The second iteration of the Intel Grand Slam – a prodigious award that recognises the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team in the world – has been seized by North American organisation Team Liquid.
Announced in June 2017, the Intel Grand Slam was introduced as a new and distinguished accolade for professional CS:GO teams to strive for over the course of a season. Incentivised by a lofty $1,000,000 (£797,730) prize purse, the Intel Grand Slam acknowledges the first CS:GO team to win four out of last ten premier tournaments hosted by ESL or DreamHack.
Last year, RFRSH Entertainment’s Astralis secured the inaugural Intel Grand Slam prize on the team’s home ground of Odense, Denmark, at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals.
This year, it was North American rivals, Team Liquid, who would collect the prize at ESL One Cologne. The roster achieved this by winning four successive events that qualify for the Intel Grand Slam – taking a mere 63 days in total from start to finish. Although the feat is widely extraordinary and considered to be upheld without contention for quite some time, there is some looming question as to whether the tournament prize series will have a third iteration.
With Team Liquid capturing this year’s prize so swiftly, sustainability of the tournament prize series’ continuation appears to be in doubt by the general public; it’s unlikely ESL and Intel intended on awarding the towering jackpot this frequently.
HLTV.org reportedly contacted ESL around whether or not the Intel Grand Slam would return for a third iteration – however, the coompany declined to comment. Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL hinted towards the Intel Grand Slam having a third season in a tweet following the conclusion of the tournament. At the time of writing, there has yet to be any formal announcement of whether or not the Intel Grand Slam will carry on next year.
Esports Insider has requested a comment regarding the status of the initiative but has not received a response at the time of publishing.
Esports Insider says: While Astralis securing the initial Intel Grand Slam last year appeared to be a result of a dynasty team at work, Team Liquid’s achievement has made what is supposed to be Counter-Strike’s most prestigious award look easy – even though that is far from the case. Given the speed in which it was achieved, speculation around Intel and ESL rethinking requisites of the Intel Grand Slam for the following season seems warranted.