Meet the qualifiers for IEM Chicago 2018

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The line-up of challengers for IEM Chicago is set. Sixteen of the best CS:GO teams on the planet will gather in the Windy City for an epic rumble.


Korea’s prime CS:GO squad are no strangers to ESL premier events. After a solid performance in Season 7 of the ESL Pro League, where they topped the Asia-Pacific region and earned a place in the Dallas finals, they got a taste of IEM at Sydney earlier this year. Their path to Chicago almost derailed in the closed qualifier, as they were forced to forfeit their semi-final match with Flash Gaming due to scheduling issues. Luckily, they fought their way back from the lower bracket to defeat this same rival when it mattered most.

EU1: Avangar

The Kazakh squad had a long and hard journey to qualify for Chicago. They overcame the EU open qualifiers and went on to stun more established names in the competitive CS:GO scene like Gambit and Ence in the closed leg. They are no strangers to IEM as they already took part in the 2018 World Championship in Katowice, an impressive feat for a young organization that was only founded in 2017. Their hopes hang greatly on the performance of team leader Jame, who had a stellar showing on the road to the Windy City.

EU2: North

After the upset caused by Avangar in the upper bracket, a nordic duel between the experienced Finnish squad Ence and Danish upstarts North decided the final EU sport for Chicago. The danes roared to a convincing win that arguably set them on the right path to their biggest achievement to date. Only one week after securing their ticket to IEM, they shocked the world by winning the 2018 Dreamhack Masters, defeating none other than Astralis in the grand final. All eyes will be on them as they try to prove their breakthrough was no coincidence.

NA: eUnited

After almost a year of inactivity, this organization acquired the Rise Nation roster in March 2018 aiming to hit the ground running. They made a valiant effort to qualify for ESL One Cologne as they climbed from the NA open qualifier all the way to third place in the closed qualifier; an encouraging sign of things to come. In the grand final of Chicago qualifying, they took a dramatic double overtime win to defeat favorites Cloud9 3-2. They’ll be looking to cause another major upset in the Windy City at the biggest event they’ve attended to date.

SA: Luminosity

After missing out on a qualifier spot for ESL One Cologne and New York earlier in the season, the Brazilian roster picked themselves up to qualify for their first premier ESL event of the year in dominant fashion. Throughout their closed qualifier run, they did not lose a single map, displaying some of the momentum built after their second place finish at Dreamhack Open Valencia in July. The recent arrivals of LUCAS1, HEN1 and, perhaps most importantly, former Team Liquid player steel have paid off.


One of the finest teams our very own ESL Championnat National has to offer, and recent winners of the ESL Pro European Championship, this French squad is riding on a nice wave of momentum heading into Chicago. At the EPEC, they bested some of the strongest teams from the various European national scenes before defeating ESL Pro League outfit AGO in the final. Optic Gaming, another Pro League team, were their victims in the decider match that sealed their ticket to Chicago. IEM will be a great opportunity to test if this powerhouse at the national & continental level is ready to roll with the international CS:GO elite.

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