Outsiders crowned as IEM Rio Major champions

Outsiders crowned as IEM Rio Major champions

November 14, 2022

Outsiders demolished Heroic in the grand finals of the IEM Rio Major 2022 to take home their first-ever Major trophy. The side, comprising Jame, Qikert, fame, FL1T and n0rb3r7, who previously contested under the Virtus.pro name but have had to use the Outsiders name since the Ukrainian invasion by Russia, took home their first-ever major international trophy. 

A Major, which saw the likes of G2 and Astralis fail to qualify, while the favourites of Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, Vitality and Cloud9 all failed to make it deep into the tournament, was one of the most open Majors in recent Counter-Strike history. Held in Rio after a delay of two years due to the COVID pandemic, the Rio Major was one for the ages, with the Brazilian crowd lighting up the tournament. 

ESL, the organiser of the Major, has also announced that there will be an IEM event in Brazil in 2023, which will be apart of the Pro Tour circuit and a Masters-level tournament and will join the likes of ESL Pro League, IEM Cologne, IEM Katowice and IEM Dallas. 

Also Read – Top 10: Greatest CS:GO Players of All Time

Challengers Stage

The much-awaited Brazilian Major finally got underway on October 31, with the best-of-ones. It was the South American team of 9z facing Gamer Legion in the opening match of the Challengers Stage. Gamer Legion brushed aside 9z in the opening map 16-6 on Inferno. The second match of the competition had MOUZ up against the Outsiders, who were stunned by MOUZ 16-6 on Inferno with MOUZ’s frozen and xertioN stepping up. 00NATION were the first Brazilian team to play in front of the home crowd but they were wiped aside 16-3 by Bad News Eagles. OG, meanwhile, made light work of Australian team Grayhound in the opening round, beating them 16-5 on Inferno. German team BIG surprised home favourites FURIA on the opening day as well, coming back from 3-12 to win 19-16 in first overtime, much to the dismay of the home crowd. Mongolian team IHC were up against Evil Geniuses and put up a valiant fight on Nuke before going down 16-9. Tournament favourites and recently-crowned No.1-ranked team Vitality kicked off their campaign with a 16-9 win against the Brazilian legends in Imperial. fnatic, meanwhile, got the better of Cloud9, taking their first B01 match 19-17 in first overtime on Inferno.

Things got from bad to worse for home team 00NATION as they went 0-2 after their second-game loss to FURIA, getting hammered 6-16. The Outsiders, meanwhile, faced a scare from IHC but managed to go 2-0 after getting the better of the Mongolian team on Mirage 16-12. MOUZ continued their strong run as they beat Evil Geniuses in their second map while Bad News Eagles shocked BIG 16-11 on Dust2, which is one of the strongest maps for the German team. Home team Imperial also went 0-2 after going down 16-11 to 9z while Vitality suffered a shock defeat to Gamer Legion on Vertigo, which left the European superteam at 1-1 at the end of day one. fnatic beat OG 16-13 in their second match, while Grayhound stunned Cloud9 19-17 to leave the American team 0-2 and on the brink of elimination. Vitality suffered another defeat to Outsiders as well, which meant that both Vitality and Cloud9, two of the tournament favourites, were close to being eliminated in the Challenger Stage. 9z, meanwhile, outlasted Evil Geniuses on Nuke 19-17, while BIG bounced back after their loss to Bad News Eagles to win 16-6 against Grayhound. FURIA, meanwhile, was pushed the distance on Overpass by OG but managed to take the final best-of-one game 19-16 in first overtime. 

MOUZ were the first team to qualify for the Legends stage after beating fnatic 2-1 in the first best-of-three match, going through 3-0. OONATION, meanwhile, were the first team to get eliminated, going down 1-2 to IHC. Bad News Eagles clean swept GamerLegion 2-0, while Cloud9 kept their Major hopes alive after eliminating Imperial 2-0. BIG qualified for the Legends as well following their 2-0 win over 9z, while OG lived to fight another day after eliminating IHC. In a do-or-die game, Vitality got the better of Grayhound to stay alive in the Major, while Outsiders went through after beating fnatic. Evil Geniuses were eliminated by Cloud9, who had bounced back from 0-2 to go 2-2 and were one series win away from making it to the Legends. FURIA made it to the Legends after eliminating GamerLegion, while Vitality were pushed to the limit against OG, and it took an herculean effort from ZywOo on the deciding map of Dust2 to see the superteam qualify for the Legends. Cloud9 completed a remarkable comeback after being 0-2 down to qualify for the Legends after beating GamerLegion 2-0 thanks to a strong performance from their AWPer sh1ro, while fnatic were the final team to qualify for the Legends Stage after beating 9z. 

