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Best CSGO Teams to Watch at IEM Katowice Major 2019

By: Mikele Schembri
Feb 03, 2019

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IEM Katowice is one of the most important CS:GO events of 2019. In terms of spectacle and betting opportunities, you will definitely want to watch this one from start to finish. Of course, you can’t watch all of it because too many matches will take place over less than 3 weeks. But you might want to see at least the best of what IEM Katowice has to offer.

In this article, we will provide an analysis of the best teams to watch by separating them in 2 groups: the ones that you should follow if you’re interested only in the show part of the event, and the ones that you should follow if you’re also interested in the CS:GO betting and the opportunities offered by IEM Katowice in that regard.

Teams to watch for the show

Among the teams that will be playing at IEM Katowice and are definitely worth watching for the show, the following 4 are the most important.

Astralis

By far the best team in 2018 and possibly the best lineup in the history of CS:GO, Astralis are an absolute beast right now and they will almost certainly delight you with their performances. If you cheer for this team, you will not be disappointed. There are very few competitors that can realistically stand up against Astralis and their chances are minimal at best.

On a good day, and Astralis is likely to have many good days at IEM Katowice, this is the team who will 2 – 0 any other team without breaking a sweat. Keep in mind though that Astralis will only start playing in the second week of IEM Katowice, during The New Legends Stage. So to watch Astralis play, you’ll want to start watching the competition on February 20th.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere were the 3rd best team in the world in 2018, having achieved an impressive number of Grand Final participations: 10. And all of these tournaments were tier 1 events. Which is quite impressive. Most teams can’t play in that many Grand Finals in 3 or even 4 years combined. Let alone just one.

The reason why Natus Vincere is guaranteed to offer you something spectacular is s1mple. Of course, electronic too, but s1mple was the best player in the world in 2018 and is probably the best CS:GO player of all time at just 21 years old. The kinds of plays he usually creates are gaming masterpieces of the highest caliber. Seeing casual competitors play CS:GO might even lead a newcomer to believe that this is a boring game. But watching s1mple is guaranteed to help anyone see the beauty of this esport.

MIBR

This is the most MIBR lineup from the team’s inception. It’s also the first one that does justice to the name and the brand: Made in Brazil. The reason for that is quite intuitive: all of the 6 active members are Brazilians. All the 5 players and the coach. And together they will aim to recover the past glory of that famous SK Gaming lineup, who used to dominate the world of CS:GO until a little over a year ago. FalleN, fer, coldzera, TACO, felps and zews are ready to rumble. Even the coach used to be a member of the team a few years ago. Then he spent 2 years helping Team Liquid and brought them a lot of glory while he was there. But now he’s back to Brazil, along with TACO, another former Team Liquid player until very recently but just like zews, he too used to play next to FalleN.

Because of this new beginning and all the hopes invested in MIBR’s new lineup, this is one of the best teams to watch at IEM Katowice. Keep in mind that coldzera used to be the best player in the world. Regardless of how strong or weak you might think he is today, he used to be up there with s1mple in every way.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid have a new lineup, just like MIBR. And with this lineup, which includes Stewie2K instead of TACO and adreN as a coach instead of zews, Liquid managed to beat Astralis in the Grand Final of iBUYPOWER Masters IV, just a few weeks ago.

With the kind of firepower and motivation that characterize this group of players and especially Stewie2K, who wants to prove himself more than ever and is probably glad to play as part of an English speaking roster again, Team Liquid are expected to make a beautiful impression at IEM Katowice and delight their fans with a lot of top performances.

FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan are at a crossroads. In many ways, they had a successful season in 2018, playing in 5 Grand Finals, winning 3 titles and finishing 3rd – 4th at almost every other LAN. So for a lot of people, including karrigan himself, his enforced temporary departure from the team came as a shock. He is now playing on loan for Team Envy and has been replaced by AdreN from Gambit Esports.

FaZe Clan’s new lineup has only had one important event before IEM Katowice, which they won. The event was ELEAGUE CS:GO Invitational 2019 and took place at the end of January. However, only 4 teams attended it and they aren’t exactly in the top 10 in global rankings. So I’m not sure about the relevance of this triumph.

Going into IEM Katowice, FaZe Clan is still one of the most exciting teams to watch, as GuardiaN, olofmeister, NiKo, and even rain are very skillful players who can provide some memorable rounds.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

NiP have managed to come back in a pretty significant way in the second part of 2018, when they started to qualify again for a lot of big events and even placed fairly high in some of them. Examples include Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals (3rd – 4th), BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen 2018 (2nd), FACEIT Major: London 2018 (9th – 11th) and DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 (3rd – 4th).

NiP’s current lineup has matured quite nicely and the blend of veterans and young talented players seems to have reached a level from where almost any match is winnable. Being a team with so much history behind it and so much ambition, NiP are one of the main competitors that you should watch at IEM Katowice.

Teams to watch as a CS:GO bettor

The teams that you should watch as a CS:GO bettor are the first 4 mentioned above, when they don’t play against each other of course. Apart from these teams, you should also keep an eye on weaker competitors who are almost guaranteed to crash and burn against any serious adversary.

For instance, just take a look at BIG. They were in the top 8 at the previous Major but have lost 2 players since then. Both of them were essential for the team’s lineup and style of playing and in one of these cases, the decision was made abruptly and right before IEM Katowice. As you may know, smooya is no longer with the team. Subsequently, when IEM Katowice gets to the second stage, BIG will likely be crushed by almost every other team who will be playing at that level.

Other certain victims to keep an eye on are ViCi Gaming, Grayhound Gaming and Winstrike Team.