After a two-month hiatus since the end of the IEM Rio Major in November, the fight for the million-dollar prize will start once again.
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023 will officially start on February 1st, marking the beginning of the year's first big-venue event in front of a crowd. The competition will feature twenty-four of the world's most skilled teams, including all of the top ten sides on the HLTV rankings. These teams will compete to embroider their names into the rich tapestry that is Counter-Strike lore with a triumph at one of CSGO’s most esteemed tournaments.
The Grand Slam, which had its final featured competition in the form of the IEM Rio Major in November, presents a prize pot of a million dollars along with literal gold bars to each team member of the first team to win four major ESL tournaments. This must happen within the course of 10 events since their first success, and these tournaments must include IEM Katowice, IEM Cologne, or an ESL Major.
At this point, FaZe are the most likely candidates to walk away with the gold and the money. After winning IEM Katowice 2022, ESL Pro League Season 15, and IEM Cologne 2022, the squad led by Finn “karrigan” Andersen has accumulated three of the necessary four wins to complete the IGS.
FaZe may have already won it had it not been for two back-to-back failed campaigns in the form of ESL Pro League Season 16 and the IEM Rio Major, which drove their dreams and ambitions of Intel Grand Slam glory back to the start of the new year. Now the squad has four tournaments in hand to claim the prize.
The multi-national squad will potentially be the fourth team in CSGO history to accomplish the feat, following in the footsteps of Astralis, Team Liquid, and Natus Vincere. The victory will also be a personal high point for Russel “Twizz” Van Dulken, who will be the first player to win a second Grand Slam, having already done so with Liquid in 2019.
In addition to FaZe, three more teams are in contention for the IGS prize. These teams are quite some way behind with one point each to FaZe’s three. These include Cloud9 for winning IEM Dallas, Team Vitality for having won ESL Pro League Season 16, and Outsiders for their resounding triumph at the IEM Rio Major.
Here are the tournaments that have already taken place and their winners in Season 4 of the IGS:
- IEM Winter 2021 – Vitality (France) (not applicable because of core roster changes)
- IEM Katowice 2022 – FaZe (Europe)
- ESL Pro League Season 15 – FaZe (Europe)
- IEM Dallas 2022 – Cloud9 (Russia)
- IEM Cologne 2022 – FaZe (Europe)
- ESL Pro League Season 16 – Vitality (Europe)
- IEM Rio Major – Outsiders (Russia)
- IEM Katowice 2023 – TBD