Intel Extreme Masters Wrap: by Jake “Coffee” Kaufmann
Hey all! Jake back again, with a recap of the IEM Sydney tournament over the past weekend. As a viewer, this was by far the best tournament I have watched. The calibre of teams was so extreme that my predictions from last week’s article were largely wrong. We had many surprises, many upsets, and even both in the same map or series.
For the quarter finals, we had: FaZe vs. Fnatic and mousesports vs. Renegades. I was able to watch the majority of the latter quarter final, and my level of patriotism was extreme. I was super excited to see my Australian boys, the Renegades, manage to make it to a quarter final. My prediction placed them outside the top 8, due to previous tournament performances, and boy was I sorely mistaken. Renegades performed very well throughout this tournament, and even in this quarter final, where they were unfortunately outplayed by an amazing mousesports roster. For me, jks was most definitely the MVP of this series. On de_train, he almost managed to clutch out a 1v4 which would have secured the map for them. To me, that calibre of skill shows that Australian teams are indeed a force to be reckoned with. Of the former quarter final, FaZe managed to beat out Fnatic, 2:1.
In the semi-finals, we had FaZe vs. TyLoo and mousesports vs. Astralis. Of these two, I got around to watching the second pairing. I thought Astralis were in amazing form, shutting down mousesports in the series 2:1. In my opinion, the Astralis roster has the best roster in terms of individual skill: they realistically have no weaknesses when they work together as a cohesive unit, but the problem was, they don’t always. This was noticed in the map they lost (Inferno), where Astralis had many opportunities to close it out, but were outplayed by mousesports’ amazing teamwork and ability to crack sites. Over this series, I watched a lot of how Magisk played, and by all means, he played perfect and professionally. I gave him MVP for this reason. He plays super aggressive, but in a way, that almost always guarantees gaining his team a man advantage, or a trade in the worst-case scenario. In the first paring, FaZe beat out a magnificent TyLoo roster to secure their spot in the big one: the grand final.
Now for the big one: the grand final! This was the most exhilarating grand final I have ever watched! FaZe and Astralis going head to head, all out-AWP battles between device and GuardiaN. At the end of the day, though, it was evident that FaZe was a much better team, beating Astralis 3:0 in the series. This was an absolute white wash, where Astralis didn’t even seem to put in the effort required to win a grand finale, whereas FaZe were very deserving of it, and GuardiaN was very deserving of the tournament MVP. As mentioned previous, Astralis and their lacking teamwork is what let them down in the three maps they played. These were the ten best players in the world, in a grand finale, but the FaZe Five worked amazingly well together. Ultimately though, the three maps that were played were definitely fun to watch, and I can safely say this was the best tournament for a spectator to watch, ever.
To top it all off, it’s clear that Australia is ready for an esports event like this, QUDOS bank arena was packed, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it grows next year!