It’s getting hotter at IEM Oakland and now we’re left with only four teams that vie for victory. IEM Oakland is one of the most prolific tournaments around, and is now in its 12th iteration.
The prize pool consists of not too shabby $300,000. The winning team takes home $125,000. Fittingly, 12 teams began the tournament divided into two groups.
What makes this tournament particularly interesting are significant roster changes and last minute withdrawals.
Over half of the participating teams replaced or acquired new players. Immortals had to withdraw after changing the majority of their roster and subsequently losing their invitation. Renegades were invited instead.
The tournament also marks yet another group stage points allocation scheme: if the matches go to overtime, the winning team is awarded 2 points, whereas the losing team gets 1.
Some unlikely contenders remained – let’s explore the upcoming semifinal matches.
SK Gaming vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
Ninjas in Pyjamas smoothly sailed through their group with a respectable 4-1 score, losing only to SK Gaming they are facing once more.
SK Gaming clinched third place, just barely inching ahead of Astralis, and fought OpTic Gaming in the quarterfinals.
They performed miraculously well, though, steamrolling them on Overpass, where OpTic managed only two defensive wins. Inferno was a closer battle, and OpTic even managed a quick early lead. However, SK recovered fast and won the match 16-12.
SK admitted themselves that they haven’t that much time to practice after the arrival of boltz, but this didn’t show so far.
Can the Brazilians manage to beat Ninjas in Pyjamas? It’s entirely possible and, according to public sentiment, likely. Despite the NiP’s great group stage, SK Gaming look extremely strong. NiP could perhaps learn something from the last game and pull a few tricks, and they should. It’s their only chance of winning.
The match begins at 4 pm EST this Saturday.
Cloud9 vs FaZe Clan
Cloud9 always manage to surprise. They really cannot ever be discounted, but they’re almost never favourites to win. Yet they always seem to pull out a miracle.
The same thing happened in the quarterfinals where they beat Gambit Esports 2-1. It was a very close match, and Gambit were off to a terrific start, winning Overpass in overtime.
However, Cobblestone and Mirage were victorious for Cloud9, both with a 16-11 score, with Tyler and tarik tied for top frags. Looks like signing on RUSH and tarik was one of the best decisions the team could make.
Even though they’re huge favourites, FaZe should worry about Cloud9 as they are a powerhouse. Perhaps olofmeister can help ensure Faze advance to the finals – but it won’t be easy. This is a true test for the pumped-up Cloud9 roster who are eager to prove themselves.
Find out if they’ll manage this Saturday at 19:50 EST, after SK Gaming vs Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Don’t miss out on the tournament.