Intel Extreme Masters – Cologne: Play-In Stage

After a time of waiting since we met the first qualifying teams, we already know who will make up the Play-In stage of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Cologne. The largest CS:GO event begins from this phase, and has 16 powerful teams to fight each other. It is worth noting that several organizations arrive with changes in their roster, so the German city is both the first and the last test for different teams looking to change their results.

The organizer has already confirmed the first matches and crossings of the Play-In, the first phase that gives access to the eight top teams to advance to the main phase. This qualifier will take place from July 5 to 6.

As for betting, it is always a good idea to plan everything ahead and analyze the teams’ level while waiting for this event to begin. Below, you can find the format, opening match schedule, and the great favorites to pass the Play-In. Also, keep an eye on the webpage to track the CS:GO matches of your interest.

Play-In Format

The format of this first round will be simple. Four groups of four teams in each will compete in double elimination format. All the opening matches are Best of 1, while the remaining games of this stage are Best of 3. Of the sixteen participating teams, only eight will be able to reach the group stage that begins on July 7.

The Crosses of Play-In

Here are the opening brackets for the first stage of the tournament.

Upper Bracket Match Schedule

Tuesday, July 5:

Group 1

9:00 am UTC – Heroic vs Sprout

9:00 am UTC – MOUZ vs paiN Gaming

Group 2

9:00 am UTC – Team Spirit vs Complexity

10:15 am UTC – 00Nation vs Astralis

Group 3

10:40 am UTC – BIG vs ORDER

10:40 am UTC – Outsiders vs Imperial

Group 4

12:20 pm UTC – MIBR vs Movistar Riders

11:30 am UTC – TYLOO vs Team Vitality

Winners from the upper bracket will directly qualify to the group stage, as well as 4 teams from the lower bracket.

Lower Bracket Match Schedule

Tuesday, July 5:

14:00 pm UTC – Losers of #1 and #2 (Group 1)

17:45 pm UTC – Losers of #3 and #4 (Group 2)

Wednesday, July 6:

10:30 am UTC – Losers of #5 and #6 (Group 3)

10:30 am UTC – Losers of #7 and #8 (Group 4)

The winners from the lower bracket will also advance to the main event. In addition to Play-In, the teams that make up each group that grants the playoff classification for the top three are also known. Group A has NaVi, NiP, G2, and ENCE, while FaZe, Liquid, C9, and FURIA form Group B.

Opening Matches: Analysis and Predictions

Of sixteen teams qualifying for the Play-In, we see several candidates that can really stand out in this series. So, here are our predictions for the first day.

Group 1: Heroic, one of the great favorite to pass the Play-In

Heroic will face the Germans of Sprout in first place on July 5 at 9:00 am UTC. Depending on their result and the other crossing, the Danish team will also see with MOUZ or paiN Gaming. Though 2022 of the Heroic team has been a roller coaster since moving a piece of its CS:GO roster, the Dane has the opportunity to explore new opportunities. So, keep an eye on Heroic, which has well-known players such as jaabi, HooXi, Zyphon, and refrezh.

Group 2: Spirit and Astralis to Take the Lead of the Stage

Such large teams as Astralis and Spirit will also have to get two victories to reach the long-awaited group stage of IEM Cologne. Astralis has not yet been fully established after reconstruction. On the other hand, 00Notion is performing better than expected in 2022. However, the Danish-based team is one step ahead anyway. That’s why they are considered favorites.

As for Spirit, the last Major in Antwerp was the only tournament they took part in the last two months. The Russian organization took 3rd place respectively. Despite quite a long break, Team Spirit should have no problem beating its group opponents with stellar performance by degster and a fantastic s1ren.

Group 3: Outsiders Should Not Have Any Problems to Go Through

The other great favorite is Outsiders. The Russian team will debut against Imperial on July 5 at 10:40 am UTC. A few days ago, the Brazialians were eliminated from the Roobet Cup 2022 after their defeat against Eternal Fire. On the other hand, Outsiders want to achieve something in the CS:GO scene. And there is no better chance of doing it than tournaments like this. In addition, they are in very good shape.

Group 4: Team Vitality on its Way to Group Stage

Team Vitality, the runner-up of the recent BLAST Premier: Spring Finals, continues to participate in consecutive CS:GO tournaments. Now, they will appear in IEM Cologne 2022 and we believe that they should have no problem ending up between the top eight of the group.

How to teach without scaring CS:GO?

The main problem of any learning is the reluctance of developers to scare newcomers a huge amount of information or a tightened tutorial.

Training a length of an hour will be useful, but is unlikely to retain the player’s interest. But the Kutz material that Dota 2 and CS:GO developers provided is also no good.

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However, we are not talking about the story of detailed characteristics, but about providing a general understanding CS:GO. Here are runes, here are neutral, here is a courier – no specific numbers, but better than nothing.