IEM Sydney’s Group A Raring to Go

The world of Counter-Strike Esports has been anticipating how the sport would evolve with the long-awaited release of the next game in the series Counter-Strike 2.

Fans no longer have to wait to find out as 16 of the world’s best Counter-Strike teams descend upon Sydney, Australia, for the 2023 IEM Sydney Counter-Strike 2 tournament.

The tournament’s group stage is just a couple of days away as teams prepare for the first round of the play, which will begin with a high stakes Best-of-1 match. The Group Stage is double elimination, so a loss doesn’t end a team’s tournament but will put them in serious jeopardy right off the bat.

MOUZ vs. VERTEX Esports Club

  • When: Sunday, October 15th – 8 PM ET
  • Odds: MOUZ (-800) vs. Team Vertrex (+475)

MOUZ finished off the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive era of the sport with a massive win at the ESL Pro League Season 18, taking down Natus Vincere in the Grand Finals in a dominant 3-0.

They look to start the Counter-Strike 2 era off with a bang at IEM Sydney. Their first opponent is VERTEX Esports Club, who won the IEM Sydney 2023: Oceanic Qualifier a couple of months ago.

They had an impressive tournament, only losing a single map across three matches, and will look to shock the world on Sunday.

Natus Vincere vs. Apeks

  • When: Sunday, October 15th – 8 PM ET
  • Odds: Natus Vincere (-218) vs. Apeks (+167)

Natus Vincere enters the new era of Counter-Strike coming off a tough loss to MOUZ in the Grand Finals of the ESL Pro League Season 18. They’ll be facing off against Apeks, who had a much different time at the ESL Pro League, being unable to make it out of Group C.

These two teams even faced off at the Pro League, with Natus Vincere taking the match 2-0. Apeks will be seeking revenge, and if they can pull it off, they’ll capture the attention of the international Counter-Strike community.

FaZe Clan vs. GamerLegion

  • When: October 15th – 9:15 PM ET
  • Odds: FaZe Clan (-225) vs. GamerLegion (+165)

FaZe Clan is currently the 10th-best team in Counter-Strike according to the ESL World Rankings and hopes to find continued success in the Counter-Strike 2 era of the sport.

Their last few tournaments saw them take 9th place finishes at ESL Pro League, Games8, and IEM Cologne. They hope to kickstart the new game with a better performance in Sydney. They’ll face off against the 11th-ranked team in the ESL World Rankings in GamerLegion.

Though GamerLegion had a worse showing at the Pro League compared to FaZe, they had better performances than FaZe at Gamers8 and IEM Cologne. This should be a fun and competitive match that no Counter-Strike fan will want to miss.

Team Vitality vs. BetBoom Team

  • When: October 15th – 9:15 PM ET
  • Odds: Team Vitality (-230) vs. BetBoom Team (+175)

Team Vitality had a solid end to CS:GO by winning the Gamers8 tournament, coming in 5th at the ESL Pro League, and sitting at the top of the ESL World Rankings at the end of the game’s lifespan.

They look to bring their reign to the sequel, where their first challenger will be the BetBoom Team. BetBoom Tam is a Russian squad that has had limited success, only finding a top finish in the IEM Sydney: European Qualifiers, where they came in 2nd to Apeks.

They enter IEM Sydney with only five events under their belts as an organization. They’ll hope to catch Team Vitality in the opening best of 1 and put the world on notice.