Cover and Thumbnail Image Courtesy: ESL Gaming - Intel Grand Slam
The race for Intel Grand Slam (IGS) Season 3 began on 18th July after Team Liquid was able to claim the IGS Season 2 in record 63 days, winning four tournaments in a row namely, IEM Sydney 2019, DreamHack Dallas 2019, ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals, and ESL One: Cologne 2019.
Witnessing this feat by Team Liquid, a few changes were made to the third season of the Grand Slam. Instead of teams requiring 4 tournament victories in a window of 10 consecutive tournaments, they are now required to win either an IEM World Championship, ESL One Cologne, or a CS:GO Major Championship as part of these 4 tournaments, or they need to win a total of 6 s-tier tournaments.
Image Courtesy: ESL Gaming
Here is a quick look at the rat race which is currently underway, with five teams securing a victory each, getting an edge above the others in a bid to secure the $1,000,000 prize which is directly pocketed by the players.
Taking The Pole Position
Team Liquid was the first team to register a win for IGS Season 3 by winning the IEM Chicago 2019. The boys in blue after pocketing the million-dollar prize for IGS Season 2 by standing victorious at ESL One: Cologne 2019, continued their winning streak by lifting the trophy in their own backyard at Chicago.
The event which was marketed as the proving ground between the American and the European regions witnessed the finale take place between two of the finest teams from each region, where Liquid went on swat ENCE ‘3-0’ in a rather quick best-of-five series.
But despite flagging off the race, Liquid is lagging behind with no other victory to their name since then. They have kept up their form, consistently placing in the top five, but a victory seems to elude them.
With only five remaining chances left to claim the 3rd Season, Liquid needs to win three more tournaments of which one victory compulsorily has to come in one of the following tournaments, ESL One: Cologne 2020, ESL One: Rio 2020, and IEM - World Championship 2020.
Coming In Hot
Following Team Liquid is another team from North America, Evil Geniuses. Right after EG was able to successfully sign the ex-NRG roster, they participated in ESL One: New York 2019, and surprised everyone with a victory against Astralis in the finale.
The Danes who were fresh off a victory at Berlin Major 2019, were really struggling to keep pace with EG, who took them down ‘3-1’ to kick start their run for IGS Season 3. But yet again, facing a fate similar to that of Liquid, they have been unable to win any other tournaments under the ESL / DreamHack banner.
With six more tournaments left to claim the prize, EG needs a compulsory victory at either Cologne, Rio or Katowice, along with two more victories to win the 3rd season of IGS.
A Surprise Entry
The Swedish esports organization which is currently in a conflict with BLAST for not inviting them to their 2020 league, shifted gears in the last quarter of 2019. Fnatic won DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019, while standing 2nd at StarSeries & i-League Season 8 and EPL Season 10 - Finals.
Ever since the organization made a few roster shuffles back in September, they have seen a surprising surge in their performance level. Kicking off their journey in IGS Season 3 with the victory in Malmo.
They came really close to winning a second tournament under the Grand Slam circuit but conceded defeat to mousesports. The Swedes are left with seven chances to claim the prize, but it won't be that easy as they would also be requiring a compulsory victory at either Cologne, Rio or Katowice.
The Danes Join The Race
A bit late to join the race for the 3rd Grand Slam, Astralis were the fourth team to step in after winning the IEM Beijing 2019, which also ensured them a direct invite to IEM Katowice 2020.
The Danes slumped off a bit since after their victory in Berlin, where they secured their third Major victory in a row and the fourth overall, but came back in Beijing, winning the tournament without dropping a single map through the group stage and the playoffs.
With a slot already secured for the tournament set to take place in Katowice, Astralis has a total of eight remaining chances and even if they aren't successful in winning in Cologne, Rio or Katowice, they still have a chance of qualifying by winning the remaining five tournaments.
Slipping In Right Before The Year Ends
Mousesports was the most recent team to have joined in after winning the ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals. The German esports organization has been having a great time, having won three out of their last four tournaments, including a victory at CS:GO Asia Championships and cs_summit 5.
The team has nine remaining chances to claim the Grand Slam, having both the options of winning three more tournaments including a victory at one of the three prized tournaments or hunting down gold at the other remaining tournaments.
The team has stormed through the global rank list placing second before the end of the year if they continue to perform in the same manner, they can very well take home the million-dollar prize.
So this is how the rat race stands at this point of time, five teams are currently in contention to win the IGS Season 3, with the remaining teams looking to enter the competition by winning an ESL or DreamHack tournament.
IEM Chicago 2019
ESL One: New York 2019
DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019
IEM Beijing 2019
ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals
It is still too early to call which team has the best chance of winning the Grand Slam this time around, as the changes in rules have made it more challenging to complete the circuit.
IEM World Championship 2020
25th Feb - 1st Mar
ESL One: Rio 2020
11th - 24th May
Rio de Janeiro
DreamHack Masters Jonkoping 2020
9th - 14th June
ESL One: Cologne 2020
6th - 12th July