CS:GO Tournament Preview: IEM Katowice 2019

By: Maria Christina De Carlo
Jan 27, 2019

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IEM Katowice 2019 is one of the biggest CS:GO events scheduled to take place this season. The tournament is a Major, is attended by 24 teams and offers a total prize pool of 1 million dollars.

IEM Katowice 2019 will be played between February 13th and March 3rd in Katowice, Poland, a place where lots of legendary esports events took place in the past. What this translates into is simple: 3 weeks of competition and memorable matches. IEM Katowice 2019 is basically 3 events merged into one and the CS:GO betting opportunities will be more than plenty.

IEM Katowice 2019 Event Format

Because it is a Major, IEM Katowice 2019 takes place in 3 separate stages: The New Challengers Stage, The New Legends Stage and The New Champions Stage.

The format of the first two stages will be the usual one: Swiss with Bo3 series for eliminatory and advancement matches. Every other match is a Bo1. Each day, every team plays one match against another team with an identical record. After 3 defeats, teams are eliminated. After 3 victories, they advance to the next stage and no longer play. A total of 8 teams advance after each of the first two stages. The current legends, namely the teams that finished in the top 8 at the last Major, only have to play starting with the second stage. So in total, stage 1 will have 16 participants, stage 2 another 16 and stage 3 just 8.

The New Champions Stage will be played in a single elimination bracket format: Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Grand Final. IEM Katowice 2019 is guaranteed to provide a lot of hyped matches in this way.

IEM Katowice CSGO Event Participants

IEM Katowice 2019 gathers 24 teams from all over the world. They’re the very best in CS:GO at the moment and will have a chance to prove themselves in one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

IEM Katowice 2019 - Invited Teams for The New Legends Stage

Among the 24 teams, 14 received a direct invitation based on their results at the last 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
  • FaZe Clan
  • BIG
  • HellRaisers
  • Team Liquid
  • compLexity Gaming

The remaining 10 tickets will be offered to competitors who will have to go through regional qualifiers. Eight of them have already been decided. Together with the other 2 who will be determined in the next few weeks, they will join the 14 competitors who are already waiting for the start of the event.

IEM Katowice CSGO Teams Battling It Out In The New Challengers Stage

The 8 teams that have qualified so far are the following:

  • ENCE eSports
  • NRG Esports
  • Renegades
  • Team Vitality
  • FURIA Esports
  • Team Spirit
  • Grayhound Gaming

All of them are well known and have proved themselves to be capable of going head to head with the majority of the more established contenders. So IEM Katowice 2019 is guaranteed to provide an excellent show to watch.

Prize Pool Distribution At The IEM Katowice 2019

Being a Major, IEM Katowice 2019 offers a prize pool of 1 million dollars. The money will be divided among the best 16 teams (out of 24) in the following way:

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

Having a $500.000 for the winner of the event, more than 3 times the amount offered to the finalist, is guaranteed to make the Grand Final a very hyped match. Furthermore, not giving any kind of reward to the bottom 8 teams also guarantees a fierce battle in the first stage of IEM Katowice 2019. So even though it looks cruel from the outside, the organizers knew what they were doing when they came up with this reward system.

Team Analysis

Here’s a short analysis of the most exciting teams attending IEM Katowice 2019. Keep in mind that these aren’t necessarily the best teams in order, they’re simply the ones you should keep an eye on if you’re interested in spectacle and CS:GO betting.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

NiP will be one of the most important teams to watch during the first stage of IEM Katowice 2019, simply because of their great current form and their advantages over the rest of the 16 teams who will be taking part in The New Challengers Stage.

In 2018, NiP had a large number of average results at tier 1 events but also a few break-out moments. These include: 3rd – 4th place at DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018, 9th – 11th place at FACEIT Major: London 2018, 3rd place at BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul 2018, 2nd place at BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen and 3rd – 4th place at Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals.

NiP at the BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen

Going into IEM Katowice 2019, we expect NiP to dominate the first stage of the event and advance with a 3 W – 0 L or at least a 3 W – 1 L record. In the second stage anything could happen, but even at that level NiP still stands a good chance of advancing, as long as it doesn’t encounter the top 4 teams in the world more than once.


Cloud9 have a new roster. And they seem to be doing great right now. At the time of this writing, Cloud9 was waiting in the Grand Final of ELEAGUE CS:GO Invitational 2019.

Just one year ago, Cloud9 were winning the Boston Major in front of their home crowd. A lot has changed since then and the CS:GO professional scene is now filled to the brim with ridiculously strong competitors. But in spite of this, C9 still have their chance. And since most of the giants don’t even take part in the first stage of IEM Katowice 2019, we expect Cloud9 to advance into the second stage with a record of 3 W – 0 L or 3 W – 1 L.


In CS:GO, Astralis is the bogeyman. Every player looks under his bed for Astralis before going to sleep at night, including s1mple. This team is so hard to beat that only a few have managed to do it in the last year or so.

What gives us some hope with regards to the invincibility of Astralis is their loss against Team Liquid at the latest CS:GO event, iBUYPOWER Masters IV. It looked impossible, but Liquid somehow did it after they went 0 – 1 in the match and had a big disadvantage on the second map as well.

Astralis at the iBUYPOWER Masters IV where they finished 2nd after Team Liquid

Going into IEM Katowice 2019, we expect Astralis to play in the Grand Final and most likely win the event. Only 3 teams can realistically prevent them from doing that: Team Liquid, Natus Vincere and MIBR.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid finished last season on 2nd place in the global rankings and has already started the new one in style, by beating Astralis in a Grand Final of an important event. Many people, including ourselves, had worried that Liquid will not be the same team it was throughout 2018 after agreeing to sell both their coach, zews, as well as one of their key players, TACO, to MIBR. But it looks like Stewie2K, the player they got in return from the Brazilians, is at the top of his game right now.

Going into IEM Katowice 2019, we expect Team Liquid to finish in the top 4 and be a very hard team to beat by anyone apart from Astralis.