The IEM Katowice 2019 is the 14th edition of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition organised by Valve that will take place in Poland. The main CS:GO tournament will begin from the 14th February until the 3rd March, featuring the top 24 teams that will compete in a tournament format of three stages:
- The Challengers
- The Legends
- The Champions
The final eight teams will battle it out in the Champions playoffs in the hopes of winning a cash reward from a prize pool of a whopping $1 million.
The lucky winners will move one step closer to winning the Intel Grand slam where the esports team with the most wins will receive an extra whopping $1 million. At the moment of writing the article, the top CSGO team with a total of three victories is Astralis.
Thousands of Counter-Strike fans from around the world look forward to watching the epic IEM event in Katowice. Being one of the most viewed tournaments in esports, the winter major will feature professional teams and players, who bring out the CSGO magical atmosphere, most especially in the impressive gameplays that raise the gaming standards.
IEM Katowice Past Winners
The very first CSGO tournament in Katowice was the ESL Major Series One – Spring 2013. The Grand Finals saw Ninjas in Pyjamas beat Fnatic, dominating the matches in both maps, Dust II and Nuke finishing with a score 2-0. NiP took home the first prize at the time which was $12K while Fnatic took the second prize of $7K.
Gaming fans travelled the following year to see the ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014. The impressive performance in every match saw Virtus.Pro beating the likes of Hellraisers, Titan, Team LDLC.com and LGB Esports. Having managed to reach the grand finals, Virtus. Pro showed the gaming world how to win on Mirage and Inferno outplaying Ninjas in Pyjamas with an incredible score of 2-0 to take home the first prize of $100K.
In 2015, the esports name of the prestigious annual event changed to IEM Katowice. Counter-Strike fans watched the main game where Fnatic beat the likes of Penta Sports and Virtus.Pro. The grand finals saw FNC defeat the Ninjas in Pyjamas in Dust II and Inferno with an incredible record of 2-1, claiming the first prize of $100K.
At the Intel Extreme Masters 2016, the finalists Fnati took over Luminosity in the CS maps Overpass, Cache and Inferno winning the match 3-0. The CSGO squad took home the IEM Katowice 2016 title as well as the $104K reward.
At IEM Katowice 2017, the gaming fans saw how Astralis and Faze Clan beat teams like Optic, NiP and Fnatic. Reaching the final match, Astralis outran Faze Clan in the CS maps Overpass, Nuke and Inferno showing off their powerful gaming skills with an unbeatable 3-1 record.
Fnatic once again took the title of the IEM Katowice in 2018, where they beat Faze Clan with a close score of 3-2. FNC dominated in the Inferno, Overpass, Train maps, claiming their first prize of $250K.
IEM Katowice 2019 Tournament Format
The IEM Katowice 2019 will kick off with the Challengers stage from the 14th February until the 20th February, where 16 CS squads will compete at the ESL Arena. Eight teams will advance to the New Legends stage while the rest will be eliminated.
The Legends stage takes place at the International Congress Center from the 20th February until the 24th February. Eight challengers will face off another set of teams that ranked between the 9th and 14th place at FACEIT Major London 2018. The top eight units will move on to the Champions stage while the remaining groups are out of the game.
The best teams from the qualifying stages will get to play in the playoffs, that is the Champions stage, which will take place in front of a live audience of over 11,000 at the Spodek Arena from the 28 February until the 3rd March. The competition starts to get exciting and intense as the fans cheer on for their favourite squads who manage to reach towards the grand finals. The winning finalists take the IEM Katowice 2019 trophy as well as the first prize of $500K.
The Current Legends who placed in the top eight places at the FACEIT London 2018 automatically got an invite to the IEM Katowice 2019. These teams are:
- Complexity Gaming
- Faze Clan
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
The Returning Challengers include:
- Cloud 9
- G2 Esports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Vega Squadron
Top CSGO Teams at IEM Katowice 2019
The Russian CSGO squad, Vega Squadron are among the top 20 teams in the ESL world rankings. Their latest accomplishment was the StarSeries & i-League Season 6, finishing in second place. Counter-Strike team managed to participate in premier matches such as the FACEIT Major London 2018, CS Summit 2 and the Eleague Major Boston 2018. They are generally not a team that will finish in the top 10 places in competition, but given a chance they do tend to surprise.
The French CSGO team, G2 Esports are among the top 20 units. The last week of November, the group have recently replaced CS players SmithZz and Ex6TenZ with Lucky and JaCkz who played for 3DMAX. Due to this roster change, the squad need to practice on their communication and unite working together to achieve the objectives, so no great results are expected from this team.
Ranking in the fifteenth place in the ESL world ranks, the American team of Cloud 9 started 2018 on a good note winning the Eleague Major Boston 2018. They kept up their winning streak in the next two matches finishing in second at the WESG 2017 North American Finals and CS Summit 2. However, for the rest of the year, C9 have struggled to keep up their winning pace to finish on average between the 5 -12th place in competitions.
The German esports players that from Berlin International Gaming have recently taken part in the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals finishing in ninth place. Their participation at the Supernova Malta 2018, BIG managed to place third winning over Hellraisers 2-1. Other BIG achievements worth noting is there performance at the ESL One Cologne 2018, where the CS squad reached the Grand Finals placing second.
In its name, Natus Vincere are the born to win players who have successfully won a few esports tournaments over the past year. Some of the significant accomplishments include Blast Pro Series Copenhagen, ESL One Cologne, CSGO Asia Championships. Add to these are the occasion when the unit managed to finish in a close second place at the EPICENTER 2018, FACEIT Major London 2018, DreamHack Masters Marseille. These achievements have placed Natus Vincere among the top five CSGO teams in the world and will continue to break records to level up their gameplay at the IEM Katowice 2018.
The North American players of Team Liquid are the second best esports unit in the world. The recent achievements include Supernova Malta and CS Summit 2 while finishing second at IEM Chicago, ESL One New York 2018, Eleague CSGO Premier 2018, ESL Pro League Season 7 – Finals. The latest matches at the ESL Pro League Season 8 have shown their potential and Astralis have also admitted that Liquid has improved over the past few months.