Five things to know about IEM Katowice 2020
The ESL's Counter-Strike tournament in Katowice is one of the biggest esports events in the ESL's event circuit, drawing in thousands upon thousands of esports fans each year, who tune in to witness the pinnacle of esports competition.
This year's iteration of IEM Katowice will mark the seventh time CS:GO will travel to the Polish city, where we will see some of the world's best CS:GO teams compete between February 24 and March 1 for the lion’s share of US $500,000 in tournament winnings. Featuring 16 teams, who will be divided into two groups, only six will advance into the single-elimination playoffs, set to take place at the world-renown Spodek Arena.
Here we will look at a few interesting facts you should know about IEM Katowice 2020.
One of the most stacked lineup ever
The IEM Katowice 2020 will not only be the first "Big Event" of 2020, but also one of the most stacked CS:GO events in history. Looking at the field of 16 teams, IEM Katowice will feature all of the top-10 teams based on global rankings, which is something that we haven't seen in any of tournaments throughout 2019 including both Majors, where we saw at most nine out of the top 10 teams in attendance.
Present at the tournament will be the current top three CS:GO teams in Astralis, mousesports and Team Liquid, as well as Evil Geniuses, Vitality, Fnatic, Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, G2 Esports and 100 Thieves, who all belong among the top 10-teams in the world. Even outside of that stack, the remainder of the teams are not to be underestimated, as they all belong among the top-30 in the CS:GO world rankings, four of which are among top-20. Occupying the remaining six spots are MAD Lions, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Renegades, Cloud9, Virtus.pro, and TYLOO.
Full IEM Katowice lineup:
|Group A||Group B|
|Astralis (#1)||mousesports (#2)|
|Fnatic (#4)||Team Liquid (#3)|
|Natus Vincere (#6)||Evil Genuises (#5)|
|Vitality (#7)||G2 Esports (#8)|
|FaZe Clan (#9)||100 Thieves (#10)|
|Ninjas in Pyjamas (#14)||MAD Lions (#12)|
|Cloud9 (#20)||Virtus.pro (#18)|
|Renegades (#22)||TYLOO (#28)|
IEM Katowice 2020 will also be without a single Brasillian CS:GO teams for the first time in five years, given that MiBR, FURIA and INTZ all failed to make it through the North American qualifiers.
Six tournaments, only three champions
Since EMS One Katowice 2014, which was the inaugural CS:GO event in the Polish city, only three teams have ever hoisted the trophy, those three teams being Virtus.pro, Fnatic and Astralis.
List of champions in Katowice:
EMS One Katowice 2014 (Major): Virtus.pro
ESL One Katowice 2015 (Major): Fnatic
IEM Katowice 2016: Fnatic
IEM Katowice 2017: Astralis
IEM Katowice 2018: Fnatic
IEM Katowice 2019 (Major): Astralis
IEM Katowice 2020: ?
Rusty Fnatic and new-look Ninjas in Pyjamas
In their opening match at IEM Katowice 2020, Fnatic will enter their first official match in over two months (78 days). Given that the Swedes won in Katowice three times before, they should be regarded as one of the favourites to do so again, however, their decision to skip EPICENTER, coupled with the fact that they did not make the cut for BLAST Premier, means they will be entering the tournament ring rusty, which makes their chances to hoist their fourth trophy in Poland very slim.
Talking about teams' issues, Ninjas in Pyjamas will travel to Katowice without any of their core players. Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson, Adam "friberg" Friberg, Richard "Xizt" Landström, Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, and Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg were the core members of the prominent Swedish organisation and the iconic names that produced remarkable things under Ninjas in Pyjamas' banner. Unfortunately, they left the team one by one, and slowly the legendary NiP's lineup fell apart.
Eventually, the legendary quintet that earned their spot in the CS:GO Hall of Fame with their 87-0 run back in 2013, found their new home in Dignitas, where they will look to continue their legacy. Ninjas in Pyjamas, on the other side, were left to build a new identity, but without much success.
Their new line-up of Fredrik "REZ" Sterner, Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson, Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora, Simon "twist" Eliasson and Tim "nawwk" Jonasson have yet to prove their worth, leaving their new coach Björn "THREAT" Pers with a massive weight on his shoulders, as he works on shaping his team into a championship roster Ninjas in Pyjamas once were.
Don't sleep on mousesports
Mousesports went from a team that lurked in the shadows to one of the powerhouses in the CS:GO scene with their dominant performances throughout the last five events they attended. While competing at some of the biggest events mousesports picked up wins against the likes of Astralis, Fnatic and other major teams, which allowed them to pick up titles at CS:GO Asia Championship, ESL Pro League S10 Finals, cs_summit 5 and ICE CHallenge, as well as a silver medal at EPICENTER 2019.
Mousesports might not be a name that will catch the attention of CS:GO fans, which allowed them to fly under the radar, despite their impressive performances over the last few tournaments. The European-mix are travelling to Katowice on a string of five consecutive grand finals and although those events were not all of the highest calibre, the consistency and immense potential mousesports have shown throughout last four months makes them one of the teams to look out for in Poland.
As it stands now, mousesports are ranked number two in the world, behind Astralis, however, if they keep up the tempo, they could become the second international squad to ever reach number one after FaZe Clan, who did so in 2017 and 2018.
ESL to punish crowd interference
Ahead of IEM Katowice 2020, ESL announced a series of measures that will be put in place at the tournament in a bid to prevent the crowd from interfering with the matches. The issue was brought to light following the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, where the crowd was helping Astralis get the whereabouts of their opponents. Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth talked about how he used the crowd’s reaction while checking angles to his advantage and ushered ESL to made the needed changes to prevent that happening in the future.
While the initial plan was to install soundproof booths which would eliminate the “outside sound interference”, ESL explained that a pair of booths cost around $700,000 to $800,000, which is an astronomical cost for ESL, given that they would need to install them in all ESL and DreamHack events over the year as to provide same conditions in all of their events.
Instead of splashing out millions of dollars, ESL instead introduced new rules which will help develop fan etiquette and punish those who won’t oblige by the rules. As revealed, if the crowd fails to abide by the new rules, ESL will disable x-ray vision on the arena monitor for a minimum of 20 minutes, after every infraction. In extreme cases, fans will also be ejected from the event and get their entry denied.