The dawn of a new era of Counter-Strike draws ever closer with IEM Fall. Droppable grenades vastly change the landscape of the modern game and striking new changes to maps deal new threats to even the most seasoned of players. Pairing the myriad of changes alongside the sky-high pressure for RMR points, the IEM Fall ecosystem is sure to house cutthroat and scrappy Counter-Strike all around. This compendium peruses the teams with the most on the line in the closing sectors of the Major cycle. Who will Stockholm greet with open arms?
Notable Teams @ IEM Fall CIS
The undisputed domination of s1mple finally reaped titles galore this year, as Natus Vincere crowned themselves the third organization to win the Intel Grand Slam. The revelation of B1T, the resurgence of electronic, and the resiliency of Perfecto allow for a roster to elevate the greatness of the Undertaker himself. Guaranteed a spot at the Major, now the squad looks to secure enough RMR points to skip as many stages as possible. NAVI now consider IEM Fall to merely be a stepping stone towards nabbing the coveted Major title in Stockholm that s1mple so desperately desires. Whether or not the scrappy CIS region could throw a spanner into the well-oiled machine of Natus Vincere remains to be seen. If EPL Season 14 and IEM Cologne were any indications…it seems there is no stopping the organization even under the tensest of situations.
Snapping a Streak of Slip-Ups
Although the Dragons of Spirit sit comfortably atop the RMR standings, IEM Fall is a much-needed space for proving that the squad still has what it takes to be a threat to the world of Counter-Strike. Team Spirit have failed to make it out of IEM Summer, IEM Cologne, and even EPL Season 14’s group stage. The sudden drop in performance from magixx certainly leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the CIS squad and the lack of bite in Spirit’s formerly feared T-sides also remain causes for concern. Oddly enough, chopper’s crew seem to perform outstandingly well during RMRs and if IEM Fall is no exception to the rule, the resurgence of yet another CIS titan could be on the cards. The group stage allows plenty of room for the Dragons to feel themselves as a cohesive unit once more and will have a lot of catching up to do if they wish to challenge for the Major title.
Once More Into the Tier 1 Fray
The stars finally aligned for Entropiq to compete against the world’s best at EPL Season 14. However, with the key piece of El1an vanishing under the bright lights of Tier 1 Counter-Strike, the CIS squad fell short of important series wins to advance to the playoffs. All eyes remain on the superstar AWPer once more as he attempts to enter the conversation among CIS’ top snipers. Although Forester and Krad’s contributions provide a much-needed stability for the squad, for the team to truly unlock their potential at the highest level, Entropiq will need an in-form El1an. The dark horses of Entropiq hunt to play spoiler to the favorites of NAVI and Spirit and hopefully lock enough points to secure the last few spots at Stockholm that the region has to offer. Can the up-and-coming organization finally go big at their final opportunity?
Backs Against the Wall Once More
Although Virtus.Pro were able to perform admirably at the EPIC League RMR, a failed campaign to reach the playoffs at Starladder’s RMR puts one of the best rosters in CIS Counter-Strike in a dangerous position. Failure to accomplish a deep run here at IEM Fall could force the Polar Bears out of an appearance at the Stockholm Major. Elsewhere rumors begin to swirl regarding the attitudes of various players on the team and perhaps changes may be imminent to the nearly 2-year active core of VP. The most recent results for the squad also have not boded well for their morale after failing to get out of their EPL group as well. Despite fending off elimination time after time, the most difficult test lays before the CIS mainstays. Jame’s men being tasked with snatching away forZe’s time in the spotlight in their most turbulent environment yet leaves excitement for Group B at a roaring high.
Hungry For More Titles
The former best team in the world have chips on their shoulders to return to their title-winning form. Stifled at Cologne by FaZe and at EPL by Vitality, Gambit need to find new gears against their regional competition if they want to peak at Stockholm. Regardless, Nafany’s men remain at the forefront of Group B and look to earn enough points to secure a Legend’s spot at the Major. Pressure continues to build around Ax1le and sh1ro to perform at their superstar levels in the highest of stakes. Consequently, the experienced and revived Hobbit remains the saving grace for Gambit: constantly allowing these young guns to build back their confidence for IEM Fall. A deep playoff run for one of the best teams of the year remains a top priority, but to take down their rivals of NAVI in emphatic fashion come the playoffs will always be the sweetest reward.
