The main event has begun with a bang and a half
The first day of Intel Extreme Masters Katowice has come and passed, and we’ve borne witness to some terrific CSGO. Most of the matches were pretty straightforward 2-0 sweeps, but that didn’t stop them from being intense affairs with plenty of incredible skills on display. There were four matches from Group A, while Group B only saw two. With a lot more action on the docket for the second day, if you haven’t caught up on Day 1, here’s your chance to do it in a jiffy.
IEM Katowice Group A
Arguably the more competitive of the two groups — at least on paper, Group A featured American giants Team Liquid going up against Asian underdogs IHC Esports, the all-CIS clash of Cloud9 vs Natus Vincere, a Western European battle between G2 Esports and BIG, and a story of David and Goliath between Team Spirit and FaZe Clan.
Team Liquid vs IHC Esports
IHC were undoubtedly the biggest underdogs going into the Group Stage, but they shook Liquid up and showed that they meant business with a competitive performance. The Mongolians picked Inferno as their map, and right off the bat, went to a 9-1 lead on the T-side. However, Liquid fought back to secure a decent 9-6 half before taking 10 on their own attack to secure a 16-13 win. Keith “NAF” Markovic was on fire on behalf of his team throughout the match.
Come Overpass, however, Liquid players were in full flow. They took 10 on the T-side, and shut down IHC’s attack to complete an easy 16-6 victory for a 2-0 sweep. NAF was on point once again, but this time he had solid support from Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski. We would be remiss not to mention Tengis “sk0R” Batjargal for excellent performances for IHC on both maps.
Cloud9 vs Natus Vincere
The much-awaited clash of these two titans didn’t quite go all three maps as some would have hoped, and in fact, seemed more like a 1.5-map series. Cloud9’s pick of Ancient didn’t work out as well for them as they would have hoped as they were only able to put up a decent score on the attack in the second part of the half, and Na’ Vi quickly took the score to a commanding 14-7. C9 tried hard to stem the flow of rounds, but fell slightly short of reaching overtime as Na’ Vi won 16-13. Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi and Denis “electroNic” Sharipov were identically good.
The match became even more like the Liquid-IHC encounter prior to this when Na’ Vi smashed C9 on the T-side of their pick Inferno, going on a 10-round streak to finish the first half 12-3. C9 tried to put up a fight on the attack, but all they could reach was 6 as Na’ Vi finished off a stomp. electroNic was once again at the top, but this time he was joined by Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
G2 Esports vs BIG
G2 vs BIG had one of the tournament favorites going up against a team that hasn’t been the favorite to win just about anything in a long time. BIG picked Anubis, and realized right off the bat that G2 were no slouches on that map as the French side went up to a 7-3 lead. The Germans fought back, though, and ended the half on an even 8-7. Their attack was much less successful, however, and they could only make it to 12 before G2 reached 16 to finish things off. Justin “jks” Savage top fragged for his team.
As has been a bit of a pattern in this group so far, the second game was a one-sided thumping for the bigger team. G2 destroyed BIG with a 12-3 half as the bad guys on Inferno, and despite a decent attempt at a comeback by the Berlin-based team. The margin for error was just too low and G2 closed the game out at 16-8. Superstars Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov were, predictably, the main men for their team.
Team Spirit vs FaZe Clan
Spirit has given FaZe a run for their money in the past, but this wasn’t one of those days. They were obliterated 16-5 on their own map pick of Ancient, with the beastly superteam taking 12 rounds on the defense before picking up four out of six rounds on the attack. Surprisingly enough, it was 32-year-old Finn “karrigan” Andersen who topped the table, followed closely by Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken.
The second game on Nuke was much more competitive, but still a pretty comfortable win for FaZe. Spirit had a decent run on the CT side to pile up 9 rounds, but despite a decent start that saw them go 12-10 up at one point, their T-side simply lacked the incisiveness to break through FaZe’s defenses time and again. The game ended 16-12 in favor of the bigger team, and Spirit were sent to the Lower Bracket as Håvard “rain” Nygaard marked his return following the birth of his child with a brilliant performance.
IEM Katowice Group B
As we mentioned before, Group B only saw a couple of matches being played, and these had French powerhouse Team Vitality lock horns with struggling Swedish side Ninjas in Pyjamas, and a battle between two rising powers in OG vs MOUZ.
Team Vitality vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
Vitality were by far the favorites going into this matchup, but with NIP being a bit of an unknown quantity when playing with Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, anything was possible. NIP had a solid start to their T-side on their map pick of Mirage, going 6-2 up quickly. However, Vitality struck back soon and struck back hard to finish the half 9-6, and eventually, the match with an unremarkable scoreline of 16-10. Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and Lotan “Spinx” Giladi were the top dogs in the battle.
Vitality’s map pick of Inferno, however, was a ZywOo masterclass. The French AWPer put up a performance rated 1.72 on HLTV as Vitality took 9 rounds on the attack before making short work of NIP’s attack for another comfortable 16-9 triumph to round up their 2-0 series victory and step closer to a spot in the Playoffs.
OG vs MOUZ
The best match of the day by a country mile, OG vs MOUZ was everything one would hope to see from the two exciting teams. OG did reasonably well on the attacking portion of their map pick of Inferno, but MOUZ were better as they completed a 9-6 half. Once switched, MOUZ were quick to show their opponents how it’s done as they raced to an imperious 16-9 victory. Dorian “xertioN” Berman was their best player by some way.
If MOUZ had thought OG would be easy pickings on their own map Overpass, they were dead wrong. Despite a strong start on the T-side that culminated in a commanding 8-7 half on the CT-sided map, they were stunned into silence by OG as they refused to let the defenders string rounds together and marched to a 16-13 win. An excellent performance from Ádám “torzsi” Torzsás for MOUZ went in vain as Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar and Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov combined forces to win their team the game.
It seemed that the first day of Katowice had saved the best for last as Mirage went well into the night between the two teams. MOUZ once again fired on all cylinders on the T-side for a 9-6 half in their favor, but their defense was once again torn asunder as OG managed to even things out in the very last round thanks to a slightly lucky but incredible clutch from degster. OG once again came back from being 3-0 down in the first OT, and it was in the second that they finally emerged victorious. Needless to say, degster was the MVP for his team.
Join us again for a recap of the second day, and look up our wide variety of CSGO content while you’re at it.