Counter-Strike competition is heating up in North America, with IEM Fall kicking off on October 5, giving teams one last chance to secure spots at the upcoming PGL Major.
This year’s Major is the first since August 2019 and Majors as a whole are the biggest events of the CSGO calendar. With such a large gap between the previous one and this one (due to Covid-19), the event is set to be one of the biggest and most important in the game’s history.
As such, qualifying for this Major is more important than ever and the pressure will be on for each and every team at the event. All the participants still have a shot at qualifying, so we can expect each match to be absolutely action-packed.
Make sure to check out our guide on how to bet on CS:GO and let’s take a look at the event in more detail.
Who’s Playing At IEM Fall NA?
Twelve of the best teams in North America will be battling it out at IEM Fall at the start of October. Team Liquid headline the event as undoubtedly the strongest team coming into it, however, we’ll also see strong sides like Extremum, Furia, Evil Geniuses, and Extra Salt, as well as up and comers like Triumph, ATK, and many more.
There are just five Major spots up for grabs for North America, meanwhile, only eight of the teams at this event have gathered up points so far. This means the top-end teams like Liquid, Furia, and Evil Geniuses are almost guaranteed a spot, while sides like Godsent and Team One will need a very strong result if they want to qualify.
However, despite being almost guaranteed spots, the favorites will still be giving it their all. This is because the top three teams from North America receive the ‘Legends Status’ - essentially a higher seed which means they skip the first round of play at the Major. It’s a huge bonus as it not only means skipping the very competitive first round, but also more time to practice and study opponents.
IEM Fall NA Tournament Format
Let’s also take a quick look at the tournament format. Teams first start in two groups of six and will play a single round-robin stage. This means each team plays the others in their group once, after which the top two from each group advance to a single-elimination playoff.
The event is slightly extended, as some tiebreaker matches have to be played due to points being on the line. This means that the two third-placed teams in each group play a tie-breaker for fifth place, and two playoff teams also play a third-place match.
|Bad News Bears||+5000|
Odds as of October 1 at Sportsbook
Liquid Look to Claim NA’s #1 Seed
Team Liquid look to be the strongest team in North America at the moment and will be aiming to secure North America’s top seed with a strong result here.
They enter IEM Fall off the back of a solid string of results, taking maps off of the best in the world like Gambit, Vitality, and Astralis, while also taking down regional rivals Furia and Evil Geniuses in recent events.
In fact, the last time Liquid lost to a team from North America was way back in May at cs_summit - an event they ended up winning anyway. It’s looking fairly unlikely that anyone in the region can stop them, however, all this also means they do have a target on their back and teams will be doing all they can to take them down.
All Eyes Are on Tight Legend Status Battle
One of the key things to note about IEM Fall in North America is the Legend Status battle. There are only three spots up for grabs, but based on the rankings so far, seven teams have a good shot at reaching one of those spots.
Liquid are the obvious favorites, as we’ve just covered, so really that leaves just two spots for six teams. Extremum, Furia, Evil Geniuses, and 00Nation lead the charge as they are ahead of the rest in points, however both Extra Salt and Pain Gaming could have something to say about it.
Most notably, Extra Salt are between 100-680 points away from their rivals, but are one of the hottest teams in the region. This means they’ll have to live up to expectations and likely secure a top-three finish for a Legend spot. Meanwhile, Extremum are currently #1 in the rankings, but are a bit of an unknown element going into the event.
Then we also have Furia and Evil Geniuses - two top teams who on a good day could easily make the finals, but on a bad one could even crash out last, and at this event even the difference between fourth and fifth could be game-changing.
All this means that every single game will be vital, the pressure will be higher than ever before for these teams, and all we can really do is wait and see which teams show up and in what kind of form.
What Can We Expect From The Underdogs?
We’ve talked about the top teams - but what about the underdogs? What can we expect from the likes of Bad News Bears, Triumph, and ATK?
Things are definitely looking tough for these teams. They’re obviously still very strong sides, they made it to IEM Fall after all, but the competition is simply a step above. None of these teams have had any notable results recently, with them being kicked out of qualifiers and events by Team One, Pain, and Extra Salt, never mind the big dogs like Liquid and Furia.
However, that being said, there is still a possibility we see some upsets. One of the biggest things that the underdogs have going for them is that the event starts with best of one group matches. This means that just one map decides a result (rather than the usual three map series), as such, all it could take for a win is a few new tricks and mastering just one or two maps.
It’s quite unlikely we’ll see many upsets as a whole at IEM Fall, but I could definitely see a couple of games going the way of the underdogs.