Fnatic and Complexity favored in final leg of IEM Katowice 2023 Play-Ins
As IEM Katowice 2023 approaches, the final few spots to play on CS:GO’s biggest stage are up for grabs. In the final four games of the IEM Katowice Play-In, eight teams will play four best-of-three matches for their place amongst the elite.
Fnatic, Complexity and Team Spirit all have challenging duels ahead, but are marginally favored going into the day. These matches are the final chance for these teams to make it to IEM Katowice 2023, so fireworks are guaranteed.
We’ll be previewing each match, predicting which teams will earn a spot alongside the best CS:GO teams.
ENCE vs Complexity
ENCE and Complexity are two teams that have recently struggled to step up against stronger opposition. As a BLAST Partner Team, Complexity found themselves out of their depth at the recent BLAST Spring Groups 2023.
Both teams have a habit of defeating teams they should be beating on paper. And on paper, ENCE should defeat this Complexity roster comfortably. However, CS:GO is unpredictable, and the last time the two faced was in September 2022 where Complexity ran riot with a 2-0 sweep. Interestingly, the strength in their map pools is complete opposites. While ENCE often wins on Mirage, Inferno, and Ancient, Complexity’s strength is on Nuke and Overpass.
With the diverse map pools of both teams, this may end up being a matchup decided off the server.
Prediction: ENCE 1-2 Complexity
Spirit vs Sprout
While Sprout isn’t the biggest name in CS:GO, they come into this game with a good match in the bank, an extremely convincing 2-0 over EG landing them the match against Spirit. One win in five isn’t the best reading for Sprout fans, although the latest victory offers hope for the upcoming match.
In the last few months, Spirit has faced some great teams, and usually gives a great performance win or lose. They last faced Sprout at the IEM Rio Major 2022, where they won a comfortable 2-0 over the Danish outfit.
There’s something in the air about this matchup. Whether Sprout can pull off a surprise over a best-of-three remains to be seen, although we expect Spirit to scrape through.
Prediction: Spirit 2-1
fnatic vs MIBR
This matchup is extremely close to call. While MIBR has played a lot more competitive CS:GO recently, fnatic’s recent victories have been against much stronger opposition. Both are unfortunate to find themselves in the IEM Katowice 2023 Play-In, with fnatic and MIBR losing to a strong OG and Ninjas in Pyjamas respectively.
The teams share a similar map pool, both performing strongly on Inferno, Nuke, and Overpass. The stats suggest these maps might slightly benefit fnatic, winning 100% of its games played on Overpass in the past three months compared to MIBR’s 80%. MIBR’s route to success in the map pool is through Vertigo, winning 75% of twelve maps in the past three months.
Ultimately the star power is lacking here with both rosters, with no huge fraggers to drag either team to victory. Expect an extremely close match here.
Prediction: fnatic 2-1 MIBR
FURIA vs IHC
We might be wrong, but we only see one way FURIA vs IHC ends. After FURIA’s incredible performance at the Rio Major, the team comes into 2023 full of confidence.
With IHC competing in competitive CS:GO tournaments over the winter break, their hopes rely on rust from FURIA setting in. Without that, there’s just not enough individual quality to see a path to victory in this matchup.
A defeat to BIG means the year hasn’t been a perfect start for FURIA so far, but the scintillating recent form of KSCERATO and yuurih should see them over the line here.
Prediction: FURIA 2-0 IHC
IEM Katowice 2023 kicks off its Group Stage on February 4, culminating in the final playoffs beginning February 10.
Read next: CS:GO Player Predictions for 2023