Just over a week after the conclusion of the PGL Major Antwerp, the next big Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament of the year will take place: IEM Dallas. Of the 16 teams competing, it’ll be a quick turnaround for 13 that were just at the Major, including the winner, FaZe Clan. Not only do they have just over a week to prepare but with the tournament happening in North America, it’ll be a major time zone adjustment for these teams.
Besides Flashpoint Season 1 which moved online after one week due to the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, this will be the first major CS:GO LAN in North America since the Esports Championship Series Season 8 finals in November 2019. The last IEM event in North America was IEM Chicago in July 2019. Suffice it to say, it has been a while since a big CS:GO tournament was held in the U.S. To get you ready for IEM Dallas, here’s everything you need to know about the schedule and format, teams competing and storylines to watch.
Schedule and format
The 16 teams competing at IEM Dallas have been placed in two groups of eight. The teams in each group will be placed in a double elimination bracket with two teams from the upper bracket and one from the lower bracket proceeding to the playoffs.
Six teams will compete in the playoffs, which will be a single elimination bracket. The top team from each group will be placed in the semifinals and will be one win away from reaching the final.
Photo credit: PGL
- FaZe Clan
- FURIA Esports
- G2 Esports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Vitality
- Team Liquid
- Complexity Gaming
- Imperial Esports
- Movistar Riders
Storylines to watch
Which six teams will reach the playoffs?
Looking at the groups, Group A looks to be a bit tougher than Group B. FaZe and ENCE -- two of the top three teams in the world, according to HLTV’s latest rankings -- are in Group A and should make it to the playoffs. G2, Team Vitality and Astralis will likely fight for the third playoff spot out of Group A and G2 should make it through.
In Group B, it’ll likely be FURIA, Cloud9, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Heroic fighting for three spots. FURIA have a tough opening matchup against fellow Brazilian team Imperial. If they lose to Imperial, then they’ll be relegated to the lower bracket and have a tougher time moving on, clearing the way for C9, NIP and Heroic to reach the playoffs.
Can anyone stop FaZe from winning another title?
Photo credit: PGL
Fresh off winning the Antwerp Major, FaZe will look to win their fourth consecutive S-tier CS:GO tournament. NAVI couldn’t make it to IEM Dallas due to visa issues, which makes FaZe’s road to another title easier. They do have ENCE and G2 to contend with though, and they’re in the same group as those two teams. FaZe have lost only five times since the start of IEM Katowice, and two of those were against ENCE, so if there’s one team who might stop them, it’s ENCE.
It’s possible FaZe have a bit of Major hangover, especially considering the short turnaround from Antwerp to Dallas. Still, given how dominant they’ve been this year, anything short of reaching the final would be a surprising result.
Can Imperial follow up their surprising performance in Antwerp with another strong showing?
Imperial were the Cinderella team of the PGL Major Antwerp. The Brazilian “Last Dance” team reached the Legends Stage and were one win away from qualifying for the Champions Stage playoff bracket. If they can beat fellow Brazilian team FURIA in their opening matchup, they would likely face Cloud9 (whom they beat in Antwerp) next. Imperial proved they were legit in Antwerp, so don’t be surprised if they make it out of their group and into the playoffs in Dallas.
Will a North American team rise to the occasion on home soil?
Photo credit: Dreamhack
Group B is where both NA teams (Team Liquid and Complexity) at this tournament have been placed. Team Liquid is ranked 13th in the world according to HLTV and is the most likely NA team to advance to the playoffs. However, after going 0-3 in the Legends Stage of the Antwerp Major, there’s reason to be skeptical of how far they can go. They’ll have a tough opening matchup against Cloud9 too.
Three years ago around Memorial Day, Team Liquid won Dreamhack Dallas at the Kay Bailey Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Maybe history will repeat itself? Three-fifths of TL’s roster are the same as 2019: Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Keith "NAF" Markovic. Of course, times have changed and TL are no longer at the top of CS:GO, but perhaps TL can rise to the occasion on home soil.
Lead photo credit: Alexander Dumon / ESPAT