The IEM Katowice - Europe Minor 2019 begins on 16 January and precedes 2019’s long-awaited European Major. The winning team will take home a share of $30,000 and a place in the Challenger Stage at the Katowice 2019 Major. Read on for our preview of the event.
What is the IEM Katowice - Europe Minor 2019?
A month before the European Major, eight teams fight it out at a LAN event for a place at the Major. The teams will compete at the ESL Arena with the top two earning the Challenger status, and third place earning a spot in the Play-ins. The tournament format is split into two stages: Group Stage (GSL) and Playoffs.
The Group Stage will be a Bo1 (best of one) with two groups of four competing, followed by a Bo3 (best of three) for any decider or elimination matches. The Playoffs (semi-finals and Grand Final) will be Bo3. The winning team will take home $30,000, and the runner-up will pocket $20,000.
IEM Katowice 2019 - Europe Minor odds
Learn more about the top contenders
Bettors can keep in mind that the majority of these teams have had major success at various prior competitions, as well as some of them proving their skill as contenders at the previous Major.
We will be analysing each team attending the EU Minor, as well as their performance during previous events and any roster changes since coming into the New Year. Bettors can keep in mind that the roster of ex-Space Soldiers, Optic Gaming, North, and mousesports all attended the previous Major. It would be beneficial to look back at their performance and see if they have improved leading into the Minor.
mousesports (2.88*) are attending the European Minors as the outright potential favourites. Having won ESL One New York 2018 against NRG and Liquid, they should be fairly confident against the teams competing at the Europe Minor Championship Katowice 2019.
It’s been a strong year for mouse, and although they haven’t had as much success as Astralis and Na’vi, they have generally been playing well throughout the year. They’ve played 302 maps, winning 172 and losing 128, giving them an average win rate of 57%.
Forming in early 2018, ENCE eSports (5.44*) are turning heads amongst the outsider teams. They won four events and came in second place at the DreamHack Open Montreal 2018. The last time ENCE met the top teams was at ESL One Cologne 2018, where they defeated NiP, mousesports and then lost out to Na’Vi.
2018 was a strong year for ENCE.Starting in April they were ranked 193 (On HLTV), andstarting in December they now rank 11. Currently, ENCE are holding a modest 65% win rate out of the 140 maps that have been played, their strongest being Cache at 100% as of the last six months.
CS Summit 3 proved to be a successful event for OpTic Gaming (8.89*), who finished in second place after losing out to NRG Esports. If we learnt anything from the Summit, it’s that OpTic Gaming have the ability to bounce back even after a defeat. After previous disappointment, they managed to put a stop to the likes of compLexity and BIG along their journey.
niko (not to be confused with NiKo) officially became a part of OpTic back in August but was made inactive as of the end of 2018, replaced by refrezh. As of the last three months, OpTic competed in eleven events and the team has finished in the top four on six occasions (57%). Be wary of maps where their win rate is below 50% such as Cache (0%), Train (23%) and Overpass (38%).
The dominance of Astralis has shown that Denmark produces high quality CS:GO talent - North (5.34*) is another team that falls under that category. No strangers to CS:GO, North have proven this year to be an incredibly tough team. Most recently this was at the ECS Season 6 Finals where they finished in fourth place, defeating NRG Esports and Team Liquid to qualify for the Playoffs.
North’s success continued throughout the year, having defeated current Intel Grand Slam champions, Astralis, in September at DreamHack Master Stockholm 2018. They managed to retain a 100% win rate on Mirage, Inferno and Overpass and the majority of the team managed a K/D ratio of above 1.0.
Analysing others in the IEM Katowice 2019 - Europe Minor 2019 odds
We now look over to our fifth to eighth place teams, starting with Windigo Gaming.
Statistically, Windigo Gaming (12.29*) have one of the stronger track records. As of the last six months they have won 110 and lost 65 maps, with a high win rate on Mirage (72%) and Train (65%). However, Nuke is their weakest map, with only a 40% win rate.
Given that Windigo have only been established since 2017, there is also the element of uncertainty at play for anyone betting on this event. They finished in the top four at the closed qualifier, alongside other top contenders mouse, OpTic Gaming and North so do have some obviously quality. One question that many have is whether their level of performance is sustainable, however?
Not much is known about whether or not ex-Space Soldiers (15.68*) will be able to attend the Minors. The team is formed of, unsurprisingly, the old Space Soldiers roster with the exception of XANTARES who recently changed roster, moving to BIG.
Valiance (11.50*) have also been a surprising team recently. Having defeated Team LDLC in the closed qualifier, they eventually lost to Windigo - a loss that forced them into the lower bracket. They then defeated Fragsters to secure their place at the Europe Minor Championship.
Team Vitality (7.40*) are a group that will take part in as many events as possible to try and exceed people’s expectations. Having formed the roster in October, the team has managed an impressive Win/Loss ratio of 46/18, and an average team K/D of 1.19. Vitality have also benched Rifler Happy and acquired previous LDLC Rifler ALEX.
We start the year off impressively, with the CS:GO Major starting in February, with the four minors prior to that are taking place.
For a lot of teams in the Minors, it will define their start to 2019 and it will allow for them to influence the rest of the year as well. If they can make it out of the Challenger Stage and into the Legend Stage, it will also secure their run at the next CS:GO Major later in the year.