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Published: June 28, 2021

Written by: Barney

  • The competitive CS:GO scene is about to get busier, with the IEM Cologne kicking off on July 6
  • IEM Cologne will reunite 24 teams which will compete through In-Play and Group Stages, and make it to the Playoffs and Finals
  • The winner will claim $400,000 in prize money along with 1,800 ESL Points and 3,200 BLAST Points

IEM Cologne 2021 will reunite some of the best CS:GO teams in the world, giving them an opportunity to win a share of the $1 million prize pool in one of the most spectacular events on the competitive Counter-Strike circuit. 

Competitive Counter-Strike Returns in Cologne 

IEM Cologne 2021 is returning, giving Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) fans something worthwhile to look forward to. With the event scheduled for July 6 and running through July 18, there is a lot to expect.

There will be a total of 24 teams that are considered to be some of the best in the game, including Team Spirit, Mousesports, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, and many more. None will back down as the competition will offer a chance for each team to bite a share out of the $1 million prize pool

Not least, there are ESL Pro Tour and BLAST points to claim, with each team participating in the event looking to advance their standing in the competitive scene and show during the next competitive round. Let’s take it from the top.

IEM Cologne 2021: Format, Teams, and Groups

The IEM Cologne was not too easy to set up. The event originally played out as an ESL One competition, but it’s now switching to an Intel Extreme Masters format, which presented some challenges in how things around this competitive leg unfolded. 

To draft the groups, the organizers used both the EPT Rankings and ESL World Rankings, giving them a rather complex but accurate representation of what team should participate and what opponents they should face. 

The opening salvo will take place in the Play-In Stage, which will feature teams from South America, Asia, and Oceania, which will soon after be joining teams from North America and Europe. The format is a familiar double-elimination progression, which means there will be plenty of CS:GO to watch in early to mid-July. 

The eight best teams in the In-Play Stage will then join the other eight teams waiting for them in the Group Stage – two of these teams will be from North American, and six will be from Europe. 

The Group Stage will be another double-elimination competition with the quarterfinals and semifinals then played in a Bo3 format, moving to the Finals, which will be played in a Bo5 format. 

What to Expect in Terms of Prize Money?

As an Intel Extreme Masters event, IEM Cologne 2021 will give players enough incentives to try and secure first place. The first competitor in the race will get 1,800 ESL Points, 3,200 BLAST Points and not least, $400,000 with the runner-up getting $180,000, 1,400 ESL Points, and 1,600 BLAST Points. From there on in, the event will be allocated prizes as follows:

  • 3rd-4th Place: $ 80,000 USD, 1,100 ESL Points, and 1,000 BLAST Points
  • 5th-6th Place: $ 40,000 USD, 825 ESL Points, and 400 BLAST Points
  • 7th-8th Place: $ 24,000 USD, 575 ESL Points, and 200 BLAST Points
  • 9th-12th Place: $ 16,000 USD, and 325 ESL Points
  • 13th-16th Place: $ 10,000 USD, and 125 ESL Points
  • 17th-20th Place: $ 4,500 USD, and 60 ESL Points
  • 21th-24th Place: $ 2,500 USD

Winning first place, though, comes with other perks as well. The winning team will have a chance to fight it against the likes of Astralis, Gambit, and Na’Vi in the Grand Slam Season 3, which is an additional $1 million awarded to the first team to secure four titles in ESL or DreamHack competitions. The Group Stage kicks off on July 8, with the Playoffs taking a fiery action on July 16 – July 17, and then the Grand Finals played on July 18. 

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