IEM Katowice Challengers Stage Recap

2019 IEM Katowice Challengers Stage Recap
source: ESL / Fnatic

8 Teams proceed to the Legends Stage, while the other teams go home with empty pockets, here is a recap of the IEM Katowice Challengers Stage.

Fnatic is officially out

As previewed in our review of the first three rounds , Fnatic was in a tough situation after two days of competition. The Swedes lost to Winstrike and ViCi Gaming. They needed to win three consecutive matches in order to stay alive in Katowice. They did manage to beat Grayhound to knock them out of the tournament, however, their next match would end up being their last for the event.

In Round 4 Low Matches, Fnatic faced G2 Esports. The stakes were high, considering that the loser would be eliminated. Both Fnatic and G2 were favorites to advance to Legends Stage, and somehow they ended up fighting each other in an elimination match.

Fnatic opened strong with the Best-of-3 match on Mirage. They quickly jumped to a big lead (11-3). The French team then won five rounds in a row, but KRIMZ’s and JW’s triple kills were sufficient for Fnatic to deny G2 a comeback. Nevertheless, the French team were consolidated quickly, and stepped on Dust 2 in a great fashion. They won seven out of eight opening rounds. Fnatic had a decent mid after a bad start, but G2 was in lead at half-time (9-6).

Lucky’s phenomenal display

The French team again won pistol rounds, and then Lucky showed why G2 brought him to the team. He and bodyy were the only remaining players. After bodyy died, Lucky was on his own to pull something out of a hat. He had to beat four Fnatic’s players on A site, and that was exactly what he did. Even though he had to keep watch of two different sides, he managed to plant a bomb and clutched a 1v4. Fnatic was in desperation mode after that round, but lacked mental strength to catch up. The ending result was identical to the first map (16-8), but this time it was in G2’s favor.


The teams then moved to Overpass. KennyS and company showed their power on Overpass. The Swedish team did not stand a chance against the Frenchmen. Not a single Fnatic’s player could muster a rating over 1. The whole team performed poorly. The final score ended 16-5. Nobody could imagine, Fnatic being knocked out of the tournament after only four days of IEM Katowice Challengers Stage. The CS:GO community was in shock.

G2 masters of the comeback

On the other hand, G2 managed to advance even though they were in a bad situation after the third round, being 1-2. After their triumph over Fnatic, G2 booked a meeting with TYLOO for a place in the Legends Stage. G2 was behind after the first map, but had a big lead at half-time (10-5). TYLOO came up big prevailing on Mirage (16-12). G2 dismantled the Asian team in the following two legs,.

Source: ESL

On Dust 2, kennyS was on fire. He made the whole TYLOO team look like amateurs. He ended with 22 kills, 8 assists, and an astonishing 100% KAST. On Cache, TYLOO wasn’t much better. The French team was leading 13-2 at half-time, but TYLOO refused to give up. However. it was too little too late. G2 easily converted their huge advantage into a victory (16-7). They finished IEM Katowice Challengers Stage, 3-2 and advanced to Legends Stage.

Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas also comeback

The most interesting part of IEM Katowice Challengers Stage was that all three teams that ended 3-2, where 1-2 after the third round. Alongside G2, Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas also needed late wins to stand a chance at advancing. After their surprising loss to ViCi Gaming, Cloud9 faced FURIA Esports. First, FURIA embarrassed Cloud9 on Mirage (16-1), and then Cloud9 punched back humiliating FURIA on Inferno (16-1).

The last round was much more intense. FURIA had a decent chance until half time, but the American team prevailed (16-10). Cloud9 then met Winstrike, beating them on both Nuke (16-7) and Overpass (19-16).

With their final push at IEM Katowice Challengers Stage, Cloud9 secured a spot in Legends Stage.

It seems like Ninjas in Pyjamas had the easiest path among all teams mentioned. They defeated FURIA in the first round and then lost to Renegades and Winstrike. In the fourth round, Ninjas eliminated Vega Squadron. In the last round, Ninjas faced underdogs ViCi Gaming, with Lekr0 and company wrapping it up after three maps. NiP joins, G2, Cloud9 and 13 other teams in Legends Stage.

Team Vitality, ENCE, and AVANGAR solid performances 

Team Vitality was definitely one of the surprising teams of the Challengers Stage. Even though the French team had the longest road to Katowice, they performed exceptionally well.

Among the top eight teams of IEM Katowice Challengers Stage (NRG, Renegades, ENCE, Vitality, AVANGAR, Cloud9, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and G2), the only real surprise is Team Vitality. NRG and Renegades showed they are in great shape after winning Asia and Americas Minors. Interestingly, the other two Minor champions, ENCE and AVANGAR also advanced to the Legends Stage.

This proves that Minors are good indicators of teams in good form. G2, Cloud9, and Ninjas in Pyjamas were all on the edge of elimination, but confirmed their class. Cloud9 should have definitely performed much better considering their good showing at ELEAGUE Invitational.

2019 IEM Katowice Challengers Stage standings
2019 IEM Katowice Challengers Stage standings

On the other hand, the bottom eight teams of IEM Katowice Challengers Stage, Fnatic failing to advance is shocking. No one could imagine that Fnatic would get stopped after the first four days. Nevertheless, according to JW’s words, Swedes unnecessarily focused on negative things around the team instead of on game.

ViCi Gaming and Winstrike team were unexpectedly close to reaching the Legends Stage. The two teams came to Katowice after finishing in 3rd place at a Play-In event. They managed to knock North out, but remained heavy underdogs at IEM Katowice.

With 8 teams remaining, things are only starting to heat up in Poland

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