IEM Sydney closed the curtains on yet another successful event after four years of missing the Australian crowd, who were a sea of smiling faces with a symphony of applause.
Since the first day, the teams gave their blood, sweat and tears, providing us with a spectacular show from the heart of the Aware Super Theatre.
While some teams crumbled, others rose to prominence. And just like how David beat Goliath, underdog teams defied the odds and soared to new heights.
FaZe back on the podium
FaZe Clan went ham, bamboozling every team while capturing the hearts of every fan to crown themselves as the champions of IEM Sydney, entering history and becoming the first to lift a trophy in CS2.
The road to victory is never easy, but when your players are aging like fine wine, success is only a matter of time as the opponents fall and whine.
Håvard "rain" Nygaard, the epitome of aging like fine wine, stood tall in Sydney and rose above the rest, rightfully earning himself the MVP award.
Despite losing the opening match against GamerLegion, FaZe topped the competition with stellar performances against four of the top five teams.
Finn "karrigan" Andersen and his team played all seven active duty maps during IEM Sydney and particularly excelled on their first map pick Nuke, with five wins. Flexing their map pool, FaZe unexpectedly mopped the floor with ENCE, in a historic 13-0 on Anubis; their least played map in the last three months (outside of their previous permaban, Vertigo).
It’s safe to say the event was a breeze for FaZe despite ending most series in a 2-1 fashion, with the only real challenge being against Complexity in the Grand Final.
The North Americans showed incredible resilience and pushed the series to its utmost limit after extending the decider map to double overtime and a respected comeback from a 10-3 scoreline.
FaZe Clan have finally done it after many months of doubts and speculation around the team’s shaky performances and inconsistency. Winning in IEM Sydney is a worthy achievement for a worthy team, signaling a perfect start to their CS2 chapter, assuming the roster stays together...
North America's ray of hope
After the COVID-19 disaster, the CS community got its confirmation about North America’s doom as a region, a continued struggle for organizations to sustain their business due to the lack of tournaments, followed by players taking refuge and chasing the quick bag in other game titles.
With most teams riding the trend wave of adapting international teams, including Team Liquid, the most successful team from the region. Complexity was the only worthy representative on the international stage, and against everyone’s expectations, they were pretty darn good!
The addition of Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski gave the team a breath of fresh air and the extra power to find success in this event, finishing as the third highest-rated player.
With a 79.1% KAST and 53.7% multi-kill rounds, his impact helped the team immensely to reach the Grand Final and give FaZe Clan a run for their money.
Along the way, Complexity beat Monte on two separate occasions, Cloud9 and avenged their loss against G2 in the Group Stage by humiliating them in the Semi-Finals where it mattered the most, winning 13-8 and 13-3.
We can’t talk about Complexity without mentioning their sniper Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli who continues to impress on the biggest stages despite lacking proper playoff experience.
Johnny "JT" Theodosiou was the clutch player in Sydney with a total of 11 (1vsX) clutches and incredible mid-round calls which kept them in the equation regardless of the odds.
Complexity have seemingly found the winning formula, but the real question is, can they maintain this level? Seeing an all-American side in constant contention for tournament victories would certainly be a pleasure to see.
BetBoom, the dark horse of IEM Sydney
BetBoom’s run at IEM Sydney is applaudable and hats off to Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov for proving himself as a worthy in-game leader. After all, taking down Major winners Vitality, GamerLegion and going toe to toe with MOUZ requires a stroke of genius and unbelievable triumph.
For a recently formed team, with the addition of the razor-sharp mind of Viacheslav "innersh1ne" Britvin behind them, the lineup has a bright future if they manage to play with the same confidence despite their opponent.
nafany successfully proved the doubters wrong after his departure from Cloud9. His experience matched Pavel "s1ren" Ogloblin with two Major appearances where he reached the Semi-Finals of PGL Major Antwerp 2022.
Aleksandr "KaiR0N-" Anashkin lived up to expectations after his unfortunate run with Virtus Pro at BLAST.tv Paris European RMR. The young gun was the team’s best player in this event, coming second behind Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov in multi-kills and successful openings per round.
They showed immense grit in close matches as well as nerves of steel during their run which gave them a respected 5-6th finish, a good start for a young team full of potential in the future.