Wassup Counter Strike fanatics! November is bringing us the next tournament that is a part of the Intel Grand Slam series. This time, however, we are flying all the way to Asia, Beijing in particular. The tournament is the Intel Extreme Masters and it will have a quarter million dollar prize pool. The eventual winner of the competition will not only get $125,000 but will also get seed on the upcoming ESL World Championship in Katowice in February.
The tournament proper will be held inside Beijing University’s Student Stadium and will start on the 7th of November and end on the 10th. Since I mentioned that this is part of the Intel Grand Slam, the teams participating in here will also compete for the prize pool that the Grand Slam is offering, which is a whopping cool million dollars!
Let’s have a look at the list of participants, changes that happened inside the squads, and also make our predictions for the winner of Beijing CS:GO Intel Extreme Masters!
There will be a total of 8 teams that will be competing in this tournament. Six of those teams came by way of direct invites while the remaining two came from the Asian and the Chinese qualifiers. The directly invited teams are Astralis, Vitality, Renegades, Evil Geniuses, ENCE Esports and Faze Clan. Vici Gaming qualified through the Chinese Qualifiers while the Asian powerhouse TyLoo qualified through the much bigger Asian Qualifiers.
Roster Shuffle Changes
There are a few roster changes on the teams participating in this tournament. First up, Faze Clan finally found a replacement player to cover for the spot that NEO left. And what better player to fill up the position than the former best player in the world ColdZera. Broky who used to play for Epsilon will also fill up the AWPer spot that Guardian left.
Vitality also found a player to replace the spot that was left vacant by NBK. They found the replacement player in the form of Shox, who came from the other French CS:GO squad G2 Esports. Finally and the bigger news, Evil Geniuses is back in the Counter Strike scene after 7 long years. They recently acquired the full roster of NRG Esports.
Now for the tournament shuffle changes. Liquid will not be participating in the IEM event due to scheduling conflicts with the Blast Pro. They will be replaced by ENCE Esports. Mousesports will also not be participating and joining us in Beijing since they failed to acquire the necessary paperwork for their visas. They will be replaced by the Australian squad Renegades.
IEM Beijing 2019 Predictions
Since the groups have already been announced, I will be making my predictions based on the two teams that will be advancing from each of the groups. I might or might not be picking dark horse contenders. This is due to the fact that there are only a few numbers of teams participating here and only 4 of those will advance to the playoffs. So without further ado, let’s see the squads in Group A and B.
Group A (Astralis, ENCE, Renegades, Vici Gaming)
Right off the bat, this group is very easy to make predictions on. Right from the start, we already see that the lone Chinese squad in the group is already out of the running, which is Vici Gaming. This is due to the fact that they will be going against three of the biggest CS:GO rosters while they have just started their foray into CS:GO lately.
So that leaves us with the remaining three competitors. For my first pick and the eventual winner of the group, this will be none other than ENCE. The reason I am picking ENCE over Astralis is due to the fact that their recent performances don’t lie. ENCE has been the more consistent team during this year. They actually first surprised us by coming in second in Katowice, then coming in second in other events just like Dallas and Chicago. I think it’s about time that ENCE win their first Major.
The second team that will most likely come out of Group A and will join ENCE on the playoffs would be Astralis. Out of the 4 competitors here, they are the squad that has been sticking together since 2017. They have the most stable lineup out here and actually have been the best squad in the whole of 2018, winning majors and big competitions left and right. I think that they still have it in them to pull off another upset. Maybe it’s time for them to show the world again how dominating Astralis can be when they all stick to their plans. This is also a good way for them to put their name on the hat for the prize pool being offered in the Grand Slam.
Group B (Evil Geniuses, Faze Clan, Team Vitality, TyLoo)
Now we have the makings of a real group of death here. All of the competitors in this group have one way or another been an experienced squad. Faze Clan was one of the best teams in the world before, Vitality one of the best French squads in the recent times, TyLoo being an Asian powerhouse, and while Evil Geniuses just got back on the CS:GO scene, they have signed one of the best North American rosters and actually have won two big tournaments back to back.
For my first pick, it will be none other than Evil Geniuses. Like I said earlier, although they just came back on the scene, they have signed the very competitive and very competent roster of NRG Esports. This is a good move for the organization since after they have signed the NRG roster, they won two very big events in a span of a month. They Won the ESL New York tournament a month ago and actually put their name in the hat on the Grand Slam, and also just recently decimated their competition in Turkey a couple of days ago on the Star Series tournament. I think they are still on a hot streak and will try to win this tournament again and make it closer to winning the Grand Slam pot money.
The second team that will be coming out to the playoffs from Group B will most likely be Team Vitality. Out of all the other competitors in Group B save from EG, they have been the ones that we see competing on the top levels. There is a reason that they are one of the best French teams, out there. They came really close to putting their name on the Grand Slam event during Dreamhack Malmo but were snuffed out by Fnatic. Since Fnatic and also Liquid is not here, I think Vitality will be showing us why they are considered as one of the best teams in the world. With the new addition of Shox on their roster, I think that helped out bolster their riflers in a significant way.
And now for a dark horse pick. Since I said that Group B is a real group of death, I think this warrants me picking a dark horse competitor. This will be none other than Faze Clan. I think with their new addition in ColdZera, they might be able to surprise us and sneak their way into the playoffs at the expense of Vitality. ColdZera has proven in the past that he is the best player in the world, and while MiBR did not do well in the past, we all have seen that ColdZera as a player has not really lost his skills.
Then we have Broky, who replaced GuardiaN in the AWPer role. Not much is really known with Broky, but with GuardiaN gone, I think that is a big blow that Faze Clan has suffered. Although Niko can actually fill the spot, I still give Broky the benefit of the doubt that he can manage to fill up the gap that Guardian left. If Broky does not choke and put up a decent performance, I can safely say that they will definitely make it worth to watch Faze in the tournament.
If you have your own predictions for the Beijing Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, then please share them in the comments!