What we learned from IEM Katowice

With IEM Katowice done and dusted, we take a look back to summarize the event and see what we've learned over the course of the five-day, $250,000 tournament.

IEM Katowice followed the same format ESL have been using for the Intel Extreme Masters series for the past year - six-team groups played in a round-robin, from which the first team advances directly to playoffs while second and third-placed teams play the quarter-finals.

Group A saw a few upsets taking place, mostly at the hands of Immortals who finished the group at a 4-1 record alongside FaZe and Astralis, while fnatic, NiP, and OpTic exited the tournament.

Due to all three advancing teams finishing the group at 4-1 (with a 1-1 head-to-head record among them), ESL's unusual tiebreaking system took place for the very first time since it's been put in place at last year's IEM Katowice. That was played in mr3, $10,000 settings between all three teams on the same map, Train. FaZe came out of the three-way tie with two wins and clinched the semi-finals spot, while Astralis defeated Immortals for second place in the group.

In Group B, all six teams picked up two or three wins, which speaks to how close it was in the end. Virtus.pro and SK, who were widely expected to advance, missed out on the playoffs due to a number of upsets. Heroic were the big surprise of that group, grabbing wins against North, Natus Vincere, and Virtus.pro, earning a semi-finals spot due to a 2-0 record in the three-way tie.

For the second time this year after the ELEAGUE Major, Astralis and Natus Vincere met in quarter-finals, as the Danes picked up another victory over Sergey "starix" Ischuk's squad. On the other side, Immortals continued to surprise in their debut with Lincoln "fnx" Lau, beating North 2-1 following two narrow maps and a confident finish on Cobblestone.

The semi-finals saw the favorites prevail - Astralis bested Heroic while FaZe passed Immortals before the two victors met in the best-of-five grand final. Winning Cache, FaZe's chances were looking good in their debut with Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, but it was the stable lineup of Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and company that went ahead to sweep the European mixture with three narrow victories on Overpass, Nuke, and Inferno for their second title in 2017.

Best maps

Group stage

Map (VOD)  Stage
Sweden fnatic 16 14 Sweden NiP Cache Group A
CIS Natus Vincere  16 12  Brazil SK Overpass Group B
Poland Virtus.pro 16 14 Brazil SK Inferno Group B
Denmark Heroic 16 14 Poland Virtus.pro  Nuke Group B





Playoffs



Denmark North 19 15 Brazil Immortals  Overpass Quarter-finals (Map 2)
Denmark Astralis 16 12 Europe FaZe Nuke Grand final (Map 2)
Denmark Astralis 16 13 Europe FaZe Inferno Grand final (Map 3)

Astralis solidify themselves as number one

DreamHack Masters Las Vegas saw Virtus.pro and SK nearly catching up to Astralis, who had been number one in the ranking since their victory at ECS Season 2 Finals in December.

With SK and Virtus.pro exiting in groups and Astralis clinching yet another title — their third with this lineup —, the Danes solidified their place at the top and distanced themselves from the two teams below them.


Astralis are looking great for more trophies in the first half of 2017

There is no denying anymore that this is Astralis' era. Since they added gla1ve, the Danish powerhouse finished at least top four at all six events they attended, including three titles, a second place, and two semi-final exits.

As Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth pointed out in our interview at IEM Katowice, the fact that many teams have changed lineups plays to Astralis' advantage, and it'll likely take a few more months before those teams reach a stable level. Before that happens, Astralis are looking very good to keep their place as the number one team in the world.

NiKo is the difference-maker FaZe needed

Before NiKo's arrival, FaZe were better than ever before, picking up a few semi-final finishes at the end of 2016.

The Bosnian lived up to his name at IEM Katowice and pushed FaZe's ceiling by another notch with great performances, as the European mixture reached their first grand final at a big event.


NiKo pushed FaZe's ceiling to another level after less than a week of practice

Aleksi "allu" Jalli also played one of his best tournaments under the FaZe banner, as he was often up there with NiKo. Whether it was due to the new addition is arguable, but something definitely clicked for the Finnish sniper in Poland.

Let's keep in mind that the new FaZe only had about four days worth of practice and they already looked fantastic - we don't know where their limit is yet, but so far there's no reason to believe this was it.

Immortals show promise

Similarly to FaZe, Immortals also debuted at IEM Katowice following the pick-up of fnx in early February.

