IEM Rio Major 2022 Challengers Stage - Preview
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IEM Rio Major 2022 Challengers Stage - Preview

It's finally time for the major to get underway in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Author: Valle
Valle
Freelance Esports Writer
30th Oct, 22·☕️ 6 min read
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It’s finally time for the major to get underway in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We’ll kickstart the tournament with The Challengers Stage, where sixteen teams will fight it out to decide who will advance to The Legends Stage.

Teams

  • 🇪🇺 fnatic
  • 🇪🇺 GamerLegion
  • 🇽🇰 BadNewsEagles
  • 🇷🇺 Cloud9
  • 🇪🇺 Vitality
  • 🇩🇪 BIG
  • 🇪🇺 MOUZ
  • 🇷🇺 Outsiders
  • 🇪🇺 OG
  • 🇦🇷 9z
  • 🇧🇷 FURIA
  • 🇧🇷 00Nation
  • 🇺🇸 Evil Geniuses
  • 🇧🇷 Imperial
  • 🇲🇳 IHC 
  • 🇦🇺 Grayhound

Format

The Challengers Stage will feature a swiss style format, which has been typical of Major events of the past. The Elimination and Advancement matches will be BO3, which will assure that every team will have their map pool tested to the fullest. The rest of the matches will be BO1. The eight teams who get three wins will advance to The Legends Stage.

  • October 31 - November 3
  • 16 Team Swiss Format
  • BO3 (Elimination & Advancement Matches)
  • BO1 (All Other Matches)
  • Top 8 Teams advance to The Legends Stage
  • Bottom 8 Teams are eliminated

Favourites

  • 🇪🇺 Vitality
  • 🇷🇺 Cloud9
  • 🇧🇷 FURIA
  • 🇪🇺 OG

Team to Watch: Vitality

Vitality
Record: 30 / 0 / 16
Most Played Map: Inferno (58.3%)
Best Map: Vertigo (85.7%)
Worst Map: Mirage (50.0%)

Vitality and Cloud9 stand out as clear favourites to advance to The Legends Stage. They both have two stellar AWPers in ZywOo and sh1ro, respectively, who are a step-above in class compared to the competition. Additionally, Vitality are one of the most experienced teams around. Players like apEX and Magisk have plenty of majors under their belt, not to mention dupreeh, who is the only player to have attended all 18 majors so far.  

Cloud9 is a far younger team, but they have already attended two majors. They are one of the longest standing rosters, having made no changes since Hobbit was brought in during the summer of 2020. With a combination of raw firepower and teamplay, they should be primed for a deep run at this major. 

Two other teams worth mentioning are OG and FURIA. The Brazilians from FURIA will be highly motivated to perform on home soil, and with KSCERATO in stellar form, they could be a headache for any team. 

OG has to be mentioned, too. They have a promising European roster which includes one of the sharpest AWPers in the game right now; degster. In the Challengers Stage they have the potential to wreak havoc. 

Middle of the Pack

  • 🇷🇺 Outsiders
  • 🇪🇺 fnatic
  • 🇩🇪 BIG
  • 🇪🇺 MOUZ
  • 🇽🇰 BadNewsEagles
  • 🇧🇷 Imperial
  • 🇧🇷 00Nation

Team to Watch: Outsiders

Outsiders
Record: 34 / 0 / 23
Most Played Map: Inferno (57.9%)
Best Map: Dust2 (71.4%)
Worst Map: Overpass (0.0%)

This range includes plenty of teams with potential, but they all have some glaring weaknesses which makes this range harder to predict.

Outsiders stands out as one of the teams worth highlighting. They have one of the most passive AWPers in the game in Jame, who is accompanied by some very aggressive riflers. They certainly have the firepower to deal damage on CT side, and with aggressive players like n0rb3r7, they should be able to create space for Jame to thrive on T side. 

fnatic, MOUZ and BIG are three strong teams with some questionmarks.

fnatic have a promising roster, but their star rifler roeJ has struggled to replicate his stellar online play in an offline setting throughout his career. MOUZ have a team of strong individuals, but their star AWPer torzsi has barely posted a positive rating over the past year. Lastly, we have BIG, who are playing with their academy player s1n in the place of faveN for this event.

Out of these three teams, I like fnatic the most, and the early odds movement indicates that they should be the favourite in this group of teams.

Then we have Bad News Eagles from Kosovo. They have dealt some damage in top tier competition before much thanks to the firepower provided by guys like rigoN and juanflatroo. They are definitely a team that is capable of punching above their weight.

Lastly, we have the Brazilians from Imperial and 00Nation. Out of the two, Imperial stands out as the stronger of the two. FalleN, fer and boltz have plenty of major experience which could prove pivotal, and it is also noteworthy that FalleN is playing well with the AWP right now. They have one of the strongest aimers in Brazil in chelo, who could be primed for a breakout tournament. Their results together have been far from stellar, but they may have potential to surprise on home soil.

The Underdogs

  • 🇺🇸 Evil Geniuses
  • 🇪🇺 GamerLegion
  • 🇦🇷 9z
  • 🇲🇳 IHC
  • 🇦🇺 Grayhound

Team to Watch: Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses
Record: 15 / 0 / 13
Most Played Map: Nuke (50.0%)
Best Map: Mirage (100.0%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (20.0%)

Among the underdogs we find the Australian team Grayhound, the Mongolians from IHC, the South American side 9z, The Europeans from GamerLegion and lastly, the North American team Evil Geniuses. Out of these, Evil Geniuses and GamerLegion likely have the highest chance to do some damage, as they have a favourable draw in the opener. With how the seeding is done, they could also end up playing each other in a 2-0 matchup.

Betting Tips

Plenty of matches means plenty of good betting opportunities. Teams like BadNewsEagles and Imperial could prove difficult to deal with in the BO1 matches and not be counted out even against some stronger competition.

I would expect Vitality and Cloud9 to get through with much of an issue, especially when you consider that there is a chance that a bottom ranked team like EG or GL could go 2–0 in BO1s due to how seeding has been done. The same can be said for OG, who have an excellent chance of getting through for the same reason.

Where can I bet on the IEM Rio Major?

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