IEM Dallas: FaZe, Vitality and G2 headline North American CS2 tournament

by Brian Bencomo

North American fans will get to witness top-tier Counter-Strike 2 in person next year, according to an HLTV report that says a Major will be held in NA. However, fans won’t have to wait that long to see some of the top CS2 teams in the world compete in North America. IEM Dallas will play out over the course of the next week starting Memorial Day featuring teams like FaZe Clan, Team Vitality, G2 Esports and NAVI. Taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, IEM Dallas will be held in conjunction with the Dreamhack Dallas gaming festival. Dreamhack Dallas also will include a women’s CS2 tournament (ESL Impact) as well as Starcraft 2, Overwatch 2 and FGC competitions. To get you ready for IEM Dallas, here’s a primer on the schedule and format and teams that will be competing.

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Schedule and format

Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

IEM Dallas begins May 27 with the group stage, which continues through May 29. The group stage will consist of a double elimination bracket with eight teams in each group. Opening matches will be single maps, and subsequent matches will be best-of-three.

Here’s the group breakdown:

Group A

  • MOUZ
  • 9z
  • Complexity
  • Team Liquid
  • G2 Esports
  • Team Falcons
  • Team Vitality
  • Monte

Group B

  • FaZe Clan
  • M80
  • Heroic
  • Team Spirit
  • FlyQuest
  • NAVI
  • BIG

The top three teams from each group will advance to the playoffs, with the top team in each group getting a bye to the semifinals of the single elimination bracket. The playoffs will take place May 31 - June 2. All matches will be best-of-three.

Favorites to win

FaZe Clan, MOUZ, Team Vitality

Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

MOUZ are coming in hot having won the most recent ESL Pro League and BetBoom Dacha Belgrade. Aside from one loss they would be coming in with three event wins in a row. They’ve won 14 of their last 15 matches, with the only loss coming against FaZe Clan, in the IEM Chengdu final.

That finals win for FaZe was the apex of an impressive three event run in which they made the finals of IEM Katowice, the Copenhagen Major and IEM Chengdu. They finished second in Katowice and Copenhagen. FaZe merely managed a top eight finish at the ESL Pro League. It was an uncharacteristically low finish for a team that has been arguably the best since CS2 released last year.

Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Team Vitality haven’t won any titles this year after finishing 2023 with back-to-back trophies at the Blast Fall Final and Blast World Final. However, they were strong contenders in the ESL Pro League (second) and the Major (top four). Vitality have a championship pedigree and the best player in the world in Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut.

North America’s favorites

Complexity, M80, Team Liquid, G2 Esports

Photo credit: Adam Lakomy / ESL

All of these teams figure to get a lot of support from the North American crowd, and they all should be fairly competitive. Complexity have been the class of NA over the past few months, highlighted by a top four finish at ESL Pro League 19 with big wins over NAVI and With their homebase in Dallas, Complexity are the clear hometown favorites at this tournament.

Team Liquid used to be the class of NA, but have seen mixed results of late. Despite adding stars Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken and Casper "cadiaN" Møller late last year, the team failed to qualify for the Copenhagen Major. Liquid have had better results of late including a top eight finish at the ESL Pro League and a finals appearance at the CCT Season 1 Global Finals. Still, the team is reportedly looking to make some changes after IEM Dallas, according to HLTV.

Photo credit: Igor Bezborodov / ESL

M80 are the up-and-coming NA team to watch. They don’t have any significant tournament wins, but they’ve beaten Team Liquid three of the last four times they played and beat G2 at the ESL Pro League. They’ll be competing in Dallas with a new IGL in Elias "s1n" Stein. The German player is no stranger to North America. He was on the BIG Academy team that finished second at Fragadelphia 17.

As for G2, the European team will be an honorary NA team in Dallas with Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip standing in for the team. Stewie2K’s best days might be behind him, but he famously won the Boston Major in 2018 with Cloud9, the only North American team to win a Major. He also won the Intel Grand Slam with Team Liquid in 2019. As for G2, they finished top four at the Copenhagen Major and IEM Chengdu and top eight at ESL Pro League 19.

Keep an eye on these teams too

NAVI, Team Spirit, Team Falcons,

Photo credit: PGL

These teams all have the potential to win IEM Dallas if things break their way. NAVI are the most recent Major champions and are consistent contenders at big tournaments. Team Spirit won IEM Katowice this year with a breakout performance from their young star Danil "donk" Kryshkovets. Team Falcons haven’t done nearly as well of late since a top four finish at IEM Katowice. However, with former Major winners Emil "Magisk" Reif and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen along with coach Danny "zonic" Sørensen, this team can’t be counted out. enter IEM Dallas following a top eight finish at the ESL Pro League and top six at IEM Chengdu.

Lead photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

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