The loss of João "felps" Vasconcellos, who was their best player, resulted in a lot of skepticism around the second-best Brazilian team, but Immortals showed up to play at IEM Katowice.


fnx's Immortals don't seem to be affected much by the loss of felps

Placed in Group A, Henrique "HEN1" Teles and company beat all three underperformers, fnatic, NiP, and OpTic, and added an extra win no-one expected - against Astralis. To top it off, Immortals won a series against one of the top-ten teams, North, and picked up a semi-final finish after a loss to FaZe.

There's a lot to be hopeful about when it comes to Immortals, who pulled through the tournament without two of their usual difference-makers, HEN1 and Ricardo "boltz" Prass, combining with huge performances.

Denmark got another team in the top-ten, Heroic

Heroic were yet another team who debuted at IEM Katowice after bolstering their roster with 19-year-old Jakob "JUGi" Hansen previously hailing from Tricked.

There was next to no hope for Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer's squad to advance from such a tough group and yet they did, with wins over giants Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere as well as compatriots North.


Heroic did the impossible in Katowice

When upsets like that happen, usually it is due to some of the players overperforming, but none of Heroic's players excelled at any point during the tournament, as it rather was a team performance that got them the wins in the group. That is, for a such a young team with limited experience, let alone practice, nearly unprecedented.

With their top-four finish at IEM, Heroic gave Denmark their third team in the top-ten, at least for the time being. Whether they'll be able to stay there is, first and foremost, up to their ability to attend events.

SK need FalleN back

Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's drop-off didn't seem to be an issue at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, where SK showed that their new system with Fernando "fer" Alvarenga and felps being the aggressors worked well.

However, his form continued to drop further during IEM Katowice, where he only had one good match but otherwise was mostly a non-factor, resulting in their first group stage exit since DreamHack Masters Malmö in April 2016.


FalleN's SK are looking to go back to what worked

It seems FalleN acknowledges that there's a problem judging by an interview he did at IEM, in which he hinted at the possibility that the changes they made for felps were part of the reason why his impact decreased.

In that same interview, he also said SK were going to try to go back to how they used to play and find another way for felps to fit in. In any case, the Brazilians are back to the drawing board, so we'll have to wait for what they come up with before the next event, SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals.

