The latest team to be invited to Intel Extreme Masters Sydney is the Danish side of North. The No. 7 team in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings will travel down under to compete at the top-tier event. North has continuously sat on the cusp of the top four but with some time under its belt with the latest addition of Philip "aizy" Aistrup, now may be its shot.
IEM Season 12 will kick off its two-day event in Sydney, Australia on May 6 and run through May 7. The event will take place in the 18,000 seat Qudos Bank Arena and feature a prize pool of $200,000 (AUD$260,000), the largest Australian and New Zealand to date.
IEM is one of the biggest esports series in the world and its Katowice event alone brings in over 1 million concurrent viewers to the broadcast platform Twitch.tv.
The Sydney event will see the world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams compete as six invited teams compete against locals with big dreams.
- No. 4 SK Gaming
- No. 20 Renegades
- No. 1 Astralis
- No. 8 OpTic
- No. 5 FaZe Clan
- No. 7 North
ESL revealed the first two invited teams in a press release along with announcing the start of season 12 and gave the following statement.
"The line-up of top CS:GO teams invited to compete at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney is headed by SK Gaming, the best team of 2016 and winners of two $1,000,000 CS:GO Majors, including the ESL One Cologne Major in August, and runners-up at the ESL Pro League Finals in Sao Paulo in November and Intel Extreme Masters Oakland in November. Local heroes Renegades, who are widely considered to be Australia and New Zealand’s most successful team, will return to the region to compete in front of a home crowd."
SK Gaming had an unexpected performance at IEM Katowice where the Brazilian squad went out in the group stages with a 2-3 record. Renegades had been on an upswing, winning seven of its last ten maps but the recent news of Yaman "yam" Ergenekon's departure could throw a wrench into things.
The No. 1 team in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings received invite number three. The Danish squad of Astralis has shown dominance since its rise back to the top at the end of 2016 and through the start of 2017. Along with Astralis, two other Danish teams made it to the playoffs at Katowice, showcasing the countries level of Counter-Strike currently.
OpTic has not had a good time as of late, losing Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz has hurt the squad tremendously and seen them make a steady move down the rankings, just a bad week away from falling into the middle of the pack. Currently sitting at No. 8, the team came into 2017 ranked as high as No. 4.
FaZe looked great in its LAN debut with Nikola "NiKo" Kovac and will look to further that impression in Sydney.