ESL has officially unveiled the groups and initial matchups for IEM Sydney (IEM Fall), along with confirming that the opening round will feature best-of-one MR12 matches.
As the inaugural premier tournament of Counter-Strike 2 approaches, the spotlight is on IEM Sydney, starting on October 16.
However, the reaction to this format choice has been predominantly negative, with prominent figures like Robin “ropz” Kool expressing their displeasure on Twitter.
ropz re-tweeted the groups announcement with a quote saying, “BO1 MR12” followed by three crying emojis.
The group stage format for this $250,000 tournament will consist of opening round best-of-one series, followed by best-of-three matches, with the group winners progressing to the semi-finals, while the second and third-place teams in each group earn a spot in the quarter-finals.
In the playoffs, a single-elimination, best-of-three bracket will determine the champion.
It includes Team Vitality, the winners of the last CS:GO Major (BLAST Paris) in front of their home crowd, MOUZ, the recent champions of ESL Pro League Season 18, NAVI, who are seeking a resurgence with a revamped roster, the perennial contender FaZe Clan, and the formidable Apeks.
One of the most intriguing opening matchups will see Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov’s new BetBoom squad facing off against the world number one, Team Vitality.
This comes at a time when Vitality is facing further challenges with the impending departure of coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen in November.
However, after the announcement, Vitality have firmed with most esports betting sites into an outright +275 favourite to take out the IEM Sydney title.
Group B also features an exciting clash between Fnatic and Cloud9.
The Russian superteam, Cloud9, is still in the process of finding their form after making significant roster changes during the offseason.
Looking at the groups, Group A stands out as the “group of death.”
On the other side of the bracket, Group B appears to be less competitive but not to be underestimated.
ENCE, recent finalists in a grand event and IEM Dallas champions, are part of this group, along with G2, a talented yet inconsistent team.
Cloud9, aiming for top-tier status in 2023 following a complete Russian roster rebuild, is still finding their footing.
Complexity is North America’s best hope, although they are still developing as a team and managed to reach the semi-finals of Pro League.
There is a growing sentiment among the community that it’s time to move away from best-of-one MR12 matches now that this format has been introduced.
It appears contradictory to address concerns about match duration and then opt for best-of-ones instead of the more competitive best-of-threes.
Regardless, fans are looking forward to the start of the CS2 era, hoping that any minor issues will be resolved before the tournament kicks off.
THE #IEM SYDNEY GROUP STAGE!🇦🇺🦘
THE FIRST CS2 LAN GAMES UNVEILED 👇
— Intel® Extreme Masters (@IEM) October 3, 2023