IEM Beijing-Haidian starts Thursday and features some of the world's dominant Counter-Strike Global Offensive teams, including Astralis, FaZe Clan, Evil Geniuses, and Team Vitality. All those teams have the potential to win the tournament to get the top share of the $250,000 prize pool and earn a victory toward the Intel Grand Slam.
With FaZe fresh off a win at BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen 2019 last week and Evil Geniuses winning StarSeries Season 8 the week before that, both are contenders to lift the trophy.
Astralis' dominance of 2018 and the early parts of this year has faded, though the Danish powerhouse won the StarLadder Berlin Major in August. A lackluster fourth place finish at Copenhagen last weekend shows the team is not in great shape to take a tournament, making it a prime opportunity for either FaZe or Evil Geniuses to strike.
Even with FaZe showing off the true strength of its star-studded squad in Copenhagen, Evil Geniuses are the true front-runners to win the whole event. Standing as the No. 1 team on the HLTV's world rankings, the boys in blue have gotten more victories against stronger talent than FaZe in recent months, having taken ESL One New York over an in-form Astralis and a convincing win over a re-surging Fnatic squad in StarSeries Season 8.
Of course, there are some dark horses this event with Team Vitality hungry for a LAN victory and the Aussies playing under the 100Thieves banner for the first time, but both teams will have to challenge the likes of Evil Geniuses if they want the win at IEM Beijing.
Photo courtesy of ESL