IEM Dallas teams with an "Intel Extreme Masters" and "ESL" logo overlaid on top

What to expect from every team at IEM Dallas 2024

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IEM Dallas is upon us. The only big LAN in 2024 hosted in the land of the free, home of the brave. It holds a curious place in the calendar, being after events like IEM Chengdu, ESL Pro League and BetBoom Dacha; three events that are missing a couple of the top teams. We now arrive in Dallas, where they converge. With 8 out of 10 of the HLTV top 10 attending, this makes for a sneaky-banger of an event. Even the teams attending who reside outside of the top 10 have their own compelling storylines behind them.

Here’s what to expect from every team at IEM Dallas.


(Copyright: Joao Ferreira | PGL)

We haven’t seen much out of 9z in the way of international competition in the last three months. The South Americans did play at IEM Chengdu, where they were unceremoniously bounced out in last place by G2 and HEROIC. Despite the losses, they didn’t look completely outclassed in either of those matchups. Regionally they haven’t been doing too badly for themselves, with evidence of that being their ability to qualify for this very event. International play against top 20 teams has been a different story, however, and they’re going to need to catch a team sleeping to make an impact in Dallas.


(Copyright: Helena Kristiansson | ESL FACEIT Group)

BIG aren’t “mid” by any stretch, but they’re also not incredibly threatening. I won’t bet against any team with gob b at the helm, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for the OGs.

They showed quite well at Pro League, managing to take a map off of NAVI and even beating out HEROIC 2-1. While they probably could’ve gone three maps against G2, if it weren’t for a vintage NiKo performance who dropped 26 frags, 140 ADR, and 100% KAST on map two. There’s not much you can do about that when NiKo turns it on. I think BIG are a bit better than their ranking gives them credit for, and I expect them to at least put up a fight in the group stages, maybe even making a playoff appearance if the stars can align for them.


(Copyright: Helena Kristiansson | ESL FACEIT Group)

It’s always nice to have an Aussie team that’s competitive. Watching FlyQuest play good teams close, and even take maps off them has been impressive as of late. They haven’t yet taken any huge scalps in a BO3, but I think it’s a matter of time before we see this team cause a few upsets. The recent ESL Pro League was a decent showing for them, finishing above a lot of legit teams. The difference between beating a top 20 caliber team and a top 5 caliber team is significant, and Dallas may be where they take that next step. I expect them to be a difficult out, and a playoff appearance wouldn’t be out of the question.


(Copyright: Adela Sznajder | ESL FACEIT Group)

As a roster, Monte has become a curious construction. With the recent signing of STYKO, as well as adding hAdji as a stand-in for this event, this team is a hodge-podge of European talent that has been picked apart and pieced back together again, like a LEGO figure with mismatched arms and legs. Before the roster moves, they surprised many at EPL by making the playoffs and even taking a map off FaZe. Can Monte carry forward that success with two new additions? Only time will tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to punch above their weight in Dallas.


(Copyright: PGL)

There’s plenty to be excited about when it comes to this M80 team, and while they may hail from North America, this train is powered by pure Guatemalan grit. Although it might seem a bit weird to classify it like this considering how long he’s been around, malbs’ performance at ESL Pro League felt like a breakout performance. Posting a 0.80 KPR and a 1.28 HLTV rating over 17 maps is superstar stuff.

They’ve taken care of business during their NA ECL games which lends further credence to the theory that this team has broken new ground. The level of opposition in Dallas will be a great test to see if this team is for real, and furthermore, if Super Mario can maintain this elevated level. Making the stage in Dallas will obviously be the expectation for this squad, and frankly, I think they can do it.


(Copyright: Igor Bezborodov | ESL FACEIT Group)

Falcons have continued to stink it up after their RMR failure, having not been able to string any meaningful victories together. The big free agent swings haven’t materialized, and the high expectations this team once had are beginning to look like a distant mirage. Even dupreeh couldn’t save this team. At BetBoom Dacha, Falcons managed a couple of victories against the namesake of the tournament and, but were thrashed by Spirit in the semi-finals. With the caliber of opposition attending Dallas, it’s safe to expect a group-stage exit from Falcons. This team desperately needs a good result, but they won’t find it in the land of the free.

FaZe Clan

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The recently dethroned #1 team in the world have maintained their elite form heading into Dallas. Mostly. Besides some curious losses to Astralis and faltering to Vitality in the studio environment of ESL Pro League, karrigan’s FaZe continues to be one of the hardest teams to beat under the guise of a full arena. When this team is in form, they are the final boss. If you’re FaZe, you just have to get into the arena. Once you’re in bracket play, you feel pretty good about your chances to bag the trophy. Anything less than 1st place will feel like a disappointment for this team, I expect them to win IEM Dallas.

Natus Vincere

(Copyright: Adela Sznajder | ESL FACEIT Group)

There may have been a bit of a post-major hangover for NAVI. They safely made the playoffs at EPL, but were eliminated before the quarter-finals. Confused? Me too.

Format aside, it wasn’t their best showing. Nobody dressed in black and yellow stood out, but it’s not time to hit the panic button yet. This is a team that just had a very legit run on the biggest stage in Counter-Strike. We’ve seen major winning teams crumble shockingly fast post-trophy lift, but there are no signs to indicate that this team will be a part of that list. Expect a deep run out of Aleksib and Co.


(Copyright: Helena Kristiansson | ESL FACEIT Group)

Brollan reported feeling fatigued from all the recent traveling. Fatigue or not, this team is firing on all cylinders. Following their strong showing at the Copenhagen major, they’ve made the finals of both IEM Chengdu and EPL, winning the latter decisively against a red-hot ZywOo in the final. Even Spirit couldn’t keep up, as MOUZ managed to decisively take the BetBoom Dacha trophy in 3-0 fashion. They’ve certainly earned their first-place ranking.

