Intel Extreme Masters history


European region enjoys both large eSports championships and small tournaments and leagues. Intel Extreme Masters definitely belongs to the first type. It is basically a European championship, unless one counts DreamHack. And ELS seems to forget, which game has made IEM one of the most prestigious European tournaments. Yes, we are referring to Counter-Strike, which was excluded from the tourament from the tournament and only recently included again.


The history of the tournament foundation:


Intel Extreme Masters got its name for a reason. Although ESL hosts the event, the sponsor is, as you may have guessed, Intel. 9 years ago the biggest electronic equipment and hardware corporation in the USA and the biggest European e-sports league combined their resources to create an annual e-sports competition. There was only one title involved at the beginning. Back in 2007, together with deciding on the general format and picking the international CeBIT exhibition as a place for the event, the game was chosen as well. It was Counter-Strike, later joined by Warcraft III. Only 3 years later the amount of titles was replenished by Dota, Quake Live and Starcraft II, with the last one replacing Warcraft in the 5th season. The championship started travelling not only over Europe, but also over Asia and America. For the period of its existence, IEM paid out more than $4 million in prizes. Taking into consideration The International and LCS with their one time prize pools of $10 million, the figure may seem small, however, players don’t complaint and these money are enough for both Starcraft II and Counter-Strike.


The venues of the tournament and prize pools of the seasons:

  • The first season turned out to be the smallest and the least interesting. It went within CeBIT exhibition in Hannover and simply became a supplement to the main event. The qualifiers took place in Moscow, Paris and Stockholm, and the total prize pool composed €160 000, which was a decent sum in the 2007 terms.


  • Starting from the second season, the event moved to Cologne with qualifiers going on all over Europe and in Los Angeles. The prize pool went up to $285 000.


  • The third season became a tiny breakthrough. First of all, prize pool has increased to $750 000. The qualifiers went on literally everywhere: in Europe, in America, in Asia and even in Dubai. Besides, World of Warcraft was added to  Counter-Strike 1.6 and Warcraft III.
  • Surprisingly enough, in the fourth season prize pool decreased to $530 000, though the the amount of titles increased once again. Quake Live was added and grand finals took place in Hannover just like the previous time.


  • The fifth season introduced Dota and Starcraft II to the event. Prize pool decreased again to $400 000, and grand finals traditionally took place in Hannover.


  • In the sixth season only major titles remained, which were Starcraft II and Counter-Strike 1.6, accompanied by League of Legends. This time prize pool was $643 000.


  • Seasons 7, 8 and 9 didn’t differ much from the previous one. The event was hosted in Cologne, Katowice and Singapore. 

UkraineNatus Vincere at Intel Extreme Masters IV:


2010 became the most successful year for Na`Vi Counter-Strike team. They’ve managed to win 3 biggest events at the same time, namely Intel Extreme Masters IV, ESWC 2010 and WCG 2010. No other team has yet to accomplish this much in one year, making Natus Vincere the sole owner of the “golden triple”.


The IEM IV title was one of the first international victories of our team. They’ve managed to defeat the European beast Fnatic on both maps of the grand-finals. The final score was 16:13 on de_train and 16:14 on de_inferno. The game was extremely close and intense, and could only be won thanks to the opponent’s mistakes.


Considering the opponent’s strength and skill with f0rest and GeT_RIGHT in their roster, both of which are extremely hard to defeat for young teams, the victory happiness was overwhelming. Everyone on the team, from the owner to the manager, was united in the sense of irrepressible joy.


This marked the start for Na`Vi’s dominance. Nearly all of the following events were won by the team. And Na`Vi continued to stay at the top of the scene until CS 1.6 completely vanished as a competitive title.  

Season IV in detail:


  • Final's venue: Hannover, Germany
  • Date: 6 March 2010
  • Discipline: Counter-Strike 1.6
  • The top teams:


top 1 place - UkraineNatus Vincere - $ 50 000 

top 2 place - Swedenfnatic - $ 20 000

top 3 place - SwedenSK Gaming - $ 8 000

top 4 place  - United States Minor Outlying IslandsEvil Geniuses - $ 4 000 


Natus Vincere at Intel Extreme Masters Season V:


Intel Extreme Masters V was a tough one for Natus Vincere. As always, defending your title is twice as hard, as winning it in the first place. Especially when your opponent is one of the strongest and most experiences squad in Europe, Frag eXecutors, most of who are now in Having almost conceded de_train with 4:11, Natus Vincere miraculously managed to comeback and win 16:12. It has been well said that Natus Vincere get together only when there’s nowhere to retreat.


