Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Playoffs Preview

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The IEM Cologne playoffs will start on August 4, 2023. The teams are all set and so are the fans. Let’s take a look at the remaining teams of probably the last S-Tier CS:GO tournament in Cologne.

Read More: VALORANT Champions 2023: Everything You Need to Know

IEM Cologne 2023 Playoffs Preview


Team Vitality

The Champions of the last CS:GO Major. Their path to the playoffs was almost flawless, they dominated both OG and MOUZ on their way to the Group B Upper Bracket Final where they lost to G2 2-1.

They are looking strong regardless, Zywoo is performing great as usual, Magisk and flameZ are also stepping up. Everyone knows they have what it takes to take the trophy in this event, they just have to be consistent and avoid unnecessary mistakes. They are expected to win against Cloud9 based on their past performances.


Nobody really thought that Cloud9 would be able to reach the playoffs. They had a roster change recently where they got electroNic and Perfecto from NAVI. Yes they are great players but the chemistry was still in question. But boy they proved the doubters wrong. They started on a bad note in the Group Stage.

They lost to Fnatic 2-1 and this sends them to the lower bracket. They then made a great lower bracket run, taking down 9ine 2-1 and Monte 2-0. In the Lower Bracket Finals they faced the recent Paris Major 2nd runner up GamerLegion. The match was close, game 3 even went into overtime but C9 was able to persevere and win 2-1. They are looking vulnerable to be honest, any Vitality should be able to exploit their mistakes but they have proven they can be resilient when their backs are on the wall.


This team has been strong and consistent for a very long time now. They were able to reach the finals of IEM Katowice 2023 and win the Blast Spring Final 2023. Their group stage was smooth sailing for the most part, they had some problems against The MongolZ, losing the first game and winning the 2nd game though overtime.

They picked up their stride on the third game and won it with no problem. Their next match is with Monte and they won 2-0. Their opponent in the Upper Bracket Final is ENCE who is the recent IEM Dallas Champs. They went back and forth, game 1 went to ENCE but Heroic took game 2. Game 3 was close but ENCE was able to have a dominating T-side and win the game 16-14. They are looking scary regardless, they can stand toe to toe with any of the teams remaining in the playoffs.


The former kings of CS:GO, they were written off by most people after their dominating era was over. They have not really won anything in significance recently, but they looked great in this tournament. They were able to claw their way out of the play-in, beating Liquid and Apeks along the way. They lost to G2 in the first round of the group stage, sending them to the lower bracket. Here it got spicy for them, dev1ce faces his former team NiP. Astralis handled NiP easily, winning the match 2-0.

Their next opponent MOUZ was relatively easy for them as well, they won 2-0 again. Their next opponent will be the biggest challenge yet, they faced NAVI in the Lower Bracket Final of Group B. The first map went into the distance but astralis was able to win 25-23. NAVI took game 2 with ease. Astralis was able to start strong in game 3 and it was enough for them to secure the win. They are looking better compared to their form just a few months ago. If Heroic gets caught sleeping, Astralis will be able to beat them in a best of three.


They have been in really good form ever since IEM Dallas. The last time they lost was against in ESL Challenger Katowice 2023. They were looking solid on their way to the playoffs. They beat 9ine 2-1 and Fnatic 2-0. Heroic proved to be a problem but they were able to solve it and win the match 2-1. They are in a good shape right now and can hold their own against either Vitality or Cloud9.

G2 Esports

One of the favorites to win it all. After a disappointing performance in the recent BLAST Premier: Fall Groups, they bounced back and had a very good performance in the group stage of IEM Cologne. They took care of Astralis 2-1 and surprisingly dominated FaZe 2-0.

They faced Vitality in the Upper Bracket Finals, they stumbled on game 1 but they were able to pick themselves up and won games 2 and 3 with relative ease. They are looking like the best team in the tournament so far. Niko and m0NESY have been consistent and the rest of the team has been performing really strong as well. 

Read More: The International 2023: Schedule and Format Announcement


The teams are ready and with CS:GO on its way out, I’m expecting to see exciting and jaw-dropping plays from these pro players. There are a lot of storylines in this tourney and everyone is excited to see the best of the best in Counter-strike going against one another.


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Kent Vergel
Kent Vergel
An avid Esports fan.
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