IEM Chicago has been announced as the spot for the North American stop on the IEM calendar this year.
Known for putting on some of the biggest events around the globe, IEM and ESL do an amazing job at running events and providing some of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive action.
This event will have $250,000 up for grabs and will most certainly bring some of the best highlights in 2018.
The first eight (out of ten) direct invites for #IEM Chicago are already in!@FaZeClan@astralisgg@BIGCLANgg@mousesports @TeamLiquid @Renegades @mibr @NRGgg— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) August 9, 2018
Welcome to the Windy City! pic.twitter.com/nZzXyC4S40
Eight teams have received initial invites to the event. These teams are FaZe Clan, Astralis, BIG, mousesports, Team Liquid, Renegades, MIBR and NRG. This is a mix of some of the best teams from across the globe.
There are still two more invites that are yet to be released by ESL. There are two clear teams that deserve this invite to one of the biggest and best events of the year: Na`Vi and Fnatic.
Na`Vi is one of the best teams in the world, and with good reason. The team has won big events this year such as Starseries i-League Season 5 and ESL One Cologne 2018. Cologne was a breakout for the team that has commonly been in the shadow of either FaZe or Astralis in 2018.
With players like Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Denis "electronic" Sharipov, Na`Vi can win any event that it enters. This is a team that is one that could easily be lifting the FACEIT Major title in September and cementing its' own legacy.
Next is Fnatic, the Swedish team that has a rich history of success at IEM and ESL events. The team has been consistently at the top-level of the scene and even became the first team to win three IEM Katowice titles.
Where's Navi? Lol. Esl champs.— Ajhay Gonzales (@Ajhaaay13) August 9, 2018
The team has changed players around with the addition of William "draken" Sundin and Richard "Xizt" Landstrom. With this, the team has looked promising recently and looks like it could make a run at FACEIT Major: London.
It is unknown yet why neither of these teams were invited to IEM Chicago and when the next two invites will be announced. It is also not known whether either team already turned down an invitation.
If not invited, there are still two spots left for qualifying for the event through the European region that Na`Vi and Fnatic would be the favorites to advance. However, this event is not until the middle of November and many changes may occur.
Photo courtesy of IEM