CS:GO, Counter-Strike

Credit: Bart Oerbekke ESL

IEM Katowice Major 2019: Astralis surpass legacy

In this series we look back at all the previous 16 Majors in CS:GO.

Countdown to the Major!

We are now less than one week away from the start of the much-awaited IEM Rio Major in Brazil. To ease the waiting time, we have created a countdown series, where we dive into the history of all 17 Majors. Today we have reached IEM Katowice Major 2019.

IEM Katowice Major 2019

Date: Feb 20th – Mar 3rd 2019

Number of teams: 24

Prize Pool: $1,000,000

Winner: Astralis (Xyp9x – device – dupreeh – Magisk - gla1ve)

MVP: Emil “Magisk” Reif

Map pool: Cache, Dust2, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Train.

The IEM Katowice 2019 was a much-awaited Major tournament among the CS:GO community. 24 teams, and thousands of fans from all over the world, assembled in Katowice, Poland to witness an even full of emotions and magic. It was the 14th Major Championship in CS:GO history and the third to be played in Katowice.

Astralis were the clear favorites going into the tournament. The Danes had already cemented themselves as a strong team that was very difficult to beat, having won the previous Major in dominating fashion. However, winning the trophy and the majority of the prize pool wouldn’t come that easy. Their rivals in this new era of Counter-Strike, Team Liquid, among other strong teams, were not willing to go down without a war.

Many fans expected the Grand final to be between Astralis and Liquid due to the level that both teams showed at previous events. But things didn’t turn out as expected.

The rise of ENCE

At the IEM Katowice 2019 Major event in Katowice, the Finnish team from ENCE showed the world what they were made of through unbelievable performances. This is their journey from the European Minor all the way to the Grand finals.

Back in October 2018, ENCE came out on top with title victories at StarSeries and i-League Season 6, taking down the juggernauts on their way across the finish line. The Finnish team slowly started to make themselves a name within the CS:GO scene and gave fans the feeling that they were capable of much more.

Flashforward three months in arguably the toughest Minor pool and ENCE were able to surface at the top, securing their ticket to Poland for the Challengers Stage in Katowice. After dominating teams with stellar performances, ENCE advanced into a more heated arena in the Legends stage, where they faced serious complications as they were on the brink of elimination after falling into the 0-2 bracket. But ENCE didn’t let themselves affect of their losses and went on to conquer the likes of BIG, G2, and AVANGAR in a sequence of bo3 to advance into the Top 8.

While the playoffs backet spelled a Astralis vs. Team Liquid Grand final initially, ENCE weren’t done carving out their mark at this tournament just yet.

In the quarter-finals of the tournament, ENCE surprisingly proved to be the better team despite having players competing professionally for the first time. They made an unreal comeback against the North-American side from Team Liquid to eliminate them with a 2-0 victory. The Finns then went ahead to play against NAVI in the semi-finals, whom they also took down in stunning fashion to reach the finals. ENCE beating NAVI in the semi-finals conceded the feeling that this team deserved it, and they did.

Astralis secure third Major crown

The Danes lived up to the status of being the favorites. Starting with the New Legends Stage, gla1ve and company were never really in trouble. After making short work of Complexity and Clodu9, only Renegades were able to win a map against the Danes, after winning Mirage in overtime. Once Astralis got onto their strongest maps, Inferno and Nuke, it turned into yet another comfortable victory for them. The playoffs were not that dangerous for Astralis either. Ninjas in Pyjamas and the Brazilians from MIBR made it close on Overpass and Dust2 respectively, but on the other maps, Astralis dominated.

After taking out the Finns from ENCE in the final with another 2-0 result, Astralis had managed to go through yet another Major playoff without dropping a single map. Their teamplay, utility usage, and ability to play comfortably on all of the maps shined through once again, but even their individual players were at the top of their game. Many could easily have made an argument for either Xyp9x or device taking the MVP award instead of Magisk, and it just shows how dominant the Danes were throughout the tournament. With their victory in Katowice, the Danes cemented their status as the greatest team in CS:GO history without a doubt, and they didn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.

Tournament results:

1. Astralis - $500,000
2. ENCE - $150,000
3-4. NAVI - $70,000
3-4. MIBR - $70,000
5-8. NiP - $35,000
5-8. Renegades - $35,000
5-8. FaZe - $35,000
5-8. Liquid - $35,000
9-11. Cloud9 - $8,750
9-11. AVANGAR - $8,750
9-11. Vitality - $8,750
12-14. Complexity - $8,750
12-14. HellRaisers - $8,750
12-14. G2 - $8,750
15-16. NRG - $8,750
15-16. BIG - $8,750

Highest rated players at IEM Katowice 2019 Major

1. Nicolai “device” Reedtz (Astralis) – 1.32 Rating

2. Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (NAVI) – 1.29 Rating

3. Andreas ”Xyp9x” Højsleth (Astralis) – 1.29 Rating

4. Emil ”Magisk” Reif (Astralis) – 1.28 Rating

5. Marcelo “coldzera” David (MIBR) – 1.26 Rating

6. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen (Astralis) – 1.24 Rating

7. Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz (Complexity) – 1.20 Rating

8. Fernando “fer” Alvarenga (MIBR) – 1.20 Rating

9. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev (NAVI) – 1.20 Rating

10. Vincent ”Brehze” Cayonte (NRG) – 1.19 Rating

Tomorrow we take a look at the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019.

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