Intel Grand Slam S4 race resumes in Katowice
The $1,000,000 competition resumes following a two-month break after the IEM Rio Major's conclusion in November.
IEM Katowice 2023, the first Big Event of the year, kicks off on Wednesday, February 1. The tournament will host 24 of the world's best teams, including all of the top 10, who will strive to etch their names into the history books and become the victors of one of Counter-Strike's most esteemed and prestigious competitions.
The start of the Polish spectacle brings another challenge to bear in the form of the resumption of the Intel Grand Slam (IGS). The contest, which had its last featured tournament at the IEM Rio Major in November, offers a $1,000,000 cash prize to the first team to win four big ESL tournaments — including one of IEM Katowice, IEM Cologne, or an ESL Major — in a 10-event window.
At present, FaZe are the front runners to take home both the gold bars and the million-dollar reward. The team around Finn "karrigan" Andersen have picked up three out of four victories required to close out the IGS after hoisting trophies at IEM Katowice 2022, ESL Pro League Season 15, and IEM Cologne 2022.
Two unsuccessful campaigns through ESL Pro League Season 16 and the IEM Rio Major pushed FaZe's aspirations of clinching an Intel Grand Slam victory back to the turn of the new year, though, and the squad now have just four tournaments left to close out the Grand Slam race.
The multinational roster fights to become the fourth team to achieve the feat after Astralis, Liquid, and Natus Vincere. The achievement would also be a record-breaking personal accomplishment for Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, who would be the first-ever player to win the Intel Grand Slam twice, doing so the first time around with Liquid back in 2019.
Aside from FaZe, there are a further three teams currently in the race to snatch away the IGS victory, each boasting one notch apiece. Cloud9 entered the fourth season first with a victory at IEM Dallas, followed by Vitality at ESL Pro League Season 16, and Outsiders with their title-winning campaign at the IEM Rio Major.
Below are the events and winners of the Intel Grand Slam Season 4 thus far and the upcoming tournaments in the competition:
IEM Winter 2021 - Vitality (discounted due to loss of core roster)
IEM Katowice 2022 * - FaZe
ESL Pro League Season 15 - FaZe
IEM Dallas 2022 - Cloud9
IEM Cologne 2022 * - FaZe
ESL Pro League Season 16 - Vitality
IEM Rio Major * - Outsiders
IEM Katowice 2023 * - February 1-February 12
ESL Pro League Season 17 - February 22-March 26
IEM Brazil 2023 - April 17-April 23
IEM Dallas 2023 - May 29-June 4
IEM Cologne 2023 * - July 25-August 6
ESL Pro League Season 18 - August 15-September 24
IEM Fall 2023 - October 16-October 22
An asterisk denotes a championship-level event