Intel Extreme Masters Kicks off in Sydney
The Intel Extreme Masters kicked off May 3 in Sydney, Austrailia, with the first day of the Swiss group stage being largely controlled by SK Gaming, who won both of their first two matches against OpTic Gaming and North respectively. This CS:GO tournament is the first Intel Extreme Masters championship of season twelve.
Eight teams from across the globe battle for bragging rights and their share of a record breaking prize pool of $260,000 AUD ($200,000 USD) in the first esports arena event to take place in Australia. The eight teams in contention are North, SK Gaming, Astralis, ViCi Gaming, OpTic Gaming, Renegades, FaZe Clan, and Chiefs eSports Club.
Renegades, the hometown team, was looking to upset their NA and EU rivals on day one of the group stage, but failed to win a match as they lost to both of their day one battles to Chiefs eSports Club and FaZe Clan, effectively ending their playoff hopes. OpTic gaming, which has been considered an underdog since Stanislaw left the team, fell to North in their first match but got a much needed win over ViCi in their second.
Day two opened with the battle of no-win teams, ViCi Gaming and Renegades. The hometown team, Renegades, was finally able to steal a win from ViCi, making ViCi the only team to leave Sydney without a win on their record.
SK Gaming got another impressive win over Astralis, improving their record to 3-0 in the Swiss group stage and solidifying their spot as the number one seed entering the playoff this weekend. FaZe Clan took two games over North and OpTic Gaming to clinch their spot, and Astralis was not far behind with a decisive win against Renegades, who will have to go home with only one win in the group stage. The last spot to shake-out was a battle between Chiefs and OpTic Gaming, which was one of the closest of the day, but eventually saw OpTic Gaming walk away with the win and the final playoff spot.
So, going into the weekend, the four teams to secure their playoff position are FaZe Clan(3), SK Gaming(1), Astralis(2) and OpTic Gaming(4). They’ll go live at the Qudos Bank Arena starting on Saturday, May 6.
As they playoff matchups are decided, OpTic gaming looks to surprise everyone and take their underdog story all the way to the championship game. They’ll face the number one seed in SK gaming in the first semifinal, as FaZe Clan and Australis meet on the other side of the bracket. Astralis handled FaZe in their group stage matchup (beating them 16-7), and are looking to repeat that success in the playoffs. FaZe and OpTic both need to take the next step in order to advance, but hope to take the off day to work through improving where they may have failed in the group stage.
Make sure to check the IEM website for the local timing of these matches. If you’re in the area tickets are still available to see the first eSports arena match in Australia’s history. Watch the final four teams battle for their share of the 260,00 AUD prize pool starting May 6 through May 7.