Last year, Intel announced it would sponsor a new multi-tournament competition at the highest level of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports. Each year, a number of the top tournaments taking place across the world would be combined as part of a special cumulative-based tournament, The Intel Grand Slam.
With a million dollars in bonus money shared among players, The Intel Grand Slam has added an extra level of excitement to its many tournaments. In this article, we’ll look at how the first iteration of the tourney went and how this second one is currently unfolding.
How is the Intel Grand Slam organized?
The Intel Grand Slam consists of some of the biggest and most keenly contested events in CS:GO esports:
- Intel Extreme Masters events
- ESL events
- DreamHack Masters tournaments
There are around 8-10 tournaments per year, but that doesn’t really matter as the Intel Grand Slam is based on a cycle of events. The aim is for a team to win a total of four in under 10 tournaments, starting with the first one that they win.
More interesting, if a team does land three wins and reaches a fourth final, then their opponents in that matchup have a chance to win a $100,000 “spoiling prize.”
Let’s now take a look at how Season 1 of the Intel Grand Slam panned out.
Intel Grand Slam Season 1 recap
Fifteen tourneys comprised Season 1 before the Danish super-team Astralis managed to land their fourth victory inside 10 tournaments to claim the $1,000,000 prize.
The very first event was the ESL Cologne in July 2017. After that though, the first four tournaments did showcase just how difficult it would be for teams to land the Intel Grand Slam bonus prize. Of the first four events, there were four different winners, SK Gaming (Now MiBR), G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
FaZe Clan had arguably the best opportunity to win the first Intel Grand Slam. After winning the ESL One New York 2017 event in September, they finished as runners-up in the next three events. They lost finals in Oakland, Odense, and Katowice to Ninjas in Pyjamas, SK Gaming, and Fnatic, respectively. However, they did land their second win at the Intel Extreme Masters XIII Sydney in May 2018. At that point, they appeared the team to beat.
That, however, was right when Astralis completed a number of roster changes and went on a roll. They won their first Intel Grand Slam in Marseille at the DreamHack Masters in April 2018. In Dallas, just a couple of weeks later, they beat mousesports to land their second win.
After some losses and a notable Belo Horizonte skip, Astralis had to win two events out of four. They then managed two successive victories in Chicago at the Intel Extreme Masters and Odense in the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals to claim their fourth win in nine tournaments. They had won the very first Intel Grand Slam million dollar prize.
This meant the first event of 2019, the Katowice Major, would be the first event of Season 2.
Intel Grand Slam Season 2
So far, there have been just two tournaments in S2. Astralis took Katowice (their fifth win in 10 tries).
However, the Danish team opted to follow their policy of not traveling to some of the farther-flung tournaments in the second event of the year. Hence, the Intel Extreme Masters XIV in Sydney belonged to Team Liquid.
The next event is the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 on May 28. Once again, Astralis will not be in attendance. This will give Team Liquid a great chance to add a second win.
The full list of tournaments for 2019 is below:
- Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Katowice Major – Astralis beat ENCE
- Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Sydney – Team Liquid beat Fnatic
- DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 – May 28 through June 2
- ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals – Montpellier – June 18-23
- ESL One Cologne 2019 – July 2- 7
- Intel Extreme Masters XV – Chicago – July 18-21
- ESL One New York 2019 – Sept. 26-29
- DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019 – Oct. 1-6
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