There are few tournaments in the Counter-Strike world as exciting as Intel Extreme Masters, and this weekend’s event in Oakland marks the last one on the calendar before March’s IEM World Championship in Katowice.
IEM Oakland’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament has already been going for a few days and has even had a few surprises so far, including America’s own Cloud9 making it all the way to the semifinals.
Not all the results have been so shocking though. SK Gaming and Faze Clan, the world’s current first and second ranked teams respectively, both have their own seats at the semifinals, and may even get the chance to face off in the Finals on Sunday.
Before that, though, the tournament’s final four teams will have to face each other in Saturday’s semifinal held in Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
Why you should watch
The first match of the day is Ninjas in Pyjamas facing off against SK Gaming. SK has had an uncharacteristically slow start to the tournament, thanks, in part, to the somewhat slow integration of their temporary member, Ricardo “Boltz” Prass, who is on-loan from the, temporary defunct, Immortals. The team lost two out of their five group stage games, but when it came time for them to face Optic Gaming in the quarterfinals, SK returned to the form that helped earn them their current ranking of number one team in the world.
Meanwhile, Ninjas in Pyjamas looked almost unbeatable during the group stage thanks in large part to some incredible performances by the team’s youngest, and newest, player, Fredrik “REZ” Sterner. However, the only exception to their group stage successes, came against SK Gaming, a sure sign that this could be a difficult match for the Ninjas, no matter how strong they have looked so far.
The second semifinal match of the day features FaZe Clan taking on Cloud9. Cloud9 has had an impressive run through the tournament so far, looking better than anyone could have guessed. But Faze Clan won’t be an easy out for the Americans. Faze Clan was created as a sort of European super-team and over the last couple of months they’ve certainly played like one, taking home first place in two of the last three tournaments they’ve competed in.
This post will be updated with the results of each match.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming - 2-1
FaZe Clan vs Cloud9 - 2-0