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Published: April 18, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Season 5 of the Grand Slam will run into Counter-Strike 2
  • Several teams have already been sent to the IEM Rio’s Group A’s lower bracket
  • The only balanced match seemed to be the one between Heroic and 9INE

IEM Rio kicks off the fifth season of the Intel Grand Slam, which will see teams compete for the chance to win $1 000 000 over several events. 

New Season Begins

Intel has started the fifth season of the Intel Grand Slam in Rio De Janeiro. With $1 000 000 of prize money on the line, the tournament will operate much the same way as the previous ones. It can be completed by winning three ESL Pro Tour Masters and one Championship tournament in the span of ten consecutive events.

With the arrival of Counter-Strike 2 this summer, Intel announced that the Grand Slam season will run into the new game. This means that any team that wins matches in CS:GO can complete their Grand Slam with wins in CS2. There will also be a $100 000 “giant killer bonus” available to any team that denies any other team the Grand Slam in the final of the last tournament.

So far, there have been four other Intel Grand Slams, including the most recent one, that saw FaZe triumph in the ESL Pro League in Malta. Prior to them, it was Natus Vincere who took the Grand Slam thanks to their victory in the ESL Pro League Season 14. Before them, Liquid got their hands on the $1 000 000 prize money after a spree of four straight tournament wins over three months, ending it with ESL One Cologne 2019. Going back to ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals in 2018, it was Astralis who won the first Intel Grand Slam.

The First Have Already Fallen

Any tournament start results in teams being sent to the lower bracket fighting for survival. After the first round of best-of-ones at the IEM Rio finished, many teams have been sent fighting for survival. These include Imperial and TheMongolz, who were defeated by favorites Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere respectively. Both matches saw action on Mirage, with the losers not even being able to score double-digit rounds

Viewers also saw a big upset when BIG defeated MOUZ, dominating them on Overpass. The German side made quick work of Dennis “?sycrone?” Nielsen’s men, ending the map with a 16-6 victory. Perhaps the only match that was not so one-sided was that between Heroic and 9INE. With the match ending at 16-12, Heroic had a tough time on Ancient against 9INE, who have been performing well recently, having defeated favorited G2 in the first round of the Paris Major Europe RMR B last week. 

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