We're back on LAN again as IEM Fall Europe is about to start in Stockholm, Sweden
IEM Fall Europe will be played in Stockholm, Sweden and will feature 24 teams who will fight it out for $105,000 and, more crucially, points for the Regional Major Rankings.
The event has a wide variety of different teams, ranging from the absolute elite like Vitality and Heroic to teams outside the top 50 like AURA. The event kicks off Wednesday, September 19th at 19:00 CEST Local Time (Thursday, 03:00 AEST) and runs through October 10th.
The 24 teams have been divided into four groups of six. They will play through a best-of-one round-robin style group stage, with the two best teams advancing to the playoffs.
The third-place teams will play a tiebreaker matchup for 9th-12th place, which determines who gets the last RMR points towards the major.
The playoffs will feature a single-elimination bracket with best-of-threes leading up to the best-of-five grand final. Placement tiebreakers will also be played to determine who gets the RMR points.
Group A is probably the best stacked one at the event just in terms of name value and it is crazy to think that you could end up in fourth place in this group and not make the major. Except for AURA, who are ranked outside of the Top 50, this group features some really strong teams.
G2 would normally be a big favourite in this group, but they have really struggled in the last two events, with only NiKo really showing up for the French-Balkan team. They will really need to step it up or they could be in danger considering the competition in this group.
mousesports and BIG are both two strong sides that have given G2 issues in the past, and I would not look past FunPlus Phoenix either. They play well against top-tier competition and could easily do some damage here.
Rounding out the group is the Danish team Copenhagen Flames, who have been playing really well in the lower tiers. They will salivate at the mouth at the prospect of the best-of-one format, making this group even more unpredictable.
In this group, we will get a taste of the Heroic and Astralis rivalry which has gotten even more spicy with the recent HUNDEN drama taking place. Heroic are definitely the favourites to make it out of this group.
Complexity and Astralis are the favourites for the last spot, but both are in a bit of a weird transitional period after some roster changes.
With Complexity and Astralis looking somewhat vulnerable, a team like Sinners will look to play spoiler. The Czech side showed at ESL Pro League that they can compete with the best, and with the firepower of oskar and NEOFRAG, they have a solid shot at the upset.
The Spanish side Movistar Riders are not to be underestimated either, although they don’t really have quite as much firepower as Sinners, which is why I would lean towards the side from the Czech Republic here.
Sadly, Endpoint are likely going to get destroyed in this group as they are playing the event with their coach Allan after their star rifler BOROS was ruled out of the event because of visa issues. Edit: Endpoint have announced that they will play with an unknown stand-in instead of their coach.
Vitality are coming in as the big favourite of Group C. The French side has looked incredibly strong and with Kyojin getting more and more comfortable, it is hard to see them mess this up despite the BO1 format.
I would put OG as the favourites for the last of the two playoff spots, as Aleksib’s team has played some very solid CS recently.
A team like ENCE could definitely challenge them, however, and while the likes of Dignitas and Sprout likely aren’t strong enough for a Top 2 finish, they are good enough to play spoiler in a single BO1 which could ruffle some feathers in the round-robin group stage.
It will also be interesting to get a glimpse of MAD Lions in this group, who are playing with the Ukrainian AWPer Woro2k, who has been posting some crazy numbers in the lower tier.
On paper, you would have to say that this is the weakest group at the event. NiP are definitely the favourites, as they have looked quite decent recently with the likes of REZ in fine form. They have touted the Stockholm major as their number one goal, so they will be hyped up to the max for this one.
The last of the two spots will likely be contested for by the likes of FaZe and fnatic, but fnatic’s inexperience with their new roster could hurt them.
SKADE and Fiend are two Bulgarian teams who have had some decent results against top teams in the past. SKADE have beaten the likes of BIG and Spirit at a recent Pinnacle cup, so I really wouldn’t understimate these guys in a BO1 format. If this was best-of-threes, you would have to favour NiP and FaZe to get out of this one rather comfortably, but BO1 is a different ball game.
French side DBL Poney with familiar names such as bodyy and Lucky is another team in this group that will look to cause the upset. They have also had some decent results in the lower tiers and you simply cannot disregard these guys in a BO1 either.
This is such an odd group as the lower-tier teams are strong enough to upset teams like fnatic and FaZe in a BO1, but could easily beat each other as well, making things very hard to call. I am still going to say that NiP makes it out of this one, but I could easily see a world where one of the lower ranked teams beat out FaZe or fnatic for the last spot.
The BO1 format definitely opens up for some upsets. Some of these lower-tier European sides are no joke and could definitely take down some bigger names in the group stage, especially ones who are struggling a bit at the moment. Teams like Sinners, Copenhagen Flames and SKADE are worth highlighting, as they have shown the ability to do so in the past.