IEM Katowice Group Stage: 7 takeaways

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Published  20 Feb, 22:09
Reading time  ~4  mins

Being the biggest event of the year so far, there are loads of interesting things bound to happen consequentially, this article was written. This is a list of a few things that I thought stood out amongst the others.

1. Underdogs shouldn't be underestimated.

Even though the underdogs of IEM Katowice were knocked out of the group stages, most of them put up a decent fight against the favorites. The likes of which are fnatic, MOUZ and Astralis. Even with their roster changes heading into the year and substitutes used at the tournament, they still managed to surprise the audience and their opponents by bagging a handful of series against the favorites to win.

2. Vitality has never got into the Spodek arena.

Since the inception of the French organization "Vitality", they haven't been able to break into the playoffs of IEM Katowice, meaning they were never able to enter the Spodek arena as contenders. Unfortunately for them and their fans alike, the new roster wasn't able to break the curse of the Spodek Arena, having been knocked out by the Russian team of Gambit Esports.

3. The m0NESY and NiKo combo can be unstoppable.

Following high expectations from the community, Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov broke into the tier 1 scene with a bang. The 16-year-old continues to impress at the IEM Katowice. Alongside him is the Bosnian legend Nikola "NiKo" Kovač. With NiKo's monumental individual prowess and Ilya's prodigious mechanical skill, they can be unstoppable and have the statistics to show for it, Nikola being the top player of the event with an exemplary rating. These showings will undoubtedly cause even higher expectations for the playoffs stage.

4. Hopes for NA CS continue to grow smaller.

Nick "nitr0" Cannella's return to Counter-Strike ignited a flame in the hearts of American fans, but it might've been in vain, as Team Liquid -the only North American team at the event - finished last place at IEM Katowice. Even with the addition of the French veteran Richard "shox" Papillon, they were incapable of winning a single series, causing the hopes for the North American scene to dwindle even further.

5. Academy players doing very well against tier 1 competition.

Ever since the promotion of Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy into the main line-up of Natus Vincere from their academy team, academy players have been in high demand and eager to prove themselves. Proof of that is the emergence of MOUZ NXT being ranked 30th on the world leaderboard and the stellar performance from their academy players at IEM Katowice with the main line-up. Even though MOUZ was knocked out, Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás and Jon "JDC" de Castro had an outstanding showing. Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov is the academy player that everyone was excited to see in the top leagues, and the 16-year-old prodigy has not disappointed.

6. Dust 2 was barely played.

There are very few maps in Counter-Strike that can be classed as legendary or iconic, but the one that stands out the most is undoubtedly Dust 2. Contrary to that, out of 96 maps that have been played. Dust 2 was played once up until the final two matches, where it was picked twice more. Picked by the German organization of Berlin International Gaming, played against the emblematic Astralis, and by the Ukrainian Natus Vincere against FaZe Clan as well as G2 Esports against Astralis. This could be due to the rise of popularity in other maps or teams saving their strategies and tactics for later on in the event.

7. ZywOo underperforming

Vitality's elimination from the IEM Katowice group stages came as a shock to their fans. This was partly a result of Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut not performing to his potential, achieving a 1.10 rating, a less than average act from the Frenchman. That might be in consequence of the team changing their spoken language to English instead of French after the addition of the Danish trio of Emil "Magisk" Reif, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen and Danny "zonic" Sørensen. Sadly, Zonic was not able to attend most of the event due to personal reasons which played a factor in the team's lack of success.

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