Intel Extreme Masters Sydney wraps with big winners and cool announcements

Photo of IEM Sydney 2023 venue after FaZe Clan victory in Counter-Strike 2 tournament
(Image credit: ESL FACEIT Group)

When Intel Extreme Masters came back to Sydney for the first time since 2019, it came back hard. Over 20,000 fans attended the Counter-Strike 2 tournament in the Aware Super Theatre, making it both the largest and fastest-selling Australian esports tournament in history. That was just for the in-person attendance — online, the tournament saw a peak of over 460,000 viewers and a combined 6.6 million hours watched according to Esports Charts

This was also the first major tournament for the recently released Counter-Strike 2, marking a big milestone for the franchise.. In total, 16 ESL teams came together to face off in the new game and compete for a $250,000 prize pool.

But there can be only one winner, and FaZe Clan ultimately emerged victorious, defeating all challengers in Counter-Strike 2. The team squared off in the quarterfinals against ENCE, who they defeated 2-0, even mustering a 13-0 victory in the first round. Their next matchup in the semifinal was MOUZ, in which they once again managed a 2-0 victory to send them to the finals. There, they faced off against Complexity, who were also on a hot streak of 2-0 victories and were able to put up a more stiff competition. Complexity actually won the first round at 13-11, but FaZe Clan pulled it back with a 13-11 win in Round 2 and a major comeback in Round 3 for a 2-1 victory, earning them the tournament championship, a $100,000 prize, and a ticket to the next IEM Group Stage.

While the tournament was a highlight of IEM Sydney 2023, it wasn’t the only thing for attendees to check out. Gamers were encouraged to bring ewaste in to recycle with eWaste Sydney and received game codes in exchange for their contribution.  Attendees also had a chance to meet esports teams for autographs, could play in their own in-booth Counter-Strike 2 tournaments, and could test out systems running on the latest Intel hardware.

Gamer recycling e-waste at IEM Sydney 2023

(Image credit: ESL Gaming)
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Intel also debuted its new Intel® Core™ 14th gen desktop processors. To celebrate the new CPU line, overclockers took the stage at IEM Sydney 2023 and pushed the top-of-the-line Intel Core i9 processor 14900K to insane levels. Overclockers Team AU used liquid nitrogen to keep the chip cool while running all of its Performance cores at a whopping 8GHz, fast enough to see the average framerate in Counter-Strike 2 land between 900 and 1,300 FPS — time for some new gaming monitors, it seems.

IEM Sydney will be followed by IEM Katowice 2024 from February 9-11 in Poland, then IEM China 2024 from April 11-14.