IEM Sydney 2019 is returning to our screens with a total of 16 teams from all around the globe fighting for the biggest slice of the $250,000 prize pool. The event will take place from April 30th until May 5th at Sydney's multipurpose arena, the Qudos Bank Arena.
IEM Sydney 2019, or Intel Extreme Masters Sydney XIV, is the upcoming event on the CS:GO calendar, which will welcome some of the best teams in the world to compete for the lion's share of the $250,000 prize pool. While we will miss ENCE, Natus Vincere and Astralis, every other team we would expect to appear will be there.
Out of 16 participating teams, eight were invited, while the remaining eight had to fight their way through qualifiers. The participating teams are as follows:
- FaZe Clan
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- NRG Esports
- Heroic (GG.Bet Sydney Invitational)
- BIG (European Qualifiers)
- eUnited (NA Qualifiers)
- ViCi Gaming (Greater Chinese Qualifiers)
- MVP PK (East Asian Qualifier)
- B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape (Southeast Asian Qualifiers)
- Grayhound Gaming (Oceanic Qualifiers)
- Chiefs Esports Club (IEM Sydney Derby)
IEM Sydney is scheduled to be played in two stages - Group stage and Playoffs.
The tournament will start off with two groups of eight teams, who will play in a double elimination format. When the group stages end, only the top three teams from each group will get their shot at glory. The winning team will be sent directly into semi-finals, while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams will be sent into semi-finals. Unlike the group stage matches, which are BO1, the playoff matches will all be played in a BO3 series.
As mentioned, teams will fight for a $250,000 prize pool, which is divided as follows:
Looking at the odds, Team Liquid are firm favourites, priced at $3.75 at Bet365, which overrates them a bit. Sure, they are probably the best team at this tournament, but with quite the stacked field and their choking on the grand stage, I am not too confident betting them at this price.
FaZe Clan are coming into the tournament off a first place finish at BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019, where they defeated Team Liquid 2-0 in the finals. There will be many people tempted to bet on FaZe to win this one, but let me warn you - BLAST events have a flawed format with most of the matches being in BO1 format. That makes a lot of matches a lot more unpredictable as almost anything can happen in a BO1 game. Sure, they defeated Team Liquid in the finals (2-0, BO3 match), but as mentioned, Liquid are known to choke in the finals. They are still an amazing team, but with the absence of a proper in-game leader they won’t come far once the BO3 format kick in.
MiBR are massively short in the market for a team that has done literarily nothing since their inception. Fans are already hyping them up as favourites to win the event as they managed to defeat tired and fatigued Astralis (still the number one team for more than one year) in a meaningless best-of-one match on Overpass about two weeks ago. They also somehow fail to mention their recent 2-0 defeat to their Brazilian rivals Luminosity (3rdbest team in Brazil) - a team that is nowhere near them in terms of teamplay and experience. Do not waste money betting on them.
NRG have their own problems that should be fixable with a good sport psychologist, as they are also prone to choking when playing the more importing matches. Teams like Heroic, Chiefs, MVP PK, B.O.O.T, Grayhound, ViCi and eUnited are capable to surprise a team or two when it come to a BO1 format, but anything more is probably too much to ask from them.
Mousesportdo have the means to surprise and potentially reach the semi-finals or even finals, but there is not a lot of data to analyse their LAN play just yet, as they only played three LAN games with their new line-up. Their new IGL Karrigan is an expert at reviving teams that are having a bad period and the results are good so far. They offer some value at $8.50 at Bet365 and are definitely worth a punt.
As for our main pick, we just have to go with the home boys, Renegades. Since their amazing performance at the Katowice 2019, there are no signs of them slowing down. They had an amazing group stage at the StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7, where they manage BO3 wins against TyLoo, MiBR and FaZe Clan. They defeated NiP in the Quarterfinals, but they were eliminated 2-1 in the semis by Natus Vincere. Anyway, this time Renegades will be playing on their home ground and the atmosphere is always amazing for the crowd favourites at the IEM Sydney. Renegades will definitely fancy their chances to lift the trophy at home and priced at $8.50 at Bet365 they are a must bet!
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