GIVEAWAY – we’re celebrating IEM Katowice by giving away a Gut Knife Tiger Tooth, AWP HyperBeast & AK47 VulcanENTER HERE!
As usual, this year IEM is again stopping at Katowice, Poland for one of the most beloved events of the year. The event itself has always been one of our favorites, not only because the top-notch production and the elite teams involved, but especially because of the great Venue atmosphere, making this $250,000 LAN one of the must-watch events for every CS:GO fan.
As for the event format, this year stuff has changed a bit. We’ve 12 teams split in two groups, after the round-robin GroupStage the 2 winners will automatically move to Semi-Finals, while the 2rd and 3rd ranked teams will head to the Quarter-Finals.
Before moving to the Tournament schedule, here is a quick overview of what we are expecting from the two Groups, and who we believe will move through the Playoffs.
About Group A, we can easily say this the harder of the two, and appropriately the one we should dub ‘Group of Death‘, due to the 4x top-tier teams involved (Fnatic, NAVI, NiP & LG), together with a kinda unpredictable ‘Dark Horse‘ (Mouz) who may end up disrupting things for the T1 contenders.
After dominating 2015, Fnatic are the current #1 in our 2016 World-Ranking as well, and they are the obvious candidate for 1st place in this group. But while guessing Olofmeister and co. will move ahead isn’t very hard, guessing who will take the other two spots is surely more complex, since we’ve a trio of really badass teams. Honestly, out of the three, NiP are probably the most inconsistent, so we’re a bit more oriented in favoring NAVI (who played an impressive fall 2015 and a great Q1 2016) and Luminosity who sport a playstyle a bit difficult for the EU sides to counter. With regards to Mousesports and TheMongolz, they are without a doubt teams to watch, but compared to the other 4 powerhouses laying in this Group, they should be a clear step below. Even if Mouz should be capable to deliver a couple of profitable upsets.
Regarding Group B, things should be a bit more streamlined here. EnVyUs and Astralis are surely the best of the bunch, and even if they looked slightly below the level of both Fnatic and NAVI over the short term, we don’t believe they’ll face too many issues in taking home the top-2 spots of the Group. About the 3rd spot, things may get a bit trickier. Despite finding VirtusPro as the obvious candidate for it, we cannot overlook the extremely disappointing results the Polish side lined up during the past months. From our end, even if we’re pretty sure playing on their home soil will help VP in regaining some motivation, we still fear that both FaZe and Tempo Storm could become potentially deadly opponents for the Polish side. Particularly if Pasha and friends end up playing on slower maps, such as Cobblestone or Train, fields where the BO1 format may turn become their tomb.
Not much to say about E-Frag. The Bulgarians may aim for a couple of upsets, but overall we’re prone to finding them below the level of the other contenders.
However, as far as the Group Stage goes, we’re oriented in believing that we’ll end with a Grand-Final featuring Fnatic and NAVI, since they are the rosters that managed to put up the most convincingly things during this first Quarter of the year.