IEM Winter 2021

Gambit Slight Fave to Win IEM Winter

Another major CS:GO LAN is just around the corner, with IEM Winter kicking off at the start of December. The event marks the start of ESL’s winter season, which will continue providing high-level competition into 2022.

Like all IEM events, there is an impressive prize pool on the line, although the most important thing for players will be the ESL Pro Tour points. Teams are able to earn points based on their performances at ESL events such as this one, which leads to securing qualification to some of the biggest tournaments in the game. As such, every single spot at this event matters and there won’t be a single game that isn’t worth watching.

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 Winter?

There will be 16 teams battling it out at IEM Winter. It’s a mostly European competition, with 13 European sides, as well as two from North America and one from Asia. Most teams were invited based on their performances over the year, though some teams such as Fnatic, ENCE and Tyloo had to get through grueling qualifiers to secure their spots.

Favorite Gambit headlines the event, but all signs point to it being a close one, with Vitality, G2 Esports and Heroic being some of the other teams who are in with a solid shot at taking it. Overall, the event features most of the best teams in the world (other than Na’Vi) and it will definitely be a competitive one.

It will be played out in a usual IEM format, starting with two double-elimination groups of eight teams. This means that once a team loses two matches in their group, they are out. Meanwhile, the top three of each group advance to the playoffs, with the undefeated team getting a seed straight to the semifinals.

The playoffs themselves will be very simple, with six teams battling it out in a single-elimination bracket.

Odds to Win IEM Winter 2021
Team Odds
Gambit +250
Team Vitality +275
G2 Esports +333
Heroic +500
Ninjas in Pyjamas +800
FaZe Clan +1400
Astralis +1500
Fnatic +1500 +2000
ENCE +3300
Team Liquid +3300
OG +3300
BIG +5000
Mouz +5000
Godsent +20000
Tyloo +50000

Odds as of November 23 at Sportsbook

Gambit Aims to Claim First Big LAN Win

Gambit enters the event as the slight favorite, coming in hot off of their amazing year, as well as a win at the V4 Future Sports Festival. It’s no surprise to see them so highly rated, as the team is clearly one of the best in the world.

However, Gambit’s biggest weakness is definitely their lack of LAN experience, especially at the biggest events. The team is made up of four youngsters who have only broken into the top tier this year and so far they’ve only played three LAN events this year, only two of which were premium events.

So, despite their amazing gameplay, there is an element of inexperience which does mean they’re not a clear favorite. That being said, they still do have the skills to take down every team at IEM Winter, so it will just come down to how well they can deal with the environment on the day.


Key Roster Changes Come Into Play At IEM Winter

IEM Winter comes at a strange time in CS:GO. Following the year’s biggest event, the Stockholm Major, some teams are looking to make changes in their rosters. This means we’ll see some new faces in some squads, while others may be in for a last hurrah.

Some of the biggest changes come for the biggest teams. Astralis, most notably, has brought in Konfig and BlameF, Ninjas in Pyjamas signed on Estag, and G2 is in the market for a new coach.

There are also a few rumors floating around, which, while not yet confirmed, could very well affect the event. Second favorite Vitality is reportedly looking to replace two players and their coach, while Liquid’s whole roster may be going their separate ways.

All in all, this event will definitely be different from ones we’ve seen recently. There will be some new sides that haven’t really had time to jell, as well as teams who know that changes will be coming in the future. All this could lead to some unpredictable results.

Are Fnatic The Next Rising Stars?

We saw Gambit kick off the year with a meteoric rise, going from a second-tier team to top of the Counter-Strike world in just a few short months. Some other teams like Copenhagen Flames and Entropic have also impressed, but there may be a new star on the horizon.

Fnatic has been fielding a new lineup since mid-October, and they look to be the best iteration of the legendary team for a long time. Since being formed, the current squad have won 12 series in a row, including dropping just one map in their last 18.

They’ve managed to pick up wins against strong sides like BIG, ENCE and Copenhagen Flames and look to be one of the hottest teams right now. However, their biggest test will come at IEM Winter, as the in-form lineup will face some of the world’s best.