NiP, TeamOne, Wisla Krakow to attend IEM Katowice Play-In
The trio have been called in as replacements due to travel restrictions and team withdrawals.
NIP, TeamOne and Wisla Krakow will take part in the IEM Katowice Play-In stage, replacing TYLOO, Chaos and Illuminar, ESL announced on Friday. Due to the current travel restrictions in place, the tournament organiser decided to find replacements for the trio four weeks before to the event's start date and not just two weeks as it normally would.
TYLOO, who had qualified for the event after topping the Asian Road to Rio rankings, were forced to cancel their attendance due to travel issues. ViCi and TIGER, the next teams in line in the ranking, both experienced similar issues - leaving ESL with no choice but to transfer the slot to the home region of the tournament, Europe. NIP received the invitation as the next European team in the ESL Pro Tour standings.
TeamOne will take the spot that belonged to Chaos, whose players went their separate ways at the end of 2020 after the organisation decided to leave Counter-Strike, as the next eligible team in the ESL Pro Tour North American standings. The Brazilian team, who recently added Felipe "skullz" Medeiros and Cássio "cass1n" Santos to their roster, will travel to Europe this weekend to bootcamp and participate in the IEM tournament.
Wisla Krakow were called in as a replacement due to finishing in second place in the qualifying event, ESL Polish Championships Autumn, after Illuminar told ESL that they would not be able to field an eligible lineup for the tournament. The Polish organisation benched its entire roster last month, with Paweł "reatz" Jańczak, Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski and Arek "Vegi" Nawojski having since joined different teams.
The IEM Katowice Play-In stage will be held from February 16-17 and will offer eight spots in the main competition, in which $1 million will be up for grabs. Both stages will be held online as the transition to LAN play in ESL competitions will begin only in the Spring with the playoff stage of ESL Pro League Season 13.
The team list for IEM Katowice Play-In is the following: