Season 10 of Intel Extreme Masters kicks off in Katowice this weekend (March 4th to 6th), bringing together some of the top eSports teams from around the world. Here’s our show preview.
With an overall prize pool of more than $500,000, more than 1.6 million viewers set to tune in and a host of matches running across different games, there’s plenty for eSports fans to sink their teeth into.
Tournaments this year include League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, Rainbow 6 and CSGO, which also includes a separate female-only CSGO tournament. The StarCraft and CSGO group stages have already kicked off, but the tournaments gets underway proper from Friday March 4th, when the arena opens to the public.
Looking at IEM from a UK perspective in particular, which UK-based sides will be in action?
London-based eSports org Fnatic has two teams at IEM Katowice this year – its CSGO and League of Legends teams.
Of course, the org created one of the most famous League of Legends moments back in 2013 in Katowice – the xPeke backdoor (we love an excuse for posting this video again):
They face some stiff competition in group B in SKT, CLG and Qiao Gu this time around. In the other group there’s TSM, Origen, ESC Ever and Royal Never Give Up.
There’s a more detailed history of Fnatic’s LoL team at IEM on their website.
On the CSGO side, Fnatic won IEM last year, and will be looking for another strong performance this year. Their side, with its all-Swedish roster, has been impressive in recent months.
Fnatic also has a UK Heroes of the Storm player in Atheroangel, who will be taking part at IEM along with his Swedish teammates.
One of the UK’s most famous organisations will be taking part in the Heroes of the Storm competition at the event.
Two of their players are from the UK – Snitch and Bakery – and they will go up against Epsilon, mYinsanity and Natus Vincere in group A. Meanwhile, group B includes Team Liquid, Virtus Pro, Fnatic and Reason Gaming.
Dignitas originally formed its HotS team in early 2015.
As mentioned, Reason Gaming will also be taking part in the Heroes of the Storm tournament.
The UK org this week picked up the Pigs in Blankets team who will now be playing under the Reason brand.
The org was founded in the UK and changed ownership to Adam Heath in 2010. The Intel website displays them as a German side but that’s because their team captain is German.
While Epsilon is another org that was technically founded in the UK, its Heroes of the Storm team at IEM 2016 is an all-Russian side. More details here.
Epsilon are also taking part in the Rainbow 6 Pro League at IEM.
Exertus will be participating in the all-female CSGO tournament. They are in group B with CLG Red, Team Acer and Elysium.
Group A features Team Karma, WRTP, Santos.Dexterity and Milennium.
Other stuff worth knowing
Intel has launched new gaming PCs and an eSports diversity initiative, which it will be focusing on in more detail from the event.
Read more about Intel’s new gaming PCs at IEM and the diversity initiative here.
There will also be British casters in attendance, including Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner, who will be hosting the StarCraft II tournament, and Leigh “Deman” Smith, who will be sitting on the League of Legends desk.
Have we missed anyone? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us.
For the full list of teams and the schedule, check out the IEM website below.
Get the latest from IEM
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baldyDom Sacco on Twitter – we’ll be reporting live from the show
Image source: IEM Flickr
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.