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IEM Beijing Preview

Will Astralis bounce back from a disappointing showing in Copenhagen or will EG make it two in a row? Read on as we break down IEM Beijing.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
5th Nov, 2019·☕️ 7 min read
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Will Astralis bounce back from a disappointing showing in Copenhagen or will EG make it two in a row? Read on as we break down IEM Beijing.

Competition Information

Intel Extreme Masters is organized by ESL and will be held in Beijing, China. Eight teams have gathered in China hoping to take home part of the $250,000 prize pool. This event is also part of the Intel Grand Slam circuit where $1,000,000 is up for grabs for the team that wins four consecutive events. In addition, the winner of IEM Beijing will get a direct invite and a high seed for IEM Katowice in 2020.

ESL and IEM have had a long history of doing events in China. The last one was held in Shanghai back in late 2018, a tournament in which NRG defeated the home team TYLOO in the final. This was one of TYLOO’s better tournaments against international competition, however, the competition will be far stronger in Beijing.

The format is the ever-popular GSL system. The teams have been seeded using ESL’s CS:GO World Rankings, and have been divided into two double-elimination groups. All of the matches are played in a best-of-three format, with the exception being the final which will be a best-of-five.

IEM Beijing kicks off November 7 and will finish November 10.

The Current Season

Group A


Astralis

Astralis
Record: 90 / 1 / 34
Most Played Map: Dust2 (64.5%)
Best Map: Vertigo (87.5%)
Worst Map: Mirage (60.0%)

Odds: 1.95

Astralis had a rough start at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen earlier this week, with big losses to FaZe and NiP. However, we have seen Astralis struggle at BLAST events in the past much due to the format, something we eluded to in our preview for the event. The Danes will have a bigger shot at winning IEM Beijing, as the format suits them better with BO3s for the entire group stage.

ENCE

ENCE
Record: 6 / 2 / 10
Most Played Map: Dust2 (20.0%)
Best Map: Nuke (66.7%)
Worst Map: Inferno (0.0%)

Odds: 12.0

We haven’t seen ENCE in action since DreamHack Masters Malmö, a tournament in which they had mixed results. They opened up strong with a BO1 win against fnatic, but later fell to Vitality and FURIA in BO3s. The general public seems to be pretty bearish on ENCE, to use some stock market lingo. It is true that the Finns have struggled for form since letting go of IGL Aleksib earlier this year, but I would not rule out a “flash in the pan” type run for ENCE as they most definitely have the personnel for it. This makes ENCE a pretty interesting underdog play at an event like this both in the betting market and in fantasy.

100 Thieves

100 Thieves
Record: 102 / 0 / 77
Most Played Map: Mirage (61.2%)
Best Map: Mirage (61.2%)
Worst Map: Overpass (25.0%)

Odds: 14.0

The Australian team Renegades were picked up by the organization 100 Thieves earlier this week and this will be their debut tournament with their new jerseys. They looked solid earlier this week at StarSeries, with wins against fnatic, MIBR (twice) and Vitality before going out to FURIA in the lower bracket finals. 100 Thieves might not be the most exciting team out there, but they have solid teamwork and jks is one of the best players in the game right now. Their familiarity with the Chinese teams also gives them a bit of an edge in a tournament like this, as they rarely get upset by these teams.

ViCi

ViCi
Record: 16 / 0 / 10
Most Played Map: Inferno (57.1%)
Best Map: Mirage (75.0%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (0.0%)

Odds: 212.50

ViCi are coming in as the biggest underdog of the competition. They have just recently made a roster change, adding JamYoung in place of Franke19. Domestically, ViCi tend to put up a fight and occasionally beat their eternal rivals TYLOO. However, they will be a big underdog against the international competition at this event. Kaze is a fantastic player and one of the brightest stars coming out of the Asian region, but they shouldn’t really have much of a chance of advancing from a group that includes Astralis and a 100 Thieves side that is used to playing against Asian teams.

Group B


Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses
Record: 68 / 1 / 23
Most Played Map: Nuke (63.2%)
Best Map: Dust2 (89.5%)
Worst Map: Overpass (42.9%)

Odds: 3.75

Evil Geniuses are coming off a win at StarSeries & i-League and will have had a week of practice going into IEM Beijing. Evil Geniuses are in fine form at the moment and they tend to perform well in tournaments with this type of format. We have seen EG do well in China before, and they should have a good shot at another deep run here.

Vitality

Team Vitality
Record: 16 / 0 / 18
Most Played Map: Dust2 (55.6%)
Best Map: Inferno (57.1%)
Worst Map: Train (0.0%)

Odds: 8.10

Vitality truly struggled at StarSeries last week. Their only wins came against the Chinese team Invictus, as well as a North team that has just lost one of their key players. In fact, they were unable to win a single map against Renegades, fnatic and FURIA — not a promising sign going into IEM Beijing. However, they do have one of the best players in the game right now in the form of ZywOo, which makes them a difficult opponent for just about anyone.

FaZe

FaZe
Record: 16 / 0 / 14
Most Played Map: Nuke (55.6%)
Best Map: Inferno (74.1%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (0.0%)

Odds: 9.90

FaZe took down BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen earlier this week after defeating NiP in the final. The win was a team effort all around, as all of FaZe showed good form throughout the tournament. The likes of NiKo, coldzera and rain were excellent. In addition, olofmeister looked very comfortable on the AWP whilst the newcomer broky looked calm and poised throughout — a promising sign moving forward for FaZe. IEM Beijing will be a bigger test for FaZe, as the format doesn’t set up as well for them as it did in Copenhagen.

TYLOO

TYLOO
Record: 53 / 0 / 30
Most Played Map: Mirage (66.7%)
Best Map: Inferno (82.4%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (25.0%)

Odds: 119.50

TYLOO haven’t shown their best selves recently, as they have even struggled at times domestically against teams like ViCi and Invictus. As such, they will be big underdogs in Group B just like their Chinese counterparts in Group A. The skill has always been there for TYLOO, but they just don’t have the strategical depth and fundamentals of the Western teams. They do have some upset potential in BO1s due to their individual skill and the fact that Western teams rarely play them. However, all of the matches at this tournament will be BO3s which certainly doesn’t help their chances of making it out of the group.

Betting Tips

In the preview for BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, I recommended against taking favorites in the outright market due to the format, and as things turned out FaZe won at odds of 17/1 in the final against a NiP side that opened at odds of 29/1. This event will likely be a different story as the format is a lot more favorable towards teams like Astralis and Evil Geniuses. The seeding also means that they both go up against the weaker Chinese teams in the opening matches, which makes their path to the semis a lot more favorable. The issue arises if one of these two teams slip up in the winner’s finals, which would mean that they will both square off in the semi-finals. Sitting on a 1/1 ticket on Astralis in a semi-final against EG wouldn’t feel great. For that reason, I would favor betting EG in the ‘To Make Finals’ market at a similar number. With that said, I personally think there are better spots at making money during the group stage matches.

If you want to fire a bullet on an underdog, I would go for ENCE at the current odds of 14 or 6.5 to make finals. They are still very much an unknown quantity as we haven’t quite seen enough of them to judge what their true upside is with suNny on the team. The former ENCE roster had great upset potential against the giants of the game, and I wouldn’t rule them out entirely just yet despite having a rough start with their new roster. The fact that they are in the same group as Astralis isn’t necessarily a negative, as it means that they will avoid the Danes in a potential semi-final.