Eight elite CS:GO teams will pack their bags and head over to Beijing-Haidian to compete at Intel Extreme Masters XIV - Beijing, which will mark the fourth event of the Intel Grand Slam Season 3. The tournament will kick-off on Thursday November 7, 2019, and conclude three days later on November 10, 2019.
The eight participating teams at the event will duke it out for the lion’s share of US$250,000, IGS points and a direct invite to IEM Katowice 2020 which is reserved for the champions of the event.
Since the tournament was first announced, there were several changes in team rosters, as well as two changes in the tournament lineup, which saw ENCE replace Team Liquid, and Renegades taking over from mousesports, who had to withdraw due to visa issues. With that, the teams who will participate at IEM Beijing are:
Astralis (Invited), ENCE (Invited), FaZe (Invited), EG (Invited), Team Vitality (Invited), Renegades (Invited), ViCi (Chinese qualifiers) and TYLOO (Asian qualifiers).
At this point, it's worth noting Renegades will almost certainly participate at the event under 100 Thieves organization since they announced on Thursday, October 31, their whole roster was signed by 100 Thieves.
The event will be divided into two parts, the group stage and the playoffs.
The group stage will be played between November 7-8, with the eight teams divided into two groups, where a double-elimination format will be in place. All seeding has been done based on ESL CS:GO World Rankings and all matches will be played in best-of-three (Bo3) series. Top two teams from each group will advance into the playoffs, whereas the bottom two are eliminated.
Group A: Astralis, ENCE, Renegades, ViCi Gaming
Group B: Evil Geniuses, FaZe Clan, Team VItality, TYLOO
Playoffs will take centre stage at Beijing University Students Stadium on Saturday, November 9, and run for two days, with the grand finals set to be played on Sunday, November 10. All fixtures in the playoffs will be played as best-of-three (Bo3), except for the grand finals, which will be played in best-of-five (Bo5) series.
Now let's look over the teams, the odds offered on them and give our thoughts on who we believe has what it takes to win at Beijing University Students Stadium.
TYLOO ($151.00) and ViCi Gaming ($251.00) are entering this event as two heavy underdogs and we can't argue with that assessment. While both respected teams in the CS:GO professional scene, they simply don't have the needed quality to compete with the lineup present in China. If group stages were Bo1, we could count on either of them producing an upset, but in this case, the Bo3 format will almost certainly keep them both from doing so. Due to the immense difference in quality between ViCi and TYLOO compared to the remaining six teams, we advise anyone to avoid betting on them altogether.
FaZe ($17.00) and ENCE ($13.00) are seen as two underdogs and we can once again agree the odds offered by esports bookmakers are on point here. Unlike TYLOO and ViCI, both ENCE and FaZe have the needed quality to put up a fight against the best teams out there, however, there is a huge difference between being able to put up a solid fight and winning the game, and that is where we believe these two teams will fall short.
In terms of individual quality, they are both very strong teams, however, they share the same issue that will keep them from competing for the top spots. And that is the lack of good IGL. A team without a solid IGL is, in our eyes, a team to avoid betting on and for that reason, we advise anyone to do the same. They might surprise and get out of the groups, however, once the tournament enters the final stage and they are faced with top-tier teams, that is where FaZe and ENCE will struggle.
Renegades ($9.00) and Team Vitality ($8.50) are two teams who could, under the right circumstances, make something happen, but it's their recent form that is making us doubt either can impress. There has been a lot of hype surrounding Vitality since they signed Richard "shox" Papillon, but the reality is that the French roster failed to produce any noteworthy results. At this point, we have to address the fact they reached the finals in DreamHack Masters Malmo which looks like a very admirable achievement on paper, however, we would not praise them too much for it. Their road to the finals was easy to say the least, and even there they looked very shaky, as they had their moments when they struggled against teams, they should in theory, defeat with ease.
Renegades on the other side looked terrible in StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8 where they lost against FURIA 0-2. And while they did manage to put up some solid results before that, their overall performance looked very shaky, which leads us to believe they have zero to no chance of defeating one of the two favorites and emerge as the champions in China.
That leaves us with the two favorites, Evil Geniuses ($3.75) and Astralis ($1.90). Looking at the odds provided here, we can't help but feel like Astralis are overrated and EG are underrated. We can hardly find any reason to justify Astralis are such huge favorites to come out on top, while EG sit at juicy odds of $3.75 over their heads.
Both teams look to be in great shape heading into this tournament, seeing how Astralis have not lost a match since their DreamHack Masters Malmo defeat against Fnatic (0-2) and EG are fresh off a title-winning run at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8. Of course, the question that needs answering here is which of the two sides would come out on top if (and when) these two teams meet.
Despite what odds might suggest, EG defeated Astralis twice at ESL One: New York 2019 and on both occasions with a fairly convincing result (0-2 and 1-3). That alone is a reason enough for us to believe EG are the superior team and if we add the surprisingly high odds offered on the North American team in the equation, EG suddenly become a very appealing bet. Astralis might prove us wrong here, but to be completely fair, they are overrated heading to Beijing. They were once the dominant force and while the Danes showed they can still compete at a high level by with winning StarLadder Berlin Major, they are not the same Astralis that dominated the CS:GO scene last year.
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