All about Intel Extreme Masters: A comprehensive beginner's guide

IEM is a name you will recognise as an esports fan, regardless of the discipline you love most. The Intel Pro Gaming Tour has been home to World of Warcraft, Warcraft III, Dota, StarCraft II and League of Legends over the years. But one franchise has influenced the Intel Extreme Masters the most: Counter-Strike Global: Offensive, widely known as CS:GO.

However, it can be exhausting to constantly follow the tournaments and the action. You may even ask yourself that fundamental question: What is IEM? Let us answer that question.

Intel Extreme Masters has been hosting events for Counter-Strike games since 2007, but the events also include other games The format of an IEM season follows the same recipe: A series of global qualifiers leading up to a major tournament in March, and then the next season begins.

Before the pandemic, IEM held events in different parts of the world, with different local teams. However, in 2020 and 2021 they had to move to online qualifiers. Even the World Championship was played online in 2020, which will hopefully not be the case in 2022, as the IEM Cologne was played offline.

Intel Extreme Masters' Counter-Strike events have even become Regional Major Rankings (RMR), deciding which teams will compete in the Majors, the most important tournaments in Counter-Strike esports. For instance,  In 2019, the IEM World Championship itself became a Major. And along with ESL, they are an iconic part of Counter-Strike esports history and IEM tournaments are always highly respected regardless of their inclusion in Valve's rankings. We can say that Counter-Strike would not be where it is today without IEM. And IEM would not be IEM If Counter Strike tournaments were not at the heart of IEM Events.

Recently, instead of holding a single tournament, IEM Fall was split into 6 series to become the last RMR event of the year that also decided the teams that participated in the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. The thrill of IEM Season XVI continues with IEM Winter and IEM Katowice and the World Championship is on the horizon waiting for us.

Would you like to make your predictions and bet on the winner? Then you can check the odds for the champions here on Luckbox’s CS:GO tournaments page.

Full Counter-Strike event list of IEM’s history

IEM has a rich history of Counter-Strike events. Here you will find a comprehensive list from the beginning and the respective winners:

  • IEM I World Championship (2007) - Team Pentagram

  • IEM II (2007-08)
  1. Global Challenge Los Angeles - Fnatic
  2. World Championship - mousesports
  • IEM III (2008-09)
  1. Global Challenge Los Angeles - SK Gaming
  2. Global Challenge Montreal - Fnatic
  3. Global Challenge Dubai - mousesports
  4. Asian Championship Finals - e-STRO
  5. American Championship Finals - mibr
  6. Asian Championship Finals II - wNv Teamwork
  7. European Championship Finals - mTw
  8. World Championship - Fnatic
  • IEM IV (2009-10)
  1. Global Challenge Gamescom - mousesports
  2. Global Challenge Chengdu - SK Gaming
  3. Global Challenge Dubai - Fnatic
  4. American Championship Finals - Evil Geniuses
  5. European Championship Finals - mousesports
  6. Asian Championship Finals - WeMade FOX
  7. World Championship - Natus Vincere
  • IEM V (2010-11)
  1. Global Challenge Shanghai - Fnatic
  2. American Championship Finals - compLexity Gaming
  3. European Championship Finals - Fnatic
  4. World Championship - Natus Vincere
  • IEM VI (2011-12)
  1. Global Challenge Guangzhou - Fnatic
  2. Global Challenge New York - SK Gaming
  3. Global Challenge Kiev - Natus Vincere
  4. World Championship - ESC Gaming
  • IEM X (2015-16)
  1. gamescom - Team Envy
  2. San Jose - Natus Vincere
  3. Taipei - The MongolZ
  4. World Championship - Fnatic
  • IEM XI (2016-17)
  1. Oakland - Ninjas in Pyjamas
  2. World Championship - Astralis
  • IEM XII (2017-18)
  1. Sydney - SK Gaming
  2. Oakland - Ninjas in Pyjamas
  3. World Championship - Fnatic
  • IEM XIII (2018-19)
  1. Sydney - FaZe Clan
  2. Shanghai - NRG Esports
  3. Chicago - Astralis
  4. Major: World Championship - Astralis
  • IEM XIV (2019-20)
  1. Sydney - Team Liquid
  2. Chicago - Team Liquid
  3. Beijing - Astralis
  4. World Championship - Natus Vincere
  • IEM XV (2020-21)

New York Online:

  1. Europe - FaZe Clan
  2. North America (RMR) - FURIA Esports
  3. CIS (RMR) -

Beijing Online:

  1. Europe - Team Vitality
  2. North America - Chaos Esports Club
  3. Oceania - Renegades
  4. Asia - ViCi Gaming

Global Challenge - Astralis

World Championship - Gambit Esports

Melbourne (Cancelled)

  • IEM XVI (2021-22)

Summer - Gambit Esports

Cologne - Natus Vincere


  1. Oceania - Renegades
  2. CIS - Gambit Esports
  3. South America - Bravos Gaming
  4. Europe - Ninjas in Pyjamas
  5. Asia - TYLOO
  6. North America - FURIA Esports

Winter (Upcoming)

Katowice (Upcoming)

More IEM CS:GO events are coming up

Intel Extreme Masters 2021 action continues with at least two tournaments that we currently know about: IEM Winter 2021 and IEM Katowice 2022. The details on Katowice will be announced soon, but we now know the participants and format of IEM Winter.  

The IEM Winter 2021 will start on 2 December and end on 12 December. Big names like Astralis, BIG, FaZe Clan, Heroic, G2 Esports, Gambit Esports, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, OG, and Team Vitality are invited to this tournament. Fnatic, MOUZ and ENCE have qualified via the European Qualifier, GODSENT via the North American and TYLOO via the Asian Qualifier.

Based on recent performances, G2 Esports, Gambit Esports and Team Vitality are the strongest contenders at IEM Winter. Natus Vincere, who recently won IEM Cologne, ESL Pro League Season 14 and PGL Major Stockholm 2021, will not be competing at IEM Winter, which will definitely improve the other teams' chances of winning the tournament.

G2 Esports recently finished the PGL Major in second place and we can not really blame them for losing in the finals, as NAVI did not lose a single map during the entire tournament. You can read our article about NAVI 's performance at the Major to learn more about them.

G2 had incredible potential throughout 2021 but unfortunately could not fulfil their promise. It was good to see them achieve something in the end.

Gambit Esports, winner of IEM Summer, made it to the semi-finals of the PGL Major and also lost to NAVI. However, at IEM Fall CIS they were able to defeat NAVI, so of course they are a title contender here. If it was not for NAVI, Gambit could even win the PGL Major.

Team Vitality with their star AWP ZywOo is the other favourite here. They came so close to stopping NAVI from winning the Intel Grand Slam in the EPL and they are one of the few teams that can match their level. So other teams will have a hard time dealing with Vitality.

The teams will first play in two double elimination groups and then meet in the single elimination round of the playoffs. The total prize money of the IEM Winter is $250,000, and the winner will take home a hefty prize money of $100,000.

IEM Winter is in full swing and is set to rock the CS:GO scene from December  2nd to 12th. You can follow, find odds and bet on your favourite CS:GO team here at Luckbox.