RIP Pick’ems at IEM Katowice Challenger Stage

Two days into the qualifier stage for the IEM Katowice Main Event and my pick’ems are ded. Pretty much everyone assumed the Challenger Stage would be a nice warm-up light spectating before the main event. Instead, we got a served a flipped table and upsets through and through in the first two days of the event.


© Intel Extreme Masters

Spirit and Grayhound depart

I guess the least surprising part so far, is that teams Spirit and Grayhound were the first ones to get eliminated out of the qualifier.  What is more surprising is who they had to meet in their elimination best-of-three’s.

Spirit ended up battling Brazilian powerhouse FURIA to decide who stays and who goes in the qualifier. After the pick-ban phase the teams settled for Mirage and Nuke as their fields of battle, upon which FURIA ended up being the better team unsurprisingly sending Spirit packing.

In the second elimination match (first actually) earlier in the day Grayhound met Fnatic to salvage their chances of participating in the main event. The mere fact that FNC was in the first elimination match of the tournament baffles everyone. The matches unfolded on Inferno and Overpass and both teams went into the matchup hard. It was honestly touch and go during the entire match and either team could easily break the opponent as economy was a major factor on both maps, and “eco” flips decided several crucial points of the matchup. In the end several FNC managed to salvage a massive flop and eliminate Grayhound out of contention.

NRG and Renegades to the main event

Two teams enjoyed the smoothest run in the qualifier so far. NRG went through Winstrike and ViCi and only dropped 15 rounds in total. In their decider match for advancing to the main event they faced yet another Chinese powerhouse in Tyloo for a two map brawl, which they managed to very narrowly win. (Inferno – 16:14 and Mirage – 16:13).

Renegades had an ever more interesting run through the first two days. They went through Avangar and NiP in the openers and secured themselves that “buy” match for the main event. Opposite them was ENCE who went through Spirit and G2 to get to the matchup. The best-of-three decider was played on Nuke and Mirage, and Renegades managed to win their first map on ENCE’s pick handily 16:7, and then brawled on their own pick Mirage for a back and forth match that ended up 16:14 securing Renegades spot in the main event.

2 in 2 out 12 for 6 remain

The next two days are packed with action. Today we will find out which 3 teams will join Renegades and NRG on the main stage, while tomorrow we will bid farewell to 3 more teams. Tyloo and Winstrike will have yet another chance to secure their spot on the main stage.


  • [13:00] Vitality vs ViCi
  • [16:00] TYLOO vs AVANGAR
  • [19:30] ENCE vs Winstrike

After today’s matches and the winners advancing to the main stage; The losers of today’s matches will go and meet tomorrows winners on Sunday.


© HLTVTomorrow will be the gauntlet for survival. And sadly we have household names Fnatic, Cloud9, G2 and NiP all lined up for elimination in what is set to be a thrilling survival of the “aimest”. Most of my pre tourney pick’ems to advance will play on Saturday. And the most thrilling of them for me will be the G2 vs Fnatic matchup


  • [13:00] NIP vs Vega Squadron
  • [16:00] G2 vs Fnatic
  • [19:30] Cloud9 vs FURIA

So GL to all teams. And please CS gods make some of my picks move forward.