You can follow HLTV.org's Milan "Striker" Švejda on Twitter

Brazil João 'felps' Vasconcellos
João 'felps' Vasconcellos
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
731
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.16
Denmark Jakob 'JUGi' Hansen
Jakob 'JUGi' Hansen
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
868
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.11
Denmark Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1104
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Denmark Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1580
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.17
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1134
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1154
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.11
Brazil Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
502
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.17
Ukraine Sergey 'starix' Ischuk
Sergey 'starix' Ischuk
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
573
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Brazil Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1142
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.16
Denmark Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1246
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.17
Brazil Henrique 'HEN1' Teles
Henrique 'HEN1' Teles
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
778
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.58
APR:
0.12
Finland Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1391
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.11
Brazil Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
951
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.17
#1
 | 
Lithuania Tomekas85 
ASTRALIS top1 that's what we learned
2017-03-07 20:44
#16
France Bouf 
why
2017-03-07 20:44
because they added gla1ve edit:they added gla1ve
2017-03-07 22:36
HAHAHA SURE. THEY ADDED NEW HAX FOR KJAERBYE. 90 % OF AWARD GOES TO KJAERBYE
2017-03-08 08:48
Xd
2017-03-08 14:46
ITS TRUE. ASTRALIS NEED A LEADER ..... LEADER NEED GOOD HAX = ASTRAKIDS
2017-03-08 14:54
VP was many times top 1 and is loved by most. Neo is the most successful player and is the most loved and the least hated player. Also NV players who have won 3 majors are loved, not hated. Nip was loved when they were dominating early csgo. From the top players only fallen and maybe nbk are hated but also they have much love unlike fnatic or astralis which are hated but no love. [gallerypic=81297] ASTRALIS - WHO THEY ARE AND WHY THEY HAVE NO FANS Astralis' core was on the scene for a long time, being even top 1 for some time in summer of 2015 but since then they were failing. They have kicked liked by fans cajunb and also liked 1.6 veteran Karringan. Some of their problems started with their 2 new players which are: KJAERBYE - this kid is hated by CS fans not only for insulting other players and teams on twitter but also because of very shady game plays which according to experts cant be possible without cheating which make sense as KJAERBYE is a noname out of nowhere and his attitude match cheaters attitude. From marketing point of view this was the biggest mistake and one of main reasons Astralis has no fans besides Denmark. Gla1ve - Everyone was sure this dude was done after he got banned ( hltv.org/news/13817-gla1ve-handed-gdk-ba.. ) and fined for his terrible behavior. Toxicity level and lack of respect beyond the scale. No wonder He tops rankings of the most hated players. Again terrible move by Astralis from marketing point of view. Xyp9x - the only 1.6 player in Astralis which gives fans but from the other hand he was taking part in the terrible scandal in 2014 together with dev1ce and HyperX ( youtu.be/mveBlYz6H5g?t=15 ). In short they were promoting communism (look at the evil symbol on her cap) which is a crime in half of Europe (Poland included) so there is another scandal why they werent arrested in Germany or Poland for that? Only low quality of gov. and police in Europe have saved them but if we have some lawyer among us we can for sure make a case against them and win. Promoting communism ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimes_against_hum.. ) is beyond any excuse. Far worse than promoting nazism or IS/AQ. Device - took part in the promoting communism crime in 2014 which has destroyed his career from marketing point of view. This was the reason fans in Poland hate Astralis. Shame on IEM for allowing them to even take part. Dupreeh - the only guy which can be likable and without scandals but he has picked terrible mates. ASTRALIS - TOP2? TOP1? Recently we had 3 major events in last 8 weeks in which both VP and Astralis took part so it is easy to see who performed better. Ofc we ignore online leagues and t2 events as these have no value in determining who is top1. WESG VirtusPro 3rd place Astralis 25th place EL Atlanta Astralis WINNER VirtusPro 2nd place DH Las Vegas VirtusPro WINNER Astralis 3rd place TOTAL in prizes VirtusPro - 110 000 Astralis - 105 000 Like we see both teams has won a major title but VP was better in other 2 events, also they won more so VP is top1 and Astralis top2.
2017-03-10 12:21
