Intel Extreme Masters XV New York Preview

by in CS:GO | Oct, 6th 2020

Online CSGO events have another major entry! The grandiose Intel Extreme Masters XV event initially scheduled for New York is coming back as a set of lucrative online events. We’ll get to enjoy three separate competitions, European, American, and CIS, with a total of 32 contestants. Our IEM XV New York preview will give you a closer look at the most important names and guide you through everything noteworthy about the event(s).

Don’t forget: This is only the first of two IEM events scheduled before the Global Challenge LAN tournament in December. Still, online events might not be as spectacular as their LAN counterparts, but they do have their charm… especially in times like these when LAN events are out of the equation… for the most part.

That said, let’s start our IEM XV New York preview off with the most interesting facts!

IEM XV New York Preview | Interesting Facts

Intel Extreme Masters XV New York will feature three regional events:

  • American
  • European
  • CIS

CIS and American installments pack the biggest punch in terms of contestants. The European event, on the other hand, lacks several top tier names. We’re mainly referring to Astralis, who are just coming from a massively successful ESL Pro League campaign.

The total prize pool amounts to a whopping $250,000, distributed in the following way:

Prize Pool Distribution

  • $140,000 in total prize money for the European event
  • $60,000 in total prize money for the American event
  • $50,000 in total prize money for the CIS event

Tournament(s) Format

CIS and American IEM XV New York events have the same format. Each features twelve teams divided into two groups of six. Two round-robin groups, mind you, all teams play against each other once in bo3 matchups. Top six teams (three from each group) advance to the playoffs where we’re looking at a dynamic single-elimination bracket.

The European event features only eight teams but still divided into two stages. The group stage consists of two groups with four teams and only best of three matches. The groups are played in a double-elimination system with the two best teams from each group advancing to the playoffs. The playoffs bring forth the ultimate knockout gameplay – single elimination bracket Bo3s in the semis, and grandiose best of five grand finale.

IEM XV New York Preview | Team Overviews

Welcome to the main section of our IEM XV New York preview! Welcome to the section in which we’ll thoroughly dissect the key competing teams. We’re not just going to focus on the biggest event, EU, but on all three of them. There are excellent teams across the board, so it would be unfair to focus on a single iteration.

That said, let’s kick things off with the old continent!

European Event

As mentioned earlier, Astralis is the biggest team that’s not competing on the European installment of IEM XV New York. They won’t sweat it too much, though, seeing as they’ve won ESL Pro League S12 just last week. Still, Europe doesn’t lack proper contenders. G2, Heroic, and Vitality are the big boys here, although the rest of the pack isn’t far off either. There’s Faze, BIG… heck; even Fnatic could be a threat if they start snowballing early on.


Vitality needs a good result here! They’ve won just three of their last eight matches and are yet to win an event in 2020! As I said, they desperately need a good result here, and by a good result, I mean a trophy! They did come close on three occasions. CS_ Summit 6, ESL One Cologne, and BLAST Premier Spring. ZywOo and the boys lost in the grand finals of all three events and will be looking to break that bad spell here.

However, it won’t be that easy! They’re in group A with G2, Fnatic, and Complexity. Form-wise, they should be battling it out with G2 for the top spot. However, Fnatic and Complexity are both tough contestants. The latter is still a relative enigma since they’re yet to announced their fifth man following oBo’s recent departure.


HuNter and nexa are still playing at an admirable level even though G2 as a whole has sunken to a whole new low. A disastrous ESL Pro League S12 prompted G2 to at least consider another roster mixup. Faze Clan’s star boy, NiKo, is rumored to be Ocelote’s newest acquisition. That would make G2 a fully-fledged Balkan squad with nexa, and the Kovač cousins, NiKo and HuNter.

As for the IEM XV New York preview, G2 is a part of group A where they’ll square off against Vitality, Fnatic and Complexity. With in-form huNter and nexa, G2 poses a big threat, but realistically speaking, anyone could go through this group, especially if Complexity makes a good signing in the next 24ish hours.


Who said that the best Danish team wouldn’t be competing in this event? No, I haven’t gone mad. According to HLTV, Heroic is the best Danish team at the moment. More precisely, Heroic is the best team in the world. And it’s nothing surprising since HLTV’s system tracks teams’ most recent campaigns. We all know Heroic’s been the most consistent team out there. Third place on ESL Pro League, ESL One Cologne title, second place on DH Open Summer, and fourth place on CS:_ Summit 6. If that’s not the epitome of consistency, I don’t know what is.

Everything seems to be aligning perfectly for cadiaN and the Danes. They’re all, more or less, pulling their fair share of weight except perhaps b’RUP, who’s been struggling lately. It’s nothing alarming (yet), but he’ll have to improve if he’s to remain in the starting roster.

