Fnatic wins IEM Katowice 2018

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Fnatic wins IEM Katowice 2018

© ESL

The IEM Katowice must be one of the most prestigious events in the long history of Counter-Strike. Thousands of fans again watched the Counter-Strike spectacle in the Spodek Arena in Katowice, online or directly on the spot. There were also some novelties this year: the ESL divided the group stage into two groups of eight teams each and organised the tournament in a double elimination format. Thus, 16 teams fought over the course of six days for the IEM Katowice title. In the end, Fnatic celebrated the tournament victory after an unbelievably exciting and close final against FaZe.

The"Virtus.Plow" missed out

Virtus.Pro and Katowice surely form one of the most iconic duos, so the expectations of the VP Poles were very high. After the disastrous performance in the ELEAGUE Major in Boston, VP pulled the hand-brake in February this year and changed players for the first time in four years - but without the desired effect. New recruit Michael "MICHU" Mueller - who replaced Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas - and his team were knocked out of the tournament after two games against G2 and Heroic, to the disappointment of the Polish fans. We wonder what further changes there will be to the VP roster, which has been falling below expectations for a long time.

The group stage

In Group A, Astralis topped the table with victories against Renegades, SK Gaming and Team Liquid and thereby secured the much-desired semi-final ticket. In particular newcomer Emil "Magisk" Reif and Nicolai "device" Reetz, who recovered his old form, contributed to Astralis's great performance. In the lower bracket final of Group A, the current Major victors Cloud9 defeated SK Gaming, probably the strongest team of 2017, ejecting the Brazilians early from the tournament. It will be a long time before SK forget that scene in particular.

Group B also saw plenty of excitement. In the familiar FaZe manner, the EU mix steamed slickly to the winner bracket final with wins over the Australians of ORDER and North, but there they lost 2-0 to the surprisingly strongly developing Swedes of Fnatic, who had previously beaten G2 and Heroic. In the lower bracket final for Group B, NiP overcame North by 2:1. As a result, NiP and Fnatic were in the play-off of a tournament together for the first time for two years. The strong performance of NiP benefited in particular from newcomers Dennis "dennis" Edman and the two young stars Fredrik "REZ" Sterner and Willian "draken" Sterner.

The play-offs and final of the IEM Katowice 2018

The first quarter-final promised pure excitement. The game between Cloud9 and FaZe offered spectators a replay of the Boston Major final, but this time FaZe were able to come out top on all three maps. In the second quarter-final, the Team Liquid were able to defeat Ninjas in Pyjamas in a 2-1 victory, taking them to the semi-final. In the first semi-final match, Astralis met FaZe, who as expected defeated the Astralis Danes by 2-0. This secured FaZe their 11th final place in just 12 months. In the second semi-final match, the NA powerhouse Team Liquid faced Fnatic, but Liquid were unable to offer much resistance to Fnatic's performance and also lost the BO3 semi-final by 2-0. The final, FaZe against Fnatic, which was staged in BO5 and ran the full distance, was dominated by Robin "flusha" Rönnquist. "Señor VAC", as "flusha" is affectionately called by the community, again lived up to his name. With an impressive performance over all 5 maps of the final and throughout the tournament, "flusha" not only had an unbelievably large share in the success of his team but also richly earned the MVP award for the tournament. In particular, his ace on the final Train map, saving Fnatic in overtime, will remain in the memory of the community for a long time.

We have seen an exciting start to the CS:GO year in 2018. After completion of four highly-rated tournaments, we have four different winners: Mouz, Cloud9, Team Liquid and Fnatic. It therefore remains exciting to see whether FaZe, which is probably the strongest and most consistent CS:GO team at the moment, can shed their "second place curse" and notch a tournament victory for themselves.

IEM Katowice 2018 final places and prize money distribution

1. Fnatic $250,000

2. FaZe $100,000

3-4. Astralis $40,000

3-4. Liquid $40,000

5-6. NiP $15,000

5-6. Cloud9 $15,000

7-8. North $7,000

7-8. SK Gaming $7,000

9-12. Renegades $4,000

9-12. Gambit $4,000

9-12. Heroic $4,000

9-12. G2 $4,000

13-16. TyLoo $2,500

13-16. Virtus.Pro $2,500

13-16. Avangar $2,500

13-16. ORDER $2,500