When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
The IEM: Road to Rio European RMRs are finally here. While six of these 16 teams have seeded through directly from the PGL Antwerp Major, the rest had to battle their way through rounds upon rounds of open qualifiers.
It’s been a long, hard haul, but in the end, that plane ticket to Malta was more than worth it. Eight of these teams will seed through to the Rio Majors, the top four as legends, five and six as challengers and the last two as contenders. The rest will be eliminated.
The tournament is structured according to the Swiss format, which can be a little overwhelming to try and make sense of, so let’s just go one game at a time and see how six of these teams shape up heading into Tuesday’s matches.
G2 are ranked number six in the world, while the Denmark-based ECSTATIC are all the way down at 42. This should be a fairly one-sided contest, the odds skewed heavily in favour of the former. G2 will likely carry their form from the ESL Pro League and are doubtless one of the favourites in the tournament overall.
After a phenomenal unbeaten run in the Pro League group, G2 are now up against Natus Vincere in the quarterfinals. If they progress all the way to the Grand Final on October 2, they will have exactly one day to race from Düsseldorf to Malta.
Their turnaround time will be minimal, but if they do make it to the final, and win, none of their exhausted rosters will have any complaints.
G2 topped Group B ending with a perfect 5-0 record, sweeping aside every single one of their opponents including Faze Clan 2-0 without breaking a sweat. Their ranking tanked in August down to 14, the worst all year after less-than-favourable results at the IEM Cologne and the Blast Fall Groups, but is back up to three after their dominance at the Pro League.
After over four years in operation, this is the first time Ecstatic have managed to qualify for a Major. It didn’t come easy either, because it took a long, hard battle through three open qualifiers before they were finally able to seed fifth at the last one, and finally book their spot in the RMRs.
They shuffled their roster in August, bringing on four new players to join IGL Marcus ‘maNkz’ Kjeldsen but it does seem to be bringing them favourable results despite having only played as a unit for the last three months
Faze’s form might have slipped over the past few months compared to their magical first half of the year, but they’re still very strong contenders.
While GamerLegion have been competitive over recent months, they don’t really have much of a chance in this contest against the world number two ranked side.
There isn’t much to say about Faze that hasn’t already been said this past year. To summarise, they are unstoppable. Every time you write them off, they just come back stronger.
After becoming the first team to win the golden trio in the first half of the year, they have since won the IEM in Cologne and placed second at the Roobet Cup.
Most recently they placed 4th-6th at the Blast Fall Groups, getting knocked out by Heroic in the grand final of their group but beating Astralis 2-1 in the last chance matches to qualify for the Fall Finals in 4th-6th place. That last game was a close call, but they eventually won Nuke 9-16 and the decider Inferno 10-16 to proceed.
GamerLegion qualified for the IEM: Road to Rio by the skin of their teeth, stumbling through three rounds of qualifiers before finally seeding through in the last one. They made it to the Europe A group after finishing in sixth place.
All went right up to the quarterfinals before they were knocked to the loser’s bracket 2-0 by SAW, but from there on beat Forward before losing the 5th place round to Benched.
If they get through this stage, then the IEM in Rio will be the first major tournament they qualify for. After three years of unsuccessful attempts at qualifiers, this is certainly something to aspire for.
Both of these teams crashed miserably out of the ESL Pro League, failing to qualify beyond the group stage. They have a point to prove, and this contest against each other might dictate how the rest of the RMRs will go.
Their shocking performances at the Pro League will have battered their morale, but now they have a fresh start and a chance to make it to the Majors.
NiP have been all over the place this year. Bringing on the new IGL Aleksi ‘Aleksib’ Virolainen has proved to be a disaster. Over the last three months, he’s held a rating of 0.93 and an impact rating of 0.84 while averaging 0.58 kills per round.
These stats are atrocious for the head of a professional team ranked among the top ten in the world. They put up a dreadful showing in the ESL Pro League, losing their first three group games up front to Fnatic, Team Vitality and Team Spirit, all sweeps.
After that, they didn’t have much hope of qualifying, despite winning their next two games against Endpoint and Natus Vincere. Aside from their 3rd-4th place finish at the earlier edition of the ESL this year, they haven’t come close to winning a major tournament.
Despite being ranked number four in the world, Astralis hasn’t exactly lived up to that reputation. Like NiP, they too crashed out in the ESL groups after dropping three games, the first to Complexity, next to HEET and then to Heroic.
Aside from the IEM Cologne where they placed 3rd-4th, they haven’t had a lot of luck in the majors. And that was back in July. Still, it’s another tournament and another chance to redeem themselves so let’s see how it goes.
|NiP vs Astralis, Faze vs GamerLegion, G2 Esports vs Ecstatic
|Played in Malta
|Tuesday, October 4 at 5.00 AM ET
|How to watch
|Official Twitch channel
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
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.