Out of 12 teams, 6 managed to advance from the Group Stage. They’re now entering a bracket with a lot of losers and just one eventual winner. We take a look at the playoffs teams and try to determine which roster has the biggest shot at taking home the IEM trophy.
With their loss to the New England Whalers, the Brazilians have effectively forced themselves to take a detour. Had they won the match, they would now be sitting in first place of Group A and in the comfort of a Semi Finals spot. Instead, they’re now entering the Quarter Finals and have to compete with Team Liquid.
But how relevant is that last defeat in the Group Stage really? If we think back to ESL Pro League Season 12, this is exactly what happened to FURIA back then. They lost their last match versus Chaos and then went on to mount a one-sided victory run through the playoffs. So we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on that one match with the New England Whalers.
THE @whalersgg HAVE DONE IT!
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) October 13, 2020
It’d be much more important to discuss what Liquid can actually bring to the table. So far, the performance improvement envisioned with the addition of Michael “Grim” Wince hasn’t yet come into effect. At the moment, they’re consistently failing against FURIA, EG, and also regularly against the 100 Thieves. So, compared to their previous roster, they have actually lost ground. For them, this match versus FURIA is absolutely critical, as the bracket doesn’t allow for any mistakes whatsoever. If they lose, they immediately drop to the 5th Place Match. The same holds true for FURIA, of course, who are certainly hoping for a Top 4 finish, if not a tournament victory altogether. They can probably make the first step in that direction over Liquid, as Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and his mates don’t give the impression that they could take down the Brazilians.
Even if Liquid can succeed over the heads of FURIA, they’re facing yet another tough opponent. Evil Geniuses are waiting for them in the Semi Finals, who put up a perfect show aside from their loss to FURIA. They completed the Group Stage with a +83 round difference and are miles ahead of any other roster in that category. But most of the weaker teams have now been sorted out and they should not expect to reel in those one-sided wins anymore. Nonetheless, they’re in top shape and favorites for the event. Only their performance versus FURIA is lacking. Despite the Brazilians losing to underdogs every now and then, they always bring their a-game versus Liquid, EG and the likes.
With the exception of Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, the entire EG roster is in the Top 10 of players at the event. Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte leads the rankings of IEM New York and Ethan “Ethan” Arnold sits on a comfortable second place. So the performance is definitely there, they only need to channel this in games with FURIA if they want to take the trophy home.
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) October 13, 2020
The Australians are playing as if the have nothing to lose – which is quite correct. Pending the completion of IEM New York, their contract with 100T will also be ended, as the organization simply cannot maintain a CS:GO roster at this moment. Justin “jks” Savage going the Complexity route seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. But apparently, the players are unfazed by this. With a 4-1 track record, they exited Group B in first place and are now waiting for their first opponent in the Semi Finals.
Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad and jks are currently the leading figures of the team and are reeling in the big kills. This should be enough to get them into the Grand Finals, as their potential opponents in the Semis will either be Team One or the New England Whalers. Both teams do have upset potential, but if 100T show up as they usually do, these two won’t stand a chance. So it’s almost irrelevant which of the rosters makes it out of the Quarter Finals – the 100 Thieves will put a stop to them anyways.
WHO CAN ADVANCE TO THE GRAND FINALS?
Due to the design of the bracket, the Australians are virtually guaranteed to make the Grand Finals. The really strong teams are all slotted into the other side of the bracket in the form of FURIA, EG and Liquid. For Stewie2k and his team, making it to the top will be a tall task. They’ll have to both defeat the Brazilians and Evil Geniuses. Even if they did, they would likely face the 100 Thieves for the trophy next. If we recall, they lost their last two matches to this team.
So we probably should ready ourselves for either EG or FURIA making it to the Grand Finals. The deciding factor here is whether stanislaw and his players can actually replicate the strong form they have maintained all throughout the tournament versus FURIA now. The winner of this match will likely walk away with the trophy of IEM New York 2020 NA.