The competitive CS scene was shocked yesterday as one of the clear favorites of the tournament stumbled twice and ended their quest for the prestigious trophy in Katowice. Of course, I’m referring to the Vitality team, who unexpectedly lost to Heroic. The French team showed their worst performance at IEM Katowice since the formation of their Counter-Strike lineup. Finishing in 13th-16th place and suffering a decisive defeat from G2 and Heroic in the lower bracket of Group B – that’s the summary we can give for the recent tournament days at IEM Katowice.
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Vitality played terribly, just like Cloud9
However, we cannot say that Vitality played terribly, like Cloud9 did in their earlier match. No, the French team still put up a fight, taking the second map and pushing it to a decider where there was sweat, blood, and tears. In fact, each of the three maps went to at least 24 rounds. Nevertheless, Heroic’s morale proved stronger when it came to overtimes on Mirage and Vertigo. The overtime rounds on the last map were particularly strange because after taking it to overtime, Vitality seemed to have already mentally checked out, despite looking solid and on edge during regular time.
The well-deserved MVP of the match was René “TeSeS” Madsen with a 67-53 statistic. We also cannot overlook the contributions of Guy “Nertz” Iluz, who won many crucial rounds for his team and secured 3 clutches. Historically, Vitality has always struggled at IEM Katowice, as the team has never even reached the top four. In their best years, they only managed to secure 5th-6th place (2023), and from 2019 to 2022, they consistently finished in the 9th-12th spot.
ENCE and MOUZ advanced to the playoffs
Two more teams have joined the list of participants in the playoffs of IEM Katowice 2024. Thanks to their victories in the upper bracket semifinals of Group B, ENCE and MOUZ secured themselves a spot to compete in front of the audience at Spodek Arena. It’s quite an unexpected news, something that was hard to imagine before the start of the tournament.
ENCE and MOUZ defeated G2 and GamerLegion, respectively, in their parallel matches. Both bo3 series ended with a score of 2-0, but unlike the Vitality match, the losing teams here still have a chance. The losing teams continue their fight today, dropping down to the lower bracket.
It’s worth noting that this is the first time MOUZ has made it to the playoffs since 2013 – the team had not been able to achieve this feat before. As for ENCE, they have another achievement to boast about – for the first time since 2016, their predominantly Polish lineup has become the first team since Virtus.pro to reach the final stage of the tournament.
What do we expect from today?
NAVI and Falcons are just one step away from reaching the playoffs of IEM Katowice 2024. Yesterday’s matches went well for both teams, and now only one of these two teams will be able to advance to the main stage of the event.
“Born to Win” had a successful performance against the Turkish team Eternal Fire in the lower bracket semifinals of Group B. The score could have been a clean sweep if it weren’t for some basic mistakes by the Ukrainian team on the Nuke map. Nevertheless, they achieved the desired result, and newcomer Igor “w0nderful” Zhdanov managed to become the MVP of the match.
In a parallel confrontation, Falcons also secured a victory with the same score against Complexity, eliminating the last North American team from the tournament.
Thus, today we can expect not only decisive matches for the playoff spots but also matches for seeding within the playoffs. In the evening, ENCE will face off against MOUZ for the first place in the group. The team that comes out on top will advance directly to the semifinals, while the losing team will start from an earlier stage (quarterfinals).
As for NAVI, their match against Falcons will take place at 17:30, and the Ukrainians will be clear favorites to advance to the quarterfinals of the IEM Katowice playoffs.
It is worth mentioning that IEM Katowice 2024 is taking place from February 3rd to 11th in Poland, where the best teams are competing for a prize pool of $1,000,000. The tournament winner will receive $400,000 and invitations to IEM Cologne 2024 and BLAST Premier: World Final 2024.