Three straight finals and two wins is legit, especially with the schedule as packed as it has been. MOUZ are a genuine threat to take the trophy in Dallas.


(Copyright: Helena Kristiansson | ESL FACEIT Group)

Don’t kid yourself, donk-sanity is still alive and well.

Yes, the Russian squad dropped 3 straight maps to MOUZ in a BO5, each one worse than the last, but there’s no way I’m betting against chopper and company. donk even said it himself, BetBoom Dacha was a warmup for them. IEM Dallas is when they start turning up the heat. I say that as donk dropped over 1.0 KPR and went +50 over 9 maps. This dragon is already breathing fire, and if that’s how mind-boggling donk’s stats are in a defeat, this team is going to be the hardest out of the tournament. Spirit have given themselves grace in Belgrade, so anything less than finals will feel like a disappointment in Dallas.


(Copyright: Igor Bezborodov | ESL FACEIT Group)

When it was made known that NA’s golden boy was a prime candidate to replace HooXi for this event, fans began to temper expectations for the samurai squad. It’s tough to have high expectations of any team missing their in-game leader, especially if the stand-in is someone who hasn’t seen top-10-level competition in just under 2 years. My expectations for Stewie himself are quite low. His performance during his short stint with Legacy was unremarkable at best, but there’s no doubt it will be interesting to see what kind of damage the Major winner can do with a top 5 team around him. All eyes will be on Stewie in Dallas.

Past that, any deep runs will be fueled off the back of the no-pressure mentality that G2 should be carrying into this event. Any team with NiKo and m0NESEY will still be dangerous, even if their IGL is missing in action. G2 is a dark horse to go deep.


(Copyright: Igor Bezborodov | ESL FACEIT Group)

Vitality is difficult to gauge. They’re obviously an elite team with the pieces to win any match, but at times it feels like they lean too heavily on ZywOo.

ZywOo can single-handedly win you a series, as we saw during their run at EPL, especially versus FaZe and Astralis. The problems for Vitality arise when he looks rather ordinary. Ordinary ZywOo is still an elite player, but Vitality’s win condition is too tightly tied to whether their number one guy can take over the game. If he doesn’t take over, it feels like they can’t fall back on the rest of their roster to squeeze out a victory. Their success in Dallas depends on what version of ZywOo we see throughout the playoffs. You better believe I’ll be on fraud watch during the stage games.

(Copyright: Igor Bezborodov | ESL FACEIT Group) do not look like themselves. Honestly, things have seemed rather off since the infamous Jame PC crash.

To be fair to them, it’s still really early days for the electroNic era of VP. If he can shed his IGL skin and become the elite fragger we knew him as before he bore that cross, this VP team could find themselves back in the mix. He didn’t have a great showing at EPL, but there were brief flashes of what once was. There were also times where the Russian looked dreadful at BetBoom Dacha, so evidently there are still plenty of growing pains being felt. Nobody else is carrying the weight, so VP needs elite electroNic to have a chance at going deep in Dallas, but I just don’t see it happening. A group stage exit is likely.


(Copyright: Helena Kristiansson | ESL FACEIT Group)

It’s time for HEROIC to prove it. The addition of degster has certainly made them stronger, and on paper, this team should be very good. They have all the pieces to be an elite team, but Counter-Strike isn’t played on paper. If they find a way to keep degster’s energy focused on the server, his incredibly high ceiling could be enough to push this team into the top 5.

As for Dallas, it’s a perfect opportunity to show they’re able to hang with the big dogs. HEROIC did make playoffs in Belgrade, but if I’m HEROIC, I know BetBoom Dacha was a warmup of sorts. Some jitters may still be present, but anything short of the semi-finals would feel like a disappointment for this team.


(Copyright: Igor Bezborodov | ESL FACEIT Group)

Don’t let the smiles fool you.

Recent headlines indicate things are not going to plan inside the Liquid camp. An online finals berth in CCT World Finals and two prior LAN playoff appearances at Chengdu and EPL make things seem better than they are. With cadiaN’s future up in the air just 6 months into this roster’s tenure, there’s obviously division within the team. Make no mistake, we’re firmly in “sink or swim” territory with this roster. A happy homecoming might be just what they need. Or it will cause things to spiral deeper into the abyss. It’s a fine line. One thing is for sure, Liquid won’t be the same after Dallas, for better or worse.


(Copyright: Adam Lakomy | ESL FACEIT Group)

Complexity seems to be finding their stride a bit. After coming out of the gate red hot at the release of CS2, they just couldn’t seem to string any wins together. None of their win conditions were being met, and it culminated in a disappointing exit at the Major.

coL’s performance at EPL was cause for hope for those who take pride in the team dawned in the red white and blue. EliGE looked like himself, hallzerk stepped up when under pressure. Have they rekindled that fire that made them look like legit contenders? This is a big event for Complexity. A failure to secure a spot to play in front of the home crowd would be an immense disappointment, and nobody knows that more than they do.

The hometown teams aren’t the favorites

In one of the few big LANs to be held on American soil, the hometown teams aren’t the favorites this time around. Complexity, Liquid, and M80 are all carrying varying levels of baggage into their opening games, some more positive than others. As for the contending teams, not everyone was in Chengdu or Belgrade, and the studio environment of EPL didn’t have the grand feel of a LAN played in front of thousands. Keeping with that theme, I can’t help but back FaZe for this event. The Clan thrives under the bright lights, when the crowd is at its loudest. In terms of who will bomb out the hardest, just don’t seem to have it together with electroNic yet. As for an exciting, “high-event” player to watch, keep your eye on degster of HEROIC.


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