This past weekend the Intel Extreme Masters landed in Beijing. Eight of the best Counter-Strike teams from around the world made their way there to battle it out for the $250,000 prize pool. The event took place from November 7th – 10th.
When writing the betting guide for the event, we identified that the group stage could cause some issues and provide the first upsets. Over in Group A, there wasn’t anything that caught people by surprise. Astralis qualified with a 3-0 record and ENCE battled it out against 100 Thieves for the final playoff spot.
100 Thieves recently acquired the Renegades roster so their match against ENCE was a common matchup and 100 Thieves took the series 2-0, fairly comfortably.
The surprises happened over in Group B. The group included Vitality, Evil Geniuses and FaZe Clan. Each team has found success throughout 2019 but have also all had their individual slumps and mishaps. This time around Vitality advanced without losing and Evil Geniuses faced off against FaZe Clan for a playoff spot. FaZe have been in better form the past few weeks and this showed in their 2-1 win.
With the event only having 8 teams, playoffs meant we were straight into the semi-finals. 100 Thieves met Vitality, which was a great series to see exactly where both teams are at right now. Despite their impressive showing in groups, Vitality wasn’t able to replicate that success and find themselves in another grand final. The series was incredibly close until last map came around and 100 Thieves blew Vitality off the map with a 16-2 victory.
If a 16-2 seems like a heavily one-sided score for a semi-final at a Major, it gets worse. Astralis dismantled FaZe in the other semi-final, winning 16-0 and 16-2. A combined round count of 32-2 in a semi-final, that’s rather embarrassing for FaZe.
Astralis was yet to drop a map and had already defeated 100 Thieves in the group stage at this event. 100 Thieves showed a lot of fight early on, losing first map narrowly 16-14. From here though it was clear Astralis had all momentum. Astralis picked up 16-5 and 16-3 wins to lock in the series at 3-0.
This meant Astralis were crowned IEM Beijing 2019 Champions and managed to finish the event without dropping a single map. That’s a truly impressive statistic and they’ve also kicked off their chance to win the Intel Grand Slam with this victory.