Credit: BLAST and Michal Konkol

From Underdog to a Major MVP Candidate: The story of iM

Romanian sensation Ivan "iM" Mihai has been the big revelation of the Major in Paris.

It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely candidate as a Major MVP, than a player from GamerLegion. An organization mostly known for grinding out the B-tier tournaments of CS:GO. But since September 2022, people has started to pay more attention to the German Organization.

With the signing of Belgian Nicolas "Keoz" Dgus, the young mastermind of MOUZ NXT Kamil "siuhy" Szkaradek, and the Danish AWP’er Frederik "acoR" Gyldstrand, results started to align. Even before they were announced as a team, the roster scraped their way through the open qualifiers for IEM Rio before doing the same at the European RMR. A 2-1 win against G2 was enough though to put the minnows on everybody’s radar before the Major. Here their journey was cut short after going 2-0 up in the Challengers Stage, but the newly formed roster could not perform in the bo3 format and lost their chance of qualifying for the Legends Stage.

In Paris, the outcome has been completely reversed. GamerLegion lost both their bo1 matches against Complexity and The MongolZ before winning all their bo3 matches in the Challengers Stage. In the Legends Stage, they took down 9INE, Fnatic, and Apeks to qualify with only a loss against NAVI on their record.

Then we saw a spectacular performance from the team against Monte in the Quarter-Finals. A 16-10, 16-3 victory underlined the impressive teamwork spearheaded by the aggressive entry-rifler Ivan "iM" Mihai. In the quarter-final against Monte, “iM” ended the match with an insane 1.78 rating elevating him to the top of the rankings of the whole event overtaking Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut.

The emotions were high after GamerLegion qualified for the Champions Stage at the Paris Major.

Who is Ivan "iM" Mihai?

The 23-year-old Romanian is playing only his second Major in his career. He started playing professionally in 2018 with the all-Romanian team Nexus. Here he played until 2021 primarily against Tier-2 and Tier-3 opponents. He averaged a 1.10 HLTV rating throughout all his games, which put him on the radar at GamerLegion.

Ivan "iM" Mihai joined GamerLegion in April 2021. Isak "isak" Fahlén also made his debut on the team alongside iM. The two players have played 475 maps for GamerLegion since joining the roster.  Ivan "iM" Mihai is averaging a very impressive 1.14 rating on all his maps for the team.

The Romanian re-signed his contract with GamerLegion back in 2022. It is unknown for how long, “iM” is under contract, but he will most likely be on the radar for a lot of teams after his performance at Paris Major.

Here are some stats for Ivan "iM" Mihai:

Best map: Mirage – 1.18 rating

Worst map: Nuke – 1.06 rating

Most played opponent: FORZE – 34 maps

Tournaments won: 10

Biggest tournament win: Thunderpick Bitcoin Series #2 - $32.000

Currently the highest rated player at Paris Major 2023

Ivan "iM" Mihai and GamerLegion face Heroic in the Semi-Final of Paris Major today at 15.00 (CET).

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