IEM Rio gets even more Krakow-y

Harry Richards
twitter logo - white

Illustration by ANDY. Source: @felipemaaker and @Team__Spirit

After FaZe and NIP were knocked out, you’d be forgiven for thinking everything would return to normal. Surely the other favourites would learn from their mistakes?

Well, nope. Vitality were the next to book their flights home, falling foul of a magical SunPayus performance. 60 kills from the Spaniard over two maps was 150% of ZywOo’s measly 40. Spinx was just as disappointing, the wheels of Vitality falling off the cart just when it mattered.

They’ve got the BLAST Paris Major as their real goal, but another group stage exit for ZywOo will sting nonetheless. apEX continues to disappoint, and Spinx hasn’t been the second star they hoped for just yet.

ENCE even lost their next game to MOUZ, for god’s sake. You really have to win those, Vitality.

Liquid, meanwhile, have even fewer excuses. Both EliGE and YEKINDAR decided to have an off-event, and when you’re in a 3v5 with just NAF, oSee, and nitr0 alive you start to see where this Liquid team falls apart.

Their 2-2 game against Spirit was a real heartbreaker, facing an opponent nobody would choose in a 2-2 game but a game you still have to say Liquid should have won. Major chopper proved too strong, leaving us with a Major playoff without the #1, #2, and #3 highest-ranked teams in the world.

And that, to be honest, isn’t great. We’ll get fewer viewers. The narratives we built for those three teams are lost forever. The in-game quality likely won’t be as high. We won’t see ZywOo or EliGE get their Major.

But it’s not the system’s fault: It’s Liquid, FaZe, and Vitality’s fault. Best of ones and seeding shouldn’t matter to the three best teams in the world; whether the system favours them or not you simply have to qualify for playoffs.

Fear not, though, all hope is not lost just yet for the playoffs. We get to see Outsiders and Spirit, two perennially underrated and high-firepower teams, on stage. Heroic and Cloud9 have a chance to kill off the ‘onliner’ allegations. s1mple and NAVI can cap off the toughest year of their lives with a Major.

And we haven’t even mentioned FURIA yet — we don’t need to explain why that storyline is pretty sexy. The favourites are gone, but this can still be the best Major ever. We just need a bit more magic.

November 11, 2022

Latest News