Counter-Strike esports fans saw Faze Clan win IEM Sydney 2023 today – becoming the first champions at a Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) LAN to do so.
They beat Complexity 2-1 in the grand final, a couple of days after Complexity’s parent company GameSquare announced plans to acquire Faze Clan.
Australian Counter-Strike fans returned in force to the first live IEM Sydney in over four years, with 20,000 fans in attendance throughout the Playoffs in the Aware Super Theatre.
IEM Sydney 2023 also saw a peak viewership of more than 463,081 concurrent viewers and 6.6m+ hours watched.
The tournament commenced on October 16th with a Group Stage, during which the teams were divided into two groups of eight. Group A saw Mouz dominate the upper bracket, with BetBoom Team coming in a close second. Both teams made it through to the Playoffs, alongside Faze Clan who fought through the lower bracket for their spot, knocking out Natus Vincere in the process. In Group B, G2 Esports and Ence secured the top two spots in the upper bracket, and Complexity beat out Monte in the lower bracket final to claim the final spot in the Playoffs.
The Playoffs kicked off on October 20th with the quarterfinals that saw Mouz, Faze Clan, G2 Esports and Complexity make it to the top four.
Faze Clan showed their strength early during the Playoffs with a 13-0 win over Ence, the first time a team has 13-0’d a competitor in a live CS2 tournament. Complexity also started their playoffs run strong with a 2-0 against BetBoom Team.
In the semi-finals, FaZe Clan dominated Mouz winning 2-0, taking the first set 13-4 on Nuke, before converting a closer win of 13-9 on Vertigo. Complexity also scored a 2-0 semi-final victory, dispatching G2 Esports, storming home 13-8 on Anubis, before winning the second set more comfortably 13-3 on Ancient, with Ricky “floppy” Kemery posting some impressive stats.
Before Faze Clan win IEM Sydney 2023, them and Complexity both booked their places in the Grand Final with impressive performances during the Playoffs, where neither team dropped a map.
Faze Clan win IEM Sydney 2023 – here’s how the grand final went down
The first set of the Grand Final was incredibly tight, with Complexity eventually edging out a 13-11 win in the final round of the set, following a brilliant comeback. Faze Clan rallied for set 2, winning it 13-11 and bringing the match to the decisive third set.
The third set nearly saw one of the greatest comebacks of IEM history, with Complexity recovering from 9-3 down, to win six consecutive games to bring it back to 10-9. In a nail-biting final few rounds, Complexity continued their magical form to take the Grand Final to overtime, and then a second overtime. Despite Complexity’s resurgence, Faze Clan were able to recover, dominating the second overtime to take home the trophy, with Robin ‘Ropz’ Kool taking the title of ESL Pro Tour DHL MVP.
“It feels amazing to be the first CS2 champions,” said Håvard “rain” Nygaard of Faze Clan. “I want to say thank you to all our fans here and around the world. This was hands down the best crowd I’ve ever played in front of.”
“It feels great, we’ve spent so much time practicing CS2 together before this,” added Robin ‘ropz’ Kool. “The first loss against GamerLegion hurt, but we stuck with it and managed to come back.
“It’s been a turbulent year for us, but I’ve been playing as much as possible, and CS2 gave us the motivational boost to improve our performance and work harder for this IEM.”
Team Australia beat Team UK to win The Caches IV Showmatch at IEM Sydney 2023
Ahead of the Grand Final on October 22nd, The Caches IV Showmatch Powered by Intel and Acer Predator took place, which saw Team Australia and Team UK face off once more following a four-year hiatus.
Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill, Joshua “INS” Potter, Christopher “dexter” Nong, Justin “jks” Savage, Declan “Vexite” Portelli, Chris “GoMeZ” Orfanellis (Coach) represented Team Australia, while Alex “Hawka” Hawkins, Guy “NertZ” Iluz, Sebastian “volt” Maloș, Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov and Henry “HenryG” Greer lined up in the British corner for Team UK.
As usual it was a lighthearted affair, with a focus on entertainment, wrestling-style.
The match started closely, with both teams taking a few rounds each. However, Team Australia eventually got into a winning rhythm and swept away Team UK 13-7, winning The Caches for the fourth consecutive time.
The showmatch also marked the launch of the Intel Core 14th Gen Desktop Processor.
The ESL Pro Tour (EPT) for Counter-Strike continues with the currently ongoing ESL Challenger League Season 46, which will conclude on December 3rd. The year will be closed off by ESL Challenger Jönköping on November 24-26 and ESL Challenger Atlanta on December 15-17, before kicking off 2024 with a bang with the EPT Championship IEM Katowice 2024 on January 31-February 11.
Related article: ESL Challenger League Season 47 Europe details revealed
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.