Eight of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in the world will battle for their share of $250,000 at IEM Chicago, which starts on Thursday, July 18.
Chicago will set the stage for the battle of Europe vs. North America. Team Liquid are the favorites to win their sixth major tournament in a row, while Vitality and ENCE would love to end that streak on U.S. soil.
Here’s everything you need to know about IEM Chicago.
IEM Chicago will be broadcast on ESL’s two Twitch channels since the event will feature simultaneous series until the group’s decider matches. You won’t want to miss any of the action on the main broadcast or the second channel.
The competition will last four days, with the grand finals set to be played on July 21. Sixteen teams will fight for their share of the $250,000 prize pool. Teams were split into two groups and the tournament will feature a double-elimination GSL format with best-of-three matches, aside from the best-of-five grand finals. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals.
The winner of IEM Chicago will earn $125,000. The runner-up will take home $50,000, while the semifinalists get $25,000 each.
- Team Liquid: Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, Keith “NAF” Markovic, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, and Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella
- G2 Esports: Richard “shox” Papillon, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, François “AMANEK” Delaunay, Lucas “Lucky” Chastang, and Audric “JaCkZ” Jug
- MIBR: Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Epitácio “TACO” de Melo, Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles, and Wilton “zews” Prado
- Envy: Noah “Nifty” Francis, Sam “s0m” Oh, Jacob “FugLy” Medina, Bradley “ANDROID” Fodor, and Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek
- Vitality: Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, and Alex McMeekin
- ENCE: Aleksi “allu” Jalli, Jere “sergej” Jalo, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, Jani “Aerial” Jussila, and Sami “xSeveN” Laasanen
- Renegades: Justin “jks” Savage, Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad, Aaron “AZR” Ward, Jay “liazz” Tregillgas, and Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai
- Heroic: Adam Friberg, Benjamin “blameF” Bremer, Niels-Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen, Patrick “es3tag” Hansen, and Martin “stavn” Lund
IEM Chicago will begin at 11am CT on July 18.
Thursday, July 18
- 11am CT: Liquid vs. Envy
- 11am CT: G2 vs. MIBR
- 2:50pm CT: Vitality vs. Heroic
- 2:50pm CT: ENCE vs. Renegades
- 6:40pm CT: Group A winners match
- 6:40pm CT: Group A elimination match
Friday, July 19
- 11am CT: Group B winners match
- 11am CT: Group B elimination match
- 2:50pm CT: Group A decider match
- 6:25pm CT: Group B decider match
Saturday, July 20
- 2:30pm CT: First semifinal
- 6:20pm CT: Second semifinal
Sunday, July 21
- 2:30pm CT: Grand finals
Liquid will be in the spotlight again after starting their CS:GO era. The North Americans have won five major tournaments in a row, including IEM Sydney in May, DreamHack Masters Dallas and ESL Pro League season nine finals in June, and ESL One Cologne this month. On top of that, Liquid completed the Intel Grand Slam and earned its $1 million prize. The team didn’t drop a single map throughout BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles last weekend.
Vitality will arrive in Chicago after being criticized by the CS:GO community for not taking the ESEA Global Challenge seriously and getting eliminated by FURIA. ENCE have to answer back at IEM Chicago after their lackluster performance at ESL One Cologne, where they came in last place at one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year.
MIBR didn’t advance to BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles last weekend in their first tournament with coach Wilton “zews” Prado. Zews is temporarily replacing Marcelo “coldzera” David, who asked to leave the team and is sitting on the bench. The Brazilian team looked happier than before and will now play without any pressure.
Can G2 make it to the grand finals again? They played well at their last major tournament, ESL Pro League season nine finals, losing to Liquid in the grand finals. Their roster is finally showing promise and it looks like they can compete with Vitality, the best French team at the moment.