The second tournament of the Intel Extreme Masters series just ended. IEM Summer 2021 marked another victory for Gambit Esports, while many eminent teams performed quite poorly again. Esports Charts breaks down the failures of Fnatic and Astralis, notes the progress of OG and analyzes the viewership statistics of the event.
Gambit has no competitors
The victory of Gambit Esports at IEM Summer 2021 confirmed the thesis that has already been voiced several times: at the moment, no team in the discipline is capable of competing with nafany and his teammates. The confidence with which the Russian squad played in the playoffs of Intel Extreme Masters leaves no doubt that this particular team will be the main favorite of the upcoming Major.
In more than ten tournaments since the beginning of the year, Gambit has finished outside the top 4 only twice, and the biggest challenge to the team in recent months was Natus Vincere in the DreamHack Masters Spring final. The team plays well with all world leaders and at the same time does fail in matches with outsiders (which is often the case for many top teams in the online era of CS:GO).
Ax1Le caught up with s1mple in the number of MVP awards in 2021. Photo: Instagram @ax1legod
HLTV.org named Ax1Le as an MVP of the tournaments; it’s his second medal in 2021. By the number of awards, he equaled Alexander s1mple Kostylev. It seems that this year only representatives of the CIS region will compete for the title of the best player.
Gambit continues to lead very confidently in all world ratings, and the victory at IEM only strengthened the positions of the Russian team. One could say that Gambit is now Astralis of the pre-pandemic period. And so far there is no reason to believe that something will change in the coming months.
The collapse of the once great teams
Tough times for Fnatic fans. It's scary to think, but the team has only won three matches since mid-February: and IEM Summer 2021 turned out to be another inglorious tournament for the once legendary Swedish team.
Changes in Fnatic are inevitable. Photo: Helena Kristiansson / ESL
Now Fnatic is not even among the top 30 teams in the world rankings: the club fell that low only in the middle of 2016, when a massive reshuffle happened within the team (when JW, KRiMZ and flusha left Fnatic). The team fails both in teamplay and in the individual performance. It is very likely that the disband of the roster will take place soon: the team lost all qualifiers in which it participated, and the organization surely will take some radical measures to rectify the situation.
The current form of the four-time world champions Astralis also raises a lot of questions. Of course, the situation in the Danish team is not as horrible as in Fnatic, but the 45% winrate over the past three months is clearly not what the best team in the world is counting on.
Bubzkji is not yet ready to become a full-fledged replacement for device. Photo: Instagram @bubzkji
2021 is not easy for Astralis. After January's final of BLAST Premier: Global Final 2020 (where the Danes lost to NAVI), the team never finished in the top 4, and it left IEM Summer 2021 already at the group stage: after being defeated by Gambit. Astralis is also left without its leader device, and finding a proper replacement for him is not an easy task. And it needs to be solved now, if Astralis wants to approach the major in optimal form.
OG wakes up after a spring reshuffle
By the beginning of the summer OG had gained a very good form: IEM Summer 2021 was the second final for the team in the last two weeks.
Throughout the first half of the year, OG frankly suffered: the team could not get together at the bootcamp (all five team members were from different countries), experienced problems with connection from time to time (this mostly referred to ISSAA) and regularly failed in the group stages, although they usually played closed games with the rivals.
After a string of failures, OG made two changes. First to leave was the veteran NBK-, and then ISSAA was also moved inactive. To replace them, the European team signed niko and flameZ: and finally, the reshuffle paid off.
Aleksib brought OG back to the top 10 in the world rankings. Photo: Instagram @aleksivirolainen
At IEM Summer, the Aleksib team beat strong Ninjas in Pajamas, Virtus.pro, Evil Geniuses and Team Vitality, showing extremely confident play against the favorites. The one played that stood out was mantuu, who was also aiming for the MVP medal, and only because of the defeat in the final he lost the award to Ax1Le.
So far, the summer is started very well for OG: first, the team won Spring Sweet Spring #2, and now it has reached the IEM Summer finals, where almost all the top teams of the scene played. The next challenge is ESL One Cologne which starts on July 6th.
Viewership statistics of the tournament
Despite the big names in the list of tournament participants, IEM Summer 2021 showed far from the best performance in terms of viewers. Among the top championships of the current year (tier-S events in Liquipedia), in terms of peak and average number of viewers, the event only bypassed cs_summit 7.
Viewership statistics of top tournaments in 2021
With 62 hours of airtime, IEM Summer 2021 scored 6.9M hours watched: for comparison, DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 was only an hour longer, but in total viewers spent more than 11.6M hours on its streams. The average audience of IEM Summer was 113K people, and the maximum number of viewers was watching the final between Gambit and OG: 188.7K viewers.
Statistics of IEM Summer 2021
Traditionally, the most popular broadcast of the tournament was in English, where the peak was more than 96K people: it is noteworthy that it was reached during the group stage match when Virtus.pro played with Ninjas in Pajamas. 2nd and 3rd places were taken by Russian-language and Portuguese-language broadcasts, however, their peak was almost two times less than that of the English-language (47.8K and 46.3K viewers, respectively).
In addition to the grand final, the top 5 most popular matches of the tournament included three Team Vitality games (vs OG, Gambit and derby with G2), as well as the NiP game against Virtus.pro. Note that only 4.5K viewers separated the first and third places.
Most popular teams of the tournament
The most popular IEM Summer 2021 team was Team Vitality with an average audience of 121.4K people. The top five also included G2 Esports, Ninjas in Pajamas, Gambit Esports and OG, with less than 5K viewers separating them.
Due to the absence of Natus Vincere (by far the most popular CS:GO team in the world), IEM Summer 2021 showed far from the most impressive viewership statistics. But on the other hand, we can expect the opposite result from the next tournament of the series: after two years Intel Extreme Masters XVI - Cologne will return in the LAN format (albeit without spectators) with a prize pool of a million dollars: the first matches will start on July 6.
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