IEM Sydney Analysis and Predictions

Intel Extreme Masters Sydney is high-level CS:GO event scheduled to take place in Sydney, Australia between May 1st  and May 6th. The tournament brings together 16 teams from all over the world including many of the very best and has a prize pool of $250.000.

Teams and event format

For the Group Stage, the teams will be divided into 2 groups of 8.

Group A:

  • SK Gaming
  • Legacy Esports
  • Renegades
  • Cloud9
  • FaZe Clan
  • Grayhound Gaming
  • TyLoo

Group B:

  • Fnatic
  • NRG Esports
  • Astralis
  • G2 Esports
  • MVP PK
  • mousesports
  • O.O.T-dream[S]cape
  • Chiefs eSports Club

Each of these groups will be played in a double-elimination bracket format (GSL). The 1st placed team in both groups advances to the Semifinals. The 2nd and 3rd placed teams advance to the first round of the Playoffs.

The Playoffs will be played in a single-elimination bracket format and every match will be a Bo3 series with the exception of the Grand Final (Bo5).

Prize pool

The prize pool of Intel Extreme Masters Sydney will be divided among participating teams in the following way:

  • 1st place: $100,000
  • 2nd place: $42,000
  • 3rd – 4th place: $20,000
  • 5th – 6th place: $10,000
  • 7th – 8th place: $6,000
  • 9th – 12th place: $5,000
  • 13th – 16th place: $4,000

Betting tips

Here are some betting considerations for this event:

The best teams

Going into Intel Extreme Masters Sydney, there are 4 teams which will almost certainly advance to the Playoffs and get a top placement. These teams are Astralis, Fnatic, mousesports and FaZe Clan. Until they start encountering each other, these sides are likely to demolish all opposition. In particular, Astralis is by far the strongest of them and will likely make it all the way to the Grand Final. Few teams can stand up to it in its current form.


Intel Extreme Masters Sydney has many participants that haven’t done anything notable at the international level and in premium tournaments. These teams will likely get destroyed by the top contenders. Among them, I would mention Legacy Esports, Grayhound Gaming, B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape, and Chiefs eSports Club.

Don’t put your hopes on SK Gaming

SK Gaming dominated CS:GO for two years and then collapsed for a number of reasons. Ultimately, TACO left the team and joined Team Liquid, being replaced by Stewie2K from Cloud9. At the moment, SK Gaming is a mere shadow of its 2017 self and has to rebuild its entire strategy in order to integrate Stewie2K in its lineup. Many people have criticized the new SK roster, pointing out that although it has a lot of talented individuals, there’s little synergy between them and as a whole, the team feels like a Soccer squad with 5 strikers, no defenders and no goalkeeper.

At Intel Extreme Masters Sydney, SK Gaming will likely qualify for the Playoffs, but I don’t see them beating any of the other 5 teams that will probably be there as well.

Bet on SK Gaming only in its matches against weak sides and expect a lot of volatile results from it.

Magister Ludi
Magister Ludi