American Event

The American event will be a three-way battle between the region’s most dominant sides from the looks of things. Evil Geniuses, FURIA, and Team Liquid are the culprits. They’ve established an era of dominance. No other team can come close to their level. Which of them has the best chances of winning this event? Let’s find out in the following section of our IEM XV New York preview!

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses were just two wins away from winning their fourth consecutive title. 100 Thieves took them by surprise in the semifinals to get stomped by FURIA in the finals. EG players have nothing to be ashamed of, though. With three consecutive titles, you can’t say they’ve done anything bad.

They’ve been nothing but exceptional during these last three months or so; that has to be pointed out. However, they have a tough task ahead of them. A team of EG’s caliber doesn’t want to have to go through the quarterfinals’ drama, which means they’ll be aiming for the top spot. FURIA won’t give up on that spot easily, that’s for sure!

That said, I reckon the third-round encounter between the two is most likely to decide the group winner. But, who knows, considering the chaotic nature of online events, IEM XV New York American group stage could pack a different storyline.


The mighty Brazilians are back! MIBR who? Jokes aside, FURIA is back in business fellas! They’ve added another trophy to their 2020 collection. They’re now sitting at three notable events, but have had a couple of close encounters earlier this year. Overall, with MIBR out of the equation, I reckon everyone involved in FURIA (including their hardcore fans) is satisfied with the way things have been going.

HEN1 developed into FURIA’s most important player. KSCERATO and yuurih are right behind him, bringing forth the much-needed consistency to the tale. FURIA is in group A with EG, Imperium, Triumph, Rebirth, and New England Whalers. On paper, FURIA shouldn’t have any issues here… especially knowing their map pool. But still, they’ll want to finish at the top spot to qualify straight through to the semifinals. It won’t be easy with EG in the mix, that’s for sure!

Team Liquid

I guess we have to say a thing or two about Team Liquid as well. Even though grim’s been doing just fine, Team Liquid is failing to meet people’s expectations. And it serves them right after being the most consistent team in the region in the summer of 2019. But, it’s as if Twistzz and the rest of the lineup are sick and tired of winning. They look lethargic at times, unimpressive and outright uninterested.

They won’t make it far in this event with such an attitude. After all, they are in group B with 100 Thieves, Team One, Chaos Esports, RBG and Mythic. While RBG and Mythic shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, 100 Thieves and Chaos Esports sure will. Team One can be dangerous. If the Brazilians show consistency against RBG and Mythic, they might make it through to the playoffs assuming they beat the boys in blue in the opening round.

CIS Event

Last but not least, let’s talk about the CIS event. Usually, when we’re looking at CIS events, they tend to have by far the lowest prize pool. While they have the lowest prize pool here, the difference is miniature, non-existent almost.

Natus Vincere is the obvious heavy favorite, but the likes of Team Spirit, who are coming off a solid campaign, and will be solid contenders. Can S1mple and the boys snatch their next trophy?

Natus Vincere

Even though they lost against Astralis in the ESL Pro League grand finals, in what was one of the best matches this season, NaVi are in great form! S1mple and electronic are playing well, and the rest of the team (usually) follows in their footsteps.

NaVi won’t have that level of competitiveness in this event. After all, they’re by far the most dominant side in the region and shouldn’t (at least theoretically) have issues with any of the competing teams. But, need I remind you of NaVi’s tendencies to bottle CIS events?

Remember their ESL One: Road to Rio CIS heartbreak. They got eliminated in the group stage following losses against, Syman, and Hard Legion. I’m trying to say that they’re not invincible. Knowing the passion CIS teams bring to the table, we might see a surprise after all.

Team Spirit

Team Spirit ought to be the No. 1 contender for an upset on the CIS event. They’re coming off a solid ESL Pro League campaign where they got eliminated by Astralis early on in the knockout stage. It’s a good result considering that Spirit was labeled as one of the outsiders before the tournament had even started.

As far as CIS events go, Team Spirit is right up there with NaVi. Heck, remember that ESL One: Road to Rio event NaVi got eliminated in the group stage… guess who was the winner in the end… yep, Team Spirit. Individually, they’re not the strongest bunch out there, but mir continues to show exceptional performances match in and match out. If he keeps it up, I wouldn’t be surprised if NaVi goes ahead and try to snatch him.

Wrapping Things Up

European and American events start Tuesday, Oct. 6, but the European installment will end on Sunday, Oct. 11. The American event will be a bit longer until Oct. 18), which is understandable considering the participating teams’ difference.

The CIS event starts a week later from Oct. 13-25. That’s because European and American BLAST Premier Fall seasons start on Oct. 22, which means October will be packed with CSGO action from start to finish. Let’s hope the IEM Global Challenge in December lives up to the hype.


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