Teams representing the Americas made CS:GO history this year, with the first-ever Major finals without a team from Europe in competition for the trophy. Earlier last month, it was our pleasure to extend an IEM Oakland invite to the ESL One Cologne 2016 champions SK Gaming, as well as runners-up Team Liquid. With such a strong performance overseas, the two powerhouse teams are sure to deliver results in front of the Oracle Arena’s legendary crowd.
Since then, six more of the world’s top teams have been added to the tournament’s lineup. With the confirmation of Mousesports last week, we are happy to release the final roster of invited teams for IEM Oakland:
These eight teams will join four more teams from an invitational qualifier, and all twelve will battle for the title of IEM Oakland Champions this November.
Under the banner of Luminosity Gaming, FalleN, coldzera, fnx, TACO, and fer made the IEM Katowice 2015 finals, took first place at the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals, and won two back-to-back Major championships. Now battling for SK Gaming, this team has yet to hoist an IEM trophy, and the pressure is on for them to continue their success.
Team Liquid made history at ESL One Cologne 2016 by cementing themselves as the first North American team to make it to the Finals in a Major, and just fell short of taking home the championship title with a 2-0 loss to SK Gaming. With star Ukrainian player s1mple leaving the roster, the squad is now made up of nitr0, EliGe, Hiko, jdm64, Pimp, and as the only home team invited to IEM Oakland, this North American team has more to prove than ever.
As IEM San Jose 2015 champions, this is a team to keep an eye on heading into Oakland. Seemingly cursed to a second place finish, things have heated up with the recent acquisition of s1mple. Once a team to rely on the experience of Counter-Strike legends like Zeus and starix, they now rest a lot of its success on the backs of a newer, younger roster. The new team of Edward, flamie, GuardiaN, seized, S1mple look to defend Natus Vincere’s Bay Area win last year against an even stronger field of competition.
Who will show up to IEM Oakland, The Plow or Virtus Throw? Virtus.Pro, made up of NEO, byali, pashaBiceps, Snax, and TaZ, are the only team to take a map off of SK Gaming in back to back majors, and were also able to defeat Team Liquid at the ESL One Cologne group stages. The team is also one of the few unchanged rosters after the post-Major shuffle, uniting Poland’s top talent into one powerhouse team that has found victories against every single team invited to IEM Oakland.
After an impressive comeback against Dignitas, Astralis were able to secure their spot as Legends at ESL One Cologne where they made it to the quarterfinals before being knocked out of the tournament by Virtus.Pro. With the buzz of Cologne behind them, the team’s new goal is to shape the roster of Karrigan, Xyp9x, dev1ce, dupreeh and Kjaerbye into a squad that can win tournaments.
G2 Esports have been improving steadily throughout 2016, most notably placing second in the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals and first in the Esports Championship Series Season 1 Finals. The team, made up of RpK, Shox, SmithZz, ScreaM, and newest member bodyy who replaced Ex6TenZ in April, finished 13th-16th at ESL One Cologne and 11th-14th in ELEAGUE Season 1. They’ll need to rise to their former glory to take home the IEM Oakland trophy.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Ninjas in Pyjamas fell to the former Luminosity Gaming roster that now makes up SK Gaming in the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals, ending with a 3-4th place finish. GeT_RiGhT, f0rest, friberg, GeT_RiGhT, pyth, xizt failed to make it out of the group stages at ESL One Cologne 2016, but made it to the ELEAGUE Season 1 playoffs. NiP are currently in first place in the European ESL Pro League Season 4 standings, but will they be able to continue their winning streak?
The latest team added to the IEM Oakland CS:GO lineup is the Mousesports roster of NiKo, chrisJ, nex, denis, and Spiidi. This German-based squad just fell short of making out of the ESL One Cologne group stages after a 2-0 loss to Team Liquid. They made it to the semifinals of the ELEAGUE Season 1 playoffs and could be a dark horse at IEM Oakland.
IEM Oakland will take place at the Oracle Arena on the weekend of November 19-20. Tickets to the event are available now, so be sure to join us if you want to see the best CS:GO teams from around the globe battle for prestige and prizes.
As a reminder, the IEM Oakland CS:GO tournament will follow the same format as the IEM World Championship in Katowice. The competition will consist of 12 teams divided into two groups. The top three teams from each group will move on to the quarterfinals, with group winners receiving a bye in their first match. All of the playoffs games will be played inside the Oracle Arena.