Legends Stage 

It was MOUZ against Team Liquid in the opening match of the Legend Stage. MOUZ cleanswept Liquid 16-2 on Inferno, with JDC and frozen stepping up. Spirit got the better of Bad News Eagles in their opening match of the Legends stage on Ancient, beating them 16-8, while BIG beat Sprout 16-11 on Vertigo, with the German team’s AWP-er syrsoN and in-game leader (IGL) tabseN putting in solid performances. Defending Major champions FaZe Clan were up against Cloud9 in their opening match and, on Overpass, it looked like a FaZe Clan win after the first half when they led 11-4. Cloud9, though, managed to produce an incredible comeback, with their IGL nafany and sh1ro stepping up when the team needed it most to complete a remarkable turnaround and win their opening best-of-one map 16-14. The only Danish team in the tournament, Heroic, made light work of Outsiders on Overpass, beating them 16-9. 

The biggest matchup of the Legends Stage came when Natus Vincere (Navi) took on Vitality in their opening Legends Stage game, and the two heavyweights did not disappoint. Navi just about managed to edge out Vitality 25-21 in triple overtime, with Navi’s superstar s1mple stepping up with 40 kills while being ably supported by Perfecto and their IGL electroNic, For Vitality, it was dupreeh who dropped a 40 bomb, while Spinx and ZywOo tried their best to see their team through with strong performances as well. fnatic got the better of the old rivals Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) 16-13 on Inferno, while the only Brazilian team FURIA brushed aside ENCE 16-6 on Vertigo. BIG went 2-0 on the opening day after defeating MOUZ 16-7 on Mirage, while Team Liquid bounced back from their opening match drubbing to win 16-5 against Sprout. FaZe took on Vitality as both teams searched for their first win in the Legends Stage, and it was Vitality who demolished FaZe on Inferno with ZywOo and Magisk helping the team beat FaZe 16-5 to send FaZe one loss away from elimination. Navi faced Cloud9 for the first time in 2022, and it was Cloud9 who got the better of the Ukrainian team on Mirage, beating them 16-14 thanks to strong performances from Ax1Le, nafany and sh1ro. FURIA handed Spirit their first loss in the Legends Stage with a 16-13 win on Mirage, while ENCE got the better of Bad News Eagles on Ancient, taking the map 16-7. Heroic went 2-0 after wiping fnatic 16-2 on Mirage as the Danish team saw their IGL cadiaN, stavn and sjuush all step up when it mattered. NiP suffered their second loss on the opening day as they lost to the Outsiders 12-16 in the final match of Day 1 of the Legends Stages. 

Day 2 kicked off with Navi taking on Team Liquid, who came back from 3-12 to take the map 16-14, with EliGE, NAF and their IGL nitr0 putting in solid numbers. Vitality, meanwhile, were beaten in first overtime by MOUZ, going down 19-17. The two losses for Navi and Vitality left both title favourites one loss away from elimination. fnatic didn’t take too long to brush aside ENCE 16-7, while Outsiders were pushed to all 30 rounds as they picked up Dust2 16-14 to defeat Spirit. 

FaZe and Bad News Eagles kicked off the first best-of-three of the day between the 0-2 teams. Bad News Eagles took Map 1 on Vertigo 19-16 in first overtime, with FaZe surprising everyone by not banning the map, which generally has been a perma-ban for the team. Being one map away from elimination, FaZe bounced back on Nuke, with ropz, broky and rain stepping up as the defending champions took the map 16-8. On the decider on Mirage, FaZe ran away with the opening half on their CT half going 11-4 up, but Bad News Eagles fought back on their CT side to take the game to overtime, where sinnopsyy and juanflatroo stepped up for them as they eliminated defending Major champions FaZe Clan from the Rio Major at the Legends Stage, winning the decider map 22-20. While FaZe were knocked out in what was easily the biggest upset in the history of CS:GO, the win kept Bad News Eagles alive in the tournament. 

