An Early Preview of The IEM Katowice Major 2019

By EsportsOnly.Com
on Dec 20, 2018

The IEM Katowice Major 2019 is the most important CS:GO event scheduled to take place this Winter. This is a tournament organized by Intel Extreme Masters and will offer 3 solid weeks of competition. It’s practically more like 3 events mixed into 1 and is expected to be one of the greatest CS:GO tournaments of 2019.

IEM Katowice 2018

IEM Katowice 2018

The Katowice Major 2019 has a prize pool of 1 million dollars and is scheduled to take place in Katowice, Poland between February 13th – March 3rd.

IEM Katowice 2019 Event Format

Being a Major, The Katowice Major 2019 takes place in 3 stages.

The first of these stages is called The New Challengers Stage. The format of this stage is yet to be announced, but in the past, the Swiss system was used. In other words, each day, every team plays one match against some other team, based on its current record of wins and losses. When a team gets to 3 victories, it immediately qualifies for the next stage and stops playing. When it gets to 3 losses, it is immediately eliminated and exits the competition.

The New Challengers Stage brings together 16 teams. Only half of them will move forward. And these 8 qualified teams will then be joined by the other 8 teams that are already waiting for them, being offered a privileged position based on their result at the last CS:GO Major, namely The London Major. This second stage of The Katowice Major 2019 is called  The New Legends Stage and is likely to also take place in the Swiss format.

Finally, the 3rd and final stage of the event, named The New Champions Stage, brings together the best 8 teams and takes place in the standard 4 Quarterfinals – 2 Semifinals – 1 Grand Final format.

IEM Chicago 2018 Astralis lay down the law

IEM Chicago 2018 Astralis lay down the law

Participating Teams at the IEM Katowice Major 2019

The Katowice Major 2019 brings together 24 teams from all over the world. These teams will compete in the tournament starting from its 1st or 2nd. Of these 24 teams, 14 have already been automatically invited based on their performance in the previous Major. These teams are the following:

The Returning Challengers

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Fnatic
  • G2 Esports
  • Vega Squadron
  • Cloud9

The Current Legends

  • Astralis
  • Natus Vincere
  • MIBR
  • Team Liquid
  • compLexity Gaming
  • BIG
  • HellRaisers
  • FaZe Clan

Apart from these 14 teams, 10 others will get invited to the event based on qualifier results. Overall, The Katowice Major 2019 is guaranteed to gather the best 24 teams in the world and be a very memorable event. Hopefully, until then, at least one of the top teams will find a way to beat Astralis and put an end to their insane run.

Prize-Pool at the IEM Katowice Major

The Katowice Major 2019 offers a total prize pool of 1 million dollars. The money will be divided among the top 16 participants in the following way:

  • 1st place: $500K
  • 2nd place: $150K
  • 3rd – 4th place: $70K
  • 5th – 8th place: $35K
  • 9th – 16th place: 8.75K

Strangely enough, the bottom 8 teams receive absolutely nothing for participating in the event, so the competition is clearly unforgiving. The middle 8 teams also receive very little compared to the top 8, and the title winner gets more than 3 times more money than the runner-up. This was clearly done by the organizers to increase the hype and the tension of the matches.

Team Analysis

Here’s an analysis of 5 of the 8 current legends who are waiting for their opponents in The New Challengers Stage of The Katowice Major 2019. These are by far the strongest teams in the world, so it’s good to keep an eye on them not just at this tournament, but any other CS:GO event as well.


Astralis finished its 2018 season as the best CS:GO team in the world. In fact, its season has been so spectacular that no other team in the history of CS:GO managed to win so much money in a single year from tournament prizes. The number of titles is also record-breaking as far as I know. The Danes added no less than 10 of them to their already decent set.

IEM Katowice 2017 winners Astralis

With this fabulous streak of successes, Astralis is by far the most likely team to win The Katowice Major 2019. Its main opponents at the event will be Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, MIBR and FaZe Clan. Everyone else is just breakfast.

Natus Vincere

Na’Vi is another team that had an unbelievable year, mostly thanks to its star players, s1mple and electronic. They played in a total of 9 Grand Finals, winning 4. You can’t really ask for more given that for the time being, Astralis is absolutely unstoppable and has a 90% chance of winning whenever it meets another top opponent in the Playoffs of a tournament.

Natus Vincere 1

Going into The Katowice Major 2019, Na’Vi should definitely get a top 4 finish, unless it meets Astralis in the Quarterfinals. MIBR, Team Liquid and FaZe Clan also have a good chance of beating them in a direct match.


In many ways, YNk seems to have succeeded in bringing MIBR back to its former strength. I’m referring here to the level of skill displayed by its core trio back when they were playing under the SK Gaming banner.

Since the roster changes earlier this year, MIBR has been in a constant fight to improve and find the path to glory. It hasn’t been easy and the results still fluctuate. But the team is undoubtedly one of the best 5 CS:GO competitors in the world right now.

MIBR fer at the FACEIT Major London 2018

MIBR fer at the FACEIT Major London 2018

Going into The Katowice Major 2019, I expect MIBR to get a 5th – 8th place finish and possibly even 3rd – 4th if it’s lucky enough to dodge Astralis, Team Liquid and Na’Vi in the Quarterfinals.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid is the 3rd best team in the world in terms of its 2018 record, and possibly even the 2nd best in terms of current form. TACO and his teammates played in no less than 9 Grand Finals in the 2018 competitive season, winning 2 of them. Can you imagine how many times they had to accept defeat just one step away from claiming a big trophy? And almost every single time their nemesis was the same opponent: Astralis. No less than 5 times did they fall to this CS:GO powerhouse.

Team Liquid4

Going into The Katowice Major 2019, I expect no less than a 3rd – 4th place finish for Team Liquid, as long as they can dodge Astralis in the Quarterfinals.

FaZe Clan

In spite of all the setbacks and roster shuffles, FaZe Clan had a very solid season with 5 Grand Finals and 3 titles. In particular, one of those titles was clinched from the jaws of Astralis, after an epic 3 – 0 match in the Grand Final of IEM XIII Sydney.

Faze Clan

Apart from these results, FaZe Clan had 7 other top 4 finishes in 2018, which shows an absolutely impressive level of consistency. However, the management of the team no doubt wants more, and after the last 2 months of poor results, decided to bench karrigan, the team’s captain. It is still unclear who his replacement will be, so the future is uncertain for FaZe. The roster is made up of superstar players and has enormous potential. But the team hasn’t found its success formula yet.

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