You must be desperately disappointed in your life. Did you lost a bet against Astralis? :D And you clearly don't know anything about laws as well. Furthermore, you don't understand what the Communism is. Communism is an ideology and it totally is not a crime against humanity(you would understand if you read the random link you posted from wikipedia), there were crimes against humanity occuring while some communists were governing SSSR.
2017-03-10 19:56
#18
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
we learned that VP players complain about everything
2017-03-07 20:44
TaZ*
2017-03-07 20:46
#30
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
not only TaZ, remember ESL NY? Neo made a post on his facebook complaining about how tired they were and made some drama
2017-03-07 20:47
What has that to do with "What we learned from IEM Katowice"?
2017-03-07 20:48
What we learned? Nothing. Kappa
2017-03-07 20:48
#33
 | 
Poland CherryCz0pek 
because they're, he only said, that they're tiered after semis. That was true, nothing more...
2017-03-07 20:49
keep going
2017-03-09 10:24
we learned that everyone is so jealous that its vp that have more fans than whole top 10 combined, this cry is already boring
2017-03-07 22:30
#62
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
nice try, even SK has more followers/likes on their social medias
2017-03-07 22:41
#63
 | 
Poland PaPaPawian 
nice try, even Pasha has more followers/likes on his social medias All SK players together on fb - 750k PashaBiceps - 834k
2017-03-07 22:53
#64
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
funny how pasha has more fans than VP, being fan of one player doesn't mean that you're fan of a team, for instance i'm a fan of olofmeister but i'm not a fan of fnatic. VP has 408k likes on FB and SK has 714k, VP has 152k followers on twitter and SK has 187k
2017-03-07 23:01
#65
 | 
Poland PaPaPawian 
BTW SK is German organisation and VP is Russian. I think that likes on players fanpage shows how popular are they.
2017-03-07 23:04
#75
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
no, likes on players page show how popular the player is not the team.
2017-03-08 02:37
#78
HaZR | 
France Tag117 
Yeah but these orgs have teams in other games, so it isnt a true reflection of their cs teams
2017-03-08 04:46
#113
 | 
United Kingdom XNL 
+1
2017-03-08 17:35
#125
 | 
Brazil Mirekz 
VP has teams in other games too, they have a pretty popular dota 2 team, like i said likes on player page reflect how popular the player is, pasha has twice as much likes on his fb page than VP because of his personality, everybody likes him even people that doesnt cheer for VP
2017-03-09 17:17
#82
 | 
Bulgaria AboveYall 
90 % of sk likes are because previous line-ups even from 1.6 era also Bcz of season 1-2-3 league of legends team with ocelote as a star player (he is now owner of g2)
2017-03-08 06:10
DUDE .. WHO LIKES BRAZ TEAMS? ONLY BRA PEOPLE :)
2017-03-08 08:50
+1
2017-03-08 14:53
+1
2017-03-08 15:20
You have no clue what you are talking about, VP fanpage is just an organization that dont put anything interesting on social medias. But VP as an cs go team, as those 5 ppl that play since few years they are called "Golden Five" among their fans. VP is just an organization.
2017-03-08 11:57
THREW THAT!
2017-03-08 14:56
golden five actually mostly refers to taz neo kuben loord and then arguably luq or pasha. Not the CSGO roster.
2017-03-10 12:13
it reffers to actual CS:GO roster, I mean... kuben and lord still part of "golden five" but not active, if you know what I mean :P Active Golden Five roster is actual VP
2017-03-10 13:50
jealous u BRAZ POOR UNKNOWN KIDO? VP IS A LEGEND TEAM. THE BEST AND THE BIGGEST FOREVER
2017-03-08 08:49
#114
 | 
United Kingdom XNL 
Well VP never used to be that good. TaZ, NEO and Pasha used to play for Pentagram in 1.6.
2017-03-08 17:38
#72
 | 
Moldova Light_Demon 
We learned: Navi is noob team!
2017-03-08 01:08
We learn that hugh jackman is an australian, He is real life wolverine Christian Bale is real life Batman, Heath Ledger is real life joker
2017-03-09 02:13
#123
 | 
United Kingdom XNL 
Heath Ledger is also dead.
2017-03-09 12:39
Nice.
2017-03-07 20:44
wow
2017-03-07 20:44
yes
2017-03-07 20:44
#10
 | 
Spain HolaBuenas 
lul
2017-03-07 20:44
#11
shaGuar | 
Hong Kong b1uhwk 
ns
2017-03-07 20:44
Fatse best
2017-03-07 20:44
We learned that device always chokes at Final.
2017-03-07 20:44
#34
 | 
Hungary StraYzie 
He had problems with his stomach. Now he is in a hospital.
2017-03-07 20:49
#21
 | 
United States ldKuKluxKlan 
IMT won't do anything after this
2017-03-07 20:44
#22
 | 
Portugal dracø 
I learned that winning 3 bo1s is enough to boost a team's ranking to #9
2017-03-07 20:45
#36
 | 
Hungary StraYzie 
+1
2017-03-07 20:49
+1
2017-03-07 21:23
+1
2017-03-07 21:49
+1
2017-03-08 00:36
#110
gla1ve | 
India Kayb3 
+1
2017-03-08 16:52
what we learned from iem katowice? bo1 sucks elimination bo1 sucks
2017-03-07 20:45
Name one System where it is impossible to get elleminated through a bo1 there is no
2017-03-07 23:37
#24
 | 
Sweden crindz 
learned nada pepe
2017-03-07 20:45
#25
 | 
Germany Tunio 
That niko is overrated
2017-03-07 20:45
#124
 | 
United Kingdom XNL 
It was his first LAN with FaZe, give him a chance.
2017-03-09 12:43
More events in Europe!
2017-03-07 20:46
6. NaVi need reshuffle
2017-03-07 20:49
I've learned that fnatic is dead
2017-03-07 20:57
#38
 | 
United Kingdom Lightning_DC_ 
Lol, just as I posted my own blog xD
2017-03-07 20:57
We learned that swiss system is the best format for a group stage by far.
2017-03-07 20:57
#43
 | 
Finland Smoonah 
