IEM Fall 2021 North America – Tournament Preview

IEM Fall 2021 North America – Tournament Preview

The final chance to qualify for the first Counter-Strike Major in two years, IEM Fall, has already kicked in some regions, but the next batch of events have yet to start. From the next series of IEM Fall regionals, North America certainly has the spotlight, not only due to its storylines, but also because it’s one of the most open RMR circuits.

Just like we have done for the IEM Fall CIS and Europe, we will be bringing you to speed just in time for you to catch up with IEM Fall NA when it kicks off next week. Of course, alongside with the tournament details, we will also be covering the storylines of the five teams we expect to qualify to the PGL Stockholm Major next month.

Without any further ado, here’s everything you need to know about IEM Fall 2021 North America.

Everything you need to know

IEM Fall 2021 North America starts next Tuesday (5th), and it will be featuring 12 teams from the region. Out of these twelve teams, only five will be making to the PGL Stockholm Major through the RMR system.

As for the format, IEM Fall NA will have two round-robin groups, each with six teams. Each team plays each other once, and all matches of the group stage are best-of-one games.

The two top teams of each group will advance to the playoffs, while the two squads in 3rd place will play for the fifth-place decider. In the playoffs, we’ll be having a single-elimination bracket with all games being BO3s but the grand-final, which is a BO5. All games will be played online.

Furthermore, a prize pool of USD $70,000 will be distributed to the teams. However, they key prize of this event are the RMR circuit points. Only the five top teams will be awarded RMR circuit points in North America. Check below to see how the points will be distributed:

1st 2500
2nd 2344
3rd 2188
4th 2031
5th 1875

IEM Fall 2021 NA – Groups

Here’s the current standings in the North American RMR circuit:

1st EXTREMUM 1880
2nd Team Liquid 1840
3rd FURIA 1584
4th Evil Geniuses 1310
5th 00Nation 1300
6th Extra Salt 1200
7th paiN 1100
8th Bad News Bears 570
9th Gen.G 60

The conditions to reach the Major

In the North American RMR circuit, no team has a secure spot to the Major. The top team in the rankings, EXTREMUM, has better chances at qualifying to the event overall, but even then, there is a possibility that they fail to do so.

As noted by, chances are that the five top teams of IEM Fall 2021: NA end up as the five teams from the tournament going to the PGL Major in October. This means that at the end of the day, current form will be the key factor deciding who goes to the Major and who doesn’t.

In that note, we have prepared below a list with our five favorites to make to the top five of IEM Fall NA. As always, we have also prepared their background coming to the event and overall storylines. Check it out!

TEAM LIQUID – losing isn’t an option

EliGE Rifler 1.16 1.21 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups
FalleN In-Game Leader, AWPer 1.02 1.16 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups
Grim Rifler 1.00 0.62 @ ESEA Autumn Cash Cup 1 NA
NAF Rifler [lurker] 1.13 1.15 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups
Stewie2K Rifler [entry fragger], AWPer 1.01 1.13 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups

The best team in North America is coming to IEM Fall 2021 right after a disappointing performance at BLAST Fall Groups. There, Liquid failed to take on a strong-looking Vitality, but also failed to impress against Astralis without their captain.

There’s no time to feel sorry for this past performance, though. IEM Fall NA is here, and for Liquid, not qualifying to the PGL Major would be such a major blow that this whole team could fall apart afterwards.

On paper, though, Liquid shouldn’t have any issues making through the group stage considering their group. With Extra Salt, EXTREMUM and paiN Gaming being the biggest threats to Liquid in their group, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo has everything he needs to lead this Liquid roster into a deep run at IEM Fall. Hopefully we see the same Liquid we saw in ESL Pro League Season XIV, because that was the team their fans wanted to see from now on.

GODSENT – (them to the Major)

b4rtiN Rifler 1.12 1.12 @ DreamHack Open September NA
dumau Rifler, AWPer 1.18 1.26 @ DreamHack Open September NA
felps Rifler [lurker], AWPer 1.18 1.20 @ DreamHack Open September NA
latto Rifler 1.13 1.08 @ DreamHack Open September NA
TACO In-Game Leader 0.98 0.82 @ DreamHack Open September NA

The Brazilian squad led by Epitácio “TACO” de Melo returned from a fairly lengthy break looking strong. Out of the ten games they played since September, they’ve only lost two. GODSENT has also won DreamHack Open September 2021 after a long game against Extra Salt.

Now, they head to IEM Fall 2021: North America. GODSENT is looking like one of the strongest teams in the tournament, and after their victory in DH Open September, they have momentum to back them up. Unfortunately, things won’t be simple for GS.

TACO and his teammates will be playing on Group B. This means that they will face two favorites of the tournament, Evil Geniuses and FURIA, as well as 00Nation and Team oNe, two dangerous Brazilian teams.

If GODSENT want a chance, they will have to step-up their game and make sure they at least guarantee themselves the third place of their group. Chances are good, but in Group B the competition is fierce, and it certainly is one of the most open groups of the entire IEM Fall circuit.