The second map went almost the same way. The Poles leaded the map from the very beginning and Na`Vi had to catch up. It was 4:9, then 5:9 and 6:9. Drawing at 9:9 was the tipping point of the game. Natus Vincere felt the opponent’s weakness. Winning after that was just a question of time. Once again, Na`Vi became the best team not only in Europe, but in the whole world. And everyone was happy as if they’ve never won it before.


Season V in detail:


  • Final's venue: Hannover, Germany
  • Date: 1-5 March 2011
  • Discipline: Counter-Strike 1.6
  • The top teams:


top 1 place - UkraineNatus Vincere - $ 35 000 

top 2 place - PolandFrag eXecutors - $ 17 500

top 3 place - DenmarkmTw - $ 8 500 

top 4 place - SwedenSK Gaming - $ 4 000 


Cities, which hosted Intel Extreme Masters:


The event’s geographic coverage is impressive and growing even bigger each year. Each season the tournament’s sponsors aim to surprise everyone with a new location, in which Intel Extreme Masters was yet to be held. Only one city stays unchanged, which is Hannover.

  • GermanyHannover, Germany (all of the grand-finals)
  • United States Minor Outlying IslandsLos Angeles, USA (IEM II and IEM III qualifiers)
  • CanadaMontreal, Canada (IEM III qualifiers)
  • United Arab EmiratesDubail, UAE (IEM III and IV qualifiers)
  • GermanyLeipzig, Germany (IEM III qualifiers)
  • Korea, Republic ofSeoul, South Korea (IEM III qualifiers)
  • ChinaChengdu, China (IEM III and IV qualifiers)
  • ChinaShanghai, China (IEM V and VIII qualifiers)
  • GermanyCologne, Germany (IEM V, VI, VII and VIII qualifiers)
  • ChinaGuangzhou, China (IEM VI qualifiers)
  • United States Minor Outlying IslandsNew York, USA  (IEM VI qualifiers)
  • UkraineKyiv, Ukraine (IEM VI qualifiers)
  • BrazilSan-Paulo, Brazil (IEM VI and VII qualifiers)
  • MalaysiaSingapore, Malaysia (IEM VII and VIII qualifiers)
  • PolandKatowice, Poland (IEM VII and VIII qualifiers)
  • ChinaChangzheng. China (IEM IX qualifiers)
  • CanadaToronto, Kanada (IEM IX qualifiers)
  • United States Minor Outlying IslandsSan Jose, USA (IEM IX qualifiers)
  • TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan (IEM IX qualifiers)


The upcoming Intel Extreme Masters X:


The tenth season was announced in June. 3 years ago Counter-Strike was eliminated from the list of titles. The event encompassed  Starcraft II and League of Legends, and people were starting to forget CS. No one knows exactly why all this happened. Perhaps, the sponsors though CS:GO won’t become as popular as у Counter-Strike 1.6 once was, since everyone thought this way first. After some time, however, CS:GO was refined and made playable. So, the tenth season will be the first one for the renewed title. And we all hope, it won’t be the last one.


The organizer's commentary:


"The success and the legacy of the Intel Extreme Masters was partly built on Counter-Strike and it’s a great feeling to go into the tenth season of the circuit with CS:GO back in it. Adding a third game makes this IEM season the largest in years!”

Cities to host the tenth season:
  • ChinaIEM in Changzheng, China (16-20 July) as part of Shenzhen Cartoon feltival.
  • GermanyIEM in Cologne, Germany (5-9 August) as part of Gamescom. 
  • United States Minor Outlying IslandsIEM in San Jose, USA (21- 22 November) in SAP center.
  • GermanyIEM in Cologne, Germany (December 2015) at ESL arena.
  • Korea, Republic ofIEM in Asia, details yet to be known.
  • PolandIEM in Katowice, Poland (March 2016) at Spodek arena.


Оfficial titles of IEM X:


  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • League of Legends
  • Starcraft II


AuthorP0s1t1v3 Date11 June 2015, 11:43 Views1714 Comments0
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