi and Virtus. There will be a further preview after the quarter-finals finish, with predictions for the semi-finals and the Grand Final. It would be wrong to say good luck solely to Counter-Logic, Cloud9, Luminosity and Team Liquid as in actuality, everyone’s going to need as much luck as they can get to do well.