IEM’s Global Challenge is the curtain caller to CSGO’s 2020 calendar. With $500,000 on the line, there’s plenty to play for as eight of the world’s best teams coalesce in Europe.
The online era of CS:GO has thrown a few curveballs into the mix. Remember when BIG was the world’s best team? It feels like that was so long ago. Regardless of there being no international action, there’s been plenty of stellar performances in the server.
Now, all those theories will be put to the test at the IEM Global Challenge. The very best players will be looking to show they’re worthy of the #1 spot. Here’s the five you need to keep your eyes on starting December 15.
Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev (Na’Vi)
Look, there isn’t a flashier player to watch in CS:GO than s1mple… It’s as simple as that. He is probably the best player in the world right now, and he’s got the stats to back that up. He’s got the highest rating in 2020 against Top 20 teams (1.29) — supplemented by a whopping 1.42 K/D/A.
Na’Vi’s gameplan right now is “no s1mple, no clue.” When s1mple’s been cold, they’ve been wiped. But those cold spots are few and far between, and you can bet your bottom dollar s1mple will put on a show during the Global Challenge to cement his place above a certain French phenom…
Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut (Vitality)
You can’t talk about one without bringing up the other. If online CS:GO has given us anything in 2020, it’s plenty of airtime between s1mple and ZywOo. The Vitality star has been neck-and-neck with his Na’Vi contemporary the entire year — both have 1.29 ratings on HLTV. And while Na’Vi started out 2020 strong, Vitality have clawed it back in recent times.
It always feels like that if ZywOo has a quiet map — you know, anything below +5 KD — he will come out and drop a 30-bomb during the next outing. His explosiveness, as well as his consistency, makes him one of the most feared players in the world for good reason. He will be the key, once again, to Vitality’s success if they want to maintain their mantle at the top.
Yuri ‘yuurih’ Santos (FURIA)
FURIA are the kings of NA CS:GO right now. While they’ve had mixed results since flying across the pond, Yuurih has been their saving grace. He’s not a chart topper, but you can’t scoff at his ability to post better than average (1.0 rating) performances at 76%.
He’s also cool in the clutch, winning 56 1vX situations in 2020 alone — complimented by a positive 1v1 win rate. It speaks to the incredible run of form that he’s managed to find in 2020, and the IEM Global Challenge is his chance to prove to the world that Brazilian Counter-Strike is well and truly alive.
Florian ‘syrsoN’ Rische (BIG)
Compared from the start of the online era to now, BIG themselves have slowly fallen off the radar. Heck, Chaos had to bow out (due to travel restrictions) for them to edge their way in. Yet, without syrsoN, they would have never reached #1 in the world.
syrsoN is arguably the most lethal sniper in the world right now, and when he’s on fire, there’s no doubt about it. While the spark has waned recently, he still boasts a decent 1.10 HLTV rating. Leading into IEM Global Challenge, though, his stats are on the up, which means that we shouldn’t count the German organization out just yet.
Benjamin ‘blameF’ Bremer (Complexity)
There’s very few IGLs in CS:GO who manage to top frag while calling the shots… But blameF somehow does it. He’s one of 2020’s biggest revelations, and he’s become the core of Jason Lake’s juggernaut (not just because of his stature). He boasts the highest rating of his team, 1.20 — which is no easy feat when you’re stepping into the server with Valentin ‘poizon’ Vasilev and Justin ‘JKS’ Savage.
While Complexity might struggle without poizon — who’s been ruled out because of surgery — blameF will need to step up again to really keep Complexity’s hopes alive. They’ve faltered as of late, having been on a downswing since taking home BLAST Spring, but a fired-up blameF has the potential to carry this team to a title to round out a relatively successful 2020.
The IEM Global Challenge kicks off on December 15.