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What is the Intel Grand Slam? All Current Top Contenders

What is the Intel Grand Slam? All Current Top Contenders

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
13 May

To make your mark and stand out like a beam in the dark is a tall task, but with persistence, you'll leave your spark. In an esport where every event is a fierce battle, only a few can sit on top of the mountain, with their glory raining down like an endless fountain.

Greatness, often achieved by toppling the colossuses at Counter-Strike 2’s most prestigious events or writing one’s name in gold and collecting the million dollars bounty by winning the Intel Grand Slam race.

The Intel Grand Slam is a prize of one million dollars completed by the first team to win three ESL Pro Tour Masters tournaments and one Championship tournament (Katowice, Cologne or ESL-operated CS Majors) inside a span of ten consecutive events.

Additionally, there is a spoils bonus for any team that denies another group their final victory towards the Intel Grand Slam by defeating them in a Grand Final. $100,000 is awarded to the spoiling team.

Source: ESL

Intel Grand Slam Introduction:

During Intel’s presentation at E3 back in 2017, they announced a partnership with ESL in a significant deal.

Intel had become the Global Technical Partner of ESL, providing cutting edge PCs for all participating teams and players, in addition to high-performance processors for optimal streaming. A move which was made to "further advance the worldwide growth and development of esports". - ESL

All that on top of introducing the one million dollars prize to support the players further and motivate the teams.

“Intel’s involvement in esports and the gaming community has spanned more than 15 years, and we’re always looking for ways to take the player and fan experience to the next level,” said Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation. “In this next phase of our long-time partnership with ESL, we’re investing in developing future esports stars, further expanding our global footprint with the Intel Extreme Masters circuit and exploring fresh formats like the Intel Grand Slam that we announced today.” 

Read More: Intel and ESL announce biggest multi-event deal in esports history

Intel Grand Slam Winners: 

Season 1: Astralis

Astralis won DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 to begin their journey as the first team to eventually win an Intel Grand Slam later that same year. The Danish team dominated the Counter-Strike esports scene back in 2018, with only a single map dropped during the entire event.

One month later, they were crowned as champions of ESL Pro League season 7.

FaZe Clan was on track to beat Astralis in the race by winning two events; Intel Extreme Masters XIII - Sydney & ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018. The latter was even with a stand-in!

Both teams had two events to the title. However, in the end, it was the Danish superstars who rose to the occasion and won the last two remaining tournaments of the year; the Intel Extreme Masters XIII - Chicago & ESL Pro League Season 8, to become the first team in CS history to win an Intel Grand Slam and the million dollar bounty.

Source: Liquipedia 

Season 2: Team Liquid

Team Liquid not only won. They won with style.

With the IGS only lasting a 144 days, starting only 5 events into the season, the North Americans were hard-pressed to make up for lost time. Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip & co at the time, won the Intel Grand Slam title in only 63 days with an impressive record run.

The first tournament was Intel Extreme Masters XIII - Katowice Major 2019, which went to Astralis. Despite that, Team Liquid went on to win four consecutive events to take the title - not only of Intel Grand Slam champions but the fastest team ever to do it.

Tournaments won by Liquid:

  • Intel Extreme Masters XIV - Sydney
  • DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019
  • ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals
  • ESL One: Cologne 2019

Source: Liquipedia

Season 3: Natus Vincere

The third season was a rollercoaster with the strike of Covid-19. The escalating virus situation and the world's shut down led to the cancellation of six events, including the ESL One: Rio Major tournament.

This iteration was the longest one to date, lasting 756 days since it began at IEM Chicago 2019.

The CIS giant finished the Grand Slam despite fierce competition, standing head and shoulders above the rest towards the end of the race winning IEM Katowice 2020, DreamHack Masters Spring 2021, IEM Cologne 2021 and finally ESL Pro League Season 14 to collect their bounty.

Source: ESL 

Season 4: FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan wrote their name in gold in 2022 as they dominated the scene; making an era of their own, while boasting some of the best talents in Counter-Strike.

Finn "karrigan" Andersen's tactical brilliance matched with such incredible sharp shooters could only lead to greatness.

Team Vitality won IEM Winter 2021 and took the first step in the race. However, their advance was disputed due to the loss of their core roster.

FaZe Clan started their campaign with the unforgettable event IEM Katowice 2022, followed by wins at ESL Pro League Season 15 and IEM Cologne 2022. The final piece of the puzzle was the ESL Pro Legue Season 17 trophy, which FaZe lifted to secure their own Grand Slam.

With their triumph, Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken became the first ever player to win two Intel Grand Slams.

Intel Grand Slam New Rules: 

Following NAVI’s win in season three, ESL announced new rules for the current season, “a more simplified rule set” that aims towards making the title less confusing and more accessible for teams to keep on track.

The first team to win three ESL Pro Tour Masters tournaments and one Championship tournament (Katowice, Cologne, or ESL-operated CS:GO Majors) inside a span of ten consecutive events can complete the Intel Grand Slam.

ESL VP Product Development tweet

  • Intel Grand Slam IV will not count the results of The Intel Grand Slam III towards its standings.
  • Teams can swap players between tournaments, but a core of the same three players has to win four finals to be eligible for the Intel Grand Slam.
  • If a player has left their team and competed in an IGS event for another team, they become ineligible for any IGS prize money if their old team would win.
  • If their opponents defeat a team about to complete the IGS in the final and secure their potential 4th win, they receive the $100,000 “giant killer bonus”. The one exception to the rule is if a team denying the completion of the Intel Grand Slam completes their own IGS run in the same final.
  • In a single Intel Grand Slam campaign, players can receive 'giant killer' bonuses an unlimited number of times.

Season 5 race: 

The official launch of Counter-Strike 2 has closed the gaps between teams. Although FaZe Clan’s name is still echoing in every Grand Final, they kept falling short of the finish line.

As of now, five teams are racing for the title. The winner remains uncertainly cloaked.

TeamCurrent WinsRemaining Chances
FaZe Clan26
Team Spirit17
G2 Esports14
Team Falcons13

Featured Image Source: Helena Kristiansson, ESL FACEIT Group

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