Sixteen of the best CS:GO teams in the world will battle for their share of the $500,000 prize pool at IEM Katowice, which begins on Monday, Feb. 24.
This will be the first Masters championship of the ESL Pro Tour, the open circuit hosted by ESL and DreamHack, which will have over 20 LAN tournaments in 2020.
All of the top 10 teams in the world will be at IEM Katowice, so we can expect several entertaining and close matches over the week. Will Astralis defend their title and lift the trophy once again? The Danes will face heavy opposition from mousesports, Team Liquid, Fnatic, and Evil Geniuses.
Here’s everything you need to know about IEM Katowice 2020.
IEM Katowice will be broadcasted on ESL’s two Twitch channels since the event will feature simultaneous matches until the quarterfinals. You won’t want to miss any of the action on the main broadcast or the second channel.
The competition will last seven days, with the grand finals set to be played on March 1. Sixteen teams will fight for their share of the $500,000 prize pool and the champion will gain one point for the Intel Grand Slam.
The team that wins six out of 10 consecutive big tournaments of the ESL Pro Tour or four out of 10 consecutive main events including IEM Katowice, ESL One Cologne or any Major organized by ESL or DreamHack will complete the Intel Grand Slam and win $1 million. Liquid, Astralis, EG, Fnatic, and mousesports are all tied with one point in the Intel Grand Slam race.
Teams were split into two groups and the tournament will feature a double-elimination GSL format. The competition will be entirely played using best-of-three series, aside from the best-of-five grand finals. The top three teams from each group advance to the playoffs, which will use the single-elimination format. Group stage winners will automatically advance to the semifinals, while second and third-place teams will play in the quarterfinals.
The winner of IEM Katowice will earn $250,000. The runners-up will take home $100,000, while the semifinalists earn $40,000 each.
- Astralis: Nicolai “device” Reedtz, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, Emil “Magisk” Reif, and Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander
- Fnatic: Jesper “JW” Wecksell, Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson, Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Maikil “Golden” Selim, and Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin
- Vitality: Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, Richard “shox” Papillon, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, and Alex McMeekin
- Natus Vincere: Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, Denis “electronic” Sharipov, Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov, and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev
- FaZe Clan: Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Håvard “rain” Nygaar, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer, Helvijs “broky” Saukants, and Marcelo “coldzera” David
- Ninjas in Pyjamas: Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson, Simon “twist” Eliasson, Nicolas “Plopski” Zamora, and Tim “nawwk” Jonasson
- Renegades: Chris “dexter” Nong, Jordan “Hatz” Bajic , Joshua “INS” Potter, Simon “Sico” Williams, and Liam “malta” Schembri
- Cloud9: Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek, Johnny “JT” Theodosiou, Ian “motm” Hardy, Ricky “floppy” Kemery, and Joshua “oSee” Ohm
- Team Liquid: Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, Keith “NAF” Markovic, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, and Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella
- mousesports: Finn “karrigan” Andersen, Robin “ropz” Kool, Chris “chrisJ” de Jong, Özgür “woxic” Eker, and David “frozen” Čerňanský
- Evil Geniuses: Ethan Arnold, Tarik Celik, Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov, and Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz
- 100 Thieves: Justin “jks” Savage, Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad, Aaron “AZR” Ward, Jay “liazz” Tregillgas, and Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai
- G2: Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač , Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, François “AMANEK” Delaunay, Nemanja “nexa” Isaković , and Audric “JaCkZ” Jug
- Virtus Pro: Ali “Jame” Djami, Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev, Alexey “qikert” Golubev, Timur “buster” Tulepov, and Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev
- MAD Lions: Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand, Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen, Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen, and Rasmus “Sjuush” Beck
- TYLOO: Son “xeta” Seon-Ho, Wing Hei “Freeman” Cheung, HaoWen “somebody” Xu, YuLun “Summer” Cai, and YuanZhang “Attacker” Sheng
Monday, Feb. 24
- 5am CT: Vitality vs. NiP
- 5am CT: Astralis vs. Cloud9
- 8:30am CT: FaZe vs. Na`Vi
- 8:30am CT: Fnatic vs. Renegades
- 12pm CT: 100 Thieves vs. G2
- 12pm CT: mousesports vs. TYLOO
Tuesday, Feb. 25
- 5am CT: Liquid vs. Virtus Pro
- 5am CT: EG vs. MAD Lions
- 8:30am CT: Group A upper bracket first semifinal
- 8:30am CT: Group A lower bracket round one, first match
- 12pm CT: Group A upper bracket second semifinal
- 12am CT: Group A lower bracket round one, second match
Wednesday, Feb. 26
- 5am CT: Group B lower bracket round one, first match
- 5am CT: Group B lower bracket round one, second match
- 8:30am CT: Group B upper bracket first semifinal
- 8:30am CT: Group A lower bracket round two, first match
- 12pm CT: Group B upper bracket second semifinal
- 12pm CT: Group A lower bracket round two, second match
Thursday, Feb. 27
- 5am CT: Group B lower bracket round two, first match
- 5am CT: Group B lower bracket round two, second match
- 8:30am CT: Group A upper bracket final
- 8:30am CT: Group A lower bracket final
- 12pm CT: Group B upper bracket final
- 12pm CT: Group B lower bracket final
Friday, Feb. 28
- 8am CT: First quarterfinal
- 11:55am CT: Second quarterfinal
Saturday, Feb. 29
- 8am CT: First semifinal
- 11:55am CT: Second semifinal
Sunday, March 1
- 10am CT: Grand finals
Mousesports have arguably been the best CS:GO team over the last three months. They’ve won four out of the last five tournaments they attended, including the ESL Pro League season 10 finals in December, where they beat some of the best teams in the world. They won the ICE Challenge earlier this month, a smaller LAN event. But are they ready to take down the best teams again?
Astralis, on the other hand, were the best overall CS:GO team in 2019. The Danish powerhouse won two Majors and a few other tournaments and will start the season once again as the scariest team. The Danes, however, failed at the BLAST Premier Spring Series group stage and haven’t qualified for the finals in June. Will they make a comeback at IEM Katowice?
Can Liquid and EG, the two best North American teams, recover their best form after losing steam at the end of 2019? Both of them were at one point the best team in the world during last season—Liquid had a much longer reign, though—and they have all the tools to fight the European teams and dominate the world once again.
Almost no one would have said that Fnatic would bounce back to the top so quickly after adding Golden and flusha in September. The Swedes won DreamHack Masters Malmö in October and were runners-up at StarSeries i-League season eight and EPL season 10 finals in December. Will Golden and crew keep up this level of play?
Outside of the top five, this event will feature Na’Vi, Vitality, G2, FaZe, and 100 Thieves. Each of these teams has positive qualities, but they also have more flaws than the top-five teams. Some of them started 2020 on a high note, like FaZe, who stomped every team at the BLAST Premier Spring Series, and Na’Vi, who eliminated Astralis at BLAST Premier Spring Series and ended up winning their group. Which of these teams will surprise and break into the top five?
We’ll find out the answers to these questions and many more when IEM Katowice begins on Feb. 24.