FURIA, EG qualify for IEM Katowice 2021; Liquid, Chaos to Play-in tournament
The four NA-based representatives at the first ESL Masters Championship tournament of 2021 have been determined.
FURIA and Evil Geniuses have claimed the first two spots at IEM Katowice 2021's main tournament via the Road to Katowice ranking, it was announced on Wednesday. Liquid and Chaos will have to battle their way through the Play-In stage, a 16-team last-chance qualifier that will have eight spots on the line.
Liquid required a deep run in DreamHack Masters Winter Europe to have a shot at overtaking EG in the Road to Katowice table, but they were unable to post a single victory and left the tournament in 13th-16th place. They will still compete in the IEM Global Challenge before the end of the year, but this tournament will not have any ESL Pro Tour points on offer.
IEM Katowice 2021 will take place between February 16 and 28, with a $1 million prize pool on the line. It will be the first ESL Pro Tour event to be played under the new double-weekend format, which will allow ESL and DreamHack to focus on storytelling while giving teams more time to prepare for the playoff matches.
The Play-In and the group stage of the main tournament are expected to be held in the new ESL Pro Tour Studio, a dedicated studio in Europe that will open in 2021 and will fully comply with all Covid-19 safety protocols. It remains unclear whether ESL will be able to host the playoff matches at the Spodek Arena.
Liquid and Chaos join Illuminar, the winner of ESL Polish Championship Autumn, on the team list for the Play-In tournament. Six more teams will qualify through the ESL Pro Tour ranking (three in Europe, and one in Asia, Oceania and South America), while six others will earn invites based on the ESL world ranking. The final spot will go to the winner of the ESL European Championship Winter 2020.
Below you can find the current team list for IEM Katowice 2021: