Review of IEM Katowice Major 2019 — The New Champions Stage

Each of the teams that managed to make it to The New Champions Stage has put in great efforts and deserved to be praised.

Note: in this material we will analyze any of the teams only as a participant of the final stage. It means that if any of the contestants performed differently from what they had been expected talking about the quarterfinal match, but not the tournament itself.

Teams that performed as it had been expected

FaZe Clan

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The European team managed to make it to eight best participants in Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Major 2019. It was a great surprise for some spectators, whereas the others were confident in FaZe getting to the playoff. After revealing of information that the Europeans will have to play against Natus Vincere, the majority of commentators, analysts and spectators were sure that FaZe Clan would lose and it happened indeed. NiKo and his teammates managed to give a good fight with “Born to Win” on the first map. After FaZe got an advantage there and the collective was up 8-3, Natus Vincere pulled themselves together and managed to change to course for their benefit. In the end, Inferno ended by the score 16-13. After this sequence of events it was much easier for the players from Natus Vincere to win the second map and the win on the opponents’ map and a good comeback gave them more self-confidence. Mirage resulted in 16-7 for Natus Vincere, so Na’Vi made it to the semifinal consequently and FaZe Clan took the 5-8 place at this Major tournament. By the way, the former Major competition resulted in the same way for them.

We should especially march the new player AdreN, who got nicknamed ‘GODREN’ by Twitch users during the last match. At the quarterfinal the Kazakh performed pretty well and the audience noticed that after he had joined the team, NiKo’s results worsened. We still don’t know how it can affect the further collaboration of FaZe and the Kazakh esportsman. We will be waiting for official claims from AdreN or FaZe Clan.


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The Australians from Renegades managed to surprise all the spectators at the first two stages of the Major tournament. At The New Challengers Stage, they performed with a result 3-0, and at The New Legends Stage they completed their participation by the score 3-1. When Renegades made it to The New Champions Stage, the audience divided into two camps: the first group believed in their success and getting to the semifinal, while the others believed that Renegades are outsiders at the battle with MIBR. The second group turned out to be right, but the Australians managed to oppose their opponents somehow, especially on the second map. Nevertheless, Renegades performed at the Major tournament pretty well and at the first two stages they managed to surpass the expectations of the audience. Atv The New Champions Stage, they performed in a middling way and took the 5-8 place, getting $35,000 and an invite to The New Legends Stage of the next Major tournament which will be held in Berlin.

Will Renegades perform at the same high level after the end of the Major tournament or will the Australians lose their good gaming shape? Soon we will receive an answer to this question.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

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From the very beginning of Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII — Katowice Major 2019 many analysts, spectators and other fans of watching CS:GO expected to see other representatives of Sweden instead of NiP, t.i. Fnatic. But their performance was a failure as they lost 0-3 at The New Challengers Stage. Ninjas in Pyjamas played pretty well with their opponents and made it to The New Legends and The New Champions Stage with the statistics 3-2, putting a lot of efforts in it. When the organizers reported that at the quarterfinal NiP would play against Astralis, many viewers were sure that the Swedish would lose. Despite the fact that two players from the Danish team got sick, the esportsmen managed to keep on training and pretty soon they won over NiP and continued their way to success. Due to this, the loss of Ninjas in Pyjamas was obvious and not a lot of people hoped that they would triumph. Nevertheless, NiP gave a good show at the recent Major tournament, and the invitation to The New Legends Stage of the championship in Berlin was well-deserved.


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The brazilians showed a good game in this championship. MIBR began their journey with The New Legends Stage, passing from there to the final stage with a score of 3-1. At the first match against Cloud9, they lost 3-16, and at the following meetings with compLexity Gaming, G2 Esports and Ninjas in Pajamas, they got easy winds. When the Brazilians reached the playoffs, many viewers were confident in their victory at the match against Renegades. As expected, they were able to show their best and reached the semifinals quite easily. At the battle against Astralis, MIBR was forced to fight hard and on the first map they were close enough to get a victory. They lacked quite a bit of luck, and as a result MIBR suffered a defeat on the second map as well. The reason for this may be the first lost card and the consequences of this in the form of a negative impact on the morality of the Brazilians. MIBR’s performance is definitely not bad. The team made it to the top four and earned a money prize of $ 70,000, and also received an invite to The New Legends Stage for the next Major tournament. It is worth reminding that the fifth player, João ‘felps’ Vasconcellos, had joined the team a month before the start of IEM Katowice Major 2019, that is on January 12th. The player had already had the experience of playing in the same team with MIBR representatives when they played under the SK Gaming tag, so one month was enough for him to get prepared for the championship properly and play with FalleN and his teammates. Despite this, MIBR could not beat Astralis, but this is not surprising, since now the Danes are in that incredible form, which could not be achieved by any CS: GO team.

Natus Vincere

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Na’Vi could both please their fans and disappoint. They made it to The New Champions Stage, beating opponents such as G2 Esports, Team Vitality and AVANGAR, but lost in the match against Team Liquid. In the final stage, they defeated FaZe Clan with a score of 2-0, and in the match for getting to the grand final against ENCE eSports suffered a defeat with a score of 1-2. We note in a special way the fact that on the first map ENCE won with a score of 16-14, and in the second, Natus Vincere won with a score of 16-3. The third map again ended well for ENCE and ended with a result of 16-14. Na’Vi fought the Finns very well and made their rivals pretty nervous.

Interesting fact: Natus Vincere players had a stir around their roster before the tournament began. The esportsmen unsubscribed from each other on Instagram, and Zeus in one of their interviews said that the team did not train at the bootcamp and treated the Major tournament the same way as other events. Basing on this, most of the spectators began to think out their theories that the players did not get along with each other and that is why they could perform very poorly. The wave of discussions was not in vain and the teams were clearly not quite ready to play against the “Born to Win”. S1mple in one of his post-match interviews for HLTV honestly admitted that it was just a joke. The players were able to take advantage of the situation and simplified their way to success.


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No one was surprised with the victory of the Danes at the recent tournament. Of course, in addition to Astralis, there was another clear favorite - Team Liquid - in this championship, however, the efforts of gla1ve and his team became fruitful once again. The Danes didn’t perform very well on the iBUYPOWER Masters IV, losing against Liquid at the final, but were able to improve at the IEM Katowice Major 2019. Astralis “demolished everything in their path” at The New Legends Stage, taking first place there. They defeated compLexity Gaming, Cloud9 and Renegades. The only game where they had to make an effort was a meeting with Renegades. There, the Australians were able to take one card, but in the third confrontation of this series, Astralis lost only two rounds.

Interesting fact # 1: Astralis beat Cloud9 with a score of 16-0. This match was the second in the history of CS: GO, where the meeting at a Major tournament was whitewashed.

Interesting fact # 2: Before the start of The New Champions Stage gla1ve and Astralis representatives reported on their Twitter accounts that the team captain along with dev1ce became seriously ill and their trainings were difficult. A little later, information appeared that their preparation was continuing at the usual pace. We can only guess whether it was hype, created by representatives of the Danish team, or the players really got sick. In any case, Astralis beat both Ninjas in Pajamas and MIBR with ENCE eSports and deservedly raised the IEM Katowice Major 2019 trophy over their heads.

Participants surpassing the audience expectations

ENCE eSports

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ENCE eSports is the biggest sensation of this championship without exaggeration. Quite a few people thought that they would succeed and their performance can be described as successful only.

ENCE eSports сразу claimed about themselves as soon as they won over their opponents at Europe Minor Championship — Katowice 2019 and took the first place there.

At The Challengers Stage, ENCE eSports played very confidently at first two matches. There they got a win over Team Spirit and G2 Esports with a score of 16-10 and 16-6, correspondingly. At the third battle where their opponents were Renegades, ENCE we're not able to oppose the Australians that got a good gaming shape. Nevertheless, ENCE managed to make it to The New Legends Stage at the next round, winning over Winstrike by the score of 2-1.

The New Legends Stage started unsuccessfully for the Finns. Their first opponents were Renegades, who won over allu and his team at the previous battle. At this meeting everything went as we are used to and RNG won over ENCE once again. At the next match HellRaisers, performing against the Finnish collective, also got a win over ENCE. At the first and the second matches at The New Legends Stage, the Finnish we're fighting well and took 13 and 12 rounds in each of them correspondingly, but it wasn't enough to win. When ENCE were about to leave and many spectators said goodbye to them in their minds, ENCE made corrections of their mistakes and rehabilitated quickly. At the lower match of the 3rd round, they performed against BIG and defeated the German by the score of 2-1. At the lower match of the 4th round, they had to play with G2 Esports, where they won over the French by the score of 2-0, and at the fifth round they were opposing AVANGAR, winning over them on two maps.

At the playoff, ENCE had to play against one of the main favourites of the Major tournament, Team Liquid. ~90% of the audience were sure that Liquid, would win, but the Finnish showed that they had prepared for the tournament properly and got a difficult win over the Americans by the score of 2-0 (Mirage resulted in 16-11, and Inferno brought the players to overtime and was ended by the score of 19-16). When ENCE made it to the semifinal, some people said that the match against Natus Vincere would be won by the Finnish while the others were confident in the victory of the CIS collective. The first group turned out to be right and the meeting was very intense and ended up by the score of 2-1. On the first map (Train), ENCE got a win by the score of 16-14. On the second map (Dust2), Natus Vincere lost only three rounds against their opponents, defeating ENCE by the score of 16-3, correspondingly. On Mirage, the battle was hard again. As well as the first map, there were held 30 rounds, and ENCE eSports again became the winners. After the victory over Natus Vincere, all the fans of ENCE were glad because of this event and many spectators were dazzled.The Finnish team went better than they could and being unable to defeat Astralis at the decisive battle, became silver finalists of Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Major 2019. Astralis got a win over ENCE by the score of 16-11 and 16-4 on Train and Inferno, correspondingly. Their efforts brought ENCE a money reward of $150,000.

Interesting fact #1: this performance became the most successful in career of each of the players from ENCE both for their prestige and the amount of prize money they won.

Interesting fact #2: a year ago the CS:GO roster of ENCE didn't exist. The collective was gathered on 4 April with allu at the top. At the beginning of their way, the Finnish players were placed on the 187 position in the HLTV rating, and two weeks after that they climbed down to the 193 place. Today ENCE hold the 4 place, winning over FaZe Clan, that showed the exit to allu. Now that main question about ENCE is how long are the Finnish going to represent five best CS:GO teams in the world according to HLTV?

Interesting fact #3: the Finnish fans of ENCE eSports, The Verkkars on 3 March released their first track. It is devoted to the success of the performance of allu and his team and got a name EZ4ENCE. The Verkkars got ~150,000 views on YouTube for a couple of days and made it to Top 5 on Spotify in Finland. This is the first time it has happened in the esports world.

The Verkkars — EZ4ENCE

The collectives that performed worse that it had been expected

Team Liquid

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The most free disappointment of the New Champions stage, of course, was Team Liquid, which according to most viewers (and us, by the way, too) was free from winning the championship. In a fight with ENCE, the Americans faced with unpredictable actions by all and his teams. As a result, the Liquid team took 5-8th place in Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Major 2019. It is worth noting that after their performance on the iBUYPOWER Masters IV, where the Americans defeated Astralis, the audience expected too much from Liquid and this should have put pressure on the American team from the audience. Those who expected the final between Team Liquid and Astralis were disappointed immediately in one of the first matches.