IEM Summer is the first event of the Road To Katowice half of the ESL Pro Tour, and for a variety of reasons, it has the potential to be one of the most exciting and refreshing events of the online era. Here’s everything you need to know about the event.
Ancient, the first change to the map pool in 2 years.
CS:GO finally received a map pool update with Train going out of the pool to be replaced by the Aztec-inspired Ancient. While many have lamented the departure of such a historically important map where matches like the Eleague Atlanta Major Finals Decider took place, Train leaving also opens up the door for a new map to take its place and get proper development focus. So far all the RMR events used Train in the map poll but IEM Summer will be the first event that will feature Ancient in its pool.
The inclusion of Ancient immediately gives the event a wave of freshness. Over the online era, we have seen the same teams play the same matches for over a year now, but with the addition of Ancient, the games will be very different. For teams that permaban Train, they have the choice to take out another weakness of theirs and focus on Ancient as the 6th or they can ban Ancient. For the teams that played Train, it’s a much more difficult conversation. Teams have the choice to either learn their permaban and play catch up to all the teams that already play the map, or they have to learn Ancient to keep their 6 map pool.
The recent updates to Ancient have remedied some of the problems to visibility and site structure. The players that have given the map an actual chance have all said it needs some improvements but it’s a good map. Compared to the last map Valve created themselves i.e. Overpass, Ancient is in much better shape at launch. Overpass’s launch form was terrible and it took the map many changes over months to make it into the community favourite it is today. With the high-level competitive play on the map starting so soon, Ancient will get the benefit of pro play fueling its development.
Gambit and Heroic rivalry continues
Gambit and Heroic are two teams with drastically different storylines that have managed to get to the top at the same time. Gambit have been the grinders who have been playing together for many years and managed to finally ascend to the top after the addition of Hobbit. On the other side is Heroic, a team that made it to the top last year but fell down by the end of the year. They made a strong roster update and replaced niko and b0rup with refrezh and sjuush, this move made the team immediately click as they took their first title over Gambit at EPL S13. Since then, however, Gambit has continuously produced better results than Heroic and has beat them in the head to head too. Heroic has had all top 4 results but Gambit has been in the finals of every event they attended since February.
IEM Summer will be another event in the ongoing rivalry between these two. Will Gambit continue their dominance and beat Heroic? or will Heroic bounce back from their top4 results and take another trophy? Both of them will have to keep NaVi under control to prevent another surprise trophy for s1mple’s team.
Astralis, G2, NIP’s chance to write their new stories
Astralis’ performance at Flashpoint was surprisingly good despite lacking device. They showed their tactical strength and Bubzjki got a chance to flex his individual skills as he fragged well in most games. dupreeh looked comfortable on the AWP despite picking it up after a very long time and Xyp9x went beyond his role and helped out in the fragging department in several games. The only slight disappointment seems to be Magisk’s skill as the Major MVP hasn’t recovered his form since he became the IGL for a brief period. Despite this, Astralis continue to look good and will have a chance to continue their strong performance at IEM Summer.
G2 have continued their performance as a top5 team since the removal of kennyS. NiKo and huNter have been performing at very high levels and AmaNEK has greatly improved his AWPing to the point where he is a serviceable sniper for the team and regularly puts up good numbers. They managed to beat Heroic and NIP in Flashpoint 3 but lost to Mouz and then lost the rematch vs NIP to end up in 3rd place but the results are still promising. Considering how they beat Heroic they have a chance to get to the finals of IEM Summer as long as they don’t face Gambit early.
NIP’s debut event with device started off with some negative press but their performance in the server has been great. They looked competitive in every match they played before the finals. Even in the finals, the first map showed that NIP can challenge the top teams even if they lost the next two. They are a strong team coming into IEM Summer but shouldn’t be in the conversation for anything more than a top 4 run.
IEM Summer starts June 3rd with Gambit taking on Sprout and Vitality facing Complexity at 15:30 CEST. Watch it live on ESL’s Twitch Channel.