After an absence of nearly 2.5 years, DreamHack returned with its first full-scale festival, and it did not come alone as this year’s edition of DreamHack Dallas also featured two pinnacle esports tournaments in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: the very-first ESL Impact League Global Finals and the first Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) live event in the Americas since 2019.
With the eight best ESL Impact teams, and 16 top IEM teams gathering in Dallas, Texas, USA, for the Group Stage and Playoff parts of their respective tournaments, over 33,000 attendees traveled to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to enjoy epic esports and gaming moments. Furthermore, the teams received additional support from fans all around the globe who tuned in from their homes during the live broadcasts, leading to a peak CCU of 430,000* and over 12.4 Million hours watched* for the six competition days long IEM, and a peak CCU of more than 105,000* and almost 910,000 hours watched* for the three competition days long and very first ESL Impact tournament.
The inaugural ESL Impact Season 1 Global Finals
The all-women CS:GO circuit ESL Impact was launched earlier this year as part of #GGFORALL and saw its first league season commence in mid-March. Fast-forward to the end of the regular season, eight teams qualified for the first live all-women tournament of this scale in almost three years: the inaugural ESL Impact Season 1 Global Finals, live from DreamHack Dallas. The most notable performance of the regular season came from Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) Red, competing in the North American division, as they made it through the whole season without losing a single map.
On Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, the eight qualified teams from five different regions representing the world’s best women players, faced off in the Group Stage phase of the tournament in front of a live audience. Not only did they play for a spot in the Grand Final slotted for June 5, but also their share of the $150,000 prize pool.
Eventually, Nigma Galaxy Female and BIG Equipa both managed to secure spots in the semifinals, facing each other in a battle for a grand final spot. Both teams coming from the European Division played many intense rounds, resulting in Nigma Galaxy Female beating their opponents 2-1 and becoming the first team to qualify for the Grand Finals. Also the North American team CLG Red and the South American team FURIA Esports Female secured spots in the semifinals. Despite easily picking up the win on the first map, CLG Red did not manage to secure a win on the two maps that followed. At last, FURIA Esports Female secured the win and proceeded to the final stage of the tournament.
In the Grand Finals, the Brazilian squad from FURIA Esports Female took the lead in the series by winning the first map. Moving on to the second map, however, Nigma Galaxy Female made a comeback as they secured the win. With only one map left between either of the squads becoming the first-ever team to lift the ESL Impact trophy, it was Nigma Galaxy Female that, in the end, proved that they had all it takes to become champions.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to have won this world championship after all the work we have done to prepare for this moment,” said Ksenia “vilga” Klyuenkova from Nigma Galaxy. “It’s even more meaningful to be the first-ever team to win ESL Impact — we hope this will encourage and inspire others to follow in our footsteps.”
Next up for ESL Impact is ESL Impact Valencia, an additional standalone event within the global circuit of league seasons and cash cups. The event will feature eight teams and a $100,000 total prize pool and takes place at DreamHack Valencia in Valencia, Spain, July 1-3. The ESL Impact League will continue in August with online regional tournaments culminating in the ESL Impact Season 2 Global Finals, live at DreamHack Winter in Jönköping, Sweden, November 25-27. For more information about ESL Impact, head to the official website.
Intel® Extreme Masters’ return to North America
From Monday, May 30, until Wednesday, June 1, two groups of eight CS:GO teams battled it out for one of six available spots in the Playoff Stage of IEM Dallas 2022. This Group Stage phase counted many nail-biting moments. Still, perhaps the most remarkable performances came from the German squad of BIG and ESL Pro League Season 15 runner-up ENCE Esports, both ending first place in their respective groups and thereby directly qualifying for the semifinals of the competition.
On Friday, June 3, the four other teams that qualified for the playoffs entered the IEM stage live at the DreamHack Dallas festival. First up was the young Brazilian squad from FURIA Esports, who faced the IEM Katowice 2022 runner-up G2 Esports and managed to take them out 2-1. This heated competition was followed by even more action as the North American organizations Cloud9 and FaZe Clan battled it out for the final spot in the semifinals. Eventually, Cloud9 proved to be the stronger team as they took out IEM Katowice 2022 Champion and the winner of the Antwerp Major, FaZe Clan, 2-1.
In the semifinals on Saturday, June 4, FURIA Esports showed a strong resilience against ENCE Esports. Yet, their efforts turned out to be insufficient as they lost 0-2, and ENCE Esports became the first team to qualify for the Grand Finals. On the other side of the bracket, the audience was kept on the edge of their seats as Cloud9 eventually secured their spot in the Grand Finals by taking out BIG 2-1.
The Grand Finals then saw the one team whose players’ had never won an IEM event and the other an organization that had never before made it into the final phase of an IEM competition. With the backing of their organization’s home crowd in the US, however, the newly acquired squad of Cloud9 beat ENCE Esports 3-0 and secured the title and their share of the $250,000 total prize pool. Furthermore, after picking up the win at IEM Dallas 2022, Cloud9 entered the race for the Intel® Grand Slam IV and its $1 million cash prize.
“It was a nice journey to our “home court”, the place where the crowd turned into the sixth player for us and it definitely paid off,” said Abai “HObbit” Hasenov from Cloud9. “IEM Dallas 2022 will remain iconic for the CIS/NA duo for a decade and we do believe, that the start of the Cloud9 CS:GO path to glory was built in!”
Next up in the ESL Pro Tour (EPT) for CS:GO is the renowned IEM Cologne, taking place July 5-17. With IEM Dallas 2022, teams had a final opportunity to earn the EPT points needed to become one of the 24 participants battling it out for a spot in the playoffs live at the LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany, July 15-17, and to secure a share of the $1,000,000 total prize pool. Check out the official website, for all the details of the upcoming EPT tournaments.
*According to Escharts.com
Photos from the ESL Impact Season 1 Global Finals can be found in the press gallery.
Photos from IEM Dallas can be acquired from the ESL Collection at ESPAT. The Collection is currently open for all and the photos can be acquired free of charge.