IEM Katowice 2019: Show us the money!
After a hectic week of competition and some well-deserved rest period, the eight final teams are set to compete in the playoffs and eventually the trophy of IEM Katowice.
The quarter-finals kick off Thursday 28th (16:00 CET) with the closest seeding matchup of the quarters between teams FaZe and Natus Vincere. (#5 and #3 respectively). The matchup is also a rematch of the Boston Major from last January which FaZe won 2-0.
We talked a fair share about NaVi in the past two weeks, from the ICE Challenge and through the Legends stage the team has finally found its footing and is looking good coming into the match.
The opponent FaZe, have been struggling all the way through their Katowice. Both Renegades, AVANGAR, Complexity and Cloud9 have shown the holes in FaZe’s game since the start, and the team only narrowly avoided elimination by Complexity and managing to almost throw a done deal (15-4) versus Cloud9 and drag the whole match out to 30 rounds.
Both of the teams have a strong seeding and are no strangers to playoff stages at large events where experience and calm nerves are key. Furthermore, both of the lineups have had large swings in performance in the previous year which makes us wonder which “lineups” will show up at match day to face one another.
Team Liquid vs ENCE
Following the previous match, Liquid is set to meet ENCE in the second quarterfinal of the day.
The ENCE squad has had a rough run at Katowice so far. They worked their way up through the Challenger portion of the tournament with large swings of momentum and facing elimination matches several times. As well, they beat Spirit and G2 but then got deleted by Renegades and barely clutched Winstrike in the Challenger Stage. Then they started the Legends stage with a two game flop versus Renegades once again and then Hellraisers and had to claw their back through three best-of-threes to make it this far.
Their opponents Liquid on the other have had smooth sailing so far in comparison. Even though all their matches have not been super convincing with both AVANGAR and NiP having close matches against them and NaVi making Mirage a nightmare to play in the decider; Liquid still managed to go 3-0 in the initial stages of the tournament and get a favorable seed for the playoffs.
Now we are set to witness if one extra week of competition and nerve wrecking action was enough of a practice for ENCE to overpower their opponent, or will Liquid have smooth sailing all the way up to the semis.
The match is scheduled on Thursday 28th at 19:00 CET
The second batch of the quarterfinal matches
The following day will feature the second batch of the quarterfinal matches between the squads of Astralis, NiP, Mibr and Renegades.
First off, the Aussie squad of Renegades meets the Brazilians mibr for a spot at the semis. Renegades have impressed everyone in the initial stages of the tournament losing only to tournament favorites Astralis to whom they also handed a defeat on Mirage in their series. It has been a miracle run so far for the Renegades squad and the next target mibr is in their way on the path to glory.
Mibr have kept most of their cards close to their chest this season. The experienced squad has not played too many official matches prior to the event and have shown very little in terms of strategy. After dropping the opening match to Cloud9, they went on a 3 and 0 spree to secure their playoff spot. The fact that mibr only played three maps so far in the tournament also gives trouble for the Renegades squad in terms of preparation. We can just hope both teams decide one of the maps they play is Inferno as both teams seem to have a preference for it and both play it with extreme confidence.
The favorites of the quarterfinals’ final
The final matchup of the quarterfinals features tournament favorites Astralis against NiP. The Danish squad has had a similar run to their counterpart Liquid in the tournament so far, and apart from their loss to Renegades we mentioned previously, the squad has looked domineering in very single matchup. They even gave Cloud9 a 16:0 to remember IEM by.
On the other hand, NiP had a struggling run similar to that of ENCE, filled with ups and downs in performance but eventually finding their way in the top eight. The squad went through both the challenger and legends stage with a 3-2 run. Finally they got their place amongst the top after a three-year slump.
The playoffs feature a single elimination, best-of-three bracket. The entire IEM CS:GO experience is set to end by Sunday 3rd of March with the Grand Final.
The winner gets to walk home with 500k in prize money and a coveted IEM trophy.
Finally, to the betting aficionados out there I predict: NaVi, Liquid, Mibr and Astralis to advance to the semis. So make your bets wisely.