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Jan 31, 2019

IEM Katowice 2019 Major preview

What is the IEM Katowice Major 2019?

IEM Katowice Major 2019 odds

The returning challengers and new challengers

IEM Katowice 2019 Major preview

With the Minor series now concluded, we move over to the first CS:GO Major of the year, IEM Katowice Major 2019, where only the top eight teams will qualify for The Legends Stage. Which of the 16 teams will progress to latter stages? 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 Challenger 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 - odds



























Vega Squadron








Who has qualified for The Challenger Stage?

We already know the six teams to automatically qualify for the Major based on their performance at the previous Major. Whilst they have already qualified, a fair bit of time has come and gone in between the two Majors so it would be worthwhile to review the teams individually.

The returning challengers

NiP (23.75*) come into the Major almost as if they are on a virtual roller coaster. The team has seen its fair share of ups and downs recently, having come sixth place at BLAST Pro Lisbon, 3rd-4th at the ECS Season 6 Finals and then second at BLAST Pro Copenhagen 2018.

Once reigning champions Fnatic (16.90*) have seen a decline over recent years. They were once one of the most dominate teams within CS:GO, but now seem to struggling. Fnatic just missed out on a place in The Legends Stage during the FACEIT Major and have now dropped down to the Challenger Stage.

Fnatic might be an interesting team to watch in the build up to the IEM Katowice Major as they have had a couple of roster swaps (they haven’t really had a solid line-up since October 2018).

G2 Esports (47.53*) have had a similar journey to that of Fnatic. The entirely French roster will be wanting to return to The Legends Stage once more and eventually fight their way to The Champions Stage.

Previously, G2 were one of the highest ranked teams in 2017, and continued this way until the start of 2018 where they then declined sharply and now weigh in around rank 18 worldwide. The last six months have also proved to be problematic, with 44 wins and 57 loses out of a total of 101 maps played.

IEM Katowice 2019 is the first CS:GO Major of the year. It is split into three stages, Challengers, Legends and the final Champions stage.

Keep in mind with Vega Squadron (190.09*) that absolutely nothing has changed in the roster from the previous Major, which is good and bad. Good because the team won’t have the teething issues that some groups have, but bad because they didn’t have a great performance at the FACEIT Major.

Much like other teams, Cloud9 (23.75*) had a bad 2018. Winning the Boston Major 2018 was the highlight of the year, but since then the team has failed to perform well at events, they’ve had continuous roster swaps, and team members have been struggling with illnesses which means that they have never really at the height of their game. It will be interesting to see if Cloud9 can start 2019 the same way they started 2018.

TYLOO (84.48*) fall into a category just below Cloud9 and Fnatic with their recent roster swaps at the start of the year. The IEM Katowice Major 2019 might prove to be a difficult journey for TYLOO. With captainMo and DD leaving at the start of the year, this line-up has no current match history played together.

The new challengers

European qualifiers

The Finnish line-up ENCE Esports (23.75*) have been on the radar for quite a while now, forming in 2018 and really taking the lower league by storm. Since forming, they have won five competitions, including the IEM Katowice - Europe Minor 2019 against North.

Keep in mind, a team that has directly qualified into the Challenger Stage doesn't nessarrsily have an advantage over one that qualified through the Minor series. 

ENCE should be coming into the Major quietly confident to progress to The Legends Stage, moving from strength to strength and having no roster changes. Out of a total of 137 maps, they won 90 and lost 47 with an average K/D ratio of 1.10.

Team Vitality (15.21*) came into the European Minor as one of the unlikely winners of the early groups and then struggled against North, only to defeat them in the lower bracket and make their way to The Challenger Stage.

Vitality have an impressive win rate across all of the current competitive maps, such as Train (100%), Inferno (94%), Overpass (87%) and Cache (70%), while all the other maps are all above 50%. Much like ENCE, Vitality could be looking to turn a few heads coming into this series, and look to secure their Legends Stage spot.

CIS Minor Qualifiers

AVANGAR (84.48*) come into the Major with the highest seed from the CIS qualifier, only dropping two maps in total from the Group Stage and Playoffs. They have proven to be a very strong contender for the Major series, having kept the same roster for the last six months but also a positive K/D ratio, sitting at 1.17

Additionally, the team has an impressive map track record. They are currently one of the few teams that have learned the new style Dust2 (90%) and they’re strong across the other competitive maps as well - Overpass (88%), Cache (75%) and Mirage (72%).

Much like AVANGAR, Team Spirit (190.09*) had a very impressive Group Stage in Minor, only to drop down to the lower bracket after the first match, to eventually make it to the Major.

Spirit have some impressive statistics, having played 90 maps, won 49, and lost 41 and averaged a 1.01 K/D ratio. However, their weakness would be in the map pool, and Train (0%) and Cache (44%) could be their undoing.

Americas Minor Qualifiers

NRG Esports (6.90*) made light work of the Minor series, defeating both Bravado and Imperial e-Sports in the Group Stage, and then Team Envy and FURIA Esports during the Playoffs, not dropping a single map throughout.

Whilst they have already qualified, a fair bit of time has come and gone in between the two Majors so it would be worthwhile to review the teams individually.

Currently sitting at rank 9, if underestimated, NRG have potential to cause an upset in The Challenger Stage. Consistency is their key and having played 32 maps on Inferno and won 78% of them shows how dangerous they are. Other maps such as Overpass (75%), Nuke (64%) and Train (63%) follow a similar trend.

Coming in a strong second place at IEM Katowice - Europe Minor 2019 was FURIA Esports (295.69*) who had a similar experience to that of NRG. They won their group without dropping a game but lost in the Playoffs to NRG Esports, after which they battled Team Envy for the final spot of the Americas Minor.

FURIA have had a solid roster for almost a year now, with the only exception being Ablej whom joined in October 2018. FURIA, much like NRG, offer a wide range of positives coming into The Challenger Stage, and all of their players have a positive K/D ratio (above 1.0). The team has a great track record on Train (87%), Mirage (81%) and Nuke (72%) and for this kind of team, the veto process is going to be crucial.

Minors third place play-in

Finally, we come to the remaining two teams that qualified, and we’ll start with Winstrike Team (190.09*) who had an unfortunate run during the CIS qualifiers, losing to AVANGAR and Team Spirit. Thankfully for Winstrike, the third place play-ins exist, where they went on to defeat Team Envy (16:4) and Vici Gaming (16:14)

The CS:GO Major marks the first major CS:GO event of the year, bringing a total of 24 teams together to battle it out for the chance of being crowned a Major winner.

Statistically, Winstrike are difficult to break down, having had three roster changes in October 2018, with n0rb3r7, WorldEdit and wayLander all joining the team, and with this current line-up they haven’t achieved anything ground-breaking which might have explained the Group Stage and Playoff jitters at the CIS Minor.

The final team to qualify is ViCi Gaming (84.48*). Having formed an entirely new roster during the second half of 2018, the team as a whole has a mix of positives and negatives. They have 42 maps played (in the last three months) with a Win/Loss ratio of 24:18, with Cache being their strongest map at a 100% win rate.

The time has come again for the teams that have qualified through the Minor series to demonstrate what they are capable of, and at the IEM Katowice Major 2019, they will get that opportunity. Many teams will use this opportunity to prove to the current legends that they have what it takes to play with the big boys and we will soon find out if they do.

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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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