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Experts' Thoughts on IEM Global Challenge ft. Frankie, Bleh, esioLoL, Dinko, Elfishguy

There are so many cool story-lines here. Astralis looking extremely scary again, Vitality with their 6 man roster, Furia looking dangerous and of course Na'Vi always being a force to be reckoned with.

Phoenix

IEM Global Challenge is just around the corner with ten teams vying for the gold and fighting for bragging rights. What's more? Well, $200,000 on the line for the 1st place along with 3000 points of BLAST Premier Circuit to inch a step closer towards the Global Finals.

We reached out to a couple of industry talents who were kind enough to share their thoughts on the event. Take a look!

Image credit: BLAST/Kirill_Photos

Frankie Ward:

All eyes should be on Vitality as we head into the IEM Global Challenge. With Nivera's roles on Dust 2 and Inferno giving them the extra edge they needed to move beyond second place into the top spot at IEM Beijing-Haidan, they're showing that the faith placed in in-game leader Apex was justified. The North American teams may struggle - Liquid are still finding their place, although their firepower is enviable, while Furia are also in an adjustment period and will lose their unpredictability factor if they cross paths with their European adversaries more than once. NAVI and Vitality is a final I'd love to see, as they're in different groups so would not meet until the playoffs. Astralis are also looking good, but I think they'll be truly back to their best once we head into 2021.

Image credit: DreamHack

Sudhen "bleh" Wahengbam:

Obviously I was disappointed like everyone else with the event transitioning to an online event due to the pandemic. I was really looking forward to closing out the year with a LAN event with the best teams after almost a year of online CS. However, safety of everyone involved comes first and I'm glad they made this decision instead of stubbornly trying to stick to the original plan.

There are so many cool story-lines here. Astralis looking extremely scary again, Vitality with their 6 man roster, Furia looking dangerous and of course Na'Vi always being a force to be reckoned with.

Heroic, Complexity and Liquid would be looking to turn the tides after somewhat middling results recently. And BIG coming in as a last minute replacement for Chaos can be a dark horse.

Image credit: esioLoL Twitter

Benjamin "esioLoL" Doughty:

The IEM Global Challenge is the perfect end of year gift to those who love watching Counter-Strike. With 7 of the world's top 10 competing for a mega prize pool of $500,000, it's bound to be a great watch.

I'm personally looking forward to seeing how more of the sides match-up to Team Vitality's 6th man roster changes, and if we'll witness a double substitution if they meet Astralis. It's unfortunate that we've had two teams from North America dropout, both for different reasons, but it will be interesting to see if BIG Clan can revitalize themselves after a gradual dip in form since the summer break.

As far as predictions go, I genuinely believe this might be the one that Natus Vincere win. They've come 2nd twice in the last 3 months, and you could argue that was all due to their own downfall, but I think this will be the one. The last LAN event won was by them, and then the last event of the year will be won by them.

Image credit: ESL

Adam "Dinko" Hawthorne:

The Culmination of Counter-Strike Global Offensive in 2020 reaches its conclusion at the Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge. A wild year for all, will see 8 of the worlds best take to the server to compete for the lion's share of $500,000.

Vitality- The undisputed number 1 right now based on consistency of their performance. Zywoo, “The Game” is gunning for that second "Worlds Best Player title.” On their way they will rock that 6 man line-up looking to take the top spot."

Astralis, the greatest CSGO team of all time, had a turbulent start heading into 2020 with Gla1ve and Xyp9x taking medical leave. Their time in the sun seemed to have come to and end but with Gla1ve returning to the in-game leader role and young gun Bubziji coming into the fray. This team once again strike fear into the hearts of men."

Heroic have had a monumental climb this year reaching the soaring highs of the number 1 spot but have had a recent hiccup in performance, missing out on Grand Finals spots.

Navi are here to play with their last outing in IEM Beijing looking hot. S1mple is reaping corpses in the server and they’re looking for revenge for their loss in the final against Vitality. S1mple and Zywoo could once again clash for a title.

BIG are another team much like Heroic who found themselves in a shocking number one spot in the world this year. Roster changes in January 2020 found Keto and Syrson take the spots of Nex and Smooya. The team found immediate success winning their first tournament in 2020 and they’d want to close it with a win here too.

Furia are my favourite team to watch, they bring the fire and the showmanship from Brazil. All I can say is their play-style is a Brazilian Carnival of Beauty. The juggernaut have had ups and downs this year losing young prodigy oBo. The Australian Superstar, Justin “JKS” Savage has been brought in, in his stead and the roster have looked good. They will want to find the consistency heading into the Global Challenge.

It has not been the easiest road in recent times for Liquid especially with an early exit at Dreamhack Masters Winter. They will be looking to find their form in the Global Challenge and once again fight for a championship on European soil.

8 team. 500k. Counterstrike in 2020 has reached its final destination.

Image credit: ESL

Jordan "Elfishguy" Mays:

Well it’s been a difficult year but it will be nice to finish the year off with some international CS again. My biggest disappointment with Intel Global Challenge is that Chaos can no longer attend. I think they’re quite an exciting prospect and despite the fact that they probably wouldn’t have gone deep in the tournament, their recent results in NA certainly warranted their inclusion.

That aside I’m most interested in what Heroic will be able to achieve. They had a really good run around mid 2020, but have maybe pulled back a little in more recent times. Heroic is the kind of team that people tend to forget about, but can certainly cause an upset or two if they’re on their game. They’ll have a difficult time in their group, given the strength Navi has had lately as well as Furia’s upward trend.

The other team I’m keeping an eye on is Vitality, to see if they can repeat the success they had at IEM Beijing & Blast Premier Fall (pending result as of writing). My ideal Grand Final would probably be Vitality vs Navi, just so we can settle that score again since the story-lines have been built up quite substantially around that match-up. Either way, hoping it will provide us with a fitting close to 2020.


Feature image credit: ESL/IEM

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Phoenix

I write for a living. I write for Esports! Games: Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive