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IEM Dallas 2022 begins Monday, with MOUZ and ENCE being among the first teams to take centre stage. The CS: GO tournament is part of the Intel Grand Slam series that brings together 16 of the world’s best teams to Dallas. The total prize pot for the event is USD 250,000. Let’s take a sneak-peek into the match-ups and everything else about teams, players and specifics.
MOUZ are channeling the hurt of not having made it to the PGL Antwerp Major. This has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, they missed an opportunity to compete with some top sides, on another it gave them plenty of time to prepare for this tournament.
They have gotten through the qualifying stage having beaten Movistar Riders (2-0), Esports Club Kyiv (2-0), Copenhagen Flames (2-0), and BIG (2-0). So there is some momentum to speak of, but how they turn up against teams at their proficiency level or a step ahead of them remains to be seen.
Their first opponents will also pose them quite a challenge, because ENCE have an excellent roster. That said, fatigue factor is real and it’s something they have spoken about in the build-up. What could hurt them though is the absence of one of their best players because of visa restrictions.
Star rifler Lotan “Spinx” Giladi will be missing due to visa issues’ Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski has been named his replacement.Spinx’ absence is huge considering how big a factor he has been for the team over the last two tournaments. Snax, in comparison, has been off top-flight competitions for a while since parting ways with Polish team Anonymo in December 2022.
The late change of personnel due to unavoidable circumstances somewhat dims ENCE’s shot at glory but they’re still a strong team overall.
The odds for this clash is as close as it gets because this in many ways is a contest between two evenly-matched teams. You’re unlikely to go wrong with either of the picks, even if the punters may have MOUZ as the marginal favourites.
Astralis have had lofty ambitions for a while, but those ambitions haven’t turned into full-blown plans resulting in success. Their performance at IEM Katowice 2022 was proof enough. That said, they’re looking to bounce back strongly from some reversals from the end of last year.
The Danish organisation brought in Benjamin “blameF” Bremer, Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and coach Alexander “ave” Holdt onto the roster in the hopes of working back towards their status as the best team in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Bringing top talent is one thing, it’s entirely another to ensure they gel well and play in sync. This is where they have struggled. And that is why Vitality are the favourites going into the game.
The roster change was because their results weren’t as forthcoming as they would’ve envisaged towards the end of last year.. A third-placed finish at the Blast Premier was followed by a string of underwhelming results at the Funspark ULTI Finals and BLAST Spring Groups.
They placed fifth-sixth at Funspark and seventh-ninth at the Spring Groups. This also got them to the BLAST Spring Showdown. The final nail was their showing at Katowice, which has meant they’re trying to now hustle back to where they once were. Between them and now, they have shown signs of promise.
Astralis are hurting after their opening round elimination at PGL Major Antwerp 2022, exiting at the Challenger Stage. Despite the defeat, the team held out some promise as the games progressed. They progressed to the grand finale of the Blast Premier Spring Showdown 2022 Europe , where they lost to ENCE eSports and then advanced to the playoffs in ESL Pro League Season 15 where they lost to Furia eSports in the quarterfinals.
They want to cash in on this upturn. It’s a long road back up and IEM Dallas is another step in that direction. All said, with the exit of two of their Main players to Team Vitality , Astralis have hired two great promises from the CS:GO world. This adds a layer of intrigue when both sides face off in what is billed as the battle of Europe.
Team Vitality are slightly better off, but have problems of their own, having finished 9th at PGL Major Antwerp 2022. They failed to emerge from the Legends Stage. After showing fight in the challengers, they lost to NiP and Outsiders. Despite the early losses, they beat Liquid and BIG in a row before losing to Heroic. So there’s something to play with.
Brazil will see two of their top teams face off in the first round when they clash in a Group B fixture. This will be a US debut for Imperial. FURIA are hurt. And Team Spirit exposed their vulnerabilities in beating them in the quarterfinals of PGL Major Antwerp 2022. That FURIA lost to a sight that barely managed to squeeze into the Major, having been eighth at the second European RMR told you how big this result was.
It elicited questions over FURIA’s plans and if opponents were being able to line them up a lot easier than they could earlier. That said they’re too good a team to go without success for long. Which is why the punters have backed them to be favourites to make a run right till the end. Imperial may find the going tough if FURIA stick to their strengths.
Like FURIA, Imperial are also looking to channel the hurt of missing out at Antwerp. They lost to Copenhagen Flames, who pipped them to the final playoff spot by upping their tempo and game in two decisive maps. That Imperial weren’t allowed to establish a presence on the CT side, seemingly their stronger suit, told you of Flames’ dominance.
While just reaching the Legends Stage by way of the European RMR events was an accomplishment for the Flames, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Imperial.
As if the last-placed finish at Antwerp Major wasn’t enough, Team Liquid will now have to contend with the departure of a high-profile player. Shox has requested to be released from his contract immediately. He also cited travel restrictions between North America and Europe as one of the reasons for his decision. Liquid couldn’t win a single match at the largest event of the year.
They finished with a 0-3 record; the losses coming to Heroic, FURIA, and Vitality in the group stage. They had qualified for the main stage through the challengers stage, where they beat 9Z, Complexity and Astralis after defeats at the hands of G2 and Imperial.
Shox’s exit is certain to leave them thin on experience because he helped Vitality quality for the PGL Major during his time with the team. He also played a key role in their passage to the Blast Premier Final.
For Cloud9, this is yet another step in their comeback. Having withdrawn from the professional scene in March 2021, they returned a year later and even completed a high-ticket acquisition of Gambit, one of the best CS: Go team in the world for an undisclosed sum.
They secured an entry in the Legends’ spot at the European RMR, where they competed under the tag Players because Gambit, Russian-owned, had been sanctioned due to the ongoing political situation between Russia and Ukraine.
Cloud9 were among the favourites to go all the way at Antwerp, but FaZe thwarted their designs and put them on the brink of elimination. This tournament will give them a better idea of how they’re placed as a team going forward. For this game, they’re still the favourites to put it past Team Liquid though, so go ahead and play a safe bet.
G2 will be the first to admit they were disappointed at the previous major. They would’ve hoped to make it as far as the playoffs at least but crashed out following a loss to FURIA. Now on one hand, they’re looking at pulling off coups in terms of star signings, on the other they’re barely able to put together a fair degree of competitiveness despite that.
Talks of change in captain seem to have only escalated a sense of uneasiness within the group. It is important for G2 that young star m0NESY is able to sort out his visa issues.
His unavailability could add another layer of complexity. That they have the odds despite this is because their opponents will be first-timers here, and lack the big-game experience.
Movistar Riders shouldn’t have been here but the absence of NaVi and Entropiq due to visa discrepancies gives the Spanish team the biggest stage in America. Their last competitive game was over a month ago, in a qualifier for the tournament which they lost to MOUZ by a fair margin.
So they may be a tad rusty given the late call-up, but this is an opportunity nonetheless. They were noticed at the IEM Fall 2021, last year’s qualifier for the Swedish Major, when they finished fifth in Europe, much to everyone’s surprise.
They also failed at the World Cup and other subsequent major tournaments. Redemption came in the form of a creditable 5-8 finish at the ESL Pro League Season 15.
|IEM Dallas 2022 Information|
|Teams||G2, Movistar Riders, Furia, Imperial, Liquid, Cloud9, Astralis, Vitality|
|Time||May 30 at 12.00 PM ET|
|How to watch||Official Twitch channel or HLTV|
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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