FURIA – now playing with a complete roster

arT In-Game Leader 1.05 1.12 @ Malta Vibes Knockout Series 2
drop Rifler 1.02 0.92 @ Malta Vibes Knockout Series 2
KSCERATO Rifler 1.17 1.18 @ Malta Vibes Knockout Series 2
VINI Rifler [support] 0.99 0.95 @ Malta Vibes Knockout Series 2
yuurih Rifler 1.12 1.31 @ Malta Vibes Knockout Series 2

The last couple of months have been rough on FURIA. The Brazilians have been struggling ever since Henrique “HEN1” Teles left the squad, and they haven’t recovered yet. After a series of roster changes, FURIA added André ‘drop’ Abreu to their squad just before the first premier tournament after the player break.

We didn’t see FURIA playing with their full roster in EPL Season 14, though. While they managed to catch plenty of attention thanks to the performance of their coach Nicholas “guerri” Nogueira who filled the empty role in the squad, FURIA ultimately failed to reach the playoffs there.

However, we have already seen FURIA with drop in action since the team took part in Malta Summer Vibes Series 2. There, the squad managed to scrap a win against Mousesports’ academy team, mouz NXT, and was eliminated by Sinners, definitely nothing worth writing home about.

Despite that, IEM Fall is here and FURIA needs to qualify for the PGL Major. Even after struggling for the entirety of 2021, FURIA still is the best team from Brazil, and the players need a victory here to boost their morale. At this point, every victory counts.

Even though we can’t ignore the team’s ongoing hurdles, we expect them to qualify for the upcoming Major. Partly due to the state in which the North American scene finds themselves in, but also due to the potential this team has.

EXTREMUM – touching base

AZR In-Game Leader 0.98 1.10 @ Spring Sweet Spring 3
BnTeT Rifler [lurker] 1.09 1.12 @ Spring Sweet Spring 3
Gratisfaction AWPer 1.04 1.11 @ Spring Sweet Spring 3
jkaem Rifler [entry fragger] 1.11 1.00 @ Spring Sweet Spring 3
Liazz Rifler [support] 0.97 0.98 @ Spring Sweet Spring 3

Due to the pandemic, EXTREMUM hasn’t been seen very frequently in CSGO servers. The team has played less than 50 matches since the start of the year, and their results are far from great. With cs_summit 8 being their performance in 2021, no one would blame you for not immediately recognizing this squad.

Still, thanks to their performances in 2020 and cs_summit 8, EXTREMUM leads the North American RMR circuit with a 40-point advantage over the 2nd place team. As we mentioned, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be qualifying to the PGL Major, but it puts them on a decent spot.

Fortunately for the squad, they are on Group A, which is the less stacked group. Still, considering their form – or lack thereof – Aaron “AZR” Ward and his team need to be on their absolutely best game. They are targets for both Extra Salt and paiN, and these two squads could very well win their matches against EXTREMUM in a good day. It’s difficult to expect much from EXTREMUM due to the lack of matches. At the same time, if not by the pandemic, chances are that this team would be in a much better place. As the online era end approaches, it would be painful to see this team so full of potential breaking so close from their opportunity to return to the big stage.

Evil Geniuses – desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel

Brehze Rifler [lurker] 1.03 0.96 @ ESL Pro League Season XIV
CeRq AWPer 0.97 0.94 @ ESEA Autumn Cash Cup 1 NA
MICHU Rifler [entry fragger] 1.03 1.16 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups
oBo Rifler 1.05 0.84 @ BLAST Premier Fall Groups
stanislaw In-Game Leader 0.86 1.04 @ IEM Cologne Play-In

Evil Geniuses had a rough year so far, and in these past few weeks, things which seemingly couldn’t get worse, just did. With EG’s captain Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz taking an extended break from July until now, EG bombed in EPL Season 14. Then, the squad announced that Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte would also be taking a small break for BLAST, and the team bombed there too.

Now, they are heading to IEM Fall, and morale probably isn’t at an all-time high. However, Evil Geniuses’ fans are hopeful that after both stanislaw and Brehze’s break, these two could reinvigorate this roster which desperately needs some good news.

EG is on Group B, and every team out there will be targeting Evil Geniuses due to their recent form. To counter that, we expect to see a decent EG showing up, much like the one we saw in IEM Summer. Even if they can’t exactly reach that, this squad should be able to at least grab that fifth place in the tiebreaker – they have to.

If Evil Geniuses fails to achieve that, though, then things would certainly be looking grim for this roster. With the current status of North American Counter-Strike and VALORANT around the corner, Evil Geniuses as it is won’t survive if they fail to reach the Major.

The final stop before the Major

Once IEM Fall ends, it will be a matter of days before the first Counter-Strike Major in over two years start. Making to the event is crucial for many teams, especially North American rosters, so we expect a fierce competition here.

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The author

My name is Marcos, I have been following the CSGO pro scene since 2015 but really got into in following games and pro teams in 2016. Used to bet a lot, stopped a bit but never stopped following the esports scene. I’m a student right now so I got a lot of time to keep with it and discover new things.

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