The battle between Heroic and Gambit resumes at IEM Summer 2021? Or will Ninjas with their shiny new player surprise everyone?

IEM Summer 2021 is the next ESL competition featuring some of the best CS:GO teams from Europe. The tournament takes place online as organizers still grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. This tournament will see several top ranked teams back in action. Here’s all you need to know about this tournament.

When does IEM Summer 2021 take place?

IEM Summer 2021 will start on June 3 with the group stage. The group stage continues till the 6th when three teams from each group qualify for the playoffs. The teams have a few days break before the playoffs which take place over three days from June 11-13, 2021. 

IEM Summer 2021: Format

Group stage

There are sixteen teams participating in IEM Summer 2021. The teams pform two groups of eight teams each where they play in a GSL format. The initial matches are all best-of-one series. However, all remaining group stage matches will be Bo3 series. 

The top three teams from the group stage advance to the playoffs. The top team in each group advances to the semifinals. The second-best team goes to the quarterfinals as the higher seed. The third team in each group is the lower seed in the IEM Summer 2021 quarterfinals.


The playoffs use a single-elimination format. The quarterfinals and the semifinals are best-of-three series while the grand finals will be a best-of-five affair.

Teams and matches

ESL has released the initial match schedule for both the groups. The matches start at 12:00 CEST. 

Who are the top teams to look out for at IEM Summer 2021?


Gambit is the #1 ranked CS:GO team. Image Credit: Gambit.

As the best team in the world, Gambit brings a unique playstyle to IEM Summer. The players have a very high skill ceiling and are regularly winning difficult duels. While the players are highly skilled, the team also has some depth to its strategy book.

Gambit finished second in the DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 losing to Heroic in the grand finals. The team excels on Vertigo, Inferno and Mirage, but it is also equally adept on Overpass, Train and Dust 2. But with the shake-up in the map pool, it will be interesting to see how teams adapt their drafts. 


Stavn has been one of the top performers on the Dnaish team. Image Credit: Stephanie Lindgren for DreamHack

Few teams can claim the spot in the top two as Heroic. Gambit and Heroic form the two favorites at this tournament after battling each other multiple times in the past few months. A roster that was close to disbanding a year ago, but has now risen to the top of the rankings, Heroic’s story has been incredible. The team has a heavy focus on the CT side and can often put forth a strong finish. Heroic has a 100% win-rate on Dust 2 over the past three months. 

The team is also strong on Nuke, Vertigo and Mirage. The fact that Heroic does not rely on Train as much as other teams is an advantage for the Danish squad.

G2 esports

Niko of G2 esports. Image Credit: Nikola “NiKo” Kovač

G2 esports finished in the top four at DreamHack Masters Spring. The team put forth a strong performance but is extremely dependent on the two cousins. Niko and Hunter provide much of the firepower to the squad while Amanek and Jacks add the support. That being said, every player on the squad can put forth a strong performance on a regular basis. G2 esports’ best maps include Inferno, Vertigo and Train. Now that Train is out of the pool, it will be interesting to see how the team adjusts to Ancient. From our list of the favorite heroes, G2 remains the most vulnerable to the map pool change. TSince most of its top maps will always be vetoed, the team relies on the maps down the list to provide some depth to its splaystyle. But unfortunately, Train will not be available to the roster. 

Ninjas in Pyjamas – A roster change to success?

NiP recently added Dev1ce to its CS:GO roster, a significant upgrade for the Swedish squad. Image Credit: NiP

The Ninjas in Pyjamas lost to Mousesports in the grand finals of Flashpoint 3. Despite the successful finish, NiP has already initiated a roster change moving Erik “ztr” Gustafsson down to Young Ninjas. The team has not announced his replacement yet, so it will be interesting to see how the team expects to put up a formidable fight at the tournament. With just a few hours to practice together with the new roster, NiP will come into this tournament woefully underprepared. 

The Ninjas in Pyjamas could be a dark horse, in a way. The team’s performance relies on Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtze, who was the shining beacon at Flashpoint 3. Will Ninjas actually surprise everyone at IEM Summer 2021? We can only answer that question after they announce their new fifth.

Stay tuned to for the latest CS: GO news and update.

Rohan - Content Editor


Content Editor | Twitter: @rohan_esports | Twitch: rohan_3105

Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2 and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, have spent hours in Cities:Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Love travelling, an admirer of fine movies, writing a sci-fi novel in spare time and coding (Javascript)