Abios’ Pavel Malinouski: A trader’s perspective on IEM Sydney

Following the conclusion of the first tier-one competition in Counter-Strike 2, Pavel Malinouski, Abios’ Trading Supervisor, talks about IEM Sydney, trading in CS2 and its ramifications for future competitions.

Abios IEM Sydney
Image credit: Abios

As many predicted, new maps, features and in-game mechanics caused many upsets during Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Sydney, the first tier-one tournament in Counter-Strike 2. 

Complexity, a team that has previously failed to reach high positions in top-tier events for years, managed to secure a coveted second spot in the tournament. Meanwhile, some of the best teams in the world, such as NAVI and Team Vitality, got kicked out during the first few days of the competition in close matches littered with aces and upsets.

FaZe Clan walked out of Sydney victorious, but not without a fight from Complexity. On the third map of the BO3 final, it looked like FaZe Clan would secure an easy win going into the second half. Nonetheless, Complexity managed to fight its way back to overtime, making it a thrillingly close final where odds for a Complexity win went from 40 times the money to a fairly even state. 

An incredible number of aces were lined with awkward interactions with in-game bugs, giving viewers the feeling that anything could happen. To recap, here are Abios’ key takeaays from IEM Sydney 2023.

Months of exciting unpredictable high-stakes outcomes lie ahead

The state of Counter-Strike 2 gives room for exciting upsets and Cinderella story victories, which result from the game’s unpredictability. Clear metas or trends are yet to be formed, making predicting player and team performance and strategy hard. It becomes especially cumbersome for teams, which can’t watch replays to plan counters for opposing strategies or gauge the competition effectively. 

With these changes, underdog teams such as Complexity had a real chance of beating Counter-Strike titans such as NAVI or Team Vitality, as all players tried to adjust to the game. Even star players struggled with spray transfers and shooting mechanics. 

FaZe Clan’s in-game captain, Karrigan, rated CS2 as being about 4/10 of a full competitive version of the game. As a result, the upcoming months will likely be a time of feedback where teams, players and tournament organisers battle-test the game and share thoughts with the game’s developer Valve Corporation to ensure its viability for the 2024 Major in Copenhagen.

Trading Counter-Strike 2 successfully: A combination of esports experience and real-time data

Counter-Strike is currently experiencing a seismic shift, which heavily impacts player and team performance. There are few clear metas or trends that can assist Abios in creating a trading pattern, and the game gets new bug fixes and patches regularly, altering gameplay further. 

To cope with the changes and continue offering high uptime and attractive player markets, Abios continuously updates and adjusts its trading strategy. 

Access to real-time data from IEM Sydney through rights holders has helped Abios tremendously, as its proprietary semi-automated trading algorithms have adjusted the odds quickly when probabilities have changed due to fast in-game events.

The models have been overseen by a team of seasoned esports traders, relying on Counter-Strike experience to predict a match’s outcome or adjust the probability for a particular event.

IEM Sydney 2023 crowd venue
Image credit: ESL Gaming / Sarah Cooper

In-game metas and trends

Whilst experience of Counter-Strike esports is paramount to Abios, it’s important to also recognise that the playstyle of many teams has changed as a result of CS2 being a new, updated game.

Teams at IEM Sydney were more assertive, open and aggressive, which means that rounds practically start immediately. Teams are relying heavily on firepower instead of strategy, making matches quick and head-on. 

Combined with the peeker’s advantage (i.e. that a person peeking has a higher chance of getting a kill than someone holding an angle), MR12 format and old economy means that there are a lot of comebacks and quick gameplay, making it hard to predict which team will win a match or what stats a player is going to get. 

While this is a learning period for teams, players, and the industry at large, IEM Sydney has shown ultimately entertaining Counter-Strike. At Abios, we look forward to months of engaging matches and exciting betting experiences going ahead. 

Esports Insider