IEM Fall 2021 – CIS Group A Preview

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The CIS region will see its third and final Regional Major Rankings (RMR) tournament begin on September 29th. Set to be played out online, the five-day event will see twelve teams competing for just five spots at the highly anticipated PGL Stockholm Major. In this article, we’ll focus on the six teams making up Group A, taking a look at their rosters, past results, and expectations headed into the tournament.

Logo for Natus Vincere Natus Vincere (3680 RMR Points)

Natus Vincere’s successes in earlier RMR tournaments have left them in an interesting position. With 3680 points heading into the tournament, they qualify for the PGL Stockholm Major even with a last-place finish at this event. Still, there is plenty for the world’s best to fight for: another strong showing here would help the team secure legend’s status, bypassing the major’s New Challengers stage altogether.

Of course, expectations for Na’Vi are high, and anything less than a win would feel like an underperformance for the team in their current form. However, with the group stage being composed entirely of best-of-one’s — a format that the team is known for struggling with — there will be plenty of opportunities for upsets to occur.

Logo for Team Spirit Team Spirit (3530 RMR Points)

Currently sitting second to Na’Vi in points, Team Spirit also looks to be in a great position to make the major. It would only take a top-five placing in the tournament to secure their spot in Stockholm, and the team looks entirely capable of reaching that goal after fourth and third place finishes at the years earlier RMR tournaments.

Team Spirit got off to a hot start in 2021, most notably reaching the semi-finals at the IEM Season 15 World Championship in February. However, underwhelming results have plagued the team in recent months, including a 1-4 record in the ESL Pro League Season 14 group stage and a 16th-place finish at IEM Cologne. Legend’s status is on the table if they can outperform either Natus Vincere or Gambit Esports, but the team will have to refind their form if they plan to do so.

Logo for Akuma Akuma (1120 RMR Points)

The ever-controversial Akuma returns, with hopes of another miracle run at IEM Fall. The squad is best known for their performance at EPIC CIS League Spring 2021 — the first CIS RMR tournament of the year — in which they placed third with wins over the likes of Virtus.Pro and Natus Vincere. However, the following RMR tournament would be much less kind to Akuma, who bombed out of the tournament in last place, securing no additional points.

Currently, Akuma sits 1330 points behind the fifth-place team. It will take a monstrous overperformance from the team to earn their way to Stockholm, but we’ve seen them do it before. Only time will tell which Akuma arrives on the server at IEM Fall, but in such a competitive region, it’ll be a tough tournament for the Ukranians.

Logo for Entropiq Entropiq (1100 RMR Points)

Entropiq come into this tournament as one of several underdogs. They currently sit in eighth place in points following an unfortunate 6th-place finish at the region’s second RMR tournament, earning the team zero points. Since then they’ve had some up and down results, including a competitive run in the ESL Pro League in which they ended their group with a 2-3 record, narrowly missing out on playoffs.

If the group plays out without any surprises, it’s likely that Entropiq will once again be playing for 5th place in the tournament. If so, their chance at the major may very well depend on that final best of three. However, in a group stage full of best-of-one’s, Entropiq could easily take one or two key wins that see them through into the playoffs.

Logo for Nemiga Gaming Nemiga Gaming (192 RMR Points)

Nemiga Gaming entered the 2021 RMR circuit with a 300-point head start, due to their strong performances in 2020. Unfortunately, after a series of roster moves and two group-stage finishes in the 2021 RMR events, they now sit at only 192 points. It would be exceedingly difficult, though not impossible, to see the roster qualify for Stockholm.

Despite this, don’t expect Nemiga to go out with a whimper. They defeated Akuma in the previous RMR tournament, and are favorites over AVE. A best-of-one win over Entropiq or Team Spirit could be enough to advance the team into the fifth-place game, and may result in the squad playing spoiler for another team vying for the region’s last major slots.

Logo for AVE AVE (0 RMR Points)

This event marks AVE’s first RMR tournament, having earned their way to the event through the open qualifier system. Just making it this far may be seen as a success by some, but the level of competition here is one AVE is unused to, and they aren’t expected to come away with many victories.

However, there’s always a chance for the team to come away with a victory. They come into the tournament with nothing to lose, which would make it all the more meaningful if the team were able to defeat the likes of Akuma or Nemiga Gaming. Just don’t be surprised if they only see a short stay in IEM Fall.

Joshua Treadway
Joshua Treadway
Esports writer with an interest in technology and culture. Believer in North American Counter-Strike. Universally Beloved.

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