Cloud9 wiped Heroic 2-0 after taking Vertigo 16-9 thanks to stellar showing from their AWP-er sh1ro and IGL nafany. They wrapped up Heroic’s pick of Inferno 16-9 as well, with sh1ro stepping up once again, this time being ably supported by Ax1Le and HObbit. By beating Heroic, Cloud9 went 3-0 in the Legends Stage and became the first team to qualify for the Champions Stage. Following Cloud9 into the Champions Stage were home team FURIA, who beat BIG 2-0, with their IGL arT and yuurih stepping up and making sure they went through without any hiccups. While Cloud9 and FURIA made it through to the Champions Stage, NiP had their Major run ended by Sprout after a clean 2-0 win with Sprout’s Zyphon doing all the heavy-lifting for his team. 

Day 3 of the Legends Stage kicked off with Navi and Bad News Eagles fighting for their life in the tournament. It was Navi who reigned supreme eventually, with s1mple doing what he does best as Navi wiped Bad News Eagles 16-3 on Ancient and 16-9 on Nuke to keep their Major hopes alive. MOUZ took on Outsiders in the second match of the day, and Outsiders completed a clean 2-0 sweep over MOUZ to qualify for the Champions Stage. fnatic became the second team after the Outsiders to make the Champions Stage as they brushed aside BIG 16-14 on Overpass and 16-7 on Mirage, and it was fnatic’s veteran KRIMZ who stepped up to help fnatic reach the Major playoffs after a three-year gap. ENCE, meanwhile, knocked tournament favourites Vitality out of the Majors after their 2-0 over the international team and kept their own Major dreams alive. Spirit sent Sprout home following their 2-0 victory over them after a 16-9 win on Nuke and 16-8 win on Vertigo. Heroic and Team Liquid, meanwhile, faced off for the Champions Stage match, and it was the Danish team who got the better of Liquid in a three-map thriller in the last match of Day 3. Heroic took Liquid’s pick of Vertigo 16-8, with their IGL cadiaN stepping up, but it was Liquid who fought back on Heroic’s pick of Mirage as YEKINDAR and Liquid’s veteran IGL nitr0 made sure the series went to a third map. On the decider on Overpass, Heroic managed to edge out Liquid 16-11 and qualified for the Champions Stage.

The final day of the Legends Stage got underway with three direct qualification matches, with those winning going through and the rest being eliminated. MOUZ took on ENCE in the opening game, and MOUZ took the opening map on Ancient 16-5, but ENCE fought back on Nuke to take it to a decider. It was MOUZ’s IGL dexter and frozen who made sure that, on the decider on Mirage, MOUZ wiped ENCE 16-9 to qualify for the Champions Stage, while ENCE were eliminated. The second game of the day saw BIG go up against Navi, and BIG started strongly on Mirage, going 9-3 up on their CT half, but it was Navi’s talisman s1mple who pulled his team back and helped Navi secure the opening map 16-12, with the Ukrainian star AWP-er casually dropping 27 kills. On BIG’s pick of Dust2, it was neck-and-neck in the first half, with BIG going in with a 8-7 lead, but Navi’s IGL electroNic, b1t and Perfecto all put in strong numbers in the second half to make sure Navi made it to the Champions Stage following a 16-11 win on Dust2. Spirit took on Liquid in the Legends Stage’s final game, and it was Spirit who started strongly after taking the opening map on Vertigo 16-10, with Spirit’s young AWP-er w0nderful and magixx putting in strong performances. Liquid fought back on Mirage to take the map 16-12 and take it to a decider on Ancient, where Spirit emerged victorious, taking the map 16-13 and booking a spot in the Champions Stage, with Liquid eliminated.

After the Legends Stage was over, there were eight teams remaining in the Champions Stages: Outsiders, fnatic, MOUZ, Cloud9, Spirit, Heroic, FURIA and Navi.

