Besides the obvious favourites to win IEM New York CIS there is a whole lot of speculation for who could potentially challenge for a win, but more realistically the top spots. Let us begin with having a look at the favourite, challengers and also a potential dark horse.
Natus Vincere - a giant among men
Na’Vi has had their fair share of up and downs during 2020, but make no mistake - they are still the dominant kings of the CIS region. With players like Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov it is hardly a surprise that the team can challenge anyone in the world. Recent performances in ESL Pro League cements the teams position as a heavy favourite as the team grabbed second place after a nerve wrecking final that eventually ended in a 2-3 loss to Astralis.
The achilles heel of the team has however been the same for over a year or more - consistency. The team has a bad habit of having horrible off days, where even the superstars look like mere mortals. While there is no doubt in our minds that Na’Vi should walk away with a tournament win from IEM New York, we would heavily suggest against betting on the team on individual matches. Their bad habit of losing against lesser teams, especially early on, should be warning enough to stay away.
Challengers to win IEM New York CIS
Team Spirit - As mentioned Spirit are amazingly enough ahead of Na’Vi in RMR points ahead of this tournament. While it does speak volumes of the teams great results as of late, there is no way to put the two teams in the same category just yet. Spirit fought heroically in ESL Pro League with wins over Vitality, NiP, FaZE and mousesports, just to exit the tournament with three straight losses.
The most exciting part of the team has been the rise of Nikolay “mir” Bityukov as an absolute top class player during 2020. If he can keep on delivering brilliant individual performances Spirit should be close to a lock for the top placings in IEM NY. On their best they can challenge even for the tournament win, but that would require the teams absolute best, while Na’Vi has a big dip in form.
Gambit Youngsters - You could argue Spirit and Gambit Youngsters should be in different categories, and maybe you would be right. However, out of the remaining teams it truly looks like these young guns could be the one team to have a shot at winning it all. While Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov has been the name on everybody's lips when Gambit Youngsters enters the server, it’s truly another youngster who has gotten his real breakthrough during 2020 - Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykthorov. While Ax1Le still has to improve his consistency, his peak performances are already world class without a doubt. This deadly duo on their best can solely be the reason that Gambit Youngsters can give Na’Vi a run for their money. We are not saying it’s likely to happen, but if any team besides Spirit can get the job done, it sure is this exciting young team.
Dark horse for IEM New York CIS
Virtus.Pro - It’s hard to believe four of the five players in VP played a major final a year ago, as results have dwindled since. There has however been some signs of life as of late and the newcomer Mareks “YEKINDAR” Galinskis is starting to look more comfortable in the team. VP has less games under their belt than many other teams the last few months and that could be either a good or bad thing. For a real longshot to win IEM New York CIS we still think VP might be one of the better choices, as they have a strong core that now has had time to develop their team before this tournament. The first few games will be massively telling in if the team has been productive during the break or not. The best case scenario is that we see a reborn VP on the server and can profit by getting great odds during the later games of the group stage.