Feb 25, 2019
Feb 25, 2019

IEM Katowice 2019 Major preview

What is the IEM Katowice Major 2019?

IEM Katowice Major 2019 odds

Who has qualified for The Champions Stage?

Who to keep your eyes on

IEM Katowice 2019 Major preview

The Legends Stage has now concluded and only eight teams move over to the Champions Stage in the IEM Katowice Major 2019 - and only one team will be crowned the winner. Which of the eight teams will progress through to the Grand Finals? Read on for our IEM Katowice Major 2019 betting preview.

Quick recap: What is the IEM Katowice Major 2019?

IEM Katowice 2019 is the first CS:GO Major of the year. Our What is a CS:GO Major? article covers in great detail everything you need to know about components of a major event. In short, the tournament is split into three stages; Challenger, Legends and the final Champions stage.

The Challenger and Legends stages are played with 16 teams using the Swiss format with eight teams progressing to The Legends Stage. The final Champions Stage is an eight-team single-elimination bracket under a best of three (Bo3) format.

IEM Katowice Major 2019 odds

Keep in mind, the outright odds that are listed below are only for teams that are playing in The Champions Stage. For a complete list of outrights for the IEM Katowice 2019 Major, you will need to visit our specials board for CS:GO - IEM Katowice.

IEM Katowice Major 2019 - Champions Stage odds







Natus Vincere












Who has qualified for The Champions Stage?

With the automatic qualifications out of the team, we can view how each team progressed through the Legends Stage and sometimes had an easier journey than other teams. However understanding how they performed is crucial to understanding their progression. Not much time has passed between rounds so it would be worth reviewing each team individually.

The Champions Stage

Some might have thought that the 2018 – 2019 gap would have seen a decline to Astralis (1.51*), but it seems like those people would have been wrong. They made incredibly light work of the Legends Stage, against compLexity (16:6), Cloud9 (16:0), and Renegades (2:1). It has been a strong start for the Danish squad, whose biggest competition came in the form of Renegades on Mirage, where Renegades went on a 10-round winning spring, going on to win the map.

Looking for a weakness in Astralis’ map pool is going to be one of the hardest tasks any team could undertake. Currently, they have above 65% win rate on all maps, with Cache and Nuke currently sitting at 100%. To back up their success, the K/D ratio for all members of the team is above 1.11, with the highest being Device, at 1.22.

Now we move over to one of the few teams that can catch the Danes off guard, Team Liquid (4.07*). Liquid, who also made light work of the Legends Stage, defeated AVANGAR (16:12) and fellow Champions Stage finalists NiP (16:13) and Na’Vi (2:0). Unlike Astralis, Liquid have a varied map pool success rate.

As mentioned previously, the map pool should be where they are looking to catch the top teams off-guard and focus on their highest win rated maps. Thankfully for Liquid, they have had varied success on maps such as Cache (77%), Inferno (67%), and Mirage (59%) where the amount of maps played justify the positive win rate. Compare this to Train (100%), where they’ve only played once.

Na’Vi (11.19*) fell short to only one team in the Legends Stage and that was Liquid. They look like they could be facing each other sooner rather than later as both teams progress to the Semi Finals. The Legends Stage proved that not boot camping in preparation for the event wasn’t necessarily a bad decision. However, this will probably come back to bite them now they are in the Champions Stage.

For the most part, Na’Vi never fail to impress, even with the lack of preparation, and throughout the Legends Stage it was the match against Liquid where they went 0:2 on Mirage and Dust2. Even though Na’Vi have a high win rate on Mirage (70%), we should look at their other favourite maps such as Train (71%) and Overpass (71%) and hope they can avoid Nuke (33%) and Inferno (43%).

For the Quarter Finals, the biggest potential upset could come in the form of Renegades, and if they manage to defeat MiBR they could throw a potential spanner in the works as teams probably have prepared for them.

