Two Days Down In Intel Extreme Masters Beijing 2019 Professional Counter-Strike Tournment

Two Days Down In Intel Extreme Masters Beijing 2019 Professional Counter-Strike Tournment
Credit: ESL_CSGO via Twitch

We’re two days down in Beijing’s IEM Professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, and everything has gone sideways since the opening bullet early Thursday morning.  Only four teams are left, all fighting for the grand prize of $125,000 for first place.  We’re moving into this weekend with two series to be played on Saturday for the semi-finals, and the final series on Sunday to bring home the bacon.  Here’s what you’ve missed so far.

Team Vitality finally appears to have shaken the cobwebs out of their brain, and have been playing their faces off against the best in professional Counter-Strike.  It appears as though the French team has finally learned how to operate to create space for ‘ZywOo’ to take impeccable angles and hold fatal funnels, and they’ve been impeccable thus far in the tournament.  They went toe-to-toe against FaZe, and came out ahead with (2-1) after dominating TYLOO in a clean sweep with (2-0).  Their preferred map is still Inferno, with a 71.4% win percentage over the past three months.

‘ZywOo’ maintains his title as the king of snipers in CS, currently maintaining a +12 KDR across two days of play, and an average damage per round of 90.3.  His murderous streaks are clearly aided and abetted by the rest of the French team, challenging difficult spots such as double-doors in Dust2 to give ‘ZywOo’ a clear shot.

Beyond the French superstar, however, is surprisingly ‘RpK’, with an KDR of +6 and ADR of 79.1.  ‘RpK’ is just as much of a force currently as ‘ZywOo’, forcing teams to take unfavorable man-on-man duels across many maps.  ‘RpK’ continues in his entry-fragger role, being the first one in the doorway to take a hot site and engage quickly and accurately, bringing his kill-assist percentage to 75.8%.  Roughly three out of four kills were assisted by ‘RpK’, which is an impeccable statistic to throw on the board.

With both ‘ZywOo’ and ‘RpK’ clearly coming to dominate, it’s looking like a very dominant tournament for Vitality currently.  Having two high-impact players on one team aiding each other simply seems to much for most teams to handle.

Evil Geniuses have surprisingly been knocked out of the tournament earlier this morning, going against FaZe in a series that ended in overtime on Dust2, where FaZe finally took the series (19-16).  It’s not so much that Evil Geniuses looked lost, but more that they’ve been figured out finally as coaches have watched them play impeccable Counter-Strike for the past couple of months.  FaZe has also noticeably turned up to frag, bringing a surprising amount of fervor that they haven’t been seen holding in years.

If the current pattern continues, Evil Geniuses may have to shake up something drastic in order to climb back to the top of the leagues.

FaZe is making great usage of their new acquisition ‘coldzera’, who continues to lead the originally Swedish team (now noted as European) across the tournament, bringing down anyone unlucky enough to cross his iron sights.  Team member ‘coldzera’ was the only member of FaZe that managed to maintain a positive KDR against the once again dominant Vitality, and he looks rather comfortable among the European team.  Against Evil Geniuses earlier today, ‘NiKo’ had a stand out performance with 88.2 damage per round, averaged.

FaZe member ‘olofmeister’ is clearly back in the swing of things, missing the FaZe fragging leaderboard by only two kills against EG, trailing slightly behind ‘NiKo’.  If the finals come down to a rematch between FaZe and Evil Geniuses, the probability factor for most betting sites would likely be pretty close to dead even.

Astralis has also made their way to the semi-finals, winning both of their matches in clean sweeps against 100 Thieves and ViCi, who have both been knocked out of the tournament.  The Denmark powerhouse continues to easily clean up everyone placed in front of them, making them a very scary possible contender for the finals.  They’re currently holding a 4 series win-streak, and could plausibly close the tournament with that win-streak totaling 6.  ‘dupreeh’ has looked flawless thus far in the series, as has ‘device’ and ‘Magisk’.

It’s difficult to comment too much on their showings, as they went against the arguably weaker teams in terms of global rank to get to the semi-finals.

100 Thieves has also made it to the semi-finals, although they don’t look entirely impressive.  As we recently covered, 100 Thieves is a relatively new ‘re-newcomer’ to professional Counter-Strike and they’ve frankly managed to make it this far in the semi-finals due to success in a relatively weak lower bracket that they were relegated to after a clean-sweep loss to Astralis.  ‘Gratisfaction’ has attempted to carry his team this far, with the assistance of team members ‘jks’ and ‘jkaem’, but I fear their days in this tournament are numbered.

100 Thieves is slated to combat the renewed Vitality tomorrow at 0100 EST in a best of three series.  Odds currently place Vitality at 1.64, and 100T at 2.2.  It’s plausible that 100 Thieves actually walk to the finals in this; Vitality has a history of inconsistent performances.  The keys for 100 Thieves winning would be to successfully shut down ‘RpK’s’ nasty entry-fragging position, and avoiding giving open angles to the French sniper ‘ZywOo’.

Astralis is up against FaZe tomorrow, starting at 0450 EST in a best of three.  Despite Astralis’ relatively weak opponents at the beginning of this tourney, it would be foolish for FaZe to underestimate the juggernauts of Counter-Strike.  Current odds are 1.4/2.85 in favor of Astralis.  I’m unsure if there’s frankly even a chance; if the maps were switched, I would say FaZe has an opportunity against Vitality, but I think the odds are well placed in this series.

If FaZe is looking for a win tomorrow, they’ll need to figure out how to shutdown ‘gla1ve’ and ‘dupreeh’ simultaneously, and consistently.  Astralis are a mentally disciplined team, and it’s difficult to get into their heads for advantage.

If nothing else, we have some glorious Counter-Strike coming up tomorrow and Sunday.