CS:GO is making a return to LAN events, here is what you need to know in order to watch IEM Cologne.

IEM Cologne will become the first in-person Elite LAN event for CS:GO since the Coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. The first CS:GO LAN event in 2021 will take place from July 6-18. Furthermore, 24 teams compete for their lion's share of $1 million dollars.

The Cologne classic will become the first CS:GO LAN event since IEM Katowice 2020, right around the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Teams Competing in IEM Cologne

24 teams across the world will compete in the first CS:GO LAN event since the pandemic, marking a shift away from regional online events for tournaments. 16 teams will go through the Play-In stage, where eight teams will qualify for the main stage. Once there, eight teams already qualified for the main event will join them.

The following is a list of the teams competing at IEM Cologne.

The teams competing in the Play-In Stage

  • Complexity
  • Spirit
  • NIP
  • Mousesports
  • BIG 
  • Vitality
  • FaZe
  • OG
  • Evil Geniuses
  • Bad News Bears
  • Sprout
  • MIBR
  • LDLC
  • Renegades
  • TeamOne
  • ViCi

The eight teams already qualified for the main stage.

  • Gambit
  • Heroic
  • Virtus.pro
  • Astralis
  • Natus Vincere
  • G2
  • Liquid

For now, IEM Cologne will not feature a live audience. Instead, the 24 teams will play in an offline studio, similar to usual play-in stages in CS:GO. While the roaring sounds of fans will still be on hiatus, this is a very big step for CS:GO since the pandemic.

Return to normalcy with CS:GO LAN Events

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic, CS:GO is in a weird position as an esport currently. Esports tournament organizers needed to make adjustments in 2020-21. Instead of being able to group teams together for an event, tournaments were held online. As a result, this made international CS:GO events very tough. The majority of events in CS:GO took place in Europe during the pandemic, leaving the North American scene in dead water. Ultimately, teams were left with tough decisions career wise.

North American VALORANT team Sentinels contains four former CS:GO players.
North American VALORANT team Sentinels contains four former CS:GO players.

As of right now, CS:GO will now need to compete against VALORANT for a pro player base. Throughout the pandemic, Riot Games made strides to develop the esports scene, becoming a new home for former NA CS:GO players. It will be interesting to see how CS:GO can bounce back into LAN events with a smaller North American base.

When Can Fans Watch Live Events Again?

In regards to the future, the ESL Roadmap contains a plan to bring live audiences back to CS:GO esports. The tournament hosts of the first CS:GO LAN event since the pandemic plan to have crowds sometime in 2021. According to the ESL Roadmap, the plan is for IEM Winter to be the tournament to bring back audience members. The winter festive is set to take place from December 2-12 in Asia.

The return to LAN events also signifies hope for a promising return to the Valve Major. Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic, there were no CS:GO Majors. The most recent Valve Major was held back in late 2019 with the StarLadder Berlin Major. Making a return to LAN will also provide an opportunity for other organizers to hold offline events.

Until then, the excitement of returning to LAN is a stepping stone in the right direction as CS:GO looks to bounce back with LAN events.

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