Fabio | 17. December 2020

IEM Global Challenge: BIG Upset Vitality and Astralis!

What an epic start to the last tournament of the year! The German BIG Clan had struggled in recent tournaments to really compete with the international top teams. But now, they have already beaten Vitality and Astralis, making them the first team to reach playoffs at IEM.

For some reason, teams continue to pick Vertigo against BIG. What more can the Germans do to prove that they know this map in and out? Even when they were downed 1-16 and 2-16 against Vitality, they had still won Vertigo over the Frenchmen beforehand!

Now, they have progressed even further, winning the follow-up maps as well. In the Opening Match, Vitality opted to leave Vertigo open. The Germans obviously took that opportunity and picked it as the first map of the series. There, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and his men secured nine CT rounds. Despite a loss in the second pistol round, they won the follow-up round and started to trade points with the Germans, until they stood at 15 points. But BIG didn’t let up. On their CT side, they strung five rounds together to enter overtime. There, they finally sealed the deal and managed to secure a map lead over Vitality for the second time now.


This mistake cost the Frenchmen dearly. On Inferno, they got a 16-7 win, but the Germans showed massive signs of improvement. In place of Dust2, they went for Nuke, where Vitality debuted Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom in place of Richard “shox” Papillon. There, BIG found a 9-6 lead on the T side and after they collected themselves on the CT side, they ended the match on a 16-13 scoreline.

So BIG managed to mount a massive upset just days after the BLAST Premier: Fall Finals. Vitality had to enter the Losers’ Match against Complexity. BIG however, went one step further to the Winners’ Match against Astralis. Less than a week ago, the Danes had defeated the Germans in a Best-of-Three.

But once again, the team opted for Vertigo. This had severe consequences for Astralis, as Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and his team were perfectly prepared. Once again, they headed into overtime, which they survived thanks to a resurgence in form from Nils “k1to” Gruhne. The player had struggled with performance issues for weeks, but he managed to quickly stabilize against Astralis. On Dust2, he rose to peak form and gunned the Astralis players down. Only Nicolai “device” Reedtz really held his own on the Danish side, but obviously that wasn’t enough. BIG Clan closed the match out on a 16-10 scoreline on Dust2, getting one step closer to the Grand Finals.

So now the German team has already mounted two impressive upsets in as many days. With the exception of Natus Vincere, they have beaten two thirds of the top teams of recent tournaments. Should Na’Vi be able to succeed over Team Liquid, we are set up for a hypothetical Grand Finals clash with BIG. However, should they lose to Liquid, we would see this match unfold in the Semi Finals already.

The recent tournament results were quite worrying for BIG fans. But from 1-16 and 2-16 maps, they have managed to grow to a point at which they can confidently take down Europe’s best. A victory over Natus Vincere might seem unlikely, but the same was true for their wins over Astralis and Vitality, until they proved everyone wrong. Are BIG really ready to take this trophy home?