The group stage of IEM Summer has come and gone with upsets and firefights galore. The return of Evil Geniuses in the playoffs shocked the world with their first international deep run in almost an entire year. Vitality and OG finally gelled back into the playoffs after their respective playoff droughts and G2 have their best shot at winning a title in quite some time. A brand-new top six presents brand-new storylines and they converge to their inevitable crescendo at the IEM Summer Playoffs.
Quarterfinal 1: Gambit vs. Evil Geniuses
An unlikely first quarterfinal lies with Gambit and Evil Geniuses. Beginning with the Russian youngsters, Gambit had a turbulent group stage to say the least. The squad were upset by Vitality and nearly Complexity thanks to some troublesome T-side affairs from nafany’s roster. However, Gambit now return to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive time to collapse on the North Americans waiting in the wings. Evil Geniuses find themselves to be reinvigorated by the additions of MICHU and oBo after the team not only knocked Spirit to the lower bracket, but also left the world stunned with an outstanding performance against Heroic to clinch a much-needed playoff berth. The scrappiness of Counter-Strike will certainly come into full force in this quarter-final.
Quarterfinal 2: Vitality vs. Virtus.Pro
Another surprise at the international stage emerges as France’s Vitality approaches the Polar Bears of Virtus.Pro. ZywOo finally had some much-needed help this tournament with Kyojin and misutaaa bringing a young flair to the French roster. Dispatching Complexity and surprisingly Gambit, perhaps the Vitality of old have now returned to the international stage with their first playoff appearance this year. On the contrary, Virtus.Pro return to familiar territory as they look to claim a title over their domestic and international rivals alike. Jame refuses to have poor displays and has been the key piece to unlocking the CIS powerhouse. However, the metric of success lies in how impactful YEKINDAR can be for this squad. His entries continue to be a necessity and if he can channel his Katowice form, this quarterfinal will leave quite the statement to the world.
Semifinalists: G2 and OG
In the semifinals await the European rosters of G2 and OG. Bold firepower and brute force continue to unlock nexa’s crew to yet another playoff appearance. The Kovac cousins have put on quite the show at IEM Summer and have two more matches before they have the title within their grasp. As the most consistent European roster, the time to snag a title for the region is as ripe as ever. On the other side of the bracket, the sublime structure of Aleksib has rocketed OG back to winning ways with the addition of flameZ and niko. Although the roster had capitulated at Flashpoint 3, every member has commendably pulled their respective weight at IEM Summer. Wins over NiP, VP, and EG give the European roster a big opportunity to realize their young potential.
Regardless of the outcome, the CS:GO cogs continue to turn as the road to Cologne continues to heat up! For more Counter-Strike coverage stay tuned to thegamehaus.com/csgo. If you want even more analysis and tidbits, follow my Twitter @DatPaladin.