Meet the ten teams invited to IEM Chicago 2018 - Upcomer
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IEM is heading to Chicago this year, and it looks like this tournament is going to be a bloodbath. The ten teams are some of the best that Counter-Strike has to offer. Many are looking for redemption from past failures, while others are looking to maintain their dominance. There should be enough exciting moments to last us a lifetime, so let us now take a look at the ten invitees that are facing off this November 11th. Note that this is not taking into consideration that some teams may go through roster changes in the time between now and the tournament.


The Danish powerhouse is coming off of a brilliant performance at the 2018 ELEAGUE CSGO Premier. They wouldn’t even drop a single game and are looking like the best team in the world. The addition of Emil “Magisk” Reif back in February is paying off in spades. They seems to have found the perfect balance of great team coordination and amazing individual play. With their in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander at the helm, and superstar AWPer Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz ready to take over, Astralis looks poised to take another Premier event for themselves. We will need to see how Astralis performs at the 2018 FACEIT London Major, which is happening this September. Their success at IEM Chicago will be pretty dependant on a great showing at the Major. Is this the Astralis era? These next big events will reveal that in time!

FaZe Clan

If FaZe Clan aren’t able to take victory at the Major, it may affect their chances at winning IEM pretty drastically. Their performance at the ELEAGUE Premier left something to be desired but never underestimate this squad. They are still one of the best teams in Counter-Strike, boasting some of the most talented players. Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer has returned back from hiatus and was looking like his old self again. They also have Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, who many consider a top three player in the world. Hopefully, FaZe can find some kind of success at the upcoming Major to bounce back from a few disappointing events.


Once considered a wildcard, now respected by many. The German-based collective would shock the world when they would reach the Grand Finals at ESL One Cologne 2018. Their brash, aggressive style of play would catch many top teams by surprise. Now, everyone knows about the little team that makes big plays! However, what does this mean for their chances at success? Teams will be much more prepared for BIG, now that they’ve hopped up the World Rankings. They will need to prepare many different strats just to stay ahead of the competition. Also, their powerful fragging duo of Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and Owen “smooya” Butterfield will need to show up big time. Let’s see if the underdogs can do it again, especially after the upcoming London Major.


The dominant Swedish lineup of Fnatic has not been playing up to snuff as of late. They have had a few relatively disappointing performances, the latest being the ELEAGUE Premier. They would finish in sixth place, losing to Natus Vincere, and eventually Mousesports in the deciding match. Unfortunately, Fnatic’s famous trio of Jesper “JW” Wecksell, Robin “flusha” Rönnquist and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson has been underperforming. They were making uncharacteristic mistakes and misplays that we haven’t seen before from them. If Fnatic isn’t able to find some kind of success at the London Major, expect the lineup to undergo some changes for IEM Chicago.

Team Liquid

After a great showing at the ELEAGUE Premier, Team Liquid is looking ready to make a push for a decent rest of 2018. They were able to reach the Grand Finals to face Astralis in Atlanta and put up a pretty good fight. Currently, they are arguably the best North American team right now, and for good reason. Budding young star Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken has been consistently improving over the last year. Hopefully, Coach Zews will be well enough to attend the events. Under the steadfast leadership of long-time in-game leader Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella, maybe Team Liquid could make a great run for the upcoming Major, and for IEM Chicago.

Natus Vincere

Na’Vi still has one of the best duos in the world with superstar AWPer Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov. The Russian powerhouse is also coming from a big win at ESL One Cologne. Could this be the year that Natus Vincere takes over? Maybe. S1mple seems to think so. He also believes that he is the best player in the world, and when he is on his game, it’s hard to disagree with him. Natus Vincere can be hard to stop when S1mple and electronic are clicking, so their success will hinge on whether or not they are in form for both the London Major, as well as IEM Chicago.


Mousesports will have to find a way to get back into fighting form come IEM Chicago, and even the London Major. They haven’t had a lot of meaningful successful with the addition of Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski. They had an early exit at ESL One Cologne and were taken down by Astralis at the ELEAGUE CSGO Premier. However, the team has been improving consistently over the past few months. Snax has been looking very good for them, and more time with the team should be good for their synergy. In-game leader Chris “chrisJ” de Jong has also been stepping it up, not only as the captain but also in the kill department. We will have to see whether they can improve enough to make a difference come London and Chicago.

NRG Esports

NRG has some pretty good momentum heading into the next few events of 2018. They’ve had some pretty good results, especially with their recent championship win at IEM Shanghai. It’s great to see North American teams flourishing and succeeding. Hopefully, they can continue their great run through the year, and prove that they too can compete with the top tier teams of the world. Their newest addition, Ethan “nahtE” Arnold, has also integrated pretty well with the long-time members of the team. They are now showing off the synergy that they’ve built up together since 2016 and 2017.


The Renegades are coming into the rest of 2018 with some good results under their belt. They just recently won the Asia Minor Championship, giving them New Challenger status at the 2018 London Major in September. Also, they were looking pretty good against the competition there, although the teams at the Asia Minor are obviously not at the same level as the Major or at IEM Chicago. They will have to rely on their in-game leader Aaron “AZR” Ward to help guide his team to victory. Additionally, they are still trying to build a good foundation with stand-in coach, Steve “Ryu” Rattacasa, who joined in June.


Last but certainly not least, Made In Brazil is heading towards the London Major and IEM Chicago with a new fire in their heart. The team has gone through multiple roster changes in order to find some kind of success. They recently picked up former Cloud9 in-game leader Tarik “tarik” Celik, and they have now replaced their head coach. Janko “YNk” Paunovic has taken the wheel for the MIBR bus. We can only wait and see if his extensive knowledge of the game can help push MIBR to that next level that they have been yearning for. The firepower for MIBR is all there, with star fragger Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip and Marcelo “coldzera” David manning the guns. With the calm, veteran presence of in-game leader Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, it is looking like MIBR could make a pretty convincing run through the Major, towards IEM Chicago.

What do you think of the ten invitees to IEM Chicago? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! If you want more CSGO content, check us out here!