Champions Stage

Outsiders took on fnatic in the opening match of the Champions Stage, and the final eight teams were kicking off things at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio. fnatic started strong on the T side on the opening map of Inferno, but it was Outsiders’ IGL Jame and their newest member fame who turned up to secure the opening map for the team 16-11. After taking fnatic’s map pick, the second map was the Outsiders’ pick of Mirage, and fnatic just weren’t present on Mirage. FL1t, n0b3r7, and Jame made sure Outsiders waltzed into the semi-finals 2-0 after demolishing fnatic on Mirage 16-8. The second and final match of the day saw tournament favourites Cloud9 take on MOUZ. Cloud9 won their opening map pick of Inferno 16-11, with their veteran HObbit kicking things off with a 30-bomb on Inferno, but MOUZ’s youngest member frozen stepped up on Overpass, which saw MOUZ take the map 16-13 and push it to a decider. On the decider on Ancient, MOUZ started strongly on their T side, taking 8 rounds. On their CT side, it was a complete one-sided show as MOUZ took the map and the series 2-1, winning Ancient 16-9 with strong performances from frozen and xertioN

Spirit and Heroic kicked off Day 4 of the Champions Stage, and it was Vertigo which was the opening map of the series. Heroic wiped Spirit 16-8 and took a quick 1-0 lead in the series. The second map was on Overpass, and it was Heroic’s IGL cadiaN who helped his team across with one of the clutches of the tournament. Heroic took Overpass 16-14 to advance to the semi-finals. The final quarter-final match was between tournament favourites Navi and home heroes FURIA. For Navi, it was a match not only against FURIA but the entire crowd at the Jeunesse Arena. 

The opening map was Navi’s pick of Nuke, on which the Ukrainian side edged FURIA out 16-14 to take an early 1-0 lead in the series. Backed by the extremely loud and cheerful home-crowd, FURIA fought back on their own pick of Ancient, taking it 16-10 and took the series to a decider on Mirage. On Mirage, while the first half was neck-and-neck, FURIA ran through Navi on their CT side, with drop and KSCERATO stepping up to stun Navi and knock them out of the Champions Stage following a 16-10 win on Mirage. 

With FURIA securing the final semi-finals spot, the final four were: MOUZ, Outsiders, Heroic and FURIA.

The first semi-final had Outsiders taking on MOUZ. The series got underway on MOUZ’s pick of Ancient. Outsiders started strong on their CT half, going 10-5 up, and managed to take MOUZ’s pick away 16-10. MOUZ fought back on Overpass, which was the Outsiders pick, and with xertioN and their IGL dexter stepping up, they managed to pip the map 16-14 in their favour. The series decider was on Inferno, and it was the FL1T show as Outsiders brushed aside MOUZ 16-7 to reach the finals of the Rio Major. 

Heroic faced FURIA in the second semi-final, and FURIA started strongly on Heroic’s pick of Inferno, taking the map 16-6 thanks to stellar performances from arT and saffee. Heroic fought tooth and nail on FURIA’s pick of Ancient to edge out the Brazilian team in overtime 19-17 after FURIA almost managed a heroic comeback. On the decider on Nuke, it was stavn and their IGL cadiaN who stepped up as they hammered the home-team 16-5 to head to their very first Major finals. With Outsiders and Heroic in the finals, it was the first time that both teams reached the finals of the Major and that meant we would be witnessing a new Major champion in Brazil. 

The Grand Final got underway on the Outsiders’ pick of Mirage. Heroic started on the CT side, and there was barely anything to separate the two after the end of the first half as Outsiders managed to take 8 rounds on their offensive side. It was strong CT showing from the Outsiders as the likes of fame, Jame and FL1T stepped up to help Outsiders wrap up the opening map 16-12 in the best-of-three finals. 

The second map was Heroic’s pick of Overpass, which had Outsiders start on the CT side. Even though Heroic took the pistol and converted the round after, the Outsiders’ defence was impenetrable and they took an astounding 12-3. While Heroic took the second pistol and the conversion after as well to make it 12-5, there were no more rounds left for Heroic as Outsiders wiped Heroic 16-5 to secure their first ever Major, and it was the two youngsters in FL1T and fame who performed best on Overpass. For his stunning performances throughout the tournament, along with captaining his team to victory, it was Jame who was awarded the MVP for the tournament. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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