Now the war is over after Astralis took the trophy home, with them, last Sunday, it is time for us to look back at the winners and losers of the IEM Katowice Major 2019.
No one would have anticipated, especially the ENCE’s craziest fans, that the Finnish team would make it this far, the finals of the IEM Katowice 2019. Aleksi Jalli’s team came a long way from closed qualifiers for the Europe minor in mid-December to the finals of the IEM Katowice. It is quite interesting to see this turnover, specifically after ENCE gathered such reputation of being no.1, which they maintained throughout the first half of the Major cycle, as well.
In the closed qualifier, the ENCE almost lost a 15-6 lead in opposition to LDLC on the deciding map of an elimination game prior ending it at 16-13. Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen had difficulty moving an 11-4 lead on CT side of Mirage against Windigo. The first phase of the major realised their 14-1 defensive half on the series-deciding train becoming into a 29-round game versus Winstrike.
ENCE maintained 6-round run in order to save themselves from getting eliminated. After defeating G2 and Avangar for a place in the competition after completing the reverse move in the new legends stage, the Finns beat everyone with another greater comeback in the quarterfinals with an 8-15 shortfall on inferno in order to make the semi-finals on Liquid. They already had outshined anyone’s expectation, and they still had 2 more aces up with them, surpassing Na’Vi’s Train from a dropping position at 10-14 again, and acquiring a position in the grand finale with another massive return. That includes ENCE’s last 3 months, which were filled with drama & insecurity; however, eventually developed a story questionable to repeat themselves for many Majors to come.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our winners of the Major.
Astralis surpassed ENCE 2-0 bagged third major crown. Astralis have proved themselves again! They are the third team that has won back to back major championship titles — joining the highly elite club with Robin “flusha” Ronnquist, Jesper “JW” Wecksell, and Markus “pronax” Wallsten. Albeit the Danes were everyone’s favourite since the beginning, there was a time when there had been some doubt, developed, regarding Astralis ability to lift the trophy ultimately.
One of them was Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander’s team’s defeat to liquid at iBUYPOWE R masters at the starting 2019. The second incident was Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen’s personal misfortune right before the kick-off of the second round, which would have created a sub-parallel performance from the 25 years old point of view.
However, none of these matters, anyways. Dupreeh played an amazing game despite everything, and Astralis seemed like, undoubtedly the finest team at the tournament with one more compelling run through the competition, wherein the Danish team was only honestly challenged on few maps.
After a rather unsuccessful run to the Asia Minor ownership, where renegades played 2 series with the greyhound. The Australian team was widely expected to lose in the first act already. However, that didn’t happen as the scored 3-0 and played an excellent game throughout, defeating teams like NiP, ENCE, and FAZE and also being the only team to receive a map off Astralis at the playoff with a return from 5-14 down on Mirage.
AVANGAR and Vitality fit in the same group of numerous stories. Both teams depicted promising nature, until IEM Katowice, where both teams had to undergo the same experience, progressing with a 3-1 record in the new challengers’ phase prior dropping 2-3 in the new legends stage regardless a 2-1 beginning. Vitality and AVANGAR undoubtedly are the best teams, though they need to measure a long journey before we could call them real competitors. However, they have made a lot of progression on the way to becoming steady top-10 teams down the road.
This Brazilian team has progressively convalesced after getting destroyed out of their server in their first match versus Cloud 9 (3-16.) They appeared super ready against NiP and made it to the competition quite easily at 3-1. They seemed a bit off in the beginning, however, they caught the pace of the game, which was a frightening plan for their opponent going ahead.
NRG was everyone’s favourite in the first phase with a 3-0 record, unlike the Swedish team. However, it didn’t last long when they entered ‘New legends’ and were defeated with 3 losses in a row to NiP, complexity, and AVANGAR. Despite the fact they were only 3 rounds away from victory, these 3 matches came as a big set back to the North American side, who were presumed to win the tournament after escalating through the ranks all through 2018.
Before long their prompt exit in Katowice, traik Celik replaced Jacob “FugLy” Medina’s spot in the listing. The humiliation of the NRG team finalised when the score of 0-2 came out.
The anticipation for Hellraisers might not have been as high as for NRG, as the European team struggled for better outcomes towards the end of 2018. However, Kiril karasiow’s team members are still one of the teams who lost the Major, attributable to how they got eliminated. Notwithstanding capturing a win down the way, a Dust2 win over ENCE, ANGE1, Bence Borocz, and Abay Khaenov, everyone finished the game with 0.80 ratings or below, which assist in explaining how badly the y performed in the IEM Katowice.
The European team was on the edge of elimination in the New legends platform after getting defeated by the Renegades and AVANAGR, with their next match against compLexity that was an extremely close game on Dust2 that could have predicted FaZe’s elimination. Janko Paunovic’s team nearly threw away a 15-4 lead against Cloud9 on terrorist side of the collection with a power of the economy, previous to the quarter-finals event saw them incompetent to close out their choice, Inferno, regardless picking up a 10-5 score on the terrorist side.
The battle between Astralis-liquid was probably the most hyped match of the Major after the North American won over the No.1 team in the world at the commencement of the year in LA. Signs of Liquid would lose started showing when two of their New Legends playoffs weren’t that great, against Nip and AVANGAR, however, what was shocking for everyone when Russel Van Dulken & co. couldn’t convert a 15-8 lead on the CT team of Inferno versus the Finns, unable to win the series to exit the Major in 5th – 8th spot.
All in all, Liquid didn’t look as great as we anticipated them to be after the iBUYPOWER Masters.
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