I didn't learn jackshit other than Faze is better than before.
2017-03-07 21:09
i didn't like the format at all, too many matches on groups, the swiss format was the best so far.
2017-03-07 21:19
nuke map 3 inferno map 4
2017-03-07 21:27
#47
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
Thank you HLTV, we appreciate that! fnx <3 Immortals <3 SK <3 We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL! Kreygasm
2017-03-07 21:28
classic BuddyINSANE post
2017-03-07 21:50
Unfortunately, FalleN's bad performace has nothing to do with felps's add, his awp is just but atm.
2017-03-07 21:33
#105
 | 
Russia xtkjdtr01 
Yeah u know better... BrBrain lmao
2017-03-08 14:55
#49
 | 
Czech Republic zeldak 
What about fnatic?:D
2017-03-07 21:33
#54
 | 
Poland kick_michu 
,,What we learned from IEM Katowice,, VP is just tier4 team without Snax ?
2017-03-07 21:56
#92
 | 
World Vidua 
Any tier 1 team drops to "tier 4" if one of their core players is absent. It's mot about Snax being amazing player, it's about VP's system being set up so that Snax makes openings on T side or first frags on CT so that they can focus on less areas with bigger force (think cbble being most characteristic example of that, and also the reason they lost to North).
2017-03-08 09:17
#55
 | 
France kennySsSsS 
what we learned from iem katowice - SK and VP are tier 3 LUL
2017-03-07 21:58
YYYHMHM WHERE IS FR SCENE? OH IN BLACK ASS
2017-03-08 08:51
we learned that VP = noobs
2017-03-07 22:15
we learned that "poland has the best crowd" is a myth. i'd rather hear mindless USA chants when an actual NA team is playing that a retarded VP chant when they didn't even make it out of groups. i hope cologne can deliver in that regard.
2017-03-07 22:30
We once again saw kjaerby's amazing shakyaim.
2017-03-07 23:38
Once again a randy hltv user thinking that kjaerbye is cheating because he shakes his hand/crosshair every single time he sprays (u didn't say anything about cheating, but that's what it looks like you ment)
2017-03-08 11:24
Why he shakerbye though? He has shaky hands because drug withdrawal syndrom?
2017-03-08 14:38
#68
 | 
Brazil Charizaldo 
We learned that selling chinese keyboards ruins your AWP skills
2017-03-07 23:49
#74
 | 
Brazil Kohzito 
He played with Alloy... When he played with Roboris, played well
2017-03-08 01:57
#70
 | 
United Arab Emirates a1an_nart 
what we learned? BAN NUKE AGAINST ASTRALIS! Navi WTF?!
2017-03-08 00:23
#73
 | 
Brazil Kohzito 
We learned SK need to ban Nuke even against worst teams
2017-03-08 01:56
That Navis disband is around the corner.
2017-03-08 02:48
Hatred on VP getting old here bois
2017-03-08 05:33
u know why? coz they reach everything :) they are jealous coz they are nice guys with awards. Not childish like most of teams , mainly astraKIDS and danes little people
2017-03-08 08:53
GG striker. Better than Miraa
2017-03-08 06:07
#84
 | 
Luxembourg alex24 
we learned that SK org made the biggest mistake in 2016 by buying the brazilian team since their purchase, wallen and botzera only won 2 events: the cologne major by accident (playing liquid in grand final ? are u kidding me) and tier3 DH austin event and soon they will ditch the BR team and buy back the danish Heroic team, witch are doing very well in tournaments... wtf
2017-03-08 07:42
WE LEARNED THAT ASTRALIS IS RICH TEAM. LOTS OF MONEY FOR NEW HAX
2017-03-08 08:43
stfu
2017-03-08 11:24
kjaerbyes bro?
2017-03-08 11:26
#93
 | 
Germany jonko 
That it's an awesome event
2017-03-08 09:39
#98
 | 
Hungary faltopfake 
Navi got kicked again against Astralis. Who won the freaking event. poor navi
2017-03-08 12:28
We learned that now is time to all the teams tier 1, start to think in a strategy, based in their map pool, 'cause Astralis have an awesome performance in bo5, they play so well in almost all maps.
2017-03-08 13:47
#101
 | 
Malaysia phyzell 
start the match early if ESL wants a higher viewership counts especially when using BO5 format.
2017-03-08 14:46
IDD. bo5 takes such a long time.... tbh a bit boring to watch 5 hours cs : go. although its an epic match
2017-03-08 14:58
#132
 | 
Malaysia phyzell 
very true brah, dats like watching House of Lies season marathon on tv. It'll drive you mad if you don't take a chill for a while especially when your sitting on your working chair. But youtube channels nowadays enable us to manage our life commitments much better as compared to the 1.6 days. =)
2017-03-12 10:16
are u serioius? i was watching it on bed and i fell asleep.
2017-03-13 10:12
#134
 | 
Malaysia phyzell 
i'd thought the grand final was a very serious match, so I decided to sit on my working chair in front of my pc. It's was 3 am when the 2nd map ended, so i'm done with my addiction that starts hurting my butt. CSGO big events are rare, so i'm quite motivated to watch it live the entire day although I don't bet. Well, it's time for me to get a gaming chair since this industry is never getting any smaller than yesteryears. haha m8 ftw! =D
2017-03-13 15:53
Nice event :) I saw :)
2017-03-08 15:32
we learned that the team that has the most cheaters always win
2017-03-08 17:09
#121
steel | 
Belarus Ruble 
And who have balls to cheat most blatant :D
2017-03-09 04:10
what we learned is that we dont need edm performers at the finals lmao
2017-03-08 21:29
#119
 | 
Canada akirox 
nice
2017-03-08 23:23
I hope Faze keep developing and be the number1 team someday
2017-03-10 14:26
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