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IEM is back down under. The Intel Extreme Masters tour takes place in lots of different cities around the world and even the most dedicated fan will tell you that some work better than others.

It’s now four years since Intel Extreme Masters hosted a tournament in Australia, and that seems like a great shame when you consider the atmosphere at previous events. We’re just weeks away from the IEM Fall Tournament though, and plenty of Counter-Strike fans are licking their lips at what the tournament may have in store.

Could Sydney See the CS2 Launch For IEM?

Is it time for CS2 to take over from CS:GO? This will inevitably happen, and the shift is already underway in the scene as the pro players get to grips with the updated version of the game.

Gamblers will be waiting and wondering whether the main tournament will be played on CS2 or whether they’re going to stick with CS:GO. Thunderpick’s CS2 betting site provides markets on the latest CS2 tournaments and even provides coverage of the events, so whether the tournament is played on CS:GO or CS2 those who want to gamble on the outcome will be covered.

The gambling scene for Counter-Strike could be hugely impacted by the switch as some teams may adapt to the faster pace, new map, and shorter game time better than others, which could even lead to some upsets. Private servers for Counter-Strike games may be able to hit even higher speeds than before as the tick rate for the game is boosted, which players will adapt best?

A representative of IEM, Graeme Du Toit, was interviewed by Dexerto.com and confirmed CS2 will play some part: “CS2 will be part of the event obviously, even if it’s free for play like in DreamHack Melbourne, Dallas we had a show match.”

There’s $100,000 at stake for the winners of the tournament and a total prize pot of $250,000, plus the big-name teams will draw a lot of audiences to the Sydney venues as the 16 teams get ready to do battle.

Heroic and Astralis aren’t going to be there even though they were invited, so some of the Aussie fans might be disappointed in that regard, but there are still eight of HLTV’s top 10 CS:GO teams attending including Ence, Vitality, FaZe, Cloud9, Fnatic, and GamerLegion, plus some outsiders who have got to the tournament through qualifiers, including Lynn Vision and Bet Boom. The teams who triumphed in those qualifiers will be outside bets with the CS2 gambling scene as they are relative unknowns.

Why The Sydney Return Made Sense

There are lots of reasons why the Counter-Strike tour hasn’t been there in recent years, and there were restrictions around traveling to Australia for a long time in a few strange years for the industry.

But you can sum up the reason for the return to Aus in one word; Atmosphere. Those Australian crowds are raucous and lead to an amazing experience, this year at the Aware Super Theatre.

The atmosphere was brilliant in 2017-2019 when SK, FaZe, and Liquid won the tournaments, Jkaem once said that the crowd was so loud and excited that he couldn’t hear the bomb being defused. IEM crowds don’t get much better than the Australian ones.

Another reason why the return made a lot of sense is the unique tie-in with SXSW that is happening this year, as people who have tickets for the festival will be able to attend some of the IEM showdown events.

What Happened Last Time in Sydney?

Last time we saw a thrilling finale and an amazing tournament, Liquid beat Fnatic 3-2 in the final to scoop that $100,000 prize.

NRG, MIBR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Mouz all performed well but didn’t quite make it to that coveted final. In the 2019 tournament, Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken was named the MVP when he was representing Liquid and led them to the win in the tournament. He’s won plenty in his role with FaZe since he jumped ship to represent another of Counter-Strike’s biggest teams. FaZe is one of the teams that are hoping to do big things at IEM Sydney 2023 and go further this time in Australia.

Conclusion

There are plenty of unknowns in this tournament including whether it’ll be played out on CS:GO or CS2, but having seen some events in the city before, we do know it’ll be an amazing finals. This is how IEM events should be, with packed-out crowds, and 16 top teams going head to head and displaying their skills. Oh, and a crowd going wild as well. It’s a sell-out in Sydney but fans all over the world will be able to watch live streams of the fixtures.

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