The last of the Intel Grand Slam Season 5 events is almost upon us. The IEM Fall 2023 takes place in Australia and will be a hotly contested tournament, with a sizable prize fund of a quarter of a million dollars. Similar events have already taken place in Cologne, Dallas, and Rio this year, and Sydney is the next stop on the calendar.
IEM stands for “Intel® Extreme Masters” and the tournament has been running since 2006. The organizers claim that this is the longest-running esports tour in the world. This particular event, IEM Fall, is part of the Counter-Strike tournament, but they also have events using other titles such as StarCraft.
The tournament returns down under after four years of taking place at other venues around the world. Like always, it will feature some invited teams along with qualifying esports teams. There have already been some thrilling qualifying heats around the world that have taken place on the CS:GO platform.
IEM Fall 2023 May Be One of the First Tournaments Offering CS2 Gambling Markets
There has been some debate about whether the games in the tournament will take place using CS:GO or the updated version, CS2.
Many gamblers are waiting to see the impact that CS2 may have on the gambling industry. It is possible that there may be some players who adapt better to the changes than others. These are only tweaks, but those who want to bet on CS2 tournaments and competitions will have a close eye on the outcomes and how certain esports teams adapt.
On top of that, not all fans and players have actually seen CS2 and the changes that have taken place. The Beta of the game is now in circulation, and it has been used for some competitive tournaments. Gamblers will notice that the markets themselves are unlikely to change but there could be some tweaks to the odds. Many crypto gambling sites in particular are ready to make the switch and offer live odds and streams for CS2 tournaments.
There is some debate about whether the switch will happen before then and whether it should, as the heats and previous IEM Grand Slam events have taken place on CS:GO. Some people think that it should remain on CS:GO.
A representative of IEM, Graeme Du Toit, spoke about this matter in an interview with Dexerto.com: “CS2 will be part of the event obviously, even if it’s free for play like in DreamHack Melbourne, Dallas we had a show match.”
He didn’t sound so certain when discussing whether the event would run on CS2 rather than CS:GO: “I don’t know about the likelihood of that, to be honest.”
Even if the tournament does take place on CS:GO, the company will be pushing CS2 hard. Around this time, we see a spike in live players on Counter-Strike games, partially driven by BLAST Showdown, IEM Fall, and the Thunderpick World Championship.
The Format of the Tournament
When IEM Fall 2023 gets underway it will see 16 teams battle it out over six days, with the playoffs and grand final taking place in a live venue in front of an audience.
There will be some teams not in attendance, Heroic and Astralis, as they both declined the invites, but out of the top 10 teams in the world according to HLTV, eight have been invited to participate. This includes the winners of the Dallas event, ENCE, plus Vitality, ESL Pro League winners FaZe, plus other teams such as MOUZ, Natus Vincere, Cloud9, GamerLegion, Fnatic, and Monte.
Numerous teams have taken part in qualifiers for the tournament which took place in August. VitctoryZigzag, Lynn Vision, VERTEX Esports Club, and Bet Boom made it through closed qualifiers.
In the group stage of the tournament, we will see two groups, with double-elimination in each. The groups are made up of eight teams, and the opening matches are best of one, while the rest are best of three, all the way to the final.
The winners of the group go through to the semi-finals, and the runners-up will play in the quarter-finals, as do the third-place teams, though they have a lower seeding in this playoff round. It is then a straight knockout through the playoff rounds through to the final.
Whether played on CS2 or CS:GO, this is likely to be a tough-fought tournament. The prize money for first place is an impressive $100,000, funded by some impressive partners such as Monster Energy Drinks. There is a big drop-off for teams who finish ninth and below, they will get $5,000 or less.
The live event itself is sold out, with the people of Sydney proving to be huge esports fans. Even the expensive, deluxe tickets offering food, drink, and goodie bags (plus signing sessions) are no longer available. Players can follow the tournament through Twitch streams where many of the matches will be live.