IEM Cologne 2021 has already thrown up a few shocks, with G2 Esports and NaVi advancing to the CS:GO esports event semifinals. Virtus.pro vs. Astralis and Gambit vs. FaZe Clan will compete in the quarterfinal elimination brackets.
IEM Cologne Playoffs
The six teams dueling it out in the playoffs are vying for a prize pool of $400,000. Fans observed both team and individual player tactical maneuvering during the group and elimination stages. Players and viewers should expect a more dramatic and entertaining playoff experience.
The return of LAN tournaments to the CS:GO esports industry is marked by IEM Cologne, and the six remaining teams are ready to make their mark. Tournament favorites such as Evil Geniuses and Bad News Bears were eliminated in the group stages. After a poor start to the competition, Team Liquid also dropped out.
On Friday, two quarterfinal matches will begin. The action will continue on Saturday with a tense semifinal matchup between G2 Esports and Natus Vincere, the champions of the quarterfinal playoffs with unbeaten group stage winners.
Favorites in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals
Gambit and Natus Vincere were clear favorites for the 2021 event before the IEM Cologne playoffs. The EPIC League CIS RMR, IEM Summer 2021, and the BLAST Spring Finals all featured these teams in the grand finals of recent CS:GO esports competitions.
On Inferno, Gambit, who shone at IEM Katowice, was beaten early by mousesports. This raises the question of whether the LAN environment is harder than the online context. FaZe, the only team to make it to the playoffs from the play-in stage, now meets Gambit, one of the tournament favorites.
Other well-known brands, such as Vitality and BIG, were also successful. They’ll hope to advance to the semi-finals by defeating Gambit, who had a stellar performance at IEM Cologne. The winner of the match between Gambit and FaZe will face NaVi. While NaVi fell in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals event to Gambit, the offline environment was quite different.
After an outstanding performance in the group stages, G2 Esports, which finished third in BLAST Premier, is playing with confidence. They swept BIG, demolished Complexity, and silenced Gambit to reach the semifinals of IEM Cologne undefeated so far.
G2 must prepare its armor in anticipation of the winner of the Virtus.pro vs. Astralis match. Virtus.pro is eager to extend their winning streak in the quarterfinals after two incredible comebacks. VP, the third seed from Group A, advanced from the lower bracket to the quarterfinals and is preparing to upset Group B’s second seed. When Astralis was beaten by NaVI in the quarterfinals, they were denied an automatic spot in the semis.
The G2 and NaVI are the new favorites for the championship, based on their recent form and performances. A Sunday grand final between Nikola “NiKo” Kova and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, undoubtedly the strongest players for IEM Cologne thus far, is a possibility. Teams that win the quarterfinal playoffs on Friday should put on a show for the CS:GO gaming community.