In the esports world, February is traditionally a month of IEM Katowice, one of the most prestigious CS:GO competitions. This year marks the second edition of the championship not being played with a support of live audience in Spodek arena in Katowice, Poland.
On the positive note, we still get to enjoy the whole spectacle from the warmth of our homes and even make use of the exciting betting opportunities it brings. For that, Midnite’s got you covered with all you need to know about IEM Katowice 2021.
IEM Katowice 2021 officially kicked off on February 16th with sixteen teams competing in a Play-in stage for eight spots in the main Group Stage. Those that advanced were joined by eight top-tier CS:GO teams who previously directly qualified. The line-up was then split into two groups of eight, who are now fighting in a double-elimination (GSL) bracket. Top three teams out of each group will advance into single elimination playoffs.
All matches are best-of-three, except the Grand Final on February 28th, which will be best-of-five.
The total shared prize pool is $1,000,000, with winners taking $400,000. Additionally, the teams have a chance to win valuable Pro Tour points towards the BLAST Premier circuit.
As usual, the tournament is packed with elite CS:GO teams, some of the biggest CS:GO talent and fierce competition. Here are the teams that are in the battle for 2021’s IEM Katowice trophy:
Group A: Astralis, Evil Geniuses, G2 Esports, Heroic, mousesports, Gambit Esports, Team Spirit, BIG
Group B: Team Vitality, FaZe Clan, FURIA Esports, Natus Vincere, OG, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus Pro
Looking at the list of participating teams, it is pretty clear who the favourites are. It would be a shock not to see the world’s current best trio - Natus Vincere, Astralis and Team Vitality - advancing to the playoffs. That said, their chances for a title are super close!
The name that speaks for itself, with no further explanation needed. Astralis have been dominating professional CS:GO for years, they are heavy favourites of the majority of tournaments they enter, they have a legendary roster and amazing results.
Sure, the recent group stage of BLAST Premier Spring didn’t work out very well for the Great Danes. In fact, they ended up as far as the 7-9th place. However, that was merely a bump on the road for Astralis, who are now seemingly hungry for a win.
Reigning IEM Katowice champions, Russian squad Na’Vi, will undoubtedly do everything in their power to defend last year’s title. Considering their and Aleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev’s current form, they might very well succeed.
Even though Na’Vi weren’t the most consistent team last year, they opened their 2021 with glory, winning BLAST Premier Global Final and placing 1st-3rd on BLAST Premier Spring Groups. It’s not like they need to beat Astralis to win, it’s the other way around. Na’Vi are on fire!
Team Vitality might not be currently shining as bright as Astralis and Na’Vi, however, they are not to be overlooked. They’ve got all it takes to sort their game and follow up on their success from fall 2020. With the team captain Dan “apEX” Madesclaire being back from his short break, we can expect much better performance than on BLAST Premier Spring.
Check out all the IEM Katowice 2021 odds here on Midnite.
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