Published on October 23rd, 2023 | by Adrian Gunning
FaZe Clan Crowned The First Ever Tier 1 Counter-Strike 2 Champion at IEM Sydney 2023
The Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Sydney 2023 Grand Finals have concluded today, with powerhouse FaZe Clan emerging victorious with a score of 2-1 against Complexity. The first international in-person tournament played on Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) saw a nail-biting final, with FaZe Clan claiming the victory after an exhilarating double overtime final set, in what will surely go down as an iconic IEM final.
IEM Sydney 2023 is both the fastest-selling and largest Australian esports tournament in history. Australian Counter-Strike fans returned in force to the first live IEM Sydney in over 4 years, with 20,000 fans in attendance throughout the Playoffs in the Aware Super Theatre.
The tournament commenced on October 16 with a Group Stage during which the teams were divided into two groups of eight. Group A saw MOUZ dominate the upper bracket, with BetBoom Team coming in a close second. Both teams made it through to the Playoffs, alongside FaZe Clan who fought through the lower bracket for their spot, knocking out Natus Vincere in the process.
In Group B, G2 Esports and ENCE secured the top two spots in the upper bracket, and Complexity beat out Monte in the lower bracket final to claim the final spot in the Playoffs.
The Playoffs kicked off on October 20 with the quarterfinals that saw MOUZ, FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, and Complexity make it to the top four.
FaZe Clan showed their strength early during the Playoffs with a 13-0 win over ENCE, the first time a team has 13-0’d a competitor in a live Counter-Strike 2 tournament. Complexity also started their playoffs run strong with a 2-0 against BetBoom Team.
In the semi-finals, FaZe Clan dominated MOUZ winning 2-0, taking the first set 13-4 on Nuke, before converting a closer win of 13-9 on Vertigo.
Complexity also scored a 2-0 semi-final victory, dispatching G2 Esports, storming home 13-8 on Anubis, before winning the second set more comfortably 13-3 on Ancient, with Ricky “floppy” Kemery posting some impressive stats.
FaZe Clan and Complexity both booked their places in the Grand Final with impressive performances during the Playoffs where neither team dropped a map.
The first set of the Grand Final was incredibly tight, with Complexity eventually edging out a 13-11 win in the final round of the set, following a brilliant comeback. FaZe Clan rallied for set 2, winning it 13-11 and bringing the match to the decisive third set.
The third set nearly saw one of the greatest comebacks of IEM history, with Complexity recovering from 9-3 down, to win six consecutive games to bring it back to 10-9. In a nail-biting final few rounds, Complexity continued their magical form to take the Grand Final to overtime, and then a second overtime. Despite Complexity’s resurgence, FaZe Clan were able to recover, dominating the second overtime to take home the trophy, with Robin ‘Ropz’ Kool taking the title of ESL Pro Tour DHL MVP.
“It feels amazing to be the first CS2 champions,” said Håvard “rain” Nygaard of FaZe Clan. “I want to say thank you to all our fans here and around the world. This was hands down the best crowd I’ve ever played in front of.”
“It feels great, we’ve spent so much time practicing CS2 together before this,” said Robin ‘ropz’ Kool. “The first loss against GamerLegion hurt, but we stuck with it and managed to come back. It’s been a turbulent year for us, but I’ve been playing as much as possible, and CS2 gave us the motivational boost to improve our performance and work harder for this IEM.”
IEM Sydney 2023 saw a peak viewership of more than 463,081* concurrent viewers, over 6.6 million hours watched and attracted more than 20,000 attendees.
THE CACHES IV Showmatch
Ahead of the Grand Final on October 22, THE CACHES IV Showmatch Powered by Intel® and Acer Predator took place, which saw Team Australia and Team UK face off once more following a 4-year hiatus. Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill, Joshua “INS” Potter, Christopher “dexter” Nong, Justin “jks” Savage, Declan “Vexite” Portelli, Chris “GoMeZ” Orfanellis (Coach) represented Australia, while Alex “Hawka” Hawkins, Guy “NertZ” Iluz, Sebastian “volt” Maloș, Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov and Henry “HenryG” Greer lined up in the British corner.
The match started closely, with both teams taking a few rounds each. However, Team Australia eventually got into a winning rhythm and swept away Team UK 13-7, winning The Caches for the fourth consecutive time. The showmatch also marked the launch of the Intel® Core™ 14th Gen Desktop Processor.
The ESL Pro Tour (EPT) for Counter-Strike continues with the currently ongoing ESL Challenger League Season 46, which will conclude on December 3. The year will be closed off by ESL Challenger Jönköping on November 24-26 and ESL Challenger Atlanta on December 15-17, before kicking off 2024 with a bang with the EPT Championship IEM Katowice 2024 on January 31-February 11.
For more information and the latest updates about ESL’s Counter-Strike esports ecosystem, head to the official ESL Pro Tour website, and follow ESL CS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
*According to escharts.com