IEM Katowice New Champions Stage Preview - esportsonly.com

IEM Katowice New Champions Stage Preview

By: Mikele Schembri
Feb 25, 2019

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IEM Katowice 2019 is about to enter its 3rd and final stage, called The New Champions Stage. Only 8 of the initial 24 teams are left in the tournament and they will compete for almost all of the marbles: $860.000 and the prestige of being the winner of perhaps the most important CS:GO competition of 2019.

It’s not just the fact that IEM Katowice is a Major. It’s also the fact that this event is held in one of the most legendary CS:GO locations in the world. Winning here is a guarantee to make any team an absolute legend. And if one of the underdogs ends up doing it, it will be the most spectacular CS:GO story in years. Currently, 3 of the teams qualify for this storyline: Ninjas in Pyjamas, ENCE eSports and Renegades.

The New Champions Stage of IEM Katowice is scheduled to take place between February 28th – March 3rd. So the teams still have a bit more time to prepare for their opponent, which is known in every single case.

In this article, we will give you a much better idea of what has happened so far at IEM Katowice and what’s likely to happen next.

IEM Katowice The New Challengers Stage Results

The first stage of IEM Katowice ended with only a couple of upsets. More precisely, Fnatic and TYLOO did not qualify for the second stage. But apart from these 2 teams who were expected to advance, everyone made it through. The 8 teams that qualified were the following:

  • NRG Esports – 3 W – 0 L
  • Renegades – 3 W – 0 L
  • ENCE eSports – 3 W – 1 L
  • Team Vitality – 3 W – 1 L
  • AVANGAR – 3 W – 1 L
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – 3 W – 2 L
  • Cloud9 – 3 W – 2 L
  • G2 Esports – 3 W – 2 L

The New Legends Stage Results

The second stage saw all of the favorites move through. The only slight surprises were Cloud9 and HellRaisers, who failed to advance. But the 5 or 6 serious contenders for the title managed to secure themselves a ticket for the Playoffs.

In particular, Renegades and ENCE eSports proved that their Stage 1 results were not accidental, as they qualified for The New Champions Stage of this hugely important event. Also, NiP manage to get through somehow, struggling just like in Stage 1 and advancing with a record of 3 wins and 2 losses.

The 8 teams that qualified for The New Champions Stage were the following:

  • Astralis – 3 W – 0 L
  • Team Liquid – 3 W – 0 L
  • Natus Vincere – 3 W – 1 L
  • MIBR – 3 W – 1 L
  • Renegades – 3 W – 1 L
  • FaZe Clan – 3 W – 2 L
  • ENCE eSports – 3 W – 2 L
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – 3 W – 2 L

Just by looking at these 8 teams we can anticipate a Playoffs stage for the ages.

The New Champions Stage Previews & Predictions

The 3rd and final stage of IEM Katowice is an unmissable event. If you’re a CS:GO fan, this is practically the CS:GO World Championship. The main protagonists are probably Team Liquid and Astralis, although MIBR, Natus Vincere and Renegades also stand a good chance of winning.

Here’s a brief analysis of the 5 teams who stand the highest chances of claiming the title at IEM Katowice.

Astralis

Astralis are perhaps the strongest team in the history of CS:GO and they’ve been the number 1 team in the world for almost a year. During this time, they won around 10 titles and smashed everyone in Bo3 matches, with rare exceptions. They did lose a few times, always in the Grand Final, but apart from these upsets Astralis looked unstoppable.

In the 2nd stage of IEM Katowice, device and his squad easily defeated compLexity Gaming, Cloud9 and Renegades, qualifying for the Playoffs with a perfect record of 3 wins and 0 losses.

Going into The New Champions Stage, we expect Astralis to play in the Grand Final. It’s not yet clear whether or not they’re better than Team Liquid at this point, but based on the bracket they won’t face them until the final match, assuming that both teams defeat every lesser opponent along the way.

Astralis looking strong at to take IEM Katowice 2019

Team Liquid

Since their latest roster changes, Team Liquid has become even better than before. This team played in around 10 Grand Finals in 2018 and won 3 of them. In 2019, they already won a trophy at iBUYPOWER Masters IV, where they defeated Astralis in the Grand Final.

It looks like Stewie2K and adreN (the new coach) have been fully integrated into the quad core of Liquid and are delivering match after match. For a while, people did not know what to expect from this NA team after they lost both zews (their former coach) and TACO, who returned to Brazil and started playing for MIBR again. But after iBUYPOWER Masters IV, Team Liquid was reconfirmed as one of the best competitors in the game.

Like Astralis, Liquid smashed all opposition during the second stage of IEM Katowice and are looking to win the trophy. If they do, Stewie2K will practically win a second Major, precisely one year after winning his first.

Natus Vincere

As long as s1mple plays his usual game, Na’Vi are unbeatable by anyone except Astralis, Team Liquid and perhaps MIBR. He was voted as the best player in the world in 2018 and since the start of that year, he’s played in more than 10 Grand Finals of premier events.

For sure, Na’Vi are at the top of their game right now and should finish 3rd – 4th at IEM Katowice, unless the whole roster succeeds at performing to the maximum. That’s not likely to happen so in the Semifinals, where we’ll almost certainly have a match between Na’Vi and Liquid, the North Americans are much more likely to win.

MIBR

MIBR have a new, fully Brazilian roster, and did reasonably well during the second stage of IEM Katowice. They qualified with 3 wins and 1 loss, which isn’t bad. What’s a bit worrying though is how they lost their first match against Cloud9 (score 3 – 16), who in turn then went on to lose even more spectacularly against Astralis (score 0 – 16).

Should MIBR get to the Semifinals and play against Astralis, we’re pretty confident that they will get smashed to bits by the Danes.

Renegades

This is the dark horse of the event. So far, Renegades proved themselves to be an incredibly strong team. Out of 6 matches, they won 5 and lost only one, against Astralis. And even that loss was a close one (score 1 – 2). At the same time, the opponents they defeated were fairly strong ones: NiP, FaZe Clan, ENCE eSports, Team Vitality and AVANGAR. Clearly, this is a team with a lot of potential.

Renegades will face MIBR in the Quarterfinals and our assessment is that they have at least a 50% chance of winning that match. In spite of FalleN and his squad being absolute legends and former Major champions, Renegades has all the ingredients to defeat them. Right now, nobody seems to believe in their chances and the bookmakers are underestimating their skills. But based on what we’ve seen so far, they are very likely to produce a massive upset in the Semifinals of IEM Katowice.

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