IEM World Championship is back! This event is one of the most important competitions in the calendar for Counter Strike: Global Offensive players with a big 500,000$ price pool which is quite the double of what last year’s IEM championship offered.
Since the last CS:GO Major event there have been a few roster changes, so if you are wondering which side to root for or which side to bet on, then this is the guide you are looking for. In this article, we’ll cover the roster changes as of today, each squad’s form, betting tips for IEM World Championship 2018 and then conclude who is going to take home the prestigious trophy and a really cool sticker. 😉 But enough of the introduction, let’s just jump straight into the action.
The tournament format
The format is pretty simple, initially, there will be the group stage with 8 teams in each group. Matches in initial round will be Best of 1 (BO1), whereas the later matches in the group stage will be Best of 3 (BO3). The top three participants from each group will proceed to the playoffs.
All the matches in the playoffs will be the knockout battles. The quarterfinals and semi-finals will be BO3 followed by the Finals with BO5 structure.
Now that we are done with the basic information, it’s time to review each of the IEM CS:GO World Championship 2018 lineup.
Participants preview and betting predictions
It is a very young lineup, which was formed this year in January. They got the chance to participate in this event as they won the Oceanic qualifiers. But they had a good tournament considering how raw this squad is right now. Other than winning the qualifier this squad has also won the WESG 2017 Asia Pacific. There is a potential in these guys as they made some good plays but lacked the finishing touch and any experience.
Renegades has been in the CSGO scene for around 3 years now. But they still haven’t won anything big. The best this roster has done is winning 2 Asia Minors and 1 Starladder i-League invitational and then they took the 2nd spot in many other tournaments. They were eligible for the Worlds because they won and secured one of two spots from qualifying rounds. They just recently had a minor change in the roster with the player NAF leaving, for whom Jkaem will be standing in right now. Another bunch that has a long way to go to compete with top teams.
An Asian squad in a big CSGO tournament? That’s quite unusual, right? But this line-up is an exception. They are the only ones in Asia that seem promising. In the past, they have played against big names like Cloud9 and given them quite a hard time when they underestimated the Chinese Dragons. In terms of their achievements, they have won multiple Asian titles and quite dominated the whole Asian CSGO scene. But you have to remember that they haven’t had any impact on any major event and got knocked out pretty early in every big competition.
Heroic has reached this championship through a rough bracket. With NaVi and Gambit in the same group, I never thought they would win one of four spots from EU and secure a place in IEM Worlds. But with the recent drop in form of NaVi and Gambit lead to Heroic emerging as the winners. They can’t do the same for the World Championship though. They haven’t really won much except World Cyber Arena where they beat Gambit in the finals, and IGL 2016 where they took home the $40,000 price.
Another team qualifying from NA, unlike previous 4 crews they have a chance of reaching a decent position in the competition. They have the firepower and the talent to make it happen, but what they lack is consistency. They just won Beyond the Summit CSGO championship beating the likes of Cloud 9 and SK gaming. They need to work more overall and I can see them being decent. Does Liquid have a chance for winning this tournament? No, not yet.
Nothing much to say about them, they aren’t something you would want to bet on. Their biggest achievement so far would be CIS Minors championship. They qualified for IEM CS:GO World Championship 2018 by winning the Farmskin tournament in which even Navi participated but due to a very bad form of Navi, it’s not surprising that Avangar came out as winners.
North has a decent line-up with some talents on the roster. I think they have improved their playing quality even further by bringing in Kjaerbye from Astralis, whereas k0nfig left so that damaged the team a bit. But yes the addition of Kjaerbye is going to be a major factor in their game. I hope to see some decent matches from them, although it is hard to believe that North will make a deep run.
Gambit is always strong, to be honest, but their form has certainly dropped after winning the Major. It was quite unexpected when Gambit and Immortals were in the finals of the Major. They were quite the underdogs. But their recent performance hasn’t been as impressive. Seized from Navi is standing-in after the departure of fitch. Even Zeus left Gambit after the majors. But maybe the X-God Dosia will carry this squad in this event?
Virtus.Pro is a star-studded line with talents like Snax (one of the best AWPers in the game), Pasha, Taz, Neo. But it’s been a year since they won a big event. When it comes to experience, there is no one who comes to VP. Their line up has been the same for years, with many fans demanding a change. The chemistry between them is great. But their form is not. Will they make a comeback one day though?
Ninjas In Pyjamas
NiP is another team who once was considered as one the best in the world. After their lineup change last year, when they finally waved Friberg a goodbye and brought on Draken and REZ, things were shaping up pretty good for them… at least for a while. Get_Right has been one of the players that deserve the legend status for his performance in the past. Overall, they are a great squad. They do have a chance of winning the tournament. I would love to see them regain their glory.
Finally, we have arrived on a group that can potentially win the 2018 IEM World Championship. Astralis has been one of the most dominant teams in the recent years giving rise to the term “Astralis era”. They have an excellent lineup consisting players like Dev1ce who was rated as 3rd, 3rd and 5th best player in the world in the years 2015, 2016, 2017 respectively. They are missing the spark they had in 2017, and since then Faze and SK has taken over Astralis, but Danes guys still have a chance to win.
G2 is known as the “French Super Team” for the reason, it has Shox and arguably the best AWPer KennyS. A few months ago they won the Dreamhack, before that they won the ESL Pro League tournament. I can expect them to at least reach the quarter or semi-finals, they have the same roster since last year’s “French shuffle” which has shown some really good performances.
Fnatic once was the best in the business who dominated the CSGO Pro scene with their back to back wins in almost every tournament they played. Those years were the true “Fnatic era”. Now the situation has changed and the crew is stuck with the consistent reshuffles. Olof and Dennis have left the roster and that really weakened this Swedish side. They had lost their dominance and now even though they are pretty solid, it still won’t be the same Fnatic.
Cloud9 has kicked off 2018 in an amazing way, as it is the only NA team whoever won the Major event. Before that Shroud, who was said to have one of the best natural aim in CSGO, stepped down, whereas 1.6 legend n0thing was kicked from the roster to make a way for Tarik and Rush. During the CSGO Majors they have defeated all the big names like Faze, SK, G2 to clinch the victory. After the Majors they also reached the finals of CS summit, where they lost to Liquid even after defeating them earlier in the competition. They are in a great form, just riding the momentum and they can potentially win this World Championship.
SK is considered as one of the best squads in the world. They have won multiple tournaments last year. We can say that this is the “SK Era” even though they have lost in few events, including getting knocked out of Majors by Cloud9 but have overall maintained consistency. Their roster was recently changed when Felps was replaced by Boltz but they still have Fallen, Coldzera, Taco who are more than enough to make their opponents frightened. SK is one of two sides that is likely to win the 2018 IEM trophy.
FaZe is the only team that can beat SK even when Brazilians are in their top form. FaZe is full of stars like Olofmeister (Best player of 2015), Niko (One of the two best players in the game), Rain, Karrigan, and GuardiaN. FaZe has all it needs to dominate and overthrowing the “SK Era”. They are in a good form, they have won some tournaments last year and have always made it to the later stages of each competition. The chemistry between the lineup needs to improve but the overall talent is unbelievable. After losing the last Major they should have enough anger and motivation that will lead them to the victory!
Hopefully, we shall see a nice battle where the strongest CS:GO forces from all over the world will try to show their best. As always, there is a place for the surprise, as one of the underdogs can easily catch the wave of luck and fortitude. We have seen a lot of dramatic finals this year already, and there is a strong feeling that IEM 2018 CS:GO Championship won’t be an exclusion.