The first IEM event of 2020 will be in Katowice, Poland, with $500,000 on offer. Sixteen teams will face off in the first Masters Championship of the ESL Pro Tour.
What are IEM events?
The Intel Extreme Masters, commonly referred to as IEM, is one of ESL’s two top level tournament circuits. Typically, each event offers a prizepool above $250,000 and features 16 teams competing in two eight-team GSL-style groups. IEM events are part of the ESL Pro Tour, with each situated at the Masters level or above.
IEM Katowice, also known as the World Championship, has $500,000 in prize pool and will be the first Masters Championship of the ESL Pro Tour. Teams qualified through winning the final three ESL Pro Tour events of 2019, invites or through the traditional qualifier structure.
- Read more: How does the ESL Pro Tour work?
IEM Katowice odds
The odds below represent the opening matches for IEM Katowice. For a complete list of odds for IEM Katowice, head over to our CS:GO section.
IEM Katowice 2020 odds
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Gunning for glory: Astralis, Natus Vincere, mousesports, Team Liquid
Astralis headline Group A, and are overall the headline team for IEM Katowice. According to HLTV.org’s rankings they remain the best team in the world, owing to their end-of-2019 form where they won three of the four LAN finals they competed in, including IEM Beijing. While their 2020 has started slowly, falling out of their BLAST Premier group in last place, the team remain dangerous.
In Group A, Fnatic, FaZe and Vitality are all in contention for that third playoff spot, all having players who, at one point, lifted Major trophies.
The Danes are the current reigning IEM Katowice champions, having won 2019’s edition while it was classed as a Valve Major. Despite their failure to advance at the year’s first event, and only winning one map all weekend, Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz was still one of the tournament’s top performers, holding a 1.09 rating. Astralis are set to face the new Cloud9 team in their opening match of group A.
Na`Vi came out victorious in the second group of BLAST Premier, coming back from an opening match loss to Vitality. The performance in that opening match, alongside finishing as runners-up at the ICE challenge, evidently lit a fire underneath Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev in his quest to return to being the number one player in the world.
s1mple lost his title at the start of this year to Vitality’s Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut after his explosive debut year. s1mple’s backbreaking performances against Astralis, Vitality and Complexity earned him a 1.36 rating over the entire group. Him and Denis "electronic" Sharipov, who earned the MVP award at the ICE Challenge, remain Na`Vi’s most dangerous players and will pose a serious challenge for FaZe, who they meet in the opening match.
- Read more: How does the ESL Pro Tour work?
mousesports’ slow rise to the top after rebuilding culminated in winning three of their final four events of 2019, winning the first LAN event of 2020 which saw them recently top ESL’s World Rankings before IEM Katowice. The team, led by Finn "karrigan" Andersen, secured their place in Poland after winning the ESL Pro League finals. They’re currently revelling in the performances of youngsters David "frozen" Čerňanský and Robin "ropz" Kool, who came off the ICE Challenge with high ratings, 1.24 and 1.21 respectively.
Liquid are coming off the back of securing a place at the BLAST Premier having finished second in their group after losing to FaZe in two best-of-threes. This continues the form that they finished 2019 off with, a string of second place finishes at S-Tier events.
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski still acts as the team’s main fragging outlet, and during BLAST Premier he finished as the fifth highest performer of Group A, the highesst non-FaZe player. Alongside Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, Liquid retain strong fragging power and should easily beat their opening match opponents Virtus.pro.
Dark Horses: Fnatic, FaZe, Vitality, EG, G2, 100 Thieves
In Group A, Fnatic, FaZe and Vitality are all in contention for that third playoff spot. All of the teams hold players who, at one point, lifted Major trophies. Fnatic share the most trophies of these three, with Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Jesper "JW" Wecksell sharing three and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson being a part of two of them. FaZe have two players, Marcelo "coldzera" David and Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, both with two titles each. Vitality have two players with one title each, Richard "shox" Papillon and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire.
Astralis are the current reigning IEM Katowice champions, having won 2019’s edition while it was classed as a Valve Major.
The teams all have a strong base of talent, especially if you add the likes of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and ZywOo to that list of names. They are still narrowly behind their fellow group mates in placings, but all could cause an upset and force their way into the playoffs. FaZe would have the first chance at this, as they’re set to take on Na`Vi in their opening match.
Group B’s dark horses are Evil Geniuses, G2 and 100 Thieves. All of these three hold fifth, eighth and tenth respectively in the current HLTV.org top ten. Every one of these teams had strong competitive moments in 2019, the EG lineup lifted their first S-Tier titles during the year while G2 and 100 Thieves had strong finishes in other events. The Australians finished in the top four of the Major while the French squad picked up a number of second tier titles, a second place finish at ESL Pro League and a top four at ESL One New York.
- Read more: Looking at Astralis vs Liquid in 2019
The three teams all took part in the same BLAST Premier group, with 100 Thieves and EG finishing as the bottom two teams while G2 went through in first place. This event saw Kenny "kennyS" Schrub evoke some form of old with a 1.27 rating, closely backed up by Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač and Nemanja "nexa" Isaković on their charge to victory.
The remaining teams
The remaining teams, NiP, TYLOO, Virtus.pro, MAD Lions, Cloud9 and Renegades, are all unlikely to make waves in Katowice. Barring MAD Lions, they all sit in the bottom five of the futures to take wins. Cloud9 and Virtus.pro saw themselves to a group exit at DreamHack Open Leipzig, an event where Renegades finished runners-up behind BIG. NiP were eliminated in the bottom two of their BLAST Premier group. TYLOO didn’t even initially qualify for the event, only taking up their place after Vici failed to secure visas for all of their players.
- Read more: CS:GO: The year in review
In the start of year form, only MAD Lions have a realistic shout of causing a large upset in Group B. Despite a disappointing third/fourth place in Leipzig, they attended the ICE challenge and only lost twice to eventual champions mousesports.
IEM Katowice will start on February 24 and last until March 1. All the action can be found on ESL's Twitch channel.