The last of the top four seeded teams is MiBR (17.29*) and although the team finished the Legends Stage winning 3:1, it’s hard to really predict how their match against Renegades is going to go. MiBR is a team that made the highest-ranked teams sweat when they originally formed, but now that formidable pace is starting to slow down. Their biggest highlight from the competition was defeating NiP 2:0 on Train and Inferno.

MiBR should be focusing on how they can defeat Renegades at this stage and should be looking to climb in their rankings, with December being a #4 team, now dropping to #11. Given the recent introduction of TACO and felps, and having only played five maps each (all at the Major), it will be hard to determine if they have had enough time to gel together properly.

The final four

We said it for the Legends Stage and we will say it again, Renegades (41.70*) are in a very peculiar position during the various stages which has worked in their favour. Their biggest greatest potential comes in the form of the events they’ve attended, and although they historically haven’t had great success (IEM Chicago 2018: 13th-16th) they have certainly attracted a fair bit of attention at the Major, defeating both NiP and FaZe in the Legends Stage.

Realistically speaking, Liquid and Astralis are the two top contenders that teams should be looking to take out early on, and try either counter-picking their map pool or learn what makes them good on certain maps.

We have to look forward to what happens if they defeat MiBR in the first match, and to what we can learn from the Astralis vs. NiP match. We know that they can defeat NiP, but Astralis is where they fell short despite doing their best to hold their own against the world’s greatest. If Renegades can sharpen their Nuke game play, they might even be able to break the Danish squad.

ENCE eSports (32.98*), much like the teams below, had probably one of the biggest struggles of the competition, which only allowed them to shine against some of the higher-placed teams. Having lost to both Renegades (16:13) and HellRaisers (16:12), they managed to redeem themselves against BIG (2:1), G2 Esports (2:0) and AVANGAR (2:0).

This put ENCE in a particularly bad position, but it is going to be a tough first round match up against Liquid. Both teams have a very similar map pool with the exception of Inferno (40%) where ENCE have a lower win rate than that of most of the competition.

The struggle became real for FaZe Clan (17.29*), as the team came into the competition with concerns about recent performance. But they managed pull it back together from their original losses to Renegades and AVANGAR, and ended Cloud9’s Major run in the process.

The confusion around the team surrounds their overall performance and the events they attended, having finished just in front of NiP at BLAST Lisbon and the iBuyPower Masters 2019, having 5th – 6th in both. Their map pool is reflective of this, with a 46% win rate on Mirage, Inferno at 44%, and Overpass at 42%.

If there is one thing we cannot doubt about NiP (41.70*) it is Forest’s ability to mow down the competition when needed. Although they decided to take the long road to the Champions Stage, they managed pull it back when they needed against Team Vitality.

Although their short comings could be found in the Champions Stage in the first round, they haven’t played the Danes in this competition, and it will be a struggle. If you fast forward to their potential victory, they could play against MiBR who they’ve already lost to by 2:0 in the Legends Stage.

Who to keep your eyes on

It might come across as an obvious conclusion for two potential teams, but we’ve seen it before with many teams where they’ve had the potential and have caused upset in the competition.

For the Quarter Finals, the biggest potential upset could come in the form of Renegades, and if they manage to defeat MiBR they could throw a potential spanner in the works as teams probably have prepared for them.

Ultimately, it could come down to skill and we’ve seen how teams underestimated some of the lower tiered teams surprise many. With the likes of ENCE also in the competition, if they could potentially rock the boat against Liquid and move onto the Semi Finals, they might also be able to take down the likes of Na’Vi or FaZe.

Unlike the previous Major, there are more teams that have a lot more to prove moving into the Semi Finals and Grand Finals of the competition. Realistically speaking, Liquid and Astralis are the two top contenders that teams should be looking to take out early on, and try either counter-picking their map pool or learn what makes them good on certain maps.

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About the author

Stuart Bridges

Stuart has been actively involved in competitive gaming and the evolution of esports for the last 10 years. Along the way, he’s had the opportunity to work on many different projects, such as organising online tournaments and offline events. He now shares his expert insight by writing articles for Pinnacle.

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