One Tournament Away From Stardom
As one of the longest standing cores of Counter-Strike, forZe constantly believed in their chemistry and perspectives of the game that could finally reap the rewards at IEM Fall. Bringing in zorte and KENSI has provided the extra steps to truly be feared internationally. Constantly playing as a gatekeeping team into the Tier 1 space, forZe now currently hold their Major spot in their own hands as the fifth and final team in the standings. In their group lies their hungriest threat in Virtus.Pro who desperately need a playoff run to overtake the longstanding core. Only two spots are available for playoff and RMR point qualification. With Gambit also in a threatening position and dangerous challengers like K23 also waiting in the wings, the arduous task of braving IEM Fall will truly be a trial by fire for Jerry’s men. Qualification, immortalization within the game, and prestige galore, IEM Fall means everything to forZe.
Notable Teams @ IEM Fall Europe
Slumping Further and Further
IEM Cologne Finalists, G2, felt like they were unstoppable at the end of their season. However, a splash of cold realization hit the international team smack in the face at EPL Season 14. Going out in a stunning winless group stage in which they were clearly the favorites to potentially win the title, let alone get out of the groups, left serious cause for concern heading into their BLAST Fall Group. Things started off well for the Samurai as they handled MIBR with ease 2-0. But the hauntings of EPL returned against the top teams of the world as G2 were eliminated at the hands of both NiP and BIG in another shocking fashion. IEM Fall have the internationally lauded roster back on LAN to replicate the success they had in Germany. Be it psychological, chemically, or tactically, G2 must turn things around if they are to truly contend for Stockholm. Disappearances from both AmaNEk and huNter continuously left NiKo out to dry throughout BLAST and will be necessary to return to their winning ways. Confidence and RMR points remain on the brain for nexa’s crew throughout their next LAN tribulation.
Risen From Tier 2’s Ashes
Prior to the end of the competitive season, FunPlus Phoenix found mild successes at the top of the Counter-Strike scene at IEM Summer and Flashpoint 3. However, much of their return to professional play has been met with fierce competition from across the Tier 2 of Europe. Teams like MAD Lions, Dignitas, and SKADE, all managed to nab the better of STYKO and co throughout the various cups they have attended thus far. Now emi must be able to reorient the Phoenixes back to winning ways against the best if they wish to comfortably lock in their Major spot. However, Group A continues to have tall tasks all around FPX with BIG, mousesports, and G2 all vying for the mere two spots in the playoffs. Any and all RMR points that the international roster can manage will definitely be worth its weight in gold but how much they can truly contend for will be a sight to see.
New Faces, New Challenges
IEM Cologne was one of the last hurrahs in Astralis’ 4-time Major winning lineup as they impossibly managed to reach the semifinals of one of the most prestigious events of the year. Now the organization decided to bite the bullet on a new Danish AWPer and turned to Lucky as the new replacement. The former prodigy within the Tier 2 scene was faced with the worst trial by fire at EPL Season 14 and sadly could not keep up with the dominant Heroic and Vitality throughout their group stage. But the indications at their BLAST Group suggests the acclimations of Lucky seem to be coming together quickly. Eliminating the reigniting Liquid through snappy flicks and stoic site holds, Lucky and Astralis could be poised to be a threat at IEM Fall. The Danes currently sit at the middle of the pack as gla1ve returns to set his sights on a whopping fifth Major title for his massive trophy cabinet. Domestic derbies and international threats galore, Group B will be another daunting task for the new looks of Astralis…how will the mastermind of CS:GO face up against the upcoming stars among them?
Making Up For Lost Time
Struggles continue for the Juggernaut after the crushing news that k0nfig had a debilitating wrist injury. Bringing in NaToSaphiX as a stand-in certainly did not make any of the situations easier going into EPL Season 14. However, against all odds the team was able to qualify for the playoffs and even push the finalists of Vitality to 3 maps. Now bringing in world-class Brazilian superstar coldzera alongside his former coach peacemaker, the Juggernaut are retooled once more to overtake the last few teams in front of them in order to lock in qualification. The reignition of poizon’s monster statistics remained a forefront in their success at BLAST and will be a major key for the team to reach the playoffs once more. More importantly, jks also found a revival throughout the last two events and still has the potential to take over games in difficult positions no less. On the cusp of overcoming the continued strife, Complexity looks to bring their Brazilian compatriots up to speed and take IEM Fall by the horns.
Changing the RMR Track Record
One of the most inconsistent European teams in OG now must quell their track record at RMRs before it is too late. While 2020’s runs for the squad went according to plan, Flashpoint 3 this year had a stark last place elimination for them instead. IEM Cologne and BLAST Fall Groups also met OG with more failed qualifications and leaves the team pondering the successes of IEM Summer’s second place finish. Multiple tenured talents from valde to aleksib know exactly what it takes to perform in a Major-contending team and will be important in rallying the true stars of OG: flameZ and mantuu. The lower pressured difficulties of Group C may leave a false sense of security to the squad heading into IEM Fall, but the prowling of Sprout, Dignitas, ENCE, and MAD Lions all remain to spoil the security of OG at Stockholm. While Vitality is sitting peachy keen from their successes, the ultimate do or die lies with the international challengers of OG.
Last Chance Saloon For the Veterans
Legends of the game who have nearly attended every Major the game has had to offer like olofmeister, rain, and karrigan, could be suddenly eliminated from competing at Stockholm during IEM Fall. Abysmal showings at Flashpoint 3 and the RMRs of last year leave FaZe at a shocking 15th place on the current European Standings. In order to qualify for the biggest tournament of the year, a deep playoff run or a 5th place finish remains a must. The silver linings of IEM Fall taking place on LAN will surely rejuvenate the squad’s chances…especially after IEM Cologne’s massive return to form. FaZe also most recently managed to qualify for the Fall LAN Finals for BLAST which may also provide much needed motivation after EPL Season 14’s snub from the playoffs. Regardless of the successes, the pressure remains the highest for some of the most experienced veterans across the globe. Will another redemption run be on the cards for FaZe? Or may the dreams be dashed of the hungry young guns, Twistzz and broky?
Notable Teams @ IEM Fall Oceania
Domination or Heartbreak?
The race for the one and only spot for Oceania at the Major remains razor thin. The region’s ultimate favorites of Renegades are a tournament away from returning to the international stage after a heartbreaking resignment from EPL Season 14. INS’ men showed up at IEM Cologne after qualifying for the main event in incredible fashion by eliminating OG. Even pushing the eventual champions of Natus Vincere, the Aussies showed class throughout their LAN appearance and launched new excitement for their appearance at EPL. However, after a denial of visas, the boys had to refocus within the region itself and take part of DH Open September instead. Qualifying for the EPL Season 15 Conference in emphatic fashion, now the Renegades hotly anticipate their final domestic tournament to qualify for the Stockholm Major. Now the only true threat that may become a final hurdle can only be ORDER.
A New Face of Oceania?
True competition for the Renegades never really remained within Oceania. However, slowly building up a portfolio of another dominating Australian squad, ORDER suddenly gained on the champions of the region by defeating them at the EPIC League RMR. The veterans of the roster, USTILO and Rickeh, had found an effective core to mold after the departure of aliStair. Now ORDER along with Valiance and Vexite may be able to nab the only spot at Stockholm right under the Renegades noses. However, after the couple of series wins that the Aussies were able to win over their domestic counterparts, the records have not been the kindest to them. Having to snap a nearly 4 series win streak from Renegades against them, ORDER would have to not only quell the beast of the region but do it in the most pressured tournament yet. IEM Fall Oceania will now house the culmination of the Australian rivalry in an emphatic fashion. Who will remain the victors?
Notable Teams @ IEM Fall South America
South America’s Respected
The first half of MIBR’s 2021 was a fantastic one for the Brazilians as they seemed in pole position to take the only spot at the Stockholm Major. Winning the first season of Elite League and having opportunities to compete in Europe, everything fell into place for yel and co. However, after being met with some of the stiffest competition yet, the morale continued to slip for MIBR. Many tournaments found the Brazilians losing massive leads and disappearances of both boltz and chelo. Returning to South America for the second season of Elite League, a minor slip-up against the Sharks now leaves the standings completely up in the air. A mere 50 points separates the two squads and creates a frenetic IEM Fall for the two teams. The respected core of MIBR who thought a Major spot would be all but secured now must dig deep and salvage their hopes of Stockholm with the same domination they showcased at Elite League Season 1.
South America’s Hungry
Always on the fringes of international Counter-Strike, the Sharks continued having their dreams crushed time after time. The constant poaching of their stars like leo_drk and exit led much of the world to believe that whatever remained would fall by the wayside. But continued efforts from jnt now shows a reinvented Sharks roster that could run it all the way back to a Major spot. Lucaozy and zevy both remain hard hitters for the now completely Brazilian lineup and gritted down an EPL Season 15 Conference spot earlier by winning DreamHack Open September. Confidence now remains at an all-time high for jnt’s young men. Only a couple series remain before the Sharks slay the giants of MIBR and herald themselves as the new champions of South America. Can the hungriest of South America snatch away a Major spot while shifting the region’s guard simultaneously?