The IEM Katowice Challengers Stage has concluded, and eight teams have advanced to face off against the powerhouses of Counter-Strike. The Legends Stage awaits the contenders, where 16 of the best teams in the world will battle it out for the major title.
The Challengers Stage ran from Feb. 13 to 17, and it saw eight teams advance. NRG Esports, Renegades, ENCE Esports, Team Vitality, AVANGAR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports, and Cloud9 each wiped out their opponents, securing their place on the Legends Stage
The IEM major format is a little different this year, and ESL has introduced a crowd-sourced seeding system where all 16 teams have been asked to rank their 15 opponents based on skill.
ESL has tallied the results and each team has been assigned an initial average ranking. This means that the no. 1 seed, as voted by the participates in the tournament, will be paired with the no. 16 seed, the no. 2 seed with the no.15 seed, and so on.
The seeding for each team will also grant them an ELO score that will change based on the results of each matchup going forward. This will be used to determine the matchups of the following rounds.
Six of the eight returning Legends were ranked in the top eight, and five of those are also in the top five of the ESL CS:GO World Ranking. Astralis, the Danish powerhouse, were almost unanimously voted as the number one seed, with only Ninjas in Pyjamas ranking Team Liquid above them.
Here’s a look at how each team has been seeded:
|11th||Ninjas in Pyjamas|
Here are the matches, in chronological order, for the first round of the Legends Stage of the major:
|Natus Vincere||Vs.||G2 Esports|
|NRG Esports||Vs.||Ninjas in Pyjamas|
All advancement and elimination matches will be played in a best-of-three system. This means that that the first and second round of the tournament will be determined by best-of-one matches.
The Legends Stage kicks off tomorrow at 6am CT, Feb. 20, and will run through until the Feb. 24. The playoffs will then begin Feb. 28, and the champion will be crowned Mar. 3.