The teams will compete Feb. 23-26, across two phases, a group stage and then a knockout stage. These will decide who takes home the lion’s share of a massive $300,000 prize pool.
Who’s in the field?
Two teams, Wings Gaming and OG, earned direct invites to the competition, while the remaining six teams had to qualify. Two teams qualified from China (Team VG.J and iG Vitality), and two qualified from Europe (Team Liquid and Team Secret). Digital Chaos made it through the American qualifier, and TNC Pro Team were the lucky squad to make it through Southeast Asia.
The draw for the group stage yielded the following two groups of four:
- Group A – OG, TNC Pro Team, Team Secret, iG Vitality
- Group B – Team Liquid, Team VG.J, Wings Gaming, Digital Chaos
The competition begins with two matches in Group A between OG and TNC, and then Team Secret face iG.V on Thursday. The following day, Group B begins with Liquid taking on VG.J, followed by Wings Gaming facing Digital Chaos.
After that, the two winners of the opening group games face off, and the two losers as well. The team that wins two matches will then be placed atop its respective group, while the team that loses two games will be placed at the bottom.
The teams that have won and lost a game at that point will play a fifth and final game in each group. The winner of that game qualifies for the second spot, and the loser is eliminated.
The playoffs begin Sunday with the two semifinals between each group winner and each group runner-up. The two winners of those clashes go on to contest the final later that day.
The winning team will take home a whopping $135,000 for four days work, while the second-place team will earn $60,000. The two teams that lose out at the semifinal stage of the playoffs will each pocket $30,000.
Odds for the weekend
Bet365 is currently offering esports betting on this competition. In the outright market, OG are the slight favorites at 13/8 ahead of Team Liquid at 2/1. Wings Gaming are a 6/1 chance. The outsiders begin with Team Secret a 12/1 shot, and Team VGJ, IG Vitality, and Digital Chaos are all 14/1. TNC Pro Team are the 33/1 long shots.
In addition to the outright market, Bet365 offers a host of bets on this event, including on who will reach the final, the region of the winner, and match winner bets, as well as on individual games and maps within games.
Check out the esports betting section at Bet365 Sport for a detailed breakdown of all the bets available for this big event in Shanghai.
League of Legends kicks off IEM Katowice on Feb. 22
One of the most entertaining aspects of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) events is that they encompass more than one esport in their tournament structure.
On Feb. 22, the latest IEM event kicks off in Katowice, Poland. Eight League of Legends teams start the action, while StarCraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments begin early in March.
Who’s in the field?
The eight teams, outlined below, will make their way to the Polish city to compete for a very healthy prize pool of $650,000.
The competitors are:
- Unicorns of Love
- Flash Wolves
- Kongdoo Monster
- ROX Tigers
- G2 Esports
- Hong Kong Esports
The tourney starts in two groups of four for the group stage, before we head into playoffs in March. Here are the groups:
- Group A – ROX Tigers, H2K Gaming, Hong Kong Esports, M19
- Group B – Kongdoo Monster, G2 Esports, Flash Wolves, Unicorns of Love.
After the group stage has been completed and the two qualifying teams are known, the four teams will advance to the playoffs, a straight knockout tourney from the semifinals into the final.
Somewhat unusually, the first round of matches in the group stage comprises best-of-one games, before they are expanded to best-of-three. The playoffs begin with the best-of-three semifinals before the final is played in a best-of-five format.
Odds for the weekend
Bet365 is already taking bets on this event. It’s shaping up to be one of the most open competitions in some time.
Kongdoo Monster are currently the 2/1 favorites ahead of ROX Tigers at 5/2. These esports betting odds suggest there is very little distance between the two teams.
G2 Esports are next at 4/1, and Unicorns of Love and Flash Wolves are rated as 8/1 chances. H2K are a 10/1 chance. The two outsiders that offer punters a chance of a big return are Hong Kong Esports at 50/1 and M19 at 100/1.
Punters can also bet on which teams will reach the final, the group that the winning team will come from, the region of the winner. There’s also a number of context bets, including which team will draw first blood or get 10 kills on the first map, and, of course, the match winner market.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for further IEM Katowice betting with Bet365 Sport: both the CS:GO and StarCraft 2 events are scheduled to get begin in early March.