Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2022 Preview

| Tags: | Author
Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2022 Preview

With the third IEM of the year just a couple of days ahead let’s take an overall look at the tournament.

Cologne as a city has been a Counter-Strike staple for a long time whether it is an IEM or another ESL event, even hosting three Majors between 2014-16. This year the city will host the IEM at one of its biggest stadiums, Lanxess Arena. The event that will start on July 5, will have a $1M prize pool.

Eight teams will directly participate in the tournament, the top six teams from Road to Cologne EU and the top two teams from Road to Cologne NA, while 16 more teams compete for another eight spots in the Group Stage. There are several teams in both these tiers we recommend viewers to keep an eye out throughout the tournament.

Tournament favorites

FaZe Clan

The reigning Major winners have been shaky lately. Not making Semis two offline events in a row and a Finals loss to BIG at Roobet meant there are a lot of eyes on them. A lot of people expected FaZe to dominate for a while after their performance in the Major finals, but it is almost the total opposite. With Robin ‘ropz’ Kool and Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard struggling lately, there was a lot of weight on Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken’s shoulders. But the Canadien has been up to far and if a couple of his teammates can return to their normal this IEM, this can be the event they bounce back.

Natus Vincere

If you just watched the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, you wouldn’t have guessed that NAVI is playing with a stand-in and they had a first-time IGL. Denis ‘electroNic’ Sharipov has been great in his first showing as an IGL and there was no immediate drop in his fragging. On the other hand, Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev is still playing like there is no one that can touch him, even among the rumors of him taking a break from active CS:GO. Considering FaZe’s recent drop in performance, NAVI is the biggest favorite of the IEM Cologne 2022.

Teams to watch


Vitality has been struggling ever since their first tournament of the year, at least they were until BLAST Spring Finals where they came in second after a good playoffs run. The players were having trouble putting up good numbers all year with the exception of Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut, but we saw Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen stepping up more in BLAST.

With ZywOo once again starting to play like a top-two player in the world, Vitality is a favorite to get out of the play-ins and they have a good chance to make some noise deep into the tournament.


Unlike Vitality, 2022 has been good for Heroic. They went far in multiple events, even winning two online ones, and they spent multiple weeks on HLTV’s top five. They recently added Jakob ‘jabbi’ Nygaard from Copenhagen Flames to their young core under the leadership of Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller. Heroic should be a lock to get out of play-ins and are looking to make at least Semis after a semi-disappointing Major.


Watch out everyone, the champions are here. BIG just won the Roobet Cup, albeit an online event, where they had to beat Cloud9 and FaZe in the Playoffs. Even though the German squad has a bit of a reputation as ‘onliners’ they have been fine at LAN lately, reaching Semis at IEM Dallas. With Florian ‘syrsoN’ Rische looking in form and helping their IGL Johannes ‘tabseN’ Wodarz with fragging, BIG is definitely a team to watch out for.


Cloud9 has always been a treat to watch at offline events and this squad is not an exception either. They already won the last IEM at Dallas, their second tournament after joining the NA org. They are currently the fourth team on HLTV’s rankings and are looking to repeat their Dallas performance. Their IGL Vladislav ‘nafany’ Gorshkov had a resurgence at Dallas while Dmitry ‘sh1ro’ Sokolov and Sergey ‘Ax1Le’ Rykhtorov are performing at a top-level.


Play-ins schedule

July 5

  • Spirit vs Complexity, 11:00
  • MOUZ vs paiN, 11:00
  • Heroic vs Sprout, 11:00
  • 00NATION vs Astralis, 12:15
  • Outsiders vs Imperial, 12:40
  • BIG vs ORDER, 12:40
  • TYLOO vs Vitality, 13:30
  • MIBR vs Movistar Riders, 14:20
  • Upper Bracket 2nd Rounds

July 6

  • Lower Bracket 1st Rounds, 10:30
  • Lower Bracket 2nd Rounds, 14:00

For more coverage on IEM Cologne 2022 and everything from esports news to betting tips, follow us on ESTNN.

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2022 Preview
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.