While some teams are fighting their way through at Berlin Minors, the best teams in the world are knocking on doors of the next big event, IEM XIV Chicago. The best team in the world, Team Liquid, has a chance to win the fifth big event in a row. But, can they do it?
Format and schedule
IEM XIV Chicago kicks off today and will last for four days. In the first two days, teams are going to play Group Stage matches. There are eight teams in total, divided into two GSL groups. The best two teams from each group proceed further to Play-offs. All matches are Best-of-3 excluding the Grand Final, which is Best-of-5.
The matches of Group A are going to kick off at 11:00 local time. Teams from Group B will start off four hours later. The Opening matches are:
- Team Liquid – Team Envy (11:00 local time)
- G2 Esports – MiBR (11:00 local time)
- Team Vitality – Heroic (14:50 local time)
- ENCE – Renegades (14:50 local time)
Fans who are not able to be present in the United Center can watch all matches on ESL Twitch channel. There is going to be the secondary stream channel as well, which means that all games will be broadcasted. Additionally, there are going to be two Twitch streams in the Russian language, too.
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Fans who are going to watch the English stream will have a chance to enjoy in the commentary of HenryG, Sadokist, Anders, and moses. Desk host is going to be stunna, and he will be joined by well-known analysts, SPUNJ, Pimp, and n0thing. The interviewer will be Frankie Ward.
The Freedom Match
Like many other big events, IEM XIV Chicago will also have their own showmatch. This time, it’s going to be a so-called Freedom Match between two mixed teams. One one side, the captain of North America will be moses, and the captain of Team Europe is going to be Anders. Hence, we will have an opportunity to see famous commentators in action. Whereas moses had some experience in professional CS:GO, Anders didn’t play for any professional team.
They will lead their teams made of different “types” of players. Accordingly, each team will have one CS:GO Pro, ex-CS:GO Pro, CS 1.6. Pro, and one Chicago player. So, even though it’s not going to be the best match ever, it will still feature some quality players on the server.
For Team North America, the remaining players will be Hiko, n0thing, and da_bears. On the other side, for Team Europe, players are smooya, Pimp and dsn. The fifth player is to be determined later on. However, at the moment we can see these two teams are perfectly balanced, although it’s questionable if we should consider n0thing as retired CS:GO player.
The match will kick off on the last day of the event, as a warm-up game for the Grand Final. It will start at 12:30 local time.
Teams to watch
Although IEM XIV Chicago is a big event and part of Intel Grand Slam Season 3, it still lacks many big names. Teams such as Astralis, FaZe, FURIA, Natus Vincere, NiP, and so on will not attend this event. The main reason is perhaps that they are already on vacation as they want to rest well and prepare for the upcoming Major. This means that IEM XIV Chicago is a perfect chance for some teams to stand out and record some good results.
As this tournament will feature only 8 teams, basically each team is a team to follow and watch.
Of course, the biggest question is – can Liquid win the fifth big event in a row. Considering their great form and that competition in Chicago is going to be significantly weaker than at previous events, Liquid has good chances to win the first event of IGS Season 3. Their main rivals are going to be G2 Esports, Team Vitality, and ENCE. Given that Liquid defeated all these teams in the Grand Finals of the previous big events, odds are on Liquid’s side.
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Other teams to watch are those who have been struggling recently. So, those are MiBR and Renegades. The Brazilians are going to attend another event without their former player, coldzera. This time, zews is also going to play in his position. Therefore, we cannot expect so much from MiBR, but if they somehow manage to go deep in the event, it will be a huge success.
On the other side, Renegades are still trying to find their game from the beginning of the year when they player Quarter-finals of the Major. Thanks to their good run in Katowice, they don’t have to play Minors, so they got a chance to play in Chicago. We will see if they will be able to use that opportunity in the best possible way.