ESL Impact will kick off 2023 women's circuit in Katowice; invites revealed*
ESL Impact Katowice will take place at the IEM Expo and will be open to all fans, free of charge.
Women's CS will return to the Polish city of Katowice in 2023 for the first time in four years with ESL Impact Katowice kicking off the second year of ESL Impact. The standalone tournament will give way to two online seasons of ESL Impact League and their LAN finals in Dallas, Texas, USA, and Hanover, Germany.
Four teams have already been invited to the opening event of the year: Nigma Galaxy, CLG Red, FURIA fe and HSG fe, and they will be joined by four more teams hailing from qualifiers in Europe, North America and South America.
The ESL Impact 2023 opening tournament will run alongside the ESL Pro Tour Championship, IEM Katowice, on February 10-12. It will also mark the first time women's CS will be played in the Polish city since Intel Challenge was canceled in 2020, the yearly occurrence that started in 2015 and had become one of the top showcases, if not the crown jewel, of the women's scene.
Nigma Galaxy's Ksenia "vilga" Kluenkova and CLG Red's Mounira "GooseBreeder" Dobie are two of the hard-hitters in past editions that have been invited to Katowice, where they have already lifted trophies. The Russian 31-year-old and her team were no doubt first in line for an invite, having won everything in 2022, and will be fighting to extend their hegemony in 2023. The North Americans struggled, on the other hand, with two 5-6th place finishes and a 3rd-4th in the opening ESL Impact LAN event this year.
Another team that made waves in the first year of ESL Impact is FURIA fe, who secured them the South American invite after finishing every ESL Impact event of 2022 in second place. None of the players in the Brazilian squad have pedigree in Katowice other than Gabriela "GaBi" Maldonado, who finished fourth in 2018 with Keyd fe, but it could well be where they once again try and make a move to dethrone the Nigma Galaxy three-peat champions.
The final invite, which went to an Asian team, was handed to HSG fe. Spearheaded by veterans Ramona "gfi" Azween Binti Zaharuddin and SinMan "Hazel" Fong, the squad made it to the final event of 2022, ESL Impact League Season 2 Finals, where they were knocked out by FURIA fe in the semi-finals.
The open qualifiers for ESL Impact Katowice will take place on December 14-18 in Europe, North America and South America (links to register are at the bottom of the article), with the top two teams from Europe and one from each of the Americas regions going through to the event in Poland.
The tournament will be played in the IEM Expo area at the MCK, right next to the Spodek Arena, and an underground corridor from the Spodek to the MCK will be open for fans attending IEM Katowice. The entrance to the IEM Expo itself is free of charge and open to all, however, so fans will be able to watch ESL Impact even if they do not hold IEM Katowice tickets.
The team list so far is:
Check out the ESL Impact Katowice page for more information.