First Counter-Strike 2 Tournament: IEM Sydney 2023


IEM Sydney 2023 was the first Counter-Strike 2 tournament of all time. On this page, we’re looking at the community reaction to the event, competing teams, tournament overview and more about this historic tournament.

First CS2 Tournament: Community Reaction

Following Counter-Strike 2’s official release, ESL revealed that all the upcoming ESL Pro Tour and ESL Impact events were to transition to Counter-Strike 2 with immediate effect, with CS2 gambling being introduced too.

In the wake of the announcement, numerous members of the community expressed their thoughts about the state that the game was in at that time and that it was not ready for competitive play.

Multiple top Counter-Strike 2 players, such as Russel “Twistzz” van Dulken, Jon “JDC” de Castro, Niels Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen, Nikita “HeavyGod” Martynenko, and Aurimas “bymas” Pipiras mentioned inconsistent spraying, movement feeling sloppy, confusing sound design, and peekers advantage being overpowered as some of the issues present in CS2 at the time.

However, many pros also stated that CS2 becoming publicly available and the game being played on a competitive level will greatly accelerate its progression and rate of improvement.

IEM Sydney Tournament Overview

first cs2 tournament
Image credit: ESL

Intel Extreme Masters returned to Sydney after four years with a mix of the best Counter-Strike teams in the world and local competition battling it out in hopes of lifting the first-ever CS2 title.

Here are some facts about the event:

  • Date: Oct. 16-22, 2023
  • Location: Aware Super Theatre, Sydney, Australia
  • Prize Pool: $250,000
  • Teams in Attendance: 16
  • Format: Two eight-team groups, first place advances to semi-final, second and third advance to quarter-finals, single elimination play-off bracket, BO3 Grand Final

Results Summary

After a dry spell at the end of CS:GO, it was FaZe that stepped up down under and claimed the IEM Sydney title, following a thrilling Grand Final against Complexity, where the international squad outlasted their American-majority opponents in overtime on the series’ decider of Ancient.

In spite of not being the highest-rated player on his team, Havard “rain” Nygaard was the one to receive the tournament’s MVP medal. The Norwegian delivered tons of impact on the server, especially in high-pressure moments on the play-off stage.

Apart from the FaZe roster, many other players also impressed with their individual level at the first CS2 event, namely Ilya “m0NESY” Osipoc, Denis “electroNic” Sharipov, and Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski. The three averaged 1.38, 1.36, and 1.25 ratings, respectively.

On top of that, a number of underdog teams, according to CS2 gambling sites, did well at the tournament, with BetBoom reaching the quarter-finals after two straight wins in their group, and the aforementioned Complexity falling short against FaZe, in what was a historic run from the NA organization.

IEM Sydney 2023 Viewership

Despite most IEM Sydney games taking place in the early morning hours for European viewers, the event’s viewership numbers did not suffer, probably due to it being the first CS2 tournaments.

Here are some statistics, regarding the viewership of IEM Sydney 2023 according to Esports Charts:

  • Peak Viewers: 463,081
  • Average Viewers: 134,695
  • Hours Watched: 6,723,480
  • Most Watched Team: FaZe (3.3 million hours)
  • Most Watched Match: FaZe vs Complexity Grand Final (463,081 viewers)
  • Most Popular Streaming Platform: Twitch (314,478 peak viewers)

Header image credit: ESL

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Bruno Sobieraj

My name is Bruno and my love for Counter-Strike was sparked when the Polish was plowing through opponents from 2014 to 2018. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of working in esports and here I am.

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