IEM Chicago: Quarter-Finals Preview
By Benjamin Hodge Mckenna
What started as 16 teams has now been reduced to just 6 as some of the best rosters in global Counter-Strike prepare to finish competing for their share of $250,000 and the title of IEM Chicago champions.
The brackets as they stand are currently as follows:
- LDLC vs Team Liquid
- Mousesports vs Astralis
- FaZe vs winner of LDLC/Liquid
- Fnatic vs winner of Mousesports/Astralis
The formatting allowed FaZe and Fnatic to immediately qualify for the Semi-Finals as they didn’t lose any of their matches in the group stage. Teams that only lost one series were granted another chance to remain in the tournament and subsequently progress to the Quarter-Finals.
FaZe was the first team to make it straight to the semis with a surprise 2-0 upset victory against tournament favorites and major champions Astralis. This came after an incredibly dominant performance on Mirage which saw FaZe go 11-4 in the first half and 16-7 in total. There were great efforts from both Rain and new In-Game Leader Niko had with him putting up an impressive 111.1 ADR on this map. Next would be Inferno, a map that all analysts touted the to go the way of Astralis, this also surprisingly ended up going in FaZe’s favor after an all-out overtime brawl. FaZe eventually managed to secure this map 19-15 with Niko and rain being the stars of the show once again.
FaZe’s earlier run through the group stages appeared slightly more challenging. Initially struggling to overcome French-mix LDLC 16-14 on Mirage. After this, they met MIBR on their first best of 3 series that ended with FaZe successfully defeating the Brazilian-American side 2-1 in very close fashion with the first 2 maps ending 16-14 for each side. Ultimately, the CT side of FaZe was too dominant for MIBR on Train.
Fnatic had a slightly easier run into the Semi-Finals. Initially, Fnatic dealt with BiG with relative ease by defeating them 16-9 on Cache. Then the Swedes faced the American-Canadian mix eUnited. Fnatic comfortably moved past them 2-0, winning 16-13 on Overpass and 16-11 on Inferno. Then Fnatic faced Team Liquid in a BO3 which initially went back and forth with both sides taking a 16-12 victory on their respective choices of Mirage and Inferno. Eventually, Fnatic claimed the series 16-7 on Overpass with newcomer Brollan being the star of the series.
Liquid losing to Fnatic means that they now face LDLC in the Quarter-Finals who initially dropped into the lower bracket after their loss to FaZe. However, they soon gained redemption for that loss by eliminating Renegades, North and NRG all 2-1 in BO3 series. This match should be intense as Team Liquid will be fighting in front of a home crowd in the Wintrust Arena. LDLC won’t give up easily however as they’re competing for their biggest placing at a top-tier LAN this year. All things considered, it looks like Liquid should gain the upper hand in this one provided that both Elige and Twistzz achieve the high caliber of play that they have the potential to reach.