Team Vitality, FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas and BIG clinched berths in the group stage as the $1 million Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI — Cologne tournament commenced Tuesday in Cologne, Germany.
The 24-team event marks the first competitive CS:GO event played on LAN in roughly 16 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the teams are facing off in person, they are in a studio setting as opposed to an arena with fans.
Eight teams, including IEM — Summer champs Gambit Esports, directly qualified for the group stage, while a two-day play-in bracket is set to determine the other eight teams that will move on to fill out Groups A and B. Tuesday’s first-round matches were best-of-one and all play-in matches that followed were best-of-three.
Vitality, which placed in the top four at last month’s IEM — Summer, opened with an easy win over Renegades, 16-6 on Overpass. They then dropped the opening round of their second match to Team Spirit, 16-14 on Dust II, before rallying with wins of 16-13 on Mirage and 16-12 on Nuke.
American-based FaZe Clan also got off to a solid start, first with a narrow 16-12 win over Evil Geniuses on Mirage and then a 2-0 sweep over Complexity. FaZe held on for a 16-13 win on Dust II before polishing things off with a 16-6 triumph on Nuke.
Ninjas started with a 16-6 win over Team LDLC on Ancient, then defeated mousesports 2-0 with a 16-8 victory on Mirage and a 16-11 win on Ancient. BIG knocked off Sprout 16-8 on Dust II before sweeping OG, which is coming off a second-place finish at IEM — Summer. BIG started with a 16-9 win on Dust II before needing overtime to conquer OG 19-17 on Mirage.
In the lower bracket, LDLC eliminated Bad News Bears and Renegades did the same to MIBR, both 2-0. LDLC and Renegades kept their group-stage hopes alive and each need one more win on Wednesday to get there.
Play-in action will conclude Wednesday. The 16-team group stage will play out Thursday through Sunday in best-of-three matches, with the top three teams from each group of eight advancing to next week’s playoff bracket.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI — Cologne prize money, Pro Tour points, BLAST Premier Points:
1. $400,000, 1,800 Pro Tour points, 3,200 BLAST points — TBD
2. $180,000, 1,400 Pro Tour points, 1,600 BLAST points — TBD
3-4. $80,000, 1,100 Pro Tour points, 1,000 BLAST points — TBD
5-6. $40,000, 825 Pro Tour points, 400 BLAST points — TBD
7-8. $24,000, 575 Pro Tour points, 200 BLAST points — TBD
9-12. $16,000, 325 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — TBD
13-16. $10,000, 125 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — TBD
17-20. $4,500, 60 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — TBD
21-24. $2,500, no points — Bad News Bears, MIBR